The Favorite Child

So I do this thing that I’m pretty sure parenting experts would say is bad.

I have a favorite child. Or at least that’s what I tell my kids.

Sometimes it’s clear that I’m being silly with them. If ThingOne makes a pot of coffee for me, I proclaim, “You’re my favorite!” Or if ThingFive clears my plate after dinner, I’ll hug him and loudly say, “Now, you’re my favorite!” An offer of chocolate always results in my exuberant pronouncement of a new favorite!

Sometimes, though, I’ll just quietly hug a child, kiss his cheek and whisper into his ear, “You are my favorite. Shhhh, don’t tell the others.” And then we share a conspiratorial grin.

The five older children know I tell each of them this. They know I don’t really have a favorite. But I like to think that for those few seconds when I’m hugging a child and whispering in her ear, she feels how special she really is, she believes my love for her is unique and different than my love for her siblings.

Because it’s true. I love my children collectively, of course. But I love them each individually. I love the group dynamics of our family, and I love that they feel a part of this large-ish family. But I work hard to form individual, one-on-one relationships with my children. And I want them to feel individually loved and known.

However, BabyThing, who recently turned six, truly and honestly believes he is the favorite. Once he overheard my secret whispering with ThingFour. After ThingFour walked away, BabyThing whispered, “I heard you tell him that, but I know I really AM the favorite.” And he winked at me. Actually, it was more of a blink with one-half his face scrunched up a little more than the other, but he meant it as a wink.

A few days ago, BabyThing and I were discussing this Favored Child topic. He said to me, “The other kids all think they are the favorite, but I know I am!”

And you know what? I like that he thinks that. I hope that deep-down inside each of the other five also feel that way. I hope each one secretly thinks, “I know I really am the favorite.”

It probably goes against all the rules of good parenting. But I’m going to continue the secret whispers and the loud, silly FavoredChild proclamations. I want each of them to feel special and individually loved.

Do you have a favorite child? A way to make each child feel favored? Or maybe you ARE the favorite child! Tell us how that feels! 


5 thoughts on “The Favorite Child

  1. Being divorced and having only one child, I guess I don’t really have a part to play in this discussion, but I love your post. I love that you admit it, that you play it up, that the older ones are “in” on it. It’s like a grand scheme under a big umbrella where each one gets their turn, and with a wink turns a blind eye to the next one’s turn.

    I look forward to reading more of your posts. (And, welcome to Shewrites!)


  2. Today I wrote about being the apple of God’s eye…maybe it relates a little? We’re each God’s favored, precious one…each of us, the apple of His eye.

    You have a sweet way of assuring each child of his or her individual preciousness. I have four kids, and the most middle of my two middles longs to be set apart instead of grouped with siblings. I need to be sure she knows that she is the apple of my eye.

    She’s 16…a little old to think she’s really the favorite of all the favorites, but don’t we all need to hear it? That, I think, is what the Lord was trying to get through to me this weekend.

    *I* am the apple of His eye.


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