It is so easy to damage the psyche of our babies and to potentially tarnish your relationship with them when you start playing favorites.
I know a young man in his 20s with three children and a baby momma/ex-girlfriend/current or former fiancé. He graduated from high school and is now in and out of jail due to stupid decisions and a lack of self-control. Through it all, his mother has been by his side; while she doesn’t make excuses for him, she goes out of her way to assist him at every turn, as most mothers would do. This son is her baby, the youngest of five. Her clear favorite and everyone, most especially her other children, are aware of it.
Because of how she treated him from infancy to adulthood, her other children have developed a resentment toward her and are still hurting over the pain and abandonment they felt from their youth. She has since tried to make up for it by being overly involved in their lives now but history is threatening to repeat itself. She currently has five grandchildren, with one on the way, and one of her grandsons is quickly taking on the role of her new favorite.
Her grandchildren are young and may not feel the effects just yet but it will not be long before they start to feel that “Grandma” may not love them as much as she loves their cousin/brother.
- This blatant treatment will cause a strained relationship to develop overtime between the children and their grandmother and the children and the “chosen one.” They will grow to resent him for something that is not his fault.
- The other grandchildren may dissect their own lives and find themselves lacking because “Grandma” didn’t favor them. This could lead to them desperately looking for love in their future relationships.
- The parents may overcompensate and pour extra love on their other children which will breed even more resentment from “the chosen one.”
- When it comes to discipline, “the chosen one” will be hard to wrangle as his loyalties will lie primarily with a grandmother who doesn’t like to see or hear him cry. This lack of punishment will lead to him not respecting his parents and will rob him of the knowledge of consequences.
People with multiple children know that at any given time you may have more in common with one child than you do the others. That’s natural and normal and there’s nothing wrong with that. But it is our job to take an active interest in the lives of our babies and make that effort to bond with them, no matter how obscure or “weird” we think those interests are. This is also why it’s important to spend one on one time with all of your children doing the things they like to do.
Children see and understand more than we give them credit for. And whatever we say and do when they’re young is bound to impact how they see us and how they see themselves when they grow up.