Why Parental Favoritism Can Hurt Many Children.
Parenting cannot be reduced to a long list of do’s and don’ts, because although there are some things a parent should never force their child to endure, there are no specific “right way” to parent. Most parents form their own parenting style based on how they grew up or how they were treated as children. However, these parenting techniques can lead to favoritism, conscious and unconscious, between children, which can be extremely detrimental not only to the disadvantaged child, but also to the advantaged one.
While favoritism is mostly seen as a good thing in today’s culture, it actually has lasting harmful effects. (1) on the advantaged and disadvantaged child. According to Mallory Williams, Licensed Professional Counselor, “the greatest long-term dangers are depression, anxiety, unstable or even traumatic reactions in personal relationships, and performance anxiety for both advantaged and unadvantaged children.”
To research showed that children able to perceive themselves as least preferred are more likely to use drugs, alcohol and cigarettes in adolescence (2). Parent’s favorite it is when one or both parents display a consistent form of favoritism towards one child over another, which may include spending more quality time with them, giving them less discipline and/or more privilege (3). It’s understandable that many parents disagree or ignore this article because they don’t think it applies to them or their family. However, parents should keep in mind that they can only talk about what is happening in their own family, and even then there will be a third perspective that may contradict their beliefs.
Most parents don’t understand that when parental pressures start at an early age, the child will be unable to fully develop their own personality traits, which can lead to an identity crisis as the child grows. After experiencing this identity crisis, this child is more likely to go through a phase of rebellion in an extreme form in search of their own voice or identity. Once in middle school or high school, when personal opinions become more significant, it will become difficult for the child to decipher the difference between what his parents want for him and what he wants for himself. It is normal for most parents to believe that they do not have or show favoritism towards any of their children.
It’s no surprise that most parents are unaware that their behavior suggests they have a favored or favorite child. After all, it is common for mothers and fathers to prefer one child over another for a mixture of both awareness and unconscious reasons. One of the biggest reasons parents have a favorite child is simply because they relate more to one child than the other, which subconsciously makes the parent want to give that child more attention than the other. the normal. (4). If a parent thinks that as a child they failed in a certain area, they are more than likely to set incredibly high standards for themselves and/or their children, and he will suffer from self-torment. This state of perfectionism “sabotages the unconditional love” that children crave because they can feel it when a parent or adult does not fully accept them. This state of perfectionism can also occur when a person is bullied or socially ostracized at some point in their life.
The pressures of parental expectations can lead to a dangerous turn in a child’s psychological state, where identity, ego and superego are fighting against each other in a kind of limbo, which is harmful, in especially for a young mind. (5). Teenagers are generally more sensitive or vulnerable to parental favoritism than younger or much older children, because they are trying to understand themselves in their transition from a childlike state be a young adult.
When a teenager separates from their parents or tries to gain more independence, it is likely that the teenager will drift away from their parents while still craving some of the approval given to them in the past. ‘childhood. It’s an expression of their identity, which deals with immediate pleasure and the “I want to do this now” mentality. Their superego deals with the more moral sense of the internalized rules of parents and society, which children will push to the fore before they reach adolescence. The ego is the self, which deals with the principles of reality and compromise between identity and superego, with which most people will come to terms with as young adults. However, in cases of parental favoritism, the favored child may begin to suppress both their identity and their ego in order to ensure that their parents will be satisfied. This oppression of self or ego can lead to depression and many other mental health disorders.
Parents naturally want their children to live the life they never had. In the form of favoritism, parents can often shape their children’s lives in a way that ensures they only have good experiences, hindering their child’s long-term personal growth. Life is not only shaped by good experiences, but also by bad ones, because that is how humans learn. Without the bad experiences to also help the process of mental growth, some favored children may never be molded within themselves, which can create internal debate and lead to depression.
Parental favouritism, whether conscious or unconscious, is very damaging to children on both sides of the issue, and parents should make the effort to ensure this does not happen to their children.
(1). “When Favoritism Becomes Abuse.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-favorite-child/201104/when-favoritism-becomes-abuse.
(2). Campbell, Leah. “What happens when parents play favorites?” Healthline, Healthline Media, 12 April 2019, https://www.healthline.com/health-news/what-happens-to-kids-when-parents-play-favorites.
(3). Vinification, Season. “Long-Term Effects of Parental Favoritism.” Baton Rouge Parent Magazine, March 2, 2018, https://www.brparents.com/article/long-term-effects-of-parental-favoritism.html#:~:text=%E2%80%9CThe%20biggest%20long%2Dterm%20dangers,following%20the% 20child%20around%20adulthood.
(4). “Does your own childhood affect your parenting? » Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/peaceful-parents-happy-kids/201808/does-your-own-childhood-affect-your-parenting.
(5). Torey C. Richards, LMHC. “Parental Favoritism Creates Stress, Anxiety, and Depression in Teens.” Certified Mental Health Counselor, August 30, 2012, https://licensedmentalhealthcounselor.org/2012/08/30/parental-favoritism-creates-stress-anxiety-and-depression-in-adolescents/.
Campbell, Leah. “What happens when parents play favorites?” Healthline, Healthline Media, 12 April 2019, https://www.healthline.com/health-news/what-happens-to-kids-when-parents-play-favorites.
“Does your own childhood affect your parenting? » Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/peaceful-parents-happy-kids/201808/does-your-own-childhood-affect-your-parenting.
Torey C. Richards, LMHC. “Parental Favoritism Creates Stress, Anxiety, and Depression in Teens.” Certified Mental Health Counselor, August 30, 2012, https://licensedmentalhealthcounselor.org/2012/08/30/parental-favoritism-creates-stress-anxiety-and-depression-in-adolescents/.
Vinification, Season. “Long-Term Effects of Parental Favoritism.” Baton Rouge Parent Magazine, March 2, 2018, https://www.brparents.com/article/long-term-effects-of-parental-favoritism.html#:~:text=%E2%80%9CThe%20biggest%20long%2Dterm%20dangers,following%20the% 20child%20around%20adulthood.
“When Favoritism Becomes Abuse.” Psychology Today, Sussex Publishers, https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/the-favorite-child/201104/when-favoritism-becomes-abuse.