Do you love one child more than the other?

Katherine - posted on 03/16/2011 ( 34 moms have responded )





A fairly recent survey shows one in six mothers has a favorite child – but would never admit to it. That’s according to Netmums, one of the most popular parenting websites in the UK.

More than 1,000 mothers responded to the survey, with 16 per cent admitting that they love one child more than the others. One third said that they love their children in exactly the same way, while just over half said they love their children differently – but equally.

The survey interests be because a post over on Being Pregnant, Mom Confession: I Think I Love My Son A Little Bit More is getting a lot of attention.

In the article, Kate writes with unblinking honesty about how a difficult birth and recovery left her little time to bond with her daughter who has grown into the more challenging of her children. An ideal birth allowed her to bond immediately with her son who is the cuddlier of the two. Although I’ve only had two children for three weeks now, feeling drawn toward the sweeter child is understandable. Natural, even. I think it’s when Kate discusses the possibility of losing a child that has readers/commenters up in arms:

There are moments – in my least sane and darkest thoughts – when I think it wouldn’t be so bad if I lost my daughter, as long as I never had to lose my son (assuming crazy, dire, insane circumstances that would never actually occur in real life). I know that sounds completely awful and truly crazy.

Then I feel terrible and ashamed for ever having thought such a thing, because I really love my daughter and I would never want to lose her at all.

While the survey tells us Kate most certainly isn’t alone in her predilection toward one child over another, one look at the more than one hundred comments shows that a lot of people are outraged she’s being so public about her feelings. In other words, it’s not necessarily that Kate has a favorite child, it’s that she admitted it so publicly. The thought of that little girl stumbling across that bit of writing some day is pretty painful.

My mom has often told me she could never love one kid over the other, just “differently”. I personally think my mom secretly does have favorites (and it ain’t me!) but she would deny it to her dying day. Even though I’m certain my mom loves my youngest brother best it would devastate me if she were to admit this.

As for my own mothering approach, I would rather claw my eyes out than admit to loving one child over the other. Which is why I’m not sure how I feel about Kate’s honesty. On the one hand, I feel nothing but compassion toward Kate and completely understand that perhaps she’s unburdening herself as an attempt to move past these feelings. But I wonder if, in the long run, such a public forum is more damaging than healing to the mother-daughter relationship she’s trying so hard to forge.

Wow, I couldn't IMAGINE this let alone admitting it. And then saying if you lost one child it wouldn't be as bad as losing the other. What are your thoughts/feelings?


Kristina - posted on 06/13/2012




@medicmommy, I am so glad to know that I am not the only one who feels that way...I have really struggled with my different types of love or bonding with my two girls...My oldest and I are like two peas in a pod...we have such a strong I feel her pain, I immediately know when something is bothering her, etc, etc...I feel horrible that I just dont feel that same connection with my youngest daughter. I love them both so much, dont get me wrong, but I just dont feel that "bond" with my youngest, and I dont know why...or if I ever will. I seperated from their father when I was 6 months pregnant with my youngest daughter, and I still say to this day the only reason I got through it all is because of my oldest daughter. True, she was only two...but to have a two year old lay in bed with you and wipe away your tears and say I love you mommy over and over like she understood completely is just something I have no words for. I think that is why we have such a bond...she was my rock, even at 2 yrs old. And my youngest daughter has never been very cuddly...when she was a baby the only time she wanted to be held was when I was breastfeeding her..and now at 4, she is still a pistol. She is hilarious and very independant, but she is certainly more difficult than my older daughter. Is that the reason? I dont know...but what I do know is that I am done with feeling like a bad mom for having a stronger bond with one over the doesnt mean I dont love one or that I love one more than the other...and the thought of losing either of them is devestating...but I have to applaud thos woman for being so honest. She should not be ashamed of her honest feelings...if more women got our their feelings like this, without being criticized, maybe there wouldnt be so many deaths of children at the hands of their mothers.

