By shaambhavi Baby & Child Care
Dealing with Child Favouritism
Most parents refuse it, but favouritism amongst siblings is a silent presence in a number of families. The conditions for making one child favourite range from subtle to ephemeral. However, this is not something to be ignored. It is of great concern whether perceived or real. It can cause devastating psychological impacts on both the secondary child and the favoured child.
The root and cause for favouritism
It is a well established fact that all children grow up, develop and mature differently. This is true in case of close siblings as well. This is also true that it is only human that one parent approves a certain developmental pattern of one child over the other one. This can range from obedience, academics, sports, personality and the nature of a child.
But, this has to be kept in mind that all kids seek approval of their parents. So, when parents start favouring one child, the other child becomes insecure and finds himself alone. He feels starved for the validation and affirmation of his parents. Gradually, his self esteem is crushed and his confidence on himself is lost. He becomes shy and angry from within and starts doing things which are potentially harmful. He feels that these things are the last resort for him to catch his parents’ eyes. Just like an untended infection affects the whole body, the sense of inadequacy which is instilled by the parental favouritism maligns the whole future of the child.
How to recognise favouritism?
The earliest signs of favouritism are when parents start showing preferential bias for one child. It may be due to physical traits or a reflection of their own identity. The behaviour of a child may also set the threshold for favouring one child over the other. The typical signs of such a treatment include giving more incentives to one child for the same chore, punishing the other child in a more sever way for the same infraction and so on. Spending more on one child than the other, centring of more events around one child, motivating one child more are some of the other signs of promotion of favouritism.
Generally, the symptoms for bias are very subtle. So, they are hard to detect. In the end, when the parents realise their mistake, the damage has already been done. The favoured child becomes arrogant. He is never a team player and cannot see others getting more attention than him. The secondary child, on the other hand, becomes reserved, quiet and starts despising his parents for not granting him a sound childhood.
Dealing with bias
The children who are favoured usually face problems if they face dismissal or rejection in their later life. The secondary child becomes a people pleaser; he works harder to win the recognition of his peers, co-workers and family.
You can prevent this preferential biasing by ensuring that all the kids are treated in the same balanced and neutral way. Take diligent steps to ensure that the children do not feel any kind of bias or favouring amongst themselves. Devote equal time to all your children. It may happen that one of the kids need more time due to being small or due to some illness. If the other child fusses, try explaining why you are spending more time with the other child. When the condition passes, thank the other kid for his understanding and reward him.
Thus, it is not difficult to give a balanced and neutral parent-child environment to your child. All you need is due vigilance to raise successful and emotionally well-adjusted kids.