It’s easy for anyone born with a disability to become the target of their parents’ affections through misplaced guilt. Their targeting isn’t because they favour us over our siblings, it is merely because they have more work to do with us, but unfortunately that’s not always how it will be perceived by our siblings.
In families it has become commonplace for some parents to display consistent favouritism towards one child over another, by giving more affection to that child, spending more time with that child, handing less discipline out, being more affectionate and handing out more privileges.
However, there will always be cases where it is necessary for a parent to favour one child over another. For example, parents must always give more attention to newborns, babies born with a disability and to babies who are sick. Although these circumstances can’t be helped, it’s important parents discuss these challenges with their other children, just to let them know it’s nothing personal.
In families, firstborns tend to get the most privileges, the last-born receives the most parental attention and the middle child gets the least of both and although siblings may not always say they have a problem with this, it becomes fairly obvious further down the line when the cracks begin to show, although I’m not sure when things get to that stage the parents are aware.
Favouritism is also cultural. In certain families, parents will favour boys over girls. Favouritism can also be based around personality. A child’s behaviour very much affects how parents see that child. A parent’s leaning towards one child may be because that child is more affectionate.
A parent tends to direct discipline to the child who acts out or engages in deviant behaviour. What starts off as a conscious thought, where the parent tries to remove him or herself from the child that indulges in deviant behaviour that eventually becomes an unconscious pattern.
Family issues like this aren’t unique, but it’s important parents play fair with all their children. Sadly, when parents don’t, it’s the children who often miss out, because the closeness isn’t there with their parents or with each other.