When Someone Shows Favoritism To ONE Of Your Children

It can be very hard when someone  shows favoritism to ONE of your children.  I was  an elementary school teacher for many years and found that there was favoritism among siblings given by parents, teachers, grandparents, friends, etc…  It can be hard.  While  one-on-one time  seems to  help,  there are many other ways to deal with this, as well.

This week someone was  asking about favoritism on our  Facebook page.    Her story was a little different, as it was her parents (the grandparents) showing favoritism to her oldest  son.  She asked for advice and our readers came to the rescue with great advice, like always.

When Someone Shows Favoritism To ONE Of Your Children


  • One child’s temperament is  easy going while the other child’s may be harder to handle.
  • A harder birth story, resulting in a closer bond.
  • Interests the same as the person doing the favoring.
  • The same gender as the person doing the favoring.
  • If the child has a physical illness or disability, the person giving the favor may be trying to overcompensate or protect the child.


  • It can lower your child’s self-esteem, for both the child being favored and the child NOT being favored.  The reason?  The  favored child  will feel that they are getting things that they don’t deserve and start to feel bad about it.
  • It causes the children to have more arguments, resulting in sibling rivalry.


  • Realize that it is more normal than you think. “According to sociological researcher Jill Suitor, favoritism is evident in 2/3 of all families.” ~Professor’s House
  • Find out if your children even  notice. (“Do you like when Grandma comes over?”)  It may be a bigger deal to you than your child.
  • “Acknowledge what is happening if  your kids bring it up.” ~Lisa Rittenhouse
  • Try to talk to the person giving the favor about what they are doing.  They may not even realize it.
  • Explain that your other children love her and wants to have the same loving relationship.
  • Encourage the unfavored child to give Grandma (or the person doing the favoring) MORE attention.  “Can you give Grandma a hug?”  “Can you read Aunt JoJo a book?” etc…
  • Have the unfavored child do something to be in the spotlight: sing a song at a birthday party, call grandma and read her a book over the phone, encourage them to be pen-pals and send fun letters to one another (even if they live close).
  • Have a family game night  and have grandma be the partner with the unfavored child.
  • Give her something tangible to see how often she is doing it.  (Fill a jar with quarters each time that you notice it and show her the quarters at the end.  Send her out with the unfavored child to spend the quarters on something fun.)

The best answer is simple: Talk to the adult about it.  They may not even realize that they are doing it and chances are that they may  be a little defensive when you tell them, and then sorry  when  they realize the truth behind it.  Give them time to process the information once you present it to them.  After you do this, wait a day or two and then invite them over for a  family game night.

We w0uld love to hear what you have to say.  Stop by our Facebook Page, where we share tips and ask parenting questions like this every day.