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What do you do when you like one of your kids more than the others?

Posted by Junichi Kawagoe on 08.2011 News Out of English Newspaper   0 comments   0 trackback
 Quoted out of Shine from Yahoo

What do you do when you like one of your kids more than the others?

Of course we all strive to treat our kids equally. And it goes without saying that we love them. But what do you do when you like one of them more than the other?

One mom wrote in to the Dear Prudence column at Slate recently, confessing that she prefers her mellow 2-year-old son to her demanding 4-year-old daughter.

"My daughter has a bright, inquisitive mind and a big personality," she writes. "She loves to dance and sing and be the center of attention. She is funny and sassy and spirited. She is also as stubborn as a mule, has a hair-trigger temper, and throws screaming tantrums." Her toddler son, on the other hand, she describes as "sweet and more mellow."

She's a stay-at-home mom, she says, and her feelings of guilt and shame are obvious. She signs her letter "Feeling Like a Bad Mother."

But does she really have anything to feel guilty about?

As a mom and step mom to five kids, I think she's facing something that many women find all-too-familiar―the idea that loving someone unconditionally is the same as liking them all the time. I'll admit it here: I love my kids, the two I birthed as well as the three I married. But do I always like everything each of them says or does? Of course not. (And the flip side of that: They love me, but do they always like me? I doubt it.)

When you're a step parent, though, several common step-parenting myths make it more difficult to admit that your relationship with the kids in your household may be stressing you out―and it's the stress, not the kids, that's causing your feelings to become strained. "Our common belief that 'If she's nice and a good person those kids will warm right up to her; if they dislike her it's because she's doing something wrong or she's cold and mean' really takes a toll on women's self-esteem," says JoAnne Pedro-Carroll, author of "Putting Children First." "So [step moms] bend over backwards trying to win the approval or the step kids or adult step kids. And become increasingly discouraged, even resentful."

It happens with bio- and adoptive moms, too, and "Feeling Like a Bad Mother" even mentions it in her cry for help: "By the end of the day I'm resentful and grumpy about her demands and constant, rapid-fire questions." Resentment can make you feel like your kid, rather than his or her behavior, is what you really don't like.

Another thing to keep in mind: Since each child is different, your relationship with each of your children may be different. Having a positive experience with one child (like a cuddly, not-yet-terrible 2-year-old) can make a negative experience with another (like a high-energy, tantrum-prone pre-schooler) seem that much worse―and you feel guilty about it.

"Sometimes, one step child will really embrace a step mom and shower her with love, affection, and trust," points out step-mom coach Healther Hetchler, the founder of CafeSmom.com. "It makes the discrepancy with the other child, who really may be having more of a typical step mom-stepchild relationship, more prominent. … If one has a really good relationship with you and one doesn't, it can make the other seem wrong." And that can happen with bio- and adoptive parents as well.

As Dear Prudence points out in her reply to "Feeling Like a Bad Mother," loving your children equally doesn't mean you are able to treat each of your children in exactly the same way. "Instead, make your goal to treat each fairly, which acknowledges their differences," she suggests.

Find yourself disliking your kid? Three things to consider:

1. What you dislike is your child's behavior, not your child.
 Also: Let's face it, we parents aren't always angels. We're not likable all the time, either.

2. You aren't necessarily going to like each of your children in the same way.
 They're people, after all, each with his or her own charms and foibles. But you probably can find something to like -- something different -- about each of them.

3. Each age comes with its own hurdles. The early years are intense and stressful in many ways, because kids need so much of our attention and are so very helpless when they're tiny. Adolescence has its own set of challenges, for kids and for parents. And the years in between? Mean girlsbullyinghomework struggles,crazy schedulesjuggling your career and your family―it can all take a toll. What you like (or dislike) about your child will probably change as they (and you) grow.

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