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Favouritism can affect your child’s mental growth

Parental favouritism negatively affects mental health of the children and often triggers behavioural problems in them.

Published: 26th April 2018 03:20 AM  |   Last Updated: 26th April 2018 03:20 AM   |  A+A-

arental favouritism negatively affects mental health of the children

Express News Service

BENGALURU:  Most of us might feel our parents love our elder or younger siblings more than us in some point of in our life. It's is a normal feeling of insecurity and jealousy that we get when parents show their favouritism towards the other sibling. Favouritism in a parent-child relationship is a very common phenomenon. A child can have a favourite parent just the way a parent can favour a child, most of the times without even realizing. The favouritism may be shown in terms of spending more time with one kid or showering more love and fondness on a one child.

Parental favouritism negatively affects mental health of the children and often triggers behavioural problems in them. They may end up hating their parents, exhibit attention seeking behaviour, conduct oppositional tendencies, may have low self-esteem, feelings of worthlessness and may also start hating the preferred siblings which may shape their personalities in the adulthood accordingly. Such children may also express extreme reassurance seeking behaviour and often tend to be vulnerable.

There are many factors that can be associated to favouring a child. Gender biasness is one of the aspects when it comes to favouritism in children. Preferring a boy child over a girl creates a poor impact on the latter’s mind and she may end up assuming she is an unwanted by her parents. It tends to create a negative impact on the kid’s mind as she is likely to think she is less desirable than her male sibling. The other side to this gender based favouritism can create an impression on the boy child, that he is superior to his sister and the female segment of the society.

Also, if a new baby comes to the family, the elder children feel jealous and insecure as the entire attention is shifted towards the new-born and he/she is expected to welcome the baby wholeheartedly. In situations where bias is unavoidable, (for example when one has to deal with babies or a needier child), parents explain the need to give the extra attention, which can normally offset any negative outcomes. When welcoming a new baby, parents must start preparing the first child in advance and once the baby comes, they must work with the older child as a team towards the new baby. Parents must also allocate the responsibilities for both the children, so that none of the child feels deprived of either of the parents.

There are a few extra factors that show favouritism, one of which is birth order: parents support first and last conceived youngsters over middle children. This happens to some extent since middle kids will never be the single kid living at home - sooner or later first-borns and last-born will have their folks all to themselves. Generally, first-borns get the most benefits and last-born get the most parental support and affection.

A child's behaviour and personality can likewise influence how parents treat them. Parents are more affectionate towards youngsters who are charming and tender, and they try to support and encourage them. Since young ladies have a tendency to be calm and less aggressive than the boy, parents, for the most part, support girls over children (but only in non-patriarchal cultures).

Partiality is additionally more probable when parents are under a lot of pressure (for example, in cases of marital issues or money related stress). In these cases, parents might not be able to show their actual sentiments or look at how reasonable they're behaving. Disfavoured kids encounter more regrettable results no matter how you look at it: greater aggressiveness, more depression, poorer academic performance, and lower self-esteem. These consequences are far more extreme than any benefits the favoured children get out of it.

It's essential to remember that parental favouritism is just risky when there are steady and confident differences in treatment. Children prosperity is most elevated when parents show no preference towards anybody, significantly higher than the well-being of kids who are supported by their parents.

Almost all parents worry over whether they play favouritism. However, notwithstanding when parents pledge to treat their kids similarly, they soon find this is simply unrealistic. Each child is extraordinary and parents must react to their one of a kind attribute properly. You shouldn't respond to a 3-year-old's fits of rage, the way you would to a 13-year-old's. Indeed, even twins can't be treated equally. All things considered, each child needs to feel like they're extraordinary, not replicas of their sibling. All they can be expected do is remain mindful of any differential treatment they give and endeavour to be as reasonable as could be allowed.

Both the parents must work in unison as a team. They must share all the roles and responsibilities on rotational basis, so that each child has a fair share of similar experiences with both the parents. Both the parents must also ensure to practice assertiveness and disciplinary behaviours with the child equally. Reinforcing or appreciating each child’s initiatives and practices in front of each other would improve the dynamics and strengthen the family as a unit.

The author is a consultant clinical psychologist at Fortis Healthcare, Bengaluru



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