This is on my mind as I know a couple of families who have treated their children dramatically different. They have obviously favored one over another – with or without realizing it. This has an effect on the children who are not the favored. Sometimes it is just a distance from the family unit, other times it can result in acting out or other behavior that attracts negative attention. Children who do not feel like they have had their parents’ equal love can spend many years affected. Indeed, for some it is a scar that remains with them throughout their life.
But parenting isn’t an easy gig. Mistakes are made and sometimes one child needs more time and attention than another. Sometimes even with equal love, the lack of equal attention creates a sense of being left out and of being less valued. It is a delicate walk with children and their fragile psyches. All any parent can do is to try their best given the circumstances they are in…parenting success is not a science, but is instead an art.
I feel for the children who feel they are loved less by their parents’ – I imagine that is a terribly difficult feeling to live with. I understand why it is hard to move past sometimes in adulthood. I also very much feel for parents who unknowingly or unwittingly gave a child such an impression and do not find out until years later the feeling of pain and inadequacy the child lived with.
I have been far from a perfect parent – truth be told, I am still working on honing the craft; but, I know this one thing for sure – let your kids know that you love them all equally but uniquely. It may seem silly to say, but it’s importance to a child who feels slighted can be significant.
Day one thousand one hundred and fifty of the new forty – obla di obla da