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Parents, avoid favouritism

By Vision Reporter

Added 15th April 2007 03:00 AM

WE call them mummy’s boy or daddy’s girl. When they ask for anything, they receive it within the twinkling of an eye. In their absence, life almost comes to a standstill in the family.

Parents, avoid favouritism

WE call them mummy’s boy or daddy’s girl. When they ask for anything, they receive it within the twinkling of an eye. In their absence, life almost comes to a standstill in the family.

By Jamesa Wagwau

WE call them mummy’s boy or daddy’s girl. When they ask for anything, they receive it within the twinkling of an eye. In their absence, life almost comes to a standstill in the family.

When they cough, parents run in all directions and in some cases no decision can be made without their approval. Yes, you guessed right; they are the parents’ favourites.


Every family has a child who wields immense power over the parents and is often branded by siblings as ‘mummy’s or daddy’s favourite’.

The idea of family favouritism is as old as humanity. African history is replete with stories of leaders who would groom special children to be their heirs. Although the first born was in many cases privileged above his or her siblings, there were many exceptions to the rule.

Parents had soft spots for particular children who would have an upper hand over their siblings. The biblical story of Joseph being sold off by siblings because of being daddy’s favourite demonstrates the strife favouritism can cause in a family.

Have your children ever accused you of favouring one child against the rest? You may dismiss it as mere sibling rivalry or child talk, yet it is a question children have grappled with for decades. Do parents love some of their children more than others?

The answer to this question lies in accurate exploration of what parenting means. Parenting is an emotional activity that is founded on relationship. It is an interaction that culminates into a bond between you and your child.

The most challenging dimension of this relationship is the fact that your child is a unique human being different from you. Despite being from the same womb, your children are different and hence it takes different styles to relate with them.

Nature accords you a privilege to meet this child before anybody else does so. Right from the cradle, children show the unique traits of ‘who they are’ and relationship is part of this.

As a human being, you too have a unique personality that impacts heavily on your relationship with the child. Psychologists believe that personality differences between you and your child have a far-reaching implication on your relationship.

You are, therefore, more likely to get along well with a child whose personality is close to yours than you would with one who is different. If you are outgoing, you might find a shy child a bit unappealing. Although you are expected to love your children uniformly, every child has a unique style of relating with you.

Child A will sit on your lap and ask you with concern why you look sad after a long day’s work, while child B will not give a damn. Child X will clear the table after lunch and help you with the dishes while child D will dodge all chores, preferring to play.

There is nothing wrong with any of the children, they are just different. The positions your child holds in your heart will to a great extent depend on how the child relates with you. Some children by their nature will bring out the best in you while others will bring out the worst.

Children described as ‘favourites’ earn that title by virtue of their relationship with you. As much as you would like to be impartial, your human nature makes it inevitable for you to be more passionate with one child above the rest.

Keep it in mind, however, that children are very sensitive to the language of injustice. Any open display of affection to one child above the siblings might create life-long rifts in your family.

Remember, even children who bring out the worst in you are human beings too, who need your love and acceptance.

jwagwau@newvision.co.ug 0772-631032

Parents, avoid favouritism

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