Published On: Tue, Sep 9th, 2014

Favourites – The Lie You Must Tell Your Children and Why

Danielle Mantakoul

Danielle Mantakoul

BA of Ed Early Childhood and Editor at Mummy Weekly
She's described as one of the most engaging & dynamic speakers in the early childhood industry today, now having educated hundreds of thousands of parents & teachers. She has lectured for organisations such as KU Children’s Services, Only About Children, Qantas, National Australia Bank, Child Protection Australia, Goodstart and hundreds of council & private centres. She also developed and ran the popular parenting series for the Australian Financial Review.
Danielle Mantakoul

The Lie You Must Tell Your KidsNow I know what some of you are thinking. This is an article about Santa Claus, the Easter Bunny, even the Tooth Fairy may come to mind, but no. It’s about something far more serious than that. It’s about a lie that you must not only tell your children, but also your friends, mother and even partner if questioned. It’s a lie that you must also tell yourself… often, and one that you must take to the grave. Some may say that while it exists that it does not apply to them.  But author of The Sibling Effect 2011 Jeffrey Kluger disagrees, and even goes as far as to tell us that many of us are in denial, or simply lying.

I remember years back seeing an interview on TV with a father who had openly come out about the favouritism he had for his older son over his younger. In his interview he spoke about how he simply got on better with one child than the other and felt this was a natural feeling that everyone had but didn’t admit to. He said he loved both of his children the same, but that he liked one child more than the other, and was not ashamed to admit it.

 After picking myself up off the floor at this father’s reckless statement, they showed the boys. They were both under 6 with personalities still developing. Had he considered that his boys will change over time and perhaps while he currently enjoyed the older child’s company, this could easily change from boy to boy as the children grew?

As our kids develop I believe we as parents tend to enjoy a particular child more than the other for a variety of reasons such as age, current shared interest and developing personality, but this man had done the unthinkable. Why? Because you can never ever ever take back vocalising that you have a favourite… ever… even if this changes and you double back on what you previously said. Your vocalised change of mind simply ends up looking like a lie, a cover up, a scramble to undo what you have said. The child who was originally not the favourite will never believe you…. ever. And while time may heal many things, it will never erode a favouritism confession, only your relationship with that child.

There is only one person that I would recommend you tell if you are struggling with a favourite, and that is a licensed counsellor. Why? Because this type of relationship is highly unlikely to come back and bite you in the butt, but will provide you with some real help. A counsellor can help you to identify great characteristics about each child, work with you on discovering why you feel this way and provide you with strategies on how to better bond.

Relationships no matter how solid and trusting you believe them to be can break down and work against you, and the one thing you never want is for that child to ever find out from anyone, is that you had a favourite be it them or their sibling.

You may have asked your partner if they have a favourite or even accused them of doing so, but if you haven’t be warned. Once you ask, there is a good chance you will not be content with the outcome either way. If they say they don’t have a favourite, our Jeffrey Kluger kicks in and we are not likely to believe them. If they say they do, our annoyance, disappointment and even resentment springs to life.

As for me of course I don’t have a favourite, and neither does my husband Mark. How do I know this? Because I have never asked him.

If you are struggling with favouritism please seek professional help from a licensed counsellor.

By Danielle Mantakoul
Copyright 2014
www.mummyweekly.com.au

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