Do You Have A Favourite Child?

Most parents will say that they love all their children equally and that is probably true, but do you like all your children equally? Few of us will admit to having a favourite child, yet, children, even within the same family, are so different that it’s hard not to have personal preferences. Some children are better match for our own personalities than others. Some are harder to parent and we can get so exhausted that we unintentionally seek more interaction with the ‘easier’ children. You may even notice that your preferences change and you have a different favourite child at different times.

RELATED: How To Deal With Sibling Rivalry

While it’s perfectly normal to have a favourite child, openly showing it can lead to problems in the family dynamics and affect the children’s self-esteem. Here are some things you can do to make sure you’re favouring all your children and no one feels left out.

Equal attention

Obviously, the attention you give is never going to be equal to the minute, but do your best to ensure that all your children spend some one-on-one time with you and have their own special activities on the family calendar. Sometimes one child will demand more attention than others purely because of the stage of their development, for example, a 2-year-old is not as independent as an 8-year-old and will need more help with everything. In that case, you can explain to your other children why that child is getting more attention and point out other times when the scales were tipped the other way.

Consistent rules

Have the same discipline rules for all children. Again, this can be hard when the children are at different levels of understanding. While you may not be able to get a 2-year-old to follow along, you can talk about your expectations and gently correct your toddler to let your other children see that the same rules apply to everyone.

Notice the good things

Take time to notice what is happening in each of your children’s lives. Comment when they’re putting a lot of effort into something and celebrate each child’s successes equally, even if some successes may look a lot bigger to you than others.

Don’t compare

Each child is an individual with unique traits and they don’t have to be like anyone else. Treat each child as if you’ve started the whole parenting gig from scratch – it doesn’t matter what their siblings were doing at their age and how their abilities compare.

Whether we have a favourite child or not. all children have the need to be loved for who they are and it’s our job as parents to give them exactly that.

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March 23, 2015

How To Deal With Sibling Rivalry

In many ways having more than one child is easier than having just one, but here’s something that will probably challenge you – dealing with sibling rivalry. Imagine this: I’m trying to put my 2-year-old to sleep while my other two kids are happily playing together. All of a sudden, the door opens and a head sticks in. “Mum, she’s being rude.” I don’t react, so the door closes just to reopen a second later. “Mum, he said I was stupid!” I let them know I’ll be there in a minute. Not even half a minute has passed and I hear screams. The door opens again. “Mum, she pushed me!” By that time my 2-year-old thinks it’s all an exciting game, sleep has been forgotten and I’m struggling to remain calm.

RELATED: How To Have More Patience With Your Kids

Does it have to be this way?

If you’re asking yourself if there’s anything you could have done differently to ensure your kids get along better, take heart. While sibling rivalry can be worse in some families than others, it is completely normal. Your children are still learning to adjust to different personalities and to get along with others. And they want your love and attention.

While you won’t be able to avoid sibling rivalry altogether, there are some things you can do to retain your sanity and help your children be friends with each other.

Focus on the positive behaviour

Your children’s fighting and bickering is a way to get your attention, and a powerful one. It’s much harder to remember to pay attention to your children when they’re playing happily, leaving you alone to do your own thing. But if you make it a habit to notice when they’re nice to each other, ask questions and be interested in what they’re doing, you’ll experience longer peaceful periods. If your kids are getting your attention anyway, why fight?

Spend one-on-one time with each child

We’re all busy and one-on-one time can be hard to arrange, but it’s well worth it. Watch your child soak up your attention and it’ll warm up your heart. It’s good to have longer dates (a few hours or a day) once in a while, but if you can find just a few minutes every day to spend with each child, you’ll see them become happier and more relaxed.

Encourage them to sort out their differences

Sometimes things escalate out of control and you’ll need to step in, but in most cases children are capable of sorting things out by themselves. Give them the tools to resolve conflict (when they’re calm) and remind them to use what they know in the heat of the moment, but don’t take sides or offer solutions.

By using these strategies you’ll be turning sibling rivalry into an opportunity to grow your bond with your children and to help them develop conflict resolution skills that will serve them for life.

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February 14, 2015