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Favouring one child over another

(19 Posts)
roseability Mon 03-Aug-09 16:32:02

Is anyone willing to admit they favour one child over another?

Love one more than another?

How do you deal with these feelings within your family?

Is it to do with which baby/child is the 'easiest'?

I am interested because I believe no child falls out with their parents for no reason i.e. stops speaking to them. However my mother (whom I can't stand) always uses the example of how you can have a family in which one sibling speaks to the parents and another doesn't. She believes it must be the child being difficult.

I recently read an article about mothers favouring one child over another and believe this could explain above scenario.

It is a taboo area but I am sure it happens more than we like to admit

Platesmasher Mon 03-Aug-09 19:39:04

I am currently favouring the one that is asleep.

oneplusone Mon 03-Aug-09 21:34:40

Hi rose. In my case, it seems to be out of my control. When DD was born, i simply did not feel that instant bond/connection that is often talked about. But she was my first and I didn't know any different so I thought that was just the way it was. I found her difficult from day 1, but like you said, in hindsight now I am sure that was her responding to me rather than vice versa. ie i was giving off subconscious vibes to her that made her feel anxious and this manifested itself to the outside world as her being a 'difficult' baby.

Then I had DS. And what a contrast. This time I most certainly did feel that instant bond/connection as soon as he was born, that overwhelming rush of love etc etc. And it was only after he was born that i started wondering why i felt so differently about my 2 DC's.

I won't go into all the details here (but you know Rose, what I'm talking about), but I am sure that the roots of the differences in my relationships with my DC's lie in my own childhood.

tulip27 Mon 03-Aug-09 21:40:14

I agree with oneplusone, I didn't feel the immediate bond with my dd that I did with her older brother.I then went on to suffer PND which didn't help. Nearly 4 years on I still find it easier to love my son but I am working on it.
PS I was the black sheep ' your not as good as your sister' in my family so I know what this feels like.

roseability Mon 03-Aug-09 21:51:31

It is a very important area of parenting I feel, that isn't talked about enough.

Although I love my DS with all my heart, due to PND I found him difficult to start with. He never had stranger anxiety and never had any clingy phases with me. People would tell me it was because he was secure but I have my doubts. I was so anxious with him, I am sure he picked up on that. I am much calmer with DD and the contrast has forced me to look at these issues. I feel guilty because I am enjoying my DD more.

oneplusone Wed 05-Aug-09 20:46:34

Rose, my eldest, DD also never had stranger anxiety and was never clingy with me. I have done enough reading now to feel fairly certain it was because she did not have a secure attachment to me. I too was so very different with DS, from the moment he was born and like you, and as I've already mentioned it was the differences that made me sit up and wonder about myself.

I have now had around 2 years of therapy and done a LOT of work on myself and my relationship with DD has improved enormously. I still find her harder to be around than DS, but now I feel that is more due to the differences in our personalities than a deeper more fundamental problem with bonding/attachment.

I wouldn't go so far as to say i have the sort of bond with DD that i seemed to have instantly with DS, but things are a hell of a lot better than they used to be. And if I hadn't had therapy and worked on my issues myself, i have no doubt that the distance between me and DD would have grown and grown until there was an unbridgable gap, which is exactly what happened between me and my own mother.

MitchyInge Wed 05-Aug-09 20:54:44

my favourites rotate and I think it evens out over time - one day or week it will be one child, another the next

but when I ask them who they think is my favourite they each think they are, so that's ok!

Pitchounette Wed 05-Aug-09 21:04:43

Message withdrawn

oneplusone Wed 05-Aug-09 21:33:39

"ds2 is the best thing that has ever happened to us, me and ds1. It made me realized what it was to really love/bound with your child." This is exactly how i feel about DS. Sometimes i think he is the only person in the world that i love unreservedly with every cell of my being and more. He is the apple of my eye. I am totally besotted with him. I could just sit and watch him all day. I do not feel this way about DD. I love her. But not in the way i have described above in relation to DS. I just want somebody to say this is ok, it's normal and i should stop tearing myself apart with guilt over it.

I do always try and treat both DC's equally, but inevitably, I am sure that sometimes it must be apparent to DD that I treat DS differently sometimes. It's that occasionaly slip up that I am worried about, as children notice EVERYTHING, even the subtle of things.

lou031205 Wed 05-Aug-09 22:10:48

It is perfectly healthy to prefer elements of one DC over another, as long as you admire things about each of them.

DD1 has SN. She is quirky, adoring, funny.
DD2 is NT. She is cuddly, so cute, funny.
DD3 is a baby, she is sick, poos, grins.

Pitchounette Thu 06-Aug-09 17:20:29

Message withdrawn

oneplusone Thu 06-Aug-09 19:54:53

pitchounette, hi and thanks for your post, you make a lot of sense.

DD is just 6, DS is 3. I definately prefer DS's personality, he's quieter and more laid back than DD. DD to me seems very highly strung, everything is a big drama and I just find it boring/draining/tiresome/stressful. She seems to talk just for the sake of it, doesn't seem to think very much and sometimes i just don't like her.

