(Closed) Do mothers really have a favorite child?

posted 7 years ago in Babies
Post # 3
Member
1052 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: March 2011

I don’t have children yet but I think the languge “favorite child” is misleading. I’m sure that parents love each of their kids equally but different since they’re different people. There is no one size fits all approach to parenting, even within the same family. As children grow up, each parent might connect more with one child than another based on personality traits/interests, but a shared interest or bond with one child does not mean that the parent would love their other child any less, or that they wouldn’t have a different but equally special bond with their other child over somehting different. 

ETA: I haven’t read the article so I don’t know what it says ๐Ÿ™‚ I’ll check it out after work though!

Post # 4
Member
5296 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: January 1993

I have always felt that my mom had a favorite of her four children. It is the #1 reason my sister and I do not get along nor was she involved in my wedding. And I have known that since I was probably 9 or 10.

Wow, after actually reading the article, I agree. I am the only child so far to go to college and get a degree and have a full-time job (oldest of four). I have also struggled with feeling worthy – knowing that no matter what, anything my sister does will always be ‘better’. My brothers plan to take over our farm so their future has always been somewhat ‘set’. Which means my sister and I were the ones that would be ‘leaving the nest’.

She turned 19 in May, has no plans for any type of schooling or future and spends her days texting, shopping, and going out with friends. She is absolutely in no way prepared for real life and it’s precisely because my mom has always coddled and provided for her. The maturity difference between us is so obvious – at 19 I was going to be a junior in college and had completed my first internship with a leading company in my chosen field.

If you can’t tell ๐Ÿ™‚ It’s caused huge bitterness toward her – knowing that no matter what she will always be favored and provided for. Hell, two days before my wedding, my mom was more concerned over helping my sister get the perfect tan lines for her dress over helping me with last-minute things.

Edit: I should add that it’s probably not quite as much favoritism as it is that my mom sees my sister as being the child most like herself.

Post # 5
Member
427 posts
Helper bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

I don’t have children either but I have a niece and a nephew and love them both equally.  I am very close to my sister and therefore to her children as well and would do anything for either one.

 

I have no doubt that there are some parents that have a favorite.  My mom has told me on several occasions that parents always have a favorite and that I’m not hers, that’s probably why we don’t have a very good relationship.  I think there is a possibility it might be a cultural thing.  My mom is Japanese and in many asian households the oldest boy is the favored child, that’s how it worked in her family and that’s how it works in our family. Growing up alot of asian friends I had had similar family dynamics.

Post # 6
Member
5784 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: May 2011

I’ve actually talked to my mom about this and she openly admits that I’m the “favorite” because she has more in common with me. That absolutely does not mean I ever felt more loved than my brother. If anything she overcompensated by giving him more attention because she felt guilty.

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with preferring one of your children, one of them is naturally going to be more likeable/well-behaved. I think it becomes a problem when there is obvious favoritism all the time for no reason.

Post # 7
Member
9029 posts
Buzzing Beekeeper
  • Wedding: June 2011

My mom clearly has a favorite and its my sister! She could always get away with anything whereas I couldnt.  And I’m the youngest so everyone thinks I would be the favorite but thats not the case.  I;m very independent and dont show my feelings, whereas my sister wears her heart on her sleeve and constantly needs someone to hold her hand through everything.  I think she made my mom feel useful and needed.

Post # 8
Member
5296 posts
Bee Keeper
  • Wedding: January 1993

@bells: I;m very independent and dont show my feelings,whereas my sister wears her heart on her sleeve and constantly needs someone to hold her hand through everything.  I think she made my mom feel useful and needed

Were we switched at birth? And we are actually sisters and our sisters are actually sisters to each other? I never thought of it that way before but it makes sense – I tended to pull away from my mom (in part because of the favoritism) and my sister went crying to her about everything. She made her feel useful and needed whereas I’m sure I didn’t.  Huh.

Post # 9
Member
2027 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: November 1999

From what I’ve seen, I think most mothers have a favorite, but it switches around to whoever is being the most pleasant. I don’t think it’s always the same child, but different children at different phases of life. I know my own mom (of 5 children) couldn’t stand whoever was 13-14 years old; aka when everyone seems to want to start testing her patience. 

