Written by Sofia Falcone
It is not surprising that favoritism can have painful implications, playing favorites among siblings leads to emotional neglect; if unchecked, favoritism will have a dramatic impact on the life of a child.
It is natural for parents to have a certain chemistry with a particular child as personalities might be similar; with that said, it is the responsibility of every parent to love each child without allowing their own biases to affect them.
To love a child is to take the time to actually get to know the child individually, with his virtues and flaws, and to pay attention during their development because each child is different at every stage. Only from that love will we be prepared to give the proper guidance — posing the subject most profoundly and radically as possible, the key to caring for our children comes down to a single word…LOVE.
Most parents with the best of intentions would say “But I do love my child” — so what type of love am I referring to? Real and authentic love. The first thing parents need to educate themselves on, is true love for their children: to effectively and efficiently want and work towards the best for each child.
No one is born knowing how to be a parent, which is why it is imperative to master some pedagogical principles and act sensibly; however, all of that would be insufficient without the indispensable element of authentic love — this means without comparisons, and dedicating quality time to each in order to get to know their inner world; balancing this with time together among siblings, where all feel heard and loved.
Each boy or girl is an absolute unique and unrepeatable reality different from all the others. Therefore, we must learn to tailor and modulate the principles of guiding according to the temperament and age of each child, and the circumstances in which parents and children find themselves.
What authentic love isn’t…
Loving our children completely does not entail damaging behaviors masqueraded as love, when often they are the result of unresolved personal issues, unhealed wounds or being concerned with external perception — the need to be considered by others as a good parent (false ego). Some of these damaging behaviors entail neglecting one’s role as a guide and constantly overbearing our children with attention, which although may seem good, often undermines their potential.
Other damaging behaviors are not allowing children to make their own mistakes and learn from them — this is often the case with parents who are too concerned with their children being seen as “good or proper” all the time; their priority is to protect the child’s reputation at all costs over the building of congruency and character. As such, they often hide anything others might perceive as negative about their child; often to the point of taking the blame.
Another example of unhealthy love is not knowing how to differentiate the needs of a child as he or she goes through various developmental stages. When we fail to allow our children to feel and process pain by over-sheltering them, we are cutting off their ability to relate to others. As they become adults, when a drastic change takes place in their lives, rather than knowing how to differentiate, they will take everything personally. If the parent isn’t doing exactly what they want, the result is often punishment. Everything good the parents did is taken for granted, and the focus only goes to what they perceive as unfavorable, simply because things did not unfold the way they wanted.
Love isn’t comparing and pinning one child against the other.
Love isn’t saying “I love you” while choosing to neglect or abuse the child, in order to protect the other.
And love certainly isn’t verbal or physical abuse. No matter how upset you are as a parent — you don’t have the right to take your anger and frustrations on your child by belittling them or by physically hurting them. Just because they are your children doesn’t mean they are yours to do as you please — they are human beings deserving of love, care and respect. You can as a parent expect manners from your children when they express themselves; what you cannot demand is respect, unless you too are treating them with respect. Both parents and children need to learn the difference between these two, as to not use feelings as gateways to harming and disrespectful behavior.
Being a parent isn’t easy, and there is no way of being a perfect one, but we can always aim to do become a better one.
I passionately believe one person can make a difference. I write from my own experiences and interests. It is my greatest hope that by writing about my own challenges and hopes, others may feel inspired to believe more in their inner power and to fully embrace themselves.
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