My husband has accused me of showing favoritism between our children because I spend a lot of time traveling with our daughter and preparing her for her pageants. I know the pageants are time consuming, but I really don’t think that is true at all. I love all three of my children the same and I treat them all the same. It really hurts my feelings when my husband says this and I don’t want my children growing up thinking that I show any differences between them or that I love my daughter more. What can I do to show them that I don’t play the favorites game? – A.C.
I think there is a difference between raising our children the same and treating our children the same. I believe we try hard to raise our children the same, giving them the same set of rules and regulations, the same opportunities, and trying to instill in them the same beliefs, values, and principles. On the other hand, I believe we can have different relationships with each of our children and this may appear to be “favoritism” to some people.
Because our children are also human, they have distinct personalities, dispositions, habits, interests, likes, and dislikes that make them unique individuals. As humans we are drown to people for different reasons. When we choose our friends we tend to choose people who are similar to us, people who share similar likes and dislikes. I believe this can even happen with our children. We gravitate to the ones that are similar to us, share our same personality or disposition. I have four children and very different relationships with each of them. For instance, I am very close with my oldest daughter because we have similar tastes in music and movies, and we share a love for track. We often go to the movies together, watch track meets together, and often have long discussions about the sport. But because she and I something in common does not mean I do not I enjoy spending time with my other children, we just have a different relationship. My middle daughter and I love watching Jeopardy together. We are both very academic and love to compete to see who can answer the most questions. We watch Jeopardy every day! My youngest daughter and I love to shop and we share our sense of fashion. We like to hang out at the mall.
As parents it is our responsibility to find commonalities with all of our children, develop individual relationships with them, and make each of them feel special. I encourage you to examine your relationships with your children and make it a point to create opportunities for all of your children to spend quality time with you and to have a special connection with you. Even though family time is important, each child needs a personal connection with each of their parents.
Author of the upcoming book Been There Done That: And Lived to Tell About It (due out Spring 2011), Tamara R. Allen is Your Advice Guru giving REAL advice from REAL experience. Email your questions to [email protected]. You can follow Tamara on twitter @tamararallen or check out her daily column and archives at www.tamararallen.com.