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GloPro's avatar

Do you treat your children the same?

Asked by GloPro (8311points) April 28th, 2014 from iPhone

This question IS NOT about playing favorites, although if you know you do, speak up, please.

This question is about treating them the same. Is one more trustworthy and therefore given more freedom? Did one have an earlier bedtime at the same age as the other? Maybe one is better at saving money so you let him control his allowance, while you hang on to the other child’s in an effort to help teach her about saving and spending?

Maybe one can’t be trusted alone in the kitchen. Maybe one got a car and the other one will never drive if you can help it.

How have you raised your children differently? What happens when they notice or call you out?

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19 Answers

hominid's avatar

Ignoring the issue of age (my kids are 5, 8, and 11), my general approach is the same, although with kids, one size does not fit all. They are 3 different individuals with unique needs, skills, and challenges. If my approach is to meet them exactly where they are developmentally and as individuals, there is bound to be difference in the interactions I am having with my 5-year-old and my daughter when she was 5.

zenvelo's avatar

No. I treat them evenly, but not the same.

My older is an 18 yr old boy graduating from High School, smart and funny and social, but not strong in math or science.

My daughter is smart as a whip, 16, taking advanced classes with straight A’s, self motivated.

They are different people at different ages and have different interests.

But I trust them equally, and if and when they get their driver’s licenses they’ll get equal access to vehicles.

We had a major struggle a couple years ago because my daughter had to go to bed a half hour before her brother, because she was younger. But that was resolved when she got older and both kids were on an equal footing.

My kids will argue over who seems to be favored. I stay out of it; they both point out how the other is favored. I figure that since neither of them wins that argument, that I must be fair.

filmfann's avatar

No, and yes.
My step-daughter thought I was too strict with her, until my other kids got to an age my step-daughter remembered, and she saw the same rules on them, when she was their age.
She saw I was fair.

whitenoise's avatar

Having ‘identical’ twins, they are so freakishly similar, that I tend to treat them the same.

Right up to the moment that I notice that what will challenge the one, will break the confidence of his brother.

All in all I treat them fairly, foremost. I try to treat them as individuals as well.

bolwerk's avatar

Yes. All end up smeared on a sock.

cookieman's avatar

of course she is an only child

Stinley's avatar

Oooh, good question. I’m not sure I know if I do treat them the same. They are 12 and 7 so quite a big gap in age so it’s hard for me to remember :-(

I think i do though. My 12 yo does say sometimes ‘why do I have to do xxx when she doesn’t have to?’ and I think (and say) that she didn’t do that at the little one’s age.

cazzie's avatar

Nope. Because they are different. Can’t treat different children the same. I love them both, very much.

GloPro's avatar

@cazzie Do they have different rules and boundaries?

fluthernutter's avatar

I don’t think it’s possible to treat two different people the same.

Even if you set the same rules for them, it’s still going to play out differently because they’re individuals.

At best, you can try to be fair.

cazzie's avatar

@GloPro the older one is my step-son and he has infantile autism, so he has different boundaries because of the expectations he has at his mother’s house. My younger one is gifted academically, but has ADHD and they are looking into his shades of autistic traits. They also have a 10 year age gap between them.

GloPro's avatar

That’s right, I remember now. So what rules and boundaries are similar or different in dealing with them? Although it’s very tough to predict consistent behavior and reactions from them, I assume you lay down consistent rules and boundaries, or no?

cazzie's avatar

I try to keep bed time boundaries and manners at the dinner table consistent. My younger son is aware of his older brother’s issues to a degree and he deals with it quite well. Cleanliness and picking up after themselves is also something I try to work on. His mother doesn’t seem to have as many rules as I do, but he also seems to function better with me. He volunteers to help with housework and shopping. He holds full conversations with me and his younger brother at our house, where as, at his mother’s he communicates with single words or gestures. I think children respond when we can meet them with expectations they can fulfill and when we encourage the good behaviour and ignore or gently correct the bad. I don’t spank and punishments are reserved only for the very worst.

cazzie's avatar

I should add that the older one has issues with table manners. He washes his hands endlessly, but doesn’t eat well. The mechanics involved are not pleasant to watch at times and occasionally results in a pretty disgusting mess. He needs to be consistently reminded to take smaller bites and smaller mouthfuls of drink, otherwise it gets really messy. My younger one sometimes emulates the behaviour and has to be gently corrected, or on other occasions, he can be loud and vocal about his older brothers transgressions at the table. It can often go the other way, where the older boy can become hyper critical of his little brother’s table manners and I have to intervene to say it is for me to correct him. The whole thing is tiring. I only have them both rarely now because I just find it too difficult sometimes. Their father has never looked after both boys on his own for 24 hours, much less days on end.

RocketGuy's avatar

Like @zenvelo , I treat my 2 kids evenly but not the same. They are opposites, so need different approaches. The older one is fiercely independent, the younger one needs to be told what to do all the time.

Cruiser's avatar

At first I did until I found out my youngest had a sensory issue which then explained his very different reaction(s) to punishment or critical observations on our part. We had so many battles over routine stuff that turned out to be anything but routine for him. Once we adjusted how we dealt with him, our battles were virtually nil. My two boys are so very different necessitating different interactions with each of them.

Juels's avatar

I totally play favorites. She’s an only child and we joke about it a lot. Sometimes I tell her she’s my fav. Other times, I use bad behavior to tell her that her sister was much better behaved (smarter, prettier, etc). We have a lot of fun doing this in public and have gotten some hilarious judgmental responses from strangers. A few years ago, she was very underweight. Sarcastic person that I am, I started calling her fatty. Actually had a women get offended and tell me that my daughter wasn’t fat.

linguaphile's avatar

My own kids are 11 years apart, so even if I wanted to treat them the same, I couldn’t. I was not the same parent I was in my 20s that I was in my 30s and definitely am not the same in my 40s. My world view changed and how I treat my kids changed.

Hypothetically, if my kids were closer in age, I’d still treat them the same and differently, depending on what is happening. My daughter is very academic, artistic, creative, independent, is more introverted and is motivated by grades and doing well, while my son is very verbal, musical, athletic, needs to be entertained, needs to be with people and has always been cynical of ‘the system,’ doing just enough to get by. What I did the same with both was expect them to do their best—I expect the same result (their best in whatever they do) but don’t expect the same progress to happen. When they get in trouble, I also approach them in the way that best fits them, not me.

The expectations of what to do around the house are/were the same. The whines are also the same. :D

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