Angela - posted on 10/26/2011




My biggest fear in life is outlving any of my children. I think they would need to lock me up if I lost them all. My only saving grace I suppose is I have more than one child, so if I lost one I would have to go on for the others. I simply can not see a difference in loss....I think that was strange that she thought of it being doable to lose one over the other.
I think you are right Dennika, to show out right favortism is wrong and damaging to any child. I honestly feel my kids feel they are all my favorite hee hee hee. We all have a special secret, time together we shared just us, etc. I can not imagine a parent showing favouritism horrible in my book.

Denikka - posted on 10/26/2011




I think everyone has a so-called *favorite* child. I think it's perfectly normal. I don't think that it means that you love the others any less.
I think that when she says that she would be more okay losing one child over another, it's not so much that she would be okay losing either one of her children. Rather that there's is the difference between *heart breaking, gut wrenching, devastating loss* and *I'm hurting so bad I need to die to make myself feel anything else, even a different type of pain*.
It's just that some people, even your children, are easier to connect to. Your personalities mesh better, so you may prefer time with the child who shares more of your interests, likes, dislikes, etc.
When it becomes wrong is when you are obvious about it or rub it in the other child/rens faces. I have seen the resentment that grows from obviously favoring one child over the other (things like gifts for one, not the other, not remembering ones birthday and then going all out and spending over $1000 on the other). That is just not right.
You can love/like one more, but you should ALWAYS treat them equally.

As for writing the book, I think it's in bad taste. Goes back to the being obvious about favoring one child over the other. If her daughter reads that book, it could be devastating for her.
I'm curious how old her children are though. I don't think you can honestly judge your connection to your child until they are full grown. A toddlers mind is NEVER made up. They change like the wind, with no rhyme or reason. At that age, I think you just like the one who's behaving better the most. :P
It's not until they thoroughly develop their personalities that you can honestly say that you prefer the company of one over the other.
I think that if the book were written from an objective perspective, it would have been okay. But delving so deeply into one particular family, being so specific about preferring one child over the other, like I mentioned, if her daughter ever finds and reads that book, it could be very hurtful.

April - posted on 03/18/2011




my son is an only child, so right now I love him the most! :) If he is fortunate enough to have a sibling in the future, I hope I'll love them both (all) equally.

Jodi - posted on 03/16/2011




I agree with the loving them differently. Both my children have very different personalities, and this translates into very different needs. Because my children both have different fathers (one who I am still married to and love very much, and one who has been a complete dick toward me for the last 11 years), believe me, I have questioned this and thought very hard about it. The reason I have contemplated it carefully is because there have been times in the past where I have been worried that maybe I love one less than the other because I do treat them differently. However, I came to the very real conclusion that my love for them is different, but equal. My relationship with them is different because of the differences in relationship with their fathers, but also because of their large age difference. And over time, as they grow, my love for them is different again, my relationship with them is different.

Sorry if I am rambling there and you don't understand, it is difficult to express the depth of thought I have had about this one in the past.

So conclusion, different but equal.

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Shana - posted on 10/28/2011




I have 5 kidlets (4boys and 1 daughter) and I can honestly say i dont have a favourite but I do love them differently. I do make "speical time" where I do things just with one (at the moment that translates to one boy, me and 5month old daughter LOL) I am very aware of spending time with each child alone to make sure they know they are important and speical to me but doing it in such a manner that the other kids dont fell forgotten

I grew up in a household with a "pecking order" of children which still exists although we are all adults and have moved out. I know from experience that it hurts those at the "bottom" but in the long run it doesnt help the favourite child when they suddenly have to face the "real world" on their own

Angela - posted on 10/26/2011




I love all my kids but yes I do love them differently. They are all very different so why would I love them all the same way? Some personalites get a long better than others and despite a parent/child bond you may like one personality over another.
At the moment Claire my youngest is not just my favourite but everyone's favourite. But she is so much younger than her siblings it is not an issue at all. I think they would throw me in front of truck to save their sister.
With my other kids before Claire was born I had moments where I enjoyed one over the other... But never ever could I imagine losing any of them. Also I do not love one more than the other. I may like one over the other in certain aspects of the personality but that is it.
I won't down the parent who admttied her feelings and thoughts. She obviously struggled with her feelings. It does surprised me that so many parents admitted to LOVING a child over another vs. liking. I think their is a big difference, at least to me their is.

