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Zen_Again's avatar

Parents: do you prefer one child over another, or do you actually "love them all equally"?

Asked by Zen_Again (9901points) May 17th, 2010

I have a girl and a boy in that order. I feel blessed.

I think that when you have a first born girl, as opposed to a boy, things fall into place better. Just my opinion and observation, bear with me; first-borns are special, as we shower them with all the love and praise and warmth as our first child. The thrill, the excitement, the expectations….

Then comes the second and then the third. You know what I mean…

But when the second is a boy, he is then your little prince – your first born SON and again something of wonder, newness, expectations…

Right?

Perhaps it’s only me.

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33 Answers

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dpworkin's avatar

I have four kids, and therefore four differing relationships, but i wouldn’t know how to quantify the love I feel for all of them, nor could I rank them in any sort of hierarchy.

eden2eve's avatar

I don’t think we can love anybody the same, or equally. Each relationship is unique and important, but not identical. This homily is a construct of people who are afraid to admit their prejudices, in my humble opinion.
In my case, it doesn’t seem to matter what the gender, nor the placement in the family.
It seems to matter most to me what attributes they have and how they choose to live their lives. I am closest to those