Monday, June 21, 2010

New York Divorce and Family Law: Picking Favorites


I recently read in an article, that a study was done suggesting that in every family with more than one child, there is a favorite. The study goes on to suggest that while most parents deny having a favorite child and the issue is commonly laughed off, having a favorite can have serious future consequences, for both the favored kid and other children in the family.

Playing favorites can cause major resentment between children, especially toward the favorite child. Also, the favorite child may feel extreme guilt for how hard the other children had to work for their parent’s affection unlike themselves. The favorite child may have extra stress from having to always prove themselves to their parent, while the non-favorite may grow up well adjusted due to the lack of such stress.

During a Divorce or Custody dispute it is easy to favor the child who wishes to reside with you, or the child who sticks up for you, takes your side in the dispute. One must remember that each child during such a dispute or divorce loves their parents and should not be forced to take sides, and no matter what their wishes are during the proceeding the parents must show all of their children equal love and devotion.

If a child expresses negative feelings about your behavior toward them as opposed to your other child or children, then commend them for expressing their feelings as most of the time children will not properly communicate with their parents about such issues. Listen to your children and do a person evaluation of your self, your feelings and your behavior to determine if there is a basis for your child feeling that way. Most importantly and what turns out to be the most difficult task is to be honest with yourself. There’s some degree of favoritism in every family, so this should not be something a parent is ashamed of or denial about. Children are all different and favoritism is natural, it just must not go too far.

Tips for parents when one child feels they are picking favorites:

a)Communicate your thoughts and feelings to your children and make them understand all of them are loved in their own way and for their differences.
b)Listen to your children and don’t ridicule them for their feelings with regard to this issue, rather commend them for speaking up.
c)Do a personal self-evaluation and do your best to correct the behavior that is to blame for your children’s feelings.
d) Most importantly, give your children the benefit of the doubt, as they are the ones that are being shaped into adults and are the ones that will suffer as a result of any negative behavior toward them, whether conscious or subconscious on your part.

If you wish to comment on this issue, or if you ever felt that you were favored or that your siblings were favored, I would love to hear from you!!

Until Next Time,

Helen M. Dukhan, Esq., LL.M. @

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