I feel guilty about not liking DD sometimes and also for not loving her in the same way as I love DS. I can 'pretend' and treat them both the same, but I know that inside i feel differently about them and that is what i feel guilty about as well.

tulip27 Thu 06-Aug-09 20:56:28

oneplusone, where did you go when you siad you had 'therapy' to talk about your feelings with your child?

squilly Thu 06-Aug-09 21:07:55

I have only one child, but have friends who have more than one. I have noticed that some of my friends quite clearly favour one of the children in their families.

One has 3 children. Her first is her pfb and the second is openly scorned. The third is compared mostly to the second. From the outside, I think the second is a delight, and the third similar, but the first is a little awkward to get on with. I do wonder whether this is why the mum favours her?

I also have friend with 2 children who are both great, but she definitely favours the second over the first. The second was ill during her very young years...they nearly lost her, and they had a child inbetween too, so that may be affecting her treatment of this child. I do wonder, though, whether it's just that she had the rush with the second and not with the first?

I have to say, makes me glad I've just got the one. My own family dynamic is such that I was compared to my 5 siblings constantly and made to feel inferior (as were they I hasten to add) so I'm not sure I'd have a great model to work towards. I don't think I'd trust myself not to favour one child over another.

oneplusone Fri 07-Aug-09 20:44:19

tulip27, I'm not quite sure what you mean by your question? I assume you don't mean where i went geographically?! I just went to a therapist i found locally. But what helped me the most was me. I have done a lot of emotionally demanding work on myself, my therapist mainly just listened and guided me a bit, but essentially i did all the work myself. And initially i was just seeking help for myself, not for my relationship with DD, but i soon realised how very intertwined the two things were. The more i worked on myself and sorted my own childhood issues, the better and closer my relationship with DD became, without me actually working on it specifically. If that makes any sense?

oneplusone Fri 07-Aug-09 20:50:23

tulip, i was also the 'black sheep' in my family and always compared to my 2 sisters and always told i was so much worse than them in so many ways.

If you are interested in working on yourself i would recommend you read Alice Miller's The Drama of the Gifted Child and also take a look at the Stately Homes thread in Relationships.

Pitchounette Fri 07-Aug-09 21:36:38

Message withdrawn

PinkTulips Fri 07-Aug-09 21:56:47

Much as it shames me i find dd infinitely more difficult than ds1&2.

She seems to have a knack for pushing my buttons and making me see red, has behaviour problems that make her impossible to reason with, she can't cuddle up nicely like ds1 she always resorts to hitting and being wild, she screams and shouts and hits all day long and she exhausts me. If she's told off or doesn't get her way or simply if she wants attention she'll scream and shout and be so horrible i'd challenge a saint to not feel the urge to throttle her. She laughs when she's in trouble and spends all the time she's not being horrid following me around asking the same 3 questions over and over and over 'Can i have tv', 'Can i have juice', 'Can i have a treat'.

I think a lot of it stems from the fact that she spent her entire first year screaming with reflux, colic, insomnia and teething that i just never got the chance to enjoy her, then ds1 was born when she was 18 months and he was so easy compared to her that i actually enjoyed his babyhood, and i'm enjoying ds2's... it's not her fault but i don't think it's mine either.

ds1 and ds2 can make me smile and laugh so easily, have lovely natures. ds2 is only 6 months but already has a knack for making me smile and ds1 is such a cuddly sweetie that i just find time with them easier.... when dd is out of the house and i just have the 2 of them things are so quiet and peaceful!

But despite all that i do love them all intensely and i try not to show the fact that i find dd so difficult in front of them if possible.

oneplusone Sat 08-Aug-09 21:38:55

"ds1 and ds2 can make me smile and laugh so easily, have lovely natures. ds2 is only 6 months but already has a knack for making me smile and ds1 is such a cuddly sweetie that i just find time with them easier.... when dd is out of the house and i just have the 2 of them things are so quiet and peaceful!" Same here.

When DD is out of the house i feel i can breathe again and completely relax. She is like a whirlwind that rushes through the house causing havoc and mayhem and perhaps a different type of person would be able to cope with it, perhaps even thrive on it, but i like a calm, quiet, peaceful house so i find DD very very hard to be around for long periods of time.

But, I do love her nonetheless and I am slowly beginning to see that we are just very very different personalities. And it is up to me as the adult and parent to learn how to cope with DD so that we are both happy and she feels valued and accepted just as she is.

I am ashamed to say i have quite often secretly wished i had a different daughter, a quiet, shy girl, like the one's we sometimes meet. I hope I haven't made DD feel i don't like or want her as she is. DH just seems to be able to filter her out of his head when she is going on and on; i wish i knew how to do that, as it doesn't seem to bother DD. I get drawn in by her and then get frustrated and impatient as the more attention i give her, the more she seems to want. And yet when DH ignores her she doesn't seem to mind. I think I am going to try and have a talk with her and try and explain about needing time to myself when she needs to give me some space, if only for 10 minutes. If she can understand that, i think i will feel a lot happier. She is 6 now so hopefully it is a concept she will be able to grasp.

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