5 Ways to prevent playing favorites when it comes to your kids

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Though studies are claiming many parents have preferential treatment, you can keep this from happening by making these simple changes

Parents may love their children equally, but is it possible to favor one child over the other without realizing it? Previous research has found that birth order seems to play a role. Parents have been found to shower more privileges on their firstborn, while giving most of their affection to their youngest.

Now a new study published in the Journal of Consumer Psychology, a child’s gender is also a factor.

According to their research, parents do have a favorite child, and it’s the one with whom they share a gender. Mothers tend to favor their daughters, while dads favor their little boys.

“The bias toward investing in same-gendered children occurs because women identify more with and see themselves in their daughters, and the same goes for men and sons,” said researchers in an interview with Babble.

This favoritism is also apparent in a parent’s spending habits, or when moms are more likely to pamper their daughters while dads tend to spoil their son’s more.

healthydiscipline 5 Ways to prevent playing favorites when it comes to your kids

photo: dreamstime

Data gathered from four different experiments across the U.S. and India showed that, when given the opportunity, moms would spend more or invest in the future of their daughter more and dads did the same for their sons.

Each parent was asked who they would give a $25 treasury bond, too and most of the parents chose the child with the same gender as theirs.

Though 90 percent of parents who participated in the study denied showing any favoritism, their responses showed otherwise.

How can parents stop playing favorites?

If you do feel that you need to improve in this area, here’s what you can do:

1. Self-evaluate

Do you spend more time and affection with one child? Do you shower one child with gifts and don’t discipline them as much as the others?

2. Be generous with praise

Don’t save your positive feedback for your well-behaved child. In most cases, the kid who is acting out needs the most reassurance. A study in Canada, found that chidren who heard negative things growing up tended to suffer more behavioral problems in the future.

3. Manage your own stress

Believe it or not, your own personal struggles play a role with how you treat kids. You may project frustration or lash out at one particular child or get annoyed easily. Make sure to care for yourself, in order to be the best parent you can be.

4. Communicate

There will be times when one child needs more attention than the other. Make sure your child knows this doesn’t mean you love them less, but that you have to give more time to their sibling who is having a hard time. Remind them that you love them equally no matter what.

5. Don’t pressure yourself

The need to be perfect all the time shouldn’t dictate how you deal with your kids. Allow them to make mistakes just as much as you let yourself learn and grow as a parent.

sources: Babble.com, TIME, Psychology Today

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