So, apparently there has been a lot of “buzz” around this question, and I have been asked several times over the last week if I do, in fact, have a favourite child.
Are you a parent who thinks you have a favourite and feel guilty about it? I think the issue is confusing for a few reasons:
The First Born. Some people worry that their first child is their favourite. I see why this happens, remembering how, when pregnant with my second, I wondered if I could possibly love another child as much as my son. The thing is, I did. But there was a big difference—with my first baby, I felt the “magic” for the first time. I didn’t even know that kind of love existed before I had him. As my other children came along, I still felt this magic but it was different because I expected to; I already knew it existed.
The Perfect Child. When you have a stereotypical “perfect child”, it’s easy to assume they'll be the favourite. I have not found that to be the case. In fact, I feel equally proud when watching a kid who struggles to reach a milestone or achieve a goal. We experience individual delight from individual children based on their unique abilities. Our children are different but this doesn’t mean we like or love them on different levels.
Ages and Stages. Some people are more of a “baby person” or a “school-age person” but getting a kick out a certain age doesn’t mean you like your other kids less. Parents often “divide and conquer” when families have multiple commitments, and a natural division occurs based on the needs of the family. Typically, breastfeeding moms keep baby close while their partner takes the older ones on excursions. This does not reflect how each parent feels about the children. It’s called being practical.
I don’t have a favourite child. If you do, let me suggest you keep quiet about it and, for your children's sake, work really hard to ensure your behavior never reflects it. To be honest, I didn’t read the blog post that caused all the stir. As a general rule, I don’t read anything where people throw their kids under the bus for the sake of page views. We don’t say things that will hurt our children. Period.