Are there some of your children whom you treat as favorite children? What is it that is so special about them that you pay more attention to them? Is it good to discriminate against some of your children and call some favorite children and give them special care and attention? What are the advantages and disadvantages of this type of behavior which is common with some parents? Who does it help and who does it hurt?
Indeed, there are some people who treat some of their children with special favor and call them their favorite children. These favorite children are showered with love, praises, gifts and different types of favor. Mr. and Mrs. Amanda have four children – two boys and two girls. Ngwa is eighteen; Peter is fifteen; Chenwi is twelve and Fonyuy is ten. Mrs. Amanda loves Peter more than the other three. She does not hide her preference for him. Whatever he asks for is readily given. If he does something good, she will shower praises on him. She tells everybody that he is her best child because he resembles her father and is as brilliant as her. Indeed, Peter is brilliant. He is usually the first or second in his class exams. He looks promising; but because her mother openly shows him preference, he often speaks rudely to his brother and sisters. He even boats to them that he is their mother’s best child and none of them can measure up with him.
The other children seem to have quietly accepted the fact that they are not as loved as their brother. Sometimes when they want something from their mother they would cajole Peter to make the request for them knowing that he would succeed whereas if they went themselves, they would fail. Usually this works and each time he succeeds, he would boast how he is better than all of them.
I wonder what you think of this. What do specialists in child-upbringing think of parents giving preferential treatment to some children in the family? Is it good or bad to single out some children and give them special treatment and call them your favorite children? Isn’t there enormous harm caused to the other children and even to the child who is given such preferential treatment? When a parent does this, is the parent not sowing seeds of discord, hatred, jealousy and enmity in the family?
We all have human feeling. We all like to know that our parents love us even with our shortcomings. There is some degree of jealousy in everybody and if nurtured it can take disastrous dimensions. To show more love for one child in the family than the other is to sow the seeds of jealousy, anger, hatred, rivalry, unhealthy competition. Even in a family in which the parents do a lot to encourage family love and unity it is not easy for the children to work hand in hand in love and unity. What more when there is open encouragement of rivalry?
There is also something that we parents often miss to understand. Looking at your children it is difficult to say which of them will bury you tomorrow. Sometimes, the child who looks least promising turns out to be the one who is most successful. We have seen this many times; a child who starts off not being bright ends up being the brightest. I know someone who got to the University and failed at the end of the first year and repeated. His classmates who passed went on to have their degrees in record time and to start work. He repeated and passed to the next class. Even in that next class, it was not easy; but he kept on trying. His brilliant classmates felt superior to him and looked down on him. He continued to try. In the end, he had his first degree, a second degree and PhD. We often say the first shall be the last. Some children are not bright in school but turn out to be very great husbands or wives. They succeed very well in their matrimonial homes and have very successful children. Life is something wonderful. It is God alone who knows the destiny of everyone. Every child should have equal treatment in the family. Of course, if a child is bright or gifted in something, he/she should be encouraged to develop that gift; but in doing this the child should not be made to have a swollen head; to think that he/she is better than the other children, because in reality no one is good in everything. There are some children who are brilliant in school; some are good at cooking; keeping the home, relating with people etc. Children who, in their young years are less talented should not be made to feel negative about themselves and their talented brothers and sisters and parents. In the family there should be no favorite children and no children treated with less love. All the children should be loved equally. Even if for one reason or the other you have a weakness for one child or the other, it does not have to be shown otherwise it will have disastrous consequences. Otherwise, if tomorrow the tables turn and in your old age when you are helpless and the only viable children to help you are the ones you did not love, do not feel bad if they tell you to go and see your favorite child or children. However, we do not encourage any child to do this to his or her parents. Whether you are a favorite child or not, love your parents and show them all the kindness you can as if you were a favored child. God will reward you for that. Dear parents, let us not discriminate against some of our children. Let us not favor some children and call them our favorite children and make the other children miserable as if they were orphans. Let us treat all our children the same.