 

Now my MIL’s favorite has always been thought to be my husband, though (of 3). I can’t say I have seen it, but they all think it. In that case, I think it might have a lot to do with her having a very scary delivery with him, and him almost not making it. I think it would be very traumatizing to almost lose your firstborn and maybe it has made her favor him a tiny bit over the years. At least according to the others. 

Post # 10
Member
2018 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: December 2010

I have two boys and I can’t say that I favor one over the other.  My younger one and I connect on a more emotional level and he’s easier to talk to.  And we tend to like the same movies, books, t.v. shows etc. so we gab endlessly and easily.

My older son has Asperger’s and it’s harder to communicate with him because he tends to be more interested in things than people.  But he is so sweet-natured and good, it almost breaks my heart. So I’m maybe more protective of him-making sure strangers don’t take advantage.

Otherwise I love what is unique about both of them and beyond the personality differences, they have been treated fairly equally their whole lives (i.e. if one got a trip to Europe, so did the other, etc.)

Unlike me and my sister.  We’re the red-headed step-children living in the garrett.  And my brother is the king of the castle. Sucks. 

 

Post # 12
Member
2095 posts
Buzzing bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

I am not worried aobut favoritism with me, but with my mother. She calls my oldest her baby and would cheerfully take him if I ever decided to give him up. I am honestly worried aout the new little guy. She keeps saying she is not going ot get as involved with him and by the time he is older she will be retired in FL. I am hoping that some of this is not true, but she would be one of those people.

Post # 13
Member
3482 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: February 2011

If my parents have a favorite, I sure hope it’s me. I’m an only child.

Post # 14
Member
30 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: April 2010

My mom did an absolutely amazing job of not playing favorites with four kids.  Both she and my dad grew up in households with obvious favorite children (my dad was the favorite, my mom was not) and she made it a personal goal to keep things as even as possible.  A while back I mentioned how nice it was that she didn’t pick favorites and she said that she “tried really, really hard” to make sure everyone felt like an equal in her eyes.  She is my role model for the future.  : )

Post # 15
Member
30 posts
Newbee
  • Wedding: April 2010

@Jenn23:  I can see an oldest child being larger and smarter due to more attention and thus more nurturing.  As more children come along time and resources must be split.

Post # 16
Member
3368 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: March 2011

I really enjoyed the article!  As the youngest of four, with the even more interesting variable of two of us being adopted (my brother and oldest sister), we’ve talked a lot about birth order and parenting.  I know beyond a doubt that my mother favors her first-born, the third child.  This has much more to do with the life choices my sister has made and how my mother respects her lifestyle and less to do with just being born first, IMO.  She was also quite pretty as a child and was careful not to do anything that embarrased my mom, who really saw us as a reflection of herself. 

I’m not jealous of the favoritism, and I’d say that maybe it’s even a burden for my sister, who can’t let her down.  It’s a big responsibility to have that expectation.  I, on the other hand, being known as the free-spirit (which falls in line w/ the article’s casting of the youngest), have the freedom to try and fail and try something else.  I think my mom admires that freedom. 

A bit a further, I think that who a child resembles and what that elicits in the parent, can influence how that parent reacts to the child.  I look a lot like my dad, so my mom has a soft-spot, because she associates me with the charm she felt from him.  It gets me out of trouble quite often.  My sister, on the other hand, looks like my mom’s side of the family for the most part and that adds to the unspoken expectation that she will be successful and practical.  To go deeper, I have some personality traits that are the same as ones my mother dislikes in herself, and so she can’t handle seeing them in me.  I took that personally until I became an adult, not understanding why she reacted so strongly. 

It’s all so interesting.  My oldest sister has some health issues and is kind of free from the roles… but the next sister carries traits of the first-born, oldest and middle child.  I fall right into the youngest role.  My mom favors her first-born.  I wonder, though, had I led a life she could identify more with, would the relationships be more balanced? My father and I were very close and had a lot more common interests and personality traits, so who’s to say.  Did the birth order make the personality, which made the relationship.  Or would the personality have been the same regardless? 

We always joke: My sister says my parents had her and said, “Look how great we did!  Let’s do this again.”  And I say they had her and said, “We can do so much better than this!” 

I can’t imagine life w/o them, no matter who got favored for what.

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