Parental favoritism can have a variety of severe short- and long-term effects, like depression, poor performance, anxiety, instability and traumatic reactions in personal relationships for both the valued and devalued child. If you’re in a situation where you have to coparent with someone who plays favorites, it can present a variety of difficulties. Below, you’ll find a brief overview of the impact of favoritism on Arizona children, along with some tips on co-parenting with someone that plays favorites.
Understanding favoritism and the subtle ways it can manifest
Parental favoritism happens when one or both parents show a clear preference for one child over another. A parent can express it through words or actions such as providing preferential treatment, granting extra privileges and attention, giving more love and affection or exhibiting outright favoritism in decisions related to matters of discipline or rewards.
Strategies for co-parenting with an unfavorably biased parent
If you recognize that your ex has a favorite child, it is important to confront any behaviors or attitudes that are unfair. Communicate openly about what you see taking place and discuss ways to resolve the issue. The goal isn’t to berate your co-parent, but to identify behaviors that can be detrimental to your children.
When it comes to communicating with your children, speak generally and put the focus on your child. Regardless of your co-parent’s behavior, the idea is to empathize with your child while avoiding the stress of potential drama with your co-parent.
Also, take the initiative of being consistent with all children. Even if your co-parent continues with biased behavior, acting as a model can provide some stability for your children. Modeling equality will help demonstrate that favoritism is unacceptable and can potentially help mitigate some of the issues it brings.
While trying to create a healthy parenting environment for your children, it’s not just about empathizing with your children; it’s also important to validate them. Use statements that are true and specific, as well that focus on their character over their achievements, without comparing them to their peers.
Being a parent is a selfless act that requires tremendous effort and dedication. When a parent plays favorites, it can be damaging to the whole family and have long-term effects on all children involved. If you detect any favoritism, act fast by utilizing measures that can subdue any potential destructive effects early.