parent opinion

"Most parents say they don’t have a favourite child. Those parents are liars."

Listen, I get it. I’m supposed to love my children equally. And I do. Both my son and daughter are amazing tiny humans who I love unconditionally.

But when did we start to lump “favourite” and “love” together?

Isn’t it possible to love things equally, but prefer one over the other at any given moment?

For example, I love The Lion King. I also adore Beauty and the Beast. You could say that I love them both equally and for completely different reasons. But sometimes, depending on my mood or the weather, I just want to snuggle up and watch one more than the other. In fact, if you were to ask me which one was my favourite, I’d be able to answer you (The Lion King). Because, well, I’m an adult with the ability to own my truth.

Luckily, I’m not in this alone.

American actress Jamie Pressley just came out of the “favourite closet” in an Instagram post.

“Best time ever hangin with my favorite son, Dezi. That’s right I said it,” she paired with the adorable selfie.

Similar to my own stance, Pressley went on to explain that she does, in fact, have a favourite son. But that she loves all of her boys with everything she has in her.

Comparing the love we have for our children is an unnecessary and inappropriate task. But it’s healthy to acknowledge, especially to ourselves, who and what we’re drawn to in life.

I first realised that I had a favourite when we were boarding a 16-hour plane ride to America. My husband, Josh, asked which child I wanted to sit with. Without hesitation, I responded with my daughter’s name. 

At that time, I was very drawn to her budding sense of humour and her obsession with me doing her hair. My son was, well, entering his Terrible Twos with gusto. He was challenging to deal with at the time so when I was given a choice, I made one.

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At that moment, I did have a favourite. And I chose to spend more time with her because it benefited me. That decision didn’t mean that I loved my son less. And she certainly didn’t remain my favourite for the entire week or month or year.

But at that moment, on that plane, it was my truth. And I owned it.

This Glorious Mess hosts Holly and Andrew chat to a flight attendant who’s seen everything there is to see when it comes to babies and planes. Post continues below.

Do I think that we should tell our children this truth? Only if we’re keen to launch World War III.

But can we answer our friends, our colleagues, our partners, and ourselves honestly when the question comes up? Of course we can.

And we should. Opening up about our feelings and connections to each of our children gives us an opportunity to analyse our parenting practices. Reflecting on how we relate to each member of our family is a wonderful starting-off point for considering what we can do to be better mums and dads.

Acknowledging these truths allow us to hold a mirror up to ourselves and understand why we’re embracing one shared interest and avoiding another. Or why we’re triggered by a specific behaviour. It’s only when this work has been done that we’re able to attempt to rectify it.

 

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So do yourself a favour and take a page from Jamie Pressley’s book. Be honest with yourself. Hold that mirror up to your face and ask yourself why you’re drawn to one of your children more than the other.

Then be proactive in understanding what it would take to strengthen the other relationship.

It might even become your favourite task.

Should parents be allowed to play favourites? Share your thoughts in the comments.

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