10 Tips for Coping When Kids Favorite a Parent
Parenting is a challenging, but, highly rewarding endeavor. Most kids love their parents equally; however, there are situations in which a child will favor one parent over the other. In this comprehensive guide, we will provide 10 tips for coping when kids favorite a parent. Before delving into the content, though, we feel it is important – right up front – to inform you that love and the concept of favoritism are two very distinct things. If you find that your child favors either you more or they favor the other parent more than they do you, there is no need to worry. This is a very natural occurrence that has happened all throughout history and will continue to occur in generations to come. Now that you understand this very important point, it is time to learn how to cope with offspring favoritism.
1. Learn What Love Is as It Pertains to a Child’s Love for Their Parent
The first step to coping with a child that favors a parent is to learn what love is as it pertains to a child’s love for their parent. Love is the tender feelings associated with affection. When a child loves a parent, it indicates that they are loyal and devoted to that person.
2. Learn What Favoritism Is as It Pertains to Children and Parents
The next step to coping with a child’s favoritism towards a parent is to understand what that truly means. Essentially, it simply implies that a kid has a more intense pull towards one parent, rather than the other. While kids may recognize this, they are not usually very comfortable in acknowledging and/or expressing their feelings of favoritism. In most instances, a child may feel guilty for how they feel. In other instances, they may attempt to make others feel guilty.
3. Avoid Becoming Subjected to Manipulation as a Result of a Child’s Favoritism
We all want to be the “favorite” parent. Oftentimes, kids know and understand this fact. As a result, they may attempt to subject one parent or another to manipulation. The parent that is favored may have a desire to give into the child to keep them liking them the best. The same holds true for the parent that is not favored as much. They may give into their child more in order to earn that child’s favoritism. To effectively cope with favoritism, you should never allow it to manipulate you – whether through feelings, guilt, or through your child.
4. Know Your Role
As parents, it is our responsibility to help our kids mature and become adults that are physically healthy, emotionally healthy, intellectual, and socially adapt. Favoritism for a parent may result in one or both parents falling short on setting boundaries, providing structure, setting rules, and setting standards. Do not allow this to happen. Know your role and actively engage in your parental responsibilities.
5. Avoid Responding with Negativity
When a child makes it obvious that they favor one parent over the other, you should avoid responding with negativity. A wide array of emotions may be experienced – anger, hurt, jealousy, and resentment – but, being negative is not at all productive and could make the situation worse.
6. Display Empathy and Understanding
Kids and the feelings that they experience should be consistently validated. When favoritism is made apparent, you should display both empathy and understanding. Verbally acknowledge their feelings and assure them that it is acceptable for them to feel like they feel. Do not appear to be hurt or angry over the situation. This could result in resentment.
7. Balance Work and Fun
When a child favors one parent over the other, it is most often due to the fact that they have more fun with the favored parent. Both parents should consistently strive to balance work/responsibilities and fun with the child.
8. Realize It Is Not All About You
Many parents have an inner-need to be the “best”; however, when it comes to parenting, it is not all about you. In fact, it is about your child and what is best to their growth. Your goal should be to raise a child that is well-adjusted. Not to raise a child that likes you better. In the grand scheme of things, how will that benefit your child and their lives once they transition into adulthood?
9. Recognize Favoritism as a Stage
All children – at one point or another – will favor each parent. Favoritism is, more or less, just a stage that a child goes through. Kids may favor one parent for a few days, a few weeks, or a few months. Then, just as suddenly as it initially happened, they will start to favor the other parent. When you see this as a stage, you will find that you no longer feel as emotional as you once did about the situation.
10. Quality Time is Everything
Finally, one of the best methods to coping with a child that favors one parent or another is to realize that quality time is everything. Yes, a child should spend time with each of their parents, individually, when possible; however, it is also important for quality time to be arranged that involves everyone within the family. There is a time for work and there is a time for play. You should make certain that your family has some of each of these times.
Coping with a kid’s favoritism towards a parent is typically not an easy endeavor; however, there are many steps that may be taken to see the situation from a responsible viewpoint and to cope with the situation when it occurs. In this brief guide, you have been provided with 10 coping mechanisms that will allow you to effectively deal with a kid that is favoring a parent. Remember, love does not equal favoritism and favoritism does not equal love. All children love their parents. When favoritism develops, it is commonly just a stage that a child is experiencing – nothing more.