brother and sister smiling

Prefering one child over another

It’s common for parents to feel closer to one child and there is a simple reason for it, we get along with some people better than others. That doesn’t mean we love one child more than the other children we have!

One way to try and quell these feelings of preferring one child over another is to connect with the child you are not perhaps feeling the closest to. When our children feel they are not connected with us, quite often they feel unloved and present challenging or difficult behavior as a way of trying to regulate their emotions.

Connecting with our children from a place of empathy and respect allows us to begin breaking down these barriers and gifts us the ability to meet them in a place of more compassionate understanding. Your child is unique, and they will feel closer to you and more comfortable if they feel that they are understood, appreciated and listened to. 

Let go of standards and expectations, and instead accept and honor your children for the people they are. Being open in conversations, listening and learning teaches emotional regulation which in turn makes our children more open-minded, calm, and present.

Accepting our children’s individuality benefits both us as individuals and as parents. By looking inward to increasing awareness of our feelings and thoughts, we will naturally become more responsive to our child’s needs, thoughts, and feelings, growing the strong bond between us and our children.

Additionally by regulating our emotions, we also leave behind unnecessary feelings such as self-criticism or perfectionism, which allow us the chance to discover new perspectives we had not considered before. Teaching ourselves to stand back from a situation and avoid closed or negative reactions helps us not only in our parenting but also in our day-to-day relationships with our colleagues, friends, and spouses.

For children, it is not a pleasant feeling to feel as though they are preferred less or compared to. In the long run, comparisons are detrimental on everyone and should be avoided through the art of celebrating self-expression and individuality. 

Some key tips from me on how to love all of your children equally and extend the strengthening of your bonds to make a harmonious, family unit are:

  1. Try to find common interests with all of your children. 
  2. Set aside time alone with all of them if possible. Nurture that connection through activities such as games, reading or walks.
  3. Don’t compare your children. That way you stereotype your children will inhibit you from seeing their real selves and experiencing your child’s true potential.

Bottom line is that you’re no less a mother/father for feeling closer to one of your children. It’s normal and what matters is that you love them all and show them you do. 

If you are struggling with these feelings of preference or favoritism, please reach out in a free call with me. I can listen and understand your viewpoints and give actionable tips that could change your thinking in a matter of moments.