keep your friends close but your enemies closer

Do Parents Really Have a Favorite Child?

Every baby is a life, a love, a world entire. But, you cannot deny that there can be a kind of connection between first-borns and parents which is special to them, and them alone. I feel it may have to do with the fact that it is the first-born which carries the parents through the various stages of parenthood, and which punctuates their lives in ways which could potentially be more significant than any siblings which may arrive at a later time. I don’t think it is a question of favorites, per se, but of a different kind of relationship. A certain intimacy, a shared journey. A mental, spiritual, and downright physiological relationship which doesn’t necessarily repeat itself in the same way with younger brothers and sisters. The first child is often the one who unlocks certain doors of perception and understanding for the parents to walk through and grow from. Doors of capability, of philosophy, of spirituality, of emotion (good and bad), of joy and suffering, and of the very meaning of existence itself. Because of this, it could very well be that there is a kind of unique bond between them. Again, this does not mean there is a favorite, but it means that their connection will be forever different than the rest. And I am sure this could manifest itself – consciously or unconsciously – as favoritism of some type. Historically speaking, this idea has roots and a lot of merit. In the Bible, for instance, the first born is said to receive twice the inheritance of his minors. This was also the practice in many ancient societies, tribal cultures, and indigenous peoples around the world. The first born has/had a right to the throne in many monarchies.

I also think that even if it’s not spoken, there is a subconscious part of you that gravitates towards certain people over others and that’s not going to change just because they’re your children. Of course, you can love all your children equally while still internally favoring some over others. I don’t think it’s right, but I also don’t see it as inherently wrong. I think it becomes more of an issue when parents openly act on it. There are some things that are better left unsaid and I would never want one of my children to feel like they were second best. I feel like this could have lasting damage on their self esteem and how they view themselves. It’s our job as parents to raise our kids to have internal self-belief and a lot of that comes from the fact that your parents believe in you. It’s not easy being a parent, because you want to just be yourself, but you also have to restrain yourself constantly in some areas in order to give your child that balance. There’s no manual and every child is different. The problem is that you only get one shot to get it right.

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