Evolution of Parenting

Though it is never fair to favor one child over another, in the lives of all parents that have more than one child there are going to be times when some favoritism is shown. Though some people claim there is always a “black sheep” in a family, this isn’t the case at all because even the “black sheep” will have some areas where they shine above their siblings.

The first time a parent may start to feel that there is a degree of favoritism in their family is when a new member is added to the family. The older siblings who had once had more attention from mom and dad will often act out because they feel left out. This, in turn, can make parents feel like they are favoring the new baby over the older sibling. This is completely natural and isn’t favoritism at all, it is simply that the baby has many more needs than the older sibling.  In order to contain the resentment that the older sibling may have for the new baby, mom and dad should carve out some time for one on one with the older child.

As the children get older, this jaded view of favoritism will creep in again because parents will start to recognize the strengths and shortcomings that their children have. When there is something that one child struggles with, a parent will find they spend more time in this area cultivating it while not really celebrating the achievements of the excelling sibling. It is important that parents equally celebrate achievements and cultivate those areas in which a child struggles for all of their children.

The teenage years are probably the most difficult years to raise children without one child feeling that their siblings are favored over themselves. The main reason for this altered view is that a parent’s parenting style evolves as they raise their children through the various stages of their lives. It is typical that parents will be much more strict with their oldest child throughout their teenage years and somewhat more lenient with subsequent children during this same period. In retrospect this is oftentimes viewed by the oldest child as favoritism toward the younger children while this isn’t the case at all.

If parents are able to keep the door open for their children to have an open relationship with them, there is less risk of a child viewing themself as the “black sheep” of the family. By also dedicating equal time to each child, parents will find there is far less resentment among siblings. While many people view it as favoritism, it is in fact the evolution of your parenting that makes things different among siblings. When your children are grown, they will most definitely thank you for the time you spent with them.