Most parents want to love their children equally. It seems the right thing to do to ensure peace and harmony. But sometimes, they end up loving one person more than the other. Parental favoritism is more common than you think and can be very messy. There are ways to dealing with parents who favor another sibling more than you. These tips and strategies will work if you follow them through with caution and wisdom.
1. Do your research on the reasons for the favoritism
Before you make any moves, the first thing to do is some research. The purpose of the findings is to know why your parents chose to behave the way they do. Having a good understanding of their intentions will help you understand how to plan. You will need all the information you can get to relate better when discussions start.
During your research, you’re going to discover nice things and those that are not. So, get the opportunity to know about your parent’s mindset before engaging them.
2. Ask to have a conversation
After gathering your facts, you can then ask your parents for a conversation. You will need to determine how you’re going to do this on your own. Sending a text message or going in person will work. If your parents are near where you live then, you should tell them in person.
You can tell your mom first or your dad, but moms work well. Or you can do both depending on you. No matter the pressure, don’t give up too many details about the conversation yet. Give them a brief and inform them to get prepared.
3. Choose the right time for the talk
Doing something at the right time is always very important. Approaching people when they’re in a good mood is not only wise but strategic. Dealing with parents who favor another sibling is not a simple issue. You will need to be in your best game to make it something worthwhile.
Since you know your parents, use that knowledge to determine when best to meet them. It could be at the weekend, evening, morning, or immediately after church. Do it at a time when they will be relaxing and have time to listen to you.
4. Write your feelings down beforehand
Before meeting your parents, you will need to get prepared. Start by writing your true feelings down about their behavior. Be sincere and ensure that everything you write down is genuine. Writing these points down will help you understand yourself and your stance.
You’ll also figure out how to present your case in a way that will be beneficial to everyone. Be smart about your argument and make your parents understand your feelings.
5. Brief your sibling about your intentions
Your siblings have to be part of this conversation. Remember that you’re not fighting any battles. You want to talk about something you think they are doing wrong. While you fix a date with your parents, talk with your siblings as well.
Let them know your intentions and what the issue is all about (1). Be gentle when talking about this topic. Your success will depend on the way you approach people about it and start the conversation.
6. Let other people be part of the conversation
Dealing with parents that treat other siblings better can be hectic. You will need the help of people you can trust to give you the support that you need. That’s why you should involve other people in the conversation. But the person you’re choosing must be family and trusted. They must be someone that your parents respect, not just anyone.
Having another person on the discussion table will help a lot. The person will serve as a witness in case there is an issue in the future. Your parents will be calmer with you as a respect for the person. Also, in case things go south, there is someone to call things into order.
7. Tell your parents exactly how you feel
Here is where all those things you wrote down will become helpful. Pour out your heart to your parents and ensure they understand your feelings. Let them see from your perspective how you feel. Share your ordeals and mental health issues with them based on their behavior.
Hopefully, your parents will understand and agree that you have a case. If they do, then your plan is working. If they take it the wrong way, you will need the wisdom to calm things down.
8. Give examples of favoritism
Make a better and more convincing case by giving examples of favoritism you noticed. The evidence shouldn’t be an accusation but something that provides your argument with credibility. Everyone in the meeting will also respect you for your commitment to facts and figures.
Explain each example with details, and always be ready to answer questions. Where possible, back up with the date, time, and place, to further give credibility to your story.
9. Allow them to share their perspective and listen
After making your claims, relax. Your parents will want to make counterarguments, and that is fine. Whenever they are ready for that, make sure you’re prepared as well. Listen to what they have to say, and don’t judge them too fast.
Sometimes, people do things without being conscious of it. Your feelings may also be based on a total misunderstanding of the whole issue (2). So, listening to their side of the story will help you make the proper deductions.
10. Talks to Friends about your experience
You don’t have to do this alone. Dealing with parents that treat you differently than your siblings can complicate your mental health. That’s why you will need support from other people you trust and love. Talk to friends about it and hear their opinion. Share your experience and thoughts with honesty.
Don’t try to win them over by telling stories that will favor you only. Your friends will provide you with the support you need to feel better. Their response can help you grow your self-esteem which you will need.
11. Maintain a good relationship with your sibling
Despite your feelings, you still need to maintain a relationship with your sibling. Avoid the temptation of blaming them in your mind for your parent’s behavior. Find time to spend with your siblings. Go out together, invite them to parties, and have fun. Share and laugh about your experiences and have hope for a better future.
Your parents may, because of that, realize their mistake and start to make amends. You have taught them a lesson, and they can’t forget. Family is everything, so ensure you keep that bond no matter what happens.
12. Don’t accuse or hate your parents if they don’t change
When dealing with parents who favor another sibling, you must be ready for anything. After confronting your parents, two things may happen. They may decide to amend their ways and give you more attention.
Also, they may not change. The refusal to change might be intentional or unintentional. No matter the situation, you must be ready to adjust (3). But never accuse or hate your parents if they don’t change. There are many things in life that one can’t control. For you, this may be one of them.
13. Find support elsewhere
Your mental health is of the most importance. If you’re feeling down and depressed about the situation, find support elsewhere. You have family members that you can develop a relationship with like you would your parents.
Try doing that if it will make you feel better. Be sincere about it though, don’t do it to make your parents feel jealous. Do it because you need it, and it will help you feel better. Getting support elsewhere may make your parents feel bad. But that’s not your fault. Do everything that will make you happy and fulfilled.
14. Be sincere if the issue is with you and try to be better
Parents tend to like the child that is more obedient and closer to them. Your sibling with a calmer character will get their love more than you. That may be the reason why they feel the way they do. Be sincere with yourself. If you’re headstrong, you need to amend your ways.
Make your parents like you by imbibing good behavior. Also, make a list of what they like and try to meet their expectations. Better still, allow your siblings to give you hints. Let them see that you’ve changed and become a better person.
15. Ask for help from experts if you’re dealing with mental health
People dealing with parents that show favoritism may develop mental health issues. When this happens, you may need the help of an expert. Don’t hesitate to seek help in this situation. You may decide to tell your parents or keep it to yourself. A psychologist can help you change your thinking so you can feel better (4). They may also provide you with guidance that will increase your self-confidence.
Dealing with parents who treat other siblings better can be challenging. If the issue is affecting you, you may need to have a conversation about it. Let your parents know how you feel and try to make things right. If they refuse to change, seek support elsewhere. Talk to friends and visit a specialist to improve your mental health.