When I learned I was having a second child, it was a shock. My second child was not planned and I had much planning to do before the baby’s arrival. One thought I recall having was how can I love my second child as much as I love the one I have? Surely my first born would be my favorite. I know it must sound silly, but as I thought about family members and friends; I could see who one or both parents favored. My thought turned into a worry. Can I love them both the same?
My second child turned out to be a bouncing baby girl. I have one boy and one girl. Two totally different children personality wise. In hindsight it was crazy of me to think I could not love the second as much as the first. I honestly love them both the same.
I recall watching a television show where the mother was terminally ill. The mother had several kids and after she passed, all her children thought they were her favorite. I made a goal that I would make both my children feel special. When I go I want them both to feel as they were my “favorite”. I’ll share some methods I have used that have worked in achieving this.
Learn To Appreciate the Differences in Your Children
After having two children, I noticed the differences in their personalities and development. It was as if I had to learn to parent all over again. What worked for one child may not work for the other child. Your children are going to be different. Mine seem like night and day in many aspects. I have learned to embrace their differences. It’s what makes them unique. I believe sometimes parents tend to favor the child who is easier to raise or more like themselves. For me the best way to appreciate he differences in my children is to connect and learn more about what makes them unique.
Spend time with them individually
After I had my second child, I made a point to spend time with my first just him and I. I was conscious that he may feel left out or jealous of his little sister. Once a month I arrange an outing with just him and I. Some activities we do are:
- Go out to eat to his favorite restaurant
- Go to the movies
- Go bowling (one of his favorite activities)
- Go out for Ice Cream
During this time we do activities he likes, we talk, we connect. I have found it is a great way to bond and build trust with each individual child.
Make Them Feel Special
When I buy something for one I buy for the other. I think that is rule number one for multiple children. Also make sure you buy the same number of items because the children will be counting!
Give them a prestigious title. I know it sounds silly for kids but it works for mine. For example, I didn’t want my son to feel left out when his sister came along. I told him he has a very important role he is the “Big Brother” I explained you have a responsibility to protect your sister, help with her, and teach her. The title of Big Brother and the important role he plays made the transition smooth.
Other titles he has is my “favorite son” don’t use this if you have more than one son. It works for me because I only have one son. I tell my daughter she is my “favorite daughter” also I only have one daughter.
I tell my son he is my first baby and his sister is my only baby number 2. Facts but it makes them feel special so I roll with it.
Spend Quality Time Together As a Family
Family time with the entire family should be encouraged. This gives the children and parents an opportunity to connect with each other in the family unit. The family unit is the child’s first introduction to a community. Spending quality time together as a family will give family members the opportunity to learn more about each individual’s characteristics, similarities, and embrace differences.
I make a point to tell both my children daily I love them. I accept and embrace their unique personalities and talents. I encourage them to do the same with the people in our family unit. These attempts have worked for me and my family. Both my children feel they are loved equally as they are and there are no “favorites” in our family.
Tell me do you have a favorite child? How do you ensure each of your children feel special and cherished?
Written by: Rochella Neely
An “open book”