Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Do You Have A Favourite Child??

According to the book, The Sibling Effect by Jeffry Kluger, 95% of parents with more than one child have a favourite and the other 5% are lying!  He says that having children is an act of genetic narcissism and we favour traits in our children that remind us of ourselves.  He cites his own childhood as evidence, with himself being his father's favourite and his brother being his mother's favourite.

My own children sometimes try to goad me into naming my favourite child.  But I can honestly say with my hand on my heart I do not have a favourite.  Clearly however, attention is given according to the child's individual requirements.  Freddy is still a baby and needs much more attention and a different kind of love to his older siblings.  That is not favouritism, that is practicality!  Younger children do need more of you and I have given that same level of commitment to all five of my children when they were babies.  My eldest two may not have had the same privileges as my youngest three have had, but they received as much of me as I could give them.

Sometimes I will feel particularly proud of one of my children because of something that has been said or done.  But feeling pride towards one of them does not diminish my feelings towards the other four.  The love I have for my children is a constant, but at any moment, the emotion I am investing in any of them will be different.  It is an organic process where my love manifests itself in a number of ways...each way just as valid as the other.  My role as a mother changes to ensure their individual needs are met. It is not based on equality or even conscious just is!

I couldn't choose.  My children are very different with unique traits that give them strong individual personalities.  Joe at 23 is my eldest, the baby that saved me.  He has always been a joker with a full on character.  He is loving and very funny.  Megan 19, is the most like me to look at.  She is feisty, strong willed, intelligent and a real go-getter with a fiercely protective, loving nature and strong moral compass.  Ella 15, is the gentle one with a spirit like sunshine.  She is self-effacing and doesn't appreciate how lovely, talented and clever she is.  Her empathy is incredible.  Kezia 9, is a comedian, an actress and a little star.  She is bright, imaginative, a little ditzy and has a head full of ideas that continually bubble out!  Freddy is 2 and a beautiful child with angelic looks.  He can be challenging and stubborn but also loving, funny and so delightful that it consumes me.  He is my last baby and a blessing to our family and a tiny version of my husband.

How could I pick one to favour?  It's like trying to chose between chocolate and cheese, the sun and the moon, rainbows or bunny rabbits!?  You get my point!  You can not compare!  None of my children have ever disappointed me for a moment.  I relish the opportunity of seeing them grow, develop and become the people they are.  I don't need to recognise myself in them to love them unconditionally.  In fact three of my children do not look like me at all...but I adore their differences and their individuality.  I made them all...they are all my greatest achievements.

At times one of my five will have tested my patience, upset me or driven me up the proverbial wall, and at that moment won't rank as highly in my affections as they do when they are demonstrating their positive attributes. That's human nature and I'm not a saint.  But that is in a constant state of flux and can change in a heart beat.
If I was absolutely forced to rate my kids and give them their own stats, my very own Tots 5 if you will, their rankings would continually fluctuate between the positions, almost definitely evening out with all five in joint first place!

I adore the different combinations of my children as they interact with each other.  From oldest to youngest, girls/boys...the relationships between them all are wonderful.  My 23 year old eldest son is taking his two younger sisters aged 19 and 15 to a concert next month in his best big bro mode.  The nurturing displayed towards Freddy by all four older kids is simply heartwarming.  The girls bond over hair and make-up.  My two boys have a real brotherly love going on.  I love it all.  Seeing the relationship that each of them has with their dad also fills me up with pride.  Similarly, the way we all are with their grandparents also swells my heart.  They are respectful, loving and genuinely embrace their role as grandchildren.  Everyone of my children has a role in our family and they are equally important.

Funnily enough I do have favourite nephews and nieces, favourite friends and favourite family members.  So I am perfectly capable of judging loved ones and deciding who I like best.  So I am not above being judgmental!  But it's different with my own children...I really can't decide.  There are too many variables...and I wouldn't have it any other way!  If they were quintuplets maybe it'd be easier to compare them against each other, favouring the sweet natured little angels over the whingy, little monsters...only kidding!

What are your Jeffry Kluger talking absolute rubbish?  Yeah that's what I thought!


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