No parent wants to admit that they have a favorite kid, but the reality is that we probably do. Sure we love all of our kids the same, but do we really like them all the same? Parents may fear that when they have another child they will not love the new child as much or that they may love it more. Maybe it sounds crazy, but it is actually a legitimate concern. Throughout our lives we come across different personalities and the fact is that we get along with some better than others. With the different personalities of our kids, treating them the same can be an on going challenge.
Just as our kids don’t get to choose their parents, we don’t get to choose our kid’s personalities. Many different factors play a role in making them who they are, such as environment or birth order. As much as we may try to change those undesirable behaviors, sometimes it comes down to good old genetics. The traits that we just can’t stand and the traits that we adore might just be built into their DNA.
Anyone who has more than one child can probably agree that there is at least one of their children that is more challenging to discipline than the others. If you have a strong-willed child than you know exactly what I am talking about. A strong-willed child doesn’t always like to be told what to do and often won’t take “no” for an answer. Having a strong-willed child is a challenge in itself. When you have other children that are not strong-willed and for the most part compliant, it can be difficult to treat them the same.
It’s not impossible to treat our kids the same, but it does require some extra effort. There are some guidelines that we as parents can set in place to make sure that all of our kids feel that they are treated equally. Consistency as in everything, is key! Stick to the same set of rules and always follow through. Don’t make exceptions for one unless you plan on making the exception for all.
Set up household rules that everyone is meant to follow. The same set of rules should apply to everyone. The only time this may change is if you have kids with a big age difference, otherwise all of the rules would be the same. Rules would be like, no jumping on the bed or clean up your toys when your done playing with them.
Discipline should be the same for all of your kids. I know as a parent this can be hard. Sometimes we make excuses for the youngest that they are still little and don’t know any better. It’s important to stick to our guns even with that adorable little face looking back at us. When rules are broken or our child misbehaves there should be a consequence for that child.
Affection is probably one of the most important things that we as parents need to be more conscience of. I often catch myself giving my little one more kisses and more snuggles than my older one. This is partly because my little one is a lot more affectionate than my older child. I remind myself to show both of my kids affection. If I give one a hug and tell them I love them, then I give my other a hug and tell them that I love them. It sounds easy, but it is also easy to forget.
Quality time is important for every child to do with their parents. It’s important that we spend equal amounts of quality time with each of our kids. I suggest making a schedule of when we are going to spend quality time with each of them. That way is it set in stone and everyone knows when it’s their time. Let your kids choose an activity that they want to do with just you and follow through.
Remember to compliment all of your children daily. Tell each of them something good that they are doing or something you love about them. For example, “I love how you helped your sister with the blocks” or I love how smart you are”. Not only will this boost their confidence, but it will also make each of them feel loved by you.
I am no perfect parent, and I struggle with this topic a lot. I think that being aware of our kid’s differences and not letting it factor the way we treat them is a step in the right direction. The reality is that some kids require more attention than others. If we implement these guidelines into our daily routine we have a better chance of making all of our kids feel loved equally.
Do you ever find yourself treating your kids differently? What do you do to try to fix it?