10 Reasons Parents Cannot Love Each of Their Children Equally

sibling rivalry
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Parents try hard to treat each of their children fairly and consistently but eventually have to admit that they don’t love them all equally. Families with multiple siblings find themselves in a constant struggle to divide their attention and affection equally among their children. By doing so, many parents find they are setting themselves up for failure. The variety of personalities and other factors can make equality of love an impossible task. Here are 10 reasons parents cannot love each of their children equally.

  1. Favorites – No matter how hard they try not to parents will eventually find themselves picking favorites among their children. This can be a result of behavior or personality differences beyond anyone’s control. If one child is consistently causing problems, one parent find it hard to love that one equally while the other parent notices this and may overcompensate for the other.
  2. Every child is different – Each child is born with their own unique personality so it’s impossible to treat them all equally. Even identical twins are different from each other in behavior and abilities.
  3. Limited capabilities – Because of their own shortcomings, some parents may have limited capabilities of expressing love to their children.  Mental illness or emotional problems can limit their capacity for affection and they will be forced to choose the child that is easier to love.
  4. More in common – Parents tend to gravitate to the child they have the most in common with so that could affect the relationships with their children. A father that loves sports just won’t feel the same affection for his bookworm son as he does the more active sibling.
  5. Fickle emotions – Love is a fickle emotion that changes over time and can be affected by events. Parents may find themselves feeling more emotionally attached to one child or another during different stages of their growth and development.
  6. Kids make it difficult – Some kids just make it difficult for their parents to love them equally. The child that is constantly whining or causing trouble really tries the patience of parents and can make it difficult for them to show affection.
  7. Conflicting personalities – Often times a child and parent have such conflicting personalities that loving him or her is difficult. It’s hard to love someone that you really don’t like very much even if it is your own child.
  8. Taking sides – Sibling conflicts will often end up with parents taking sides. This is particularly difficult to avoid in some family situations no matter how hard they try, even if it’s just temporary.
  9. Bio versus step-child – Many families have a combination of biological and step-children and that really complicates the issue. It’s only natural for parents to have a stronger attachment to their biological children, but that’s no always the case. Because of personalities and other factors, parents can find themselves having a closer emotional attachment to a step-child.
  10. Natural selection – There is a theory that a parent’s preference for the child most like themselves is a product of natural selection. Some believe people have the animal instinct that promotes survival of the fittest and this is biologically programmed in humans.

Even though it’s difficult for parents to love each of their children equally it is a goal that they should strive for. Children who feel they are unloved or receive less affection can become emotionally scarred over time. Parents need to realize that relationships with their children are an ever-changing process and they treat their children differently because they are different. Dealing with that reality is what makes effective parenting a challenge. Parents may not always love their children equally, but they should always try to treat them fairly.

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One Response to “10 Reasons Parents Cannot Love Each of Their Children Equally”

  1. Freya Says:

    April 23rd, 2012 at 11:05 pm

    Equality does NOT mean same-ness. Being treated equally is possible (ie meeting each child’s specific and individual needs to the best of your ability) but being treated the same is not possible…because different people need different things!

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