Who’s Your Favorite?

 

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Who’s Your Favorite?

Who’s your favorite? As a parent of five children and grandparent to four children, that is a question I have answered with “they are all my favorites”. I try to not get into picking favorites. I want my children, grandchildren and daughters-in-law to know that I love each of them. We have a story in the Bible about picking favorites. Isaac and Rebecca had favorites. Isaac favored Esau and Rebecca favored Jacob. Each knew whose favorite they were. They knew who would say, “yes”. These parents set the stage for bitterness between their twins by playing favorites. Rivalry ended up not only between Jacob and Esau but also Isaac and Rebekah.

As parents and grandparents, we need to try to keep down favorites. Our grandchildren needed to always feel like we love each of them the same. It is easy to so love the excitement of a new baby that we make the older grandchildren feel like they are not special.  During this time, we may need to show our interest also in the older grandchildren. We can give them special treatment like fixing their favorite food or talking to them about their game. We need to make every effort to show our children that we want to treat each of their children special. At times, we may be confronted with our children or their spouses pushing for their children to be treated as the favorite. This is an issue we may have to talk about to insure the self-esteem of all the grandchildren is maintained. Self-esteem of children is an easy thing to damage and a hard part to repair.

Favoritism is a part of every families life. How we deal with it can be very important. Dr. Ellen Libby says we can deal with favoritism in two ways. One is by fluid favoritism. We may favor a grandchild when they have similar interests as us.  We may have grandchildren that live with us for a time so of course we will be with them more during this time. We can also favor a stage they are in like infant. Another way is by fixed favoritism. Fixed favoritism is when our fluid favoritism is an always. The Grandfather always wants to be around Johnny. The Grandmother always wants to have time and spend money with Susan and not necessarily Jane. A grandparent only buys backpacks and shoes for the start of school for one grandchild when there are others. What may be blind to us can be obvious to others.

The key to favoritism is to be aware of the damage it can cause in a family and guard against it. Ask yourself questions periodically. Do each of my grandchildren know that I love them? Do I do something special for each of them from time to time? Does the money I spend show favoritism? Do my children feel like their children are loved? Am I more critical with some grandchildren than others? Many of the questions as a parent we asked our self to make sure we do not pick favorites apply to our grandchildren.

Favoritism can not only hurt our relationship with grandchildren that we are trying to build but it can hurt our relationship with children and spouses. The relationship between children and their families can become tense and embittered when favoritism is seen. Building relationships within families is a constant struggle. Anything can creep in and cause division. Favoritism can come in when we least expect it. We need to try to be aware of biases we may have. We should try to spread time and money as equal as we can. Let’s just say, being a Mom of five and Grandma to four I have dealt with this one more than once. Even when I try hard to not play favorites, other family members can sense it and call me out on it. Perception is huge in relationships. When people sense favoritism, deal with it and move on. Family members within the family can play favorites so try to communicate that every person in the family is equally important. With successes and failures on favoritism, always, always take this to the Lord in prayer for guidance. We can think we are doing everything right and get blindsided so He is our wisdom over every family issue we have. As we attempt to grow relationships in our families, let’s make every effort to keep favoritism out.

 

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