Since so much has happened lately it’s made me think of different family dynamics and relationships. As many families do we tease about who’s “the favorite” and most liked. In our family it’s thought of who is most loved or liked by our parents. As I was just talking to Jon about this, Favoritism is hard to define. So here is my definition of favoritism: when a parent bestows an unequal, or unjust, amount of love or discipline to different children in the family. I think relationships color favoritism. We can’t chose who is in our family, so obviously we get along better with other members then some. This is true for parents and siblings. Jon mentioned that it’s inevitable that our compatibility with a person will color the relationship, but is that compatibly, or relationship, coloring the amount of love and consideration we give to another person. Are we punishing someone more severly because we dislike them, or are we verbalizing more love to those we like. In other words are we “professional” with the way we interact or do we allow outside feelings to get in the way of our job as a parent or sibling. In most families their is a sort of favoritism expressed, through who we get along with or who the parents allow more slack to. I guess as I am a now a parent I have a goal to not show favoritism. I think it creates contention and unhealthy competition. Children or siblings start competing for the love of the parents, or they feel hopeless and don’t try to be the best they can. I’ve seen this in families. The parents show favoritism, often because they just don’t get along with another child as well as the other and the child that is not the “favorite” doesn’t care, because they can do nothing right, and makes bad decisions. Granted sometimes it is the other way around. Sometimes they make bad decisions and it has nothing to do with the parents or siblings. I think it is important to not compare children to others. Though I can’t admit that I’m always great at this. I love to hear that Lilah is cute or Eden is adorable, but I also enjoy giving compliments to others and their children. I also think comparing ourselves to others is human nature, though it ought not to be, and mostly it’s women who compare themselves to others. (I don’t hear Jon saying, do you think he’s a better father then me? Though I often think this same question and compare myself to other mothers. ) I think there is enough contention in the world and we as individuals create enough competition that we don’t need those we love to play favorites.

I guess, what I’m getting at is I think it can be bad for a developing child to know they are second, third, fourth, or come in after the dog, in family relationships. I say this more from a psychology perspective and from watching others. If I was to choose a course of study this day I would study family relations and how they impact success outside the home. Not always, but I’m sure there is a correlation between feeling inferior in family relations and doing badly in the real world. There are exceptions to the rule, and their may be no scientific relation, but I think that feeling less in the home definitely impacts us and how we succeed out of the home or it may be vice versa. If we’re not liked by our own family, how are we to be liked by total strangers? Some are able to have gainful relations out of the home, and they compensate for lack of a healthy relations in the home. I guess as an adult I see that playing favorites isn’t always good. It creates tension in the relationship, and doesn’t allow growth. Competition and favoritism is just everywhere and Jon and I don’t want that in our family. It can cause pain and hurt to feel less than another and no parent has the right to belittle their child and no sibling has that right either. We are here to be stewards to our children and raise them. Heavenly Father has entrusted us to give them love and understanding in this world, and we need not to encourage negative feelings by having a child feel less loved than another. As I have five siblings I know that sibling rivalry creates enough competition for love, affection, and attention. A parent need not verbalize or compare children one to another. I remember going to the movies with a friend and her mother said “See how Lacey walks with her back straight and her arms to her side. Stop slouching and folding your arms, it looks terrible.” That has stuck with me because my parents have never done that and I just couldn’t help but feel embarrassed for her. She may have forgotten that day because of it blending in with every other time they compared her to someone else, but I remember it because that has rarely happened to me.

Jon and I have discussed the fact that we don’t want to play favorites between our children or compare them with one another. We compare their disposition now, but I can still see how a two year old still listens and takes in information, to where we try to be careful. I’d tell people Lilah is shy, and then one day when Anna was coming over for lunch Lilah said that she’d probably be shy when Anna gets here. I felt horrible, now I try to say reserved, because shy can have a negative connotation. I know we may not be compatible with all our children, but I hope that I can have a good relationship with all my children and not play favorites.I hope to find something that connects me with each one and makes them feel special in that way. I see favoritism as unhealthy in cultivating a happy home with children. We all grow up and sometimes the memories of being compared to someone else, or feeling less loved, fades away, and we are able to have healthy relations with our parents. But sometimes it stays with us, and we never have good relationships with our parents. Life is hard enough in the real world, our homes should be refuges from judgement and a place of love and acceptance.

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