Lotte - posted on 10/25/2011




I work hard to show equality towards both of my girls, but let's be honest sometimes one is easier to deal with than the other. between the two of them I show a different kind of love I guess, my eldest I want her to understand the respect I have for her as the eldest of my daughters, just as I expect her to acknowledge that I'm still mom and what I say goes, though she does have a say to help me with suggestions, I do have the final say. we take time to talk about things going on in our lives, and where she stands and how she feels about them. Her little sister, I am a little more affectionate with her I think and a little more patient, because she is still only two and a half, but my eldest is NOT always the one 'in trouble.' my girls have learned it goes both ways.

my ex was extremely favoritist (??? hope you get it lol) towards my eldest to the point where he refused to deal with the little one AT got progressively worse and he would rip my then 3.5 from behind my legs (she was hiding because he was scaring us) pickher up over his t shoulder and walk out. he'd always bring her back in one piece thank but there was nothing i could do about it with no custody order and her little sister, even at 13 months was being noticeably affected by it, and grew an anxious attachment to her sister. I had had enough when the last time he did this she ran behind them screaming and pounding on the door, she just couldn't understand why he would always take her sister away from her.
I could never do that to my kids. it was only when I forced him to take the youngest or he wouldn't get to see just the oldest that he went behind my back, got a lawyer and filed for joint custody...which so far doesnt look like hes getting..and he alwasy pulled a vindictive ass move and called the ministry and said i hit him and got me arrested with no evidence, nothing whatsoever, as well the same cops who arrested me in my home were also the ones who had been there a week previous escorting HIM out after hours of a verbally and physically violent episode - the kids were upstairs in their room while I tried to get him out of the house. it was daughter still to this day says 'he's my daddy, and not her daddy.'
march 2010 I had an incident in which i had been struggling with alcohol, and the kids were sleeping, but some ass neighbor called the cops and the ministry sent my kids to their dads..
he'd bathe the eldest and my little one would be covered in crust on a shirt she had been wearing for four days. it was sick, and heartwrenching that no one believed me, but when they came home my little one was very dehydrated, her eyes were sunken and she was awake but limp. I was furious. all the social worker would confirm was that he had lost her sippy cup the day before. you'd think she'd fucking notice my daughters physical condition, you'd think my daughter would be happy, and bouncy to see me, but no she was totally listless. didnt' really perk up until we actually got in the house. for days after my eldest would go into a near panic when her little sister would cry, as if she were getting used to having to tell someone to help her get something to drink or eat. thank god it wasn't any longer than four days.

Jenni - posted on 03/18/2011




Sharon, that's how I feel. I know I'll love my children equally as they get older. I already am. Now that my daughter is developing her own little adorable, funny, smiley personality my love for her is growing leaps and bounds each day. Maybe it's not so much that I love one more than the other. I love them both immensly. It's just that I've had more time to bond with my son.

I have to admit even though I longed for a girl. I loved my son more deeply before I even gave birth to him. It did take longer for me to feel the same attatchment to my daughter. Probably more to do with him being my first.

My daughter is so adorable and her personality is so loveable, she's always been an easy baby. She is so commical and always trying to do silly things to make us laugh. She is very intelligent socially. I've had to work harder and put more effort into my son. He's always had a headstrong personality. He's a project where I have to focus more time, effort and love into so that could also explain why I have a closer bond with him. Make sense?

Desiree - posted on 03/18/2011




I could never love one child more than the other, each has a place all their own. I did worry about it until the moment my son was born and I had the same rush I did with my daughter. She is my first and my only girl. He is my baby and my son. each has their own quirks and loves. I love being their mom and I know if I am ever granted more I would still have room for each and every one of them. And so is a mothers love, unending and eternal!

Sharon - posted on 03/18/2011




I think that as her kids age, this will change.

I used to worry about loving one child more than another. But I don't any more. They're older now, the sweet cheerful cuddliness of toddlerhood is gone. In different ways all 3 show me that need me, love me, want me.

at times for SURE I have my least favorite. The one who is pitching a fit on a day when I've got less patience than usual. That goes away when my patience comes back and their usual demeanor asserts itself.

I know my mom relates to me better. I communicate better, I empathised with her when I was younger. But she loves us both and gives us both her best.

She has no worries about one of us feeling left out.

Bonnie - posted on 03/18/2011




I have certain days where I might favour one over the other because one is getting into too much trouble or acting up, but overall, I love both my boys the same.

April - posted on 03/17/2011




I love my children equally. Maybe it's because they are both young (2 years old and 7 months), so i find that i can't favor one more than the other. It breaks my heart to think about it.

TBH i did want a boy when i was pregnant with my first and was disappointed to find out she was a girl. (I feel awful admitting that) but i love her regardless (more than i can type into words) and i was overjoyed when i found out my second was a boy. (i grew up with all girls, my mum and my two sister's, my dad was working abroad so i hardly saw him)

I don't think i could love anything more in the world than my kids. I favor them more than my husband sometimes, they keep me more sane :p! LOL

Meghan - posted on 03/17/2011




I believe that each kid has a different personality...and a parent loves each child differently but never less.

I want more kids one day. But me and my boy have been through A LOT. At this point we are a team. I still have another year of school until I will even consider seriously bringing a man into our life. That means almost 4 years of me and J. Almost 4 years that I have turned to him for comfort, laughter, conversation (which isn't his job, but it is what it is). Almost 4 years where he has had only me to consistently turn to in times of anger, fear, joy, encouragement etc.

When the time comes that I (hopefully) establish a comfortable and supportive family dynamic for US, there will always be that part of my heart that appreciates everything J has taught me. He alone has pushed me to do everything in my power to be a better woman and ensure that any man I bring around is worthy of us. My overall point is, any future family dynamic has to do with J's best interest. I wouldn't love future kids less, but there is always going to be a huge amount of respect towards J for making me a stronger woman!

Ez - posted on 03/16/2011




Admittedly I only have one child so my opinions on this are somewhat limited.

I think admitting to these feelings were probably therapeutic for this woman, and if it has helped her move through it then I guess that's a good thing. But I really wish it was done in a therapist's office and not on the Internet for her child to find at a later date.

Like some others have said, I can imagine loving children 'differently', feeling more connected to one through circumstances or just flat our liking one more because the other is being a turd. I totally get that. But thinking it would be ok for one child to die? That is nuts, and suggests some MAJOR issues for this lady.

Mel - posted on 03/16/2011




Krista - my toddler was worse then my newborn because there was a new baby in the house lol the newborn was a breeze compared to her

Krista - posted on 03/16/2011




I've thought about it before, especially since I'm having my second any day now. You love your first more than you can imagine loving anything in the world, so it's hard to imagine being able to have that same love for someone else! I'm pretty sure that the first few months of having a newborn who doesn't sleep well is going to really make me love my good-sleeping toddler even more!

Mel - posted on 03/16/2011




I feel like I have more of a connection to my second daughter. I couldnt connect with my first. I am able to be hapy around her play wth her talk to her and more importantly breast feed her. Its all so different. I love them both the same though, but I find myself missing my little one more then my older one when Im out probably becase she is stlll a baby though where as my oldest understands why Im not home because it can be explained

Medic - posted on 03/16/2011




Hmmm...please no throwing tomatoes...I love both my kids....but I love them VERY differently. My oldest,son, and I have been threw so much together that I have a very different bond with him. I divorced his dad when he was 2 months, did everything by my self, remarried when he was 18 months, husband went to Iraq so it was just me and him until he was 2.5 when my husband came home. Then we had the what seemed like a never ending battle for my ex to sign over rights and for my husband to adopt him. My world usually revolves around him and our youngest just gets to go on the crazy ride. She is 14 months and is the light of her daddys world. My husband is amazing at everything being totally equal between the kids, much better than I am. My daughter is amazing and I love her......but shes a touch me not, wont take naps with me, only hugs and kisses on her son has always napped with me and been my cuddle bug.....ok so now I know I am a horrible mom....maybe as she gets older and we get farther away from the crap my son has been threw it will even out.

[deleted account]

Interesting to think about as I'm so close to not having an "only" anymore. At this point loosing either would be unfathomable, even though number 2 is not yet born. I've developed a bond with this child, and I don't even know if I should say, "he or she" or what his/her name will be yet. It's kind of mind blowing how much love I can feel for someone I know so little about. At this point, I could not imagine loving one more than the other. Loving them differently? Sure. Liking one more because they are at an easier stage of life? Sure. But loving one more than the other...not something I can imagine.

Katherine - posted on 03/16/2011




@ Jenny, my 2yo is doing the same thing with shitting everywhere and smearing it. I just don't know what to do anymore. I put her in overalls and damned if she didn't find a way to get out of them.
I didn't think I'd love my 2nd more than my first either when I was pregnant.
I just don't see how a mother could actually CHOOSE who to lose.
I guess it takes guts to admit that. And like Joanna said you do have to get to know them.
I love mine both in different ways.
But the shitter MUST STOP!!!!!!

Becky - posted on 03/16/2011




I love my children equally, but differently. Cole is 3 now, so I can have a conversation with him, reason with him, and joke with him. And he is hilarious! Cracks me up all the time. Zach is my little snuggler and he's just adorable and so goofy. And he's learning so many new things. So there are different things that really endear me to them, but I could never choose between them.
Yes, like I'm sure everyone has, there are days when I'd gladly sell one (or both!) of them, lol. I will admit that for some reason I worry more about losing Cole than I do Zach. I don't think that's because it would be harder on me to lose him, just for some reason I worry about it more. I hope that's not some sort of omen!

[deleted account]

I do have moments of preference.... as in when one or two of them are being stinkers and the other one or two aren't. ;) But as I tell my girls ALL the time... they are as close to being the same person as you can get (being identical twins), but neither one could EVER replace the other.

I do have a different bond w/ my son, but it's just different... not more, not less.

Jocelyn - posted on 03/16/2011




I'm the same as Jenny.
Some days I do have a favorite child.
On days when Conner's being a typical "autistic-child" then it is way easier to like my daughter more.
Then a week later, when she's standing on the entertainment unit and I've had to tell her "no" thirteen thousand times, it's easier to like her brother.

Rosie - posted on 03/16/2011




sometimes i have VERY conflicting views about how i feel about my oldest child. he has ADHD, and i feel he has some type of autism (having trouble getting him diagnosed, right now he's diagnosed with social anxiety disorder). his behavior makes him very unlikeable. i feel so guilty for feeling this way. i just can't help it. he drives me fucking batty.

as far as wishing he would die....that's not what i want at all. i want him to just behave like a "normal" child. i'd just like to have days where he isn't such a spaz, and socializes normally. it's very difficult to make people understand i don't have a shithead rude kid, he just simply cannot be the way everyone thinks he should be (including me). i sound horrible i know, but it's how i feel.

Jenny - posted on 03/16/2011




I don't love one more but I do like one more at various times. Like right now I've had it up to here with my 3 year old and potty training, destroying things, tantrums, taking up to 2 hours to stay in his bed and go to sleep and on and on and on. It wouldn't be SO bad to ship him off to boarding school until he can stop shitting everywhere would it?

Brandi - posted on 03/16/2011




No, I love them both the same. The only time I ever thought this was possible was when I was pregnant... I thought there was no way I could possibly love my 2nd son the same as my first. And, I felt bad that I was pregnant. But, after having my 2nd son I can honestly say, I love them exactly the same. They are both very different, and yet I love them equally. I would be devastated if anything were to happen to either of them!

Jenni - posted on 03/16/2011




I really, really do hate to admit it.
But If God forbid I'd have to choose one; It'd be my first born, my son. I think it's because I've had longer to bond with him than my 10 month old.
Ok now I feel like a bad Mum. :(

Mrs. - posted on 03/16/2011




I only have one kid. However, I do have a fav brother. Who knows, if I have another, it might happen.

Joanna - posted on 03/16/2011




Personally, I do have a favorite child. My 3 1/2 year old... She was always my best friend, partner in crime if you will. And now I have my super cranky, doesn't sleep 4 1/2 month old. I havent had the chance to bond with her in the same way - yet. There aren't the memories with her yet. So of course right now I favor the one I've spent the last few years with. But I know once the newest gets a little older I will love them equally but differently. I couldn't fathom losing either though.

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