‘I vowed never to play favorites–I know the heartache’
We asked parents: Is it possible to love your children equally, or will there always be favorites?
“I think it is possible to love your children equally. There’s no way to quantify how much your unconditional love for your children is, but for sure it is always at the maximum degree for each of your children.
“However, depending on particular situations or on the changing needs of your children, there may be times you give more attention to one than the others, but that does not mean you love the others less.
“As a parent, you learn how to balance things by giving each of your children the attention and love they need and make them feel secure and confident that you will always be there for them no matter what.”
—Jojo, dad of three
“I have three children. I believe they are equally treated based on their uniqueness and individuality. They are treated differently but fairly. I don’t play favorites, though they seem to take turns when seeking my full time and attention. Buti na lang!”—Arlene, mom of three
“You will always love them equally, easily more than your own life. However, their respective needs may come at different times of their lives and, as parents, we, without much thought, rush to be there. The timing of these needs and wants may be misconstrued as playing favorites but, in the final analysis, I know that they are both my favorites!”—Noel, dad of two
Sweet and caring
“Siyempre kung sino ’yong malambing sa iyo, doon ka malapit. You respond to the way they treat you. Tao ka rin naman eh.
“When my kids went through puberty in their teen years, they all had a phase where they became a little aloof and wanted to be left alone to do their own thing. I understood that and gave them space.
“We became close again when they were a little more grown up. But not my youngest son. He never changed, he was always consistently sweet, considerate and caring. Of my four kids who are all adults now, I am closest to him.
“But I make sure the rest of them feel that they are all loved equally, no special treatment. My husband, before he died, told me a very important thing: ‘Kung sino ang nangangailangan sa mga anak natin, ’yon ang tutulungan mo.’ And that’s what I’ve been doing.”—Rosario, mom of four
“Love is love so all our children are equal in our eyes. But in the eyes of our children, we are not sure if they feel the same, especially since they get different treatments and rewards for the behavior they display and for their various achievements. So we try to explain why there are variances in the way we treat and engage them.”—Mon, dad of three
Firm and consistent
“Since I have only two kids, both boys with a two-year gap, it’s easy to treat them equally. Maybe because I am firm with my rules and role as a parent.
“I know when to say yes or no and being firm and consistent with my decision. I make them understand their role in relation to each other.
“The kuya protects the little brother and has to be a good example for the little boy, thus creating a healthy relationship between siblings and teaching them to be independent.”—Maan, mom of two
“I love them equally based on their characters. My older son Sushi is quiet, he likes me to just be beside him while he’s playing or watching videos or eating.
“My younger son Moch, who is three, wants me to be around all the time. He can be selfish at times. He is very active and wants to wrestle all the time.
“They are both my favorites and I love them equally.”—Michelle, mom of two
“Of course it’s possible to love one’s children equally but it can also be felt in varying degrees depending on the occasion or what it is that they’ve surprised you with. I love my three children (and now my daughters-in-law as well) with equal intensity.
“While some might think I have favorites, the truth is I love them all equally as much as God loves each one of us, His children.” —Joy, mom of three
“Love mo sila lahat based sa ugali nila. Pero pare-pareho lang ’yan, lalo na sa material things. If you buy a shirt for one, you buy a shirt for all. I think each of my children thinks he or she is my favorite. They don’t know that I love them all equally.”— Girlie, mom of four
“I would say that as a parent you want them all to be equally loved and likewise, you want to raise them all to be successful.
“However, to get there, you may give different amounts of attention and discipline at different times depending on their needs. Sometimes, that is misconstrued as favoritism when actually it is not.”—Clara, mom of three
“As a mother of two children, one boy and one girl, I have no reason to play favorites. I deal with them equally.
“The problem with having two kids is that you can’t play favorites. Both are working so hard to get your attention. You get the best of both worlds—attention from your boy and your girl.
“I do believe in favoritism, somehow I felt that growing up. As an eldest of eight kids, I have seen how my mother treats her boys versus the girls. She has a strong liking for the men, we were nothing compared to the boys.
“Among the five boys, she still had favorites—my brother who is a priest (for obvious reasons) and Dicky because he is the youngest.
“Among us girls, even though we don’t receive first-class treatment, she still had a favorite—my youngest sister.
“Because of my mother and the bad experience I had growing up, I vowed never to play favorites among my children.
“I know the heartache. Believe me, it is not a good feeling. If you are not strong enough, you can suffer psychological breakdown. I denounce favoritism, but we are just human.”— Menchie, mom of two
Subscribe to INQUIRER PLUS to get access to The Philippine Daily Inquirer & other 70+ titles, share up to 5 gadgets, listen to the news, download as early as 4am & share articles on social media. Call 896 6000.