Picking Favorites: Fact or Fiction?
In my debut novel Wish You Were Here (Howard Books, May 2012), one of the themes I explore is the issue of favoritism. What happens when one child is given preferential treatment?
The topic of picking favorites isn’t a new one. Consider the biblical story of Jacob and Esau (Genesis 25). In that instance, parental favoritism tore a family apart as the father (Isaac) chose one son (Esau) and the mother (Rebekah) chose the other (Jacob).
And the October 3, 2011 issue of TIME declares this on the cover: WHY MOM LIKED YOU BEST*: The Science of Favoritism
* Of course, she would never admit it.
The bottom line of the TIME article? Parental favoritism is hardwired into all of us.
I remember back when my first three children were little. Someone asked me, “So, which child is your favorite?”
The question stunned me. How could anyone ask me such a crazy question? Declare one of my children as the favorite? Never.
And if I were asked that question today, I would insist, TIME article or no, that I do not have a favorite child.
Because picking favorites in family–at the very least–creates problems. At the most? Favoritism destroys relationships.
This thread is woven through my novel: How relationships between siblings and between parents and children are broken because one child knows that he (or she) is not the “chosen” child.
In Your Words: What do you think about families and the whole “Mom likes me best” possibility? Is it a foregone conclusion that parents have a favorite child? Have you seen the effects of picking favorites? Or have you devised a way to avoid the trap?
photo by markyjay/stockxchng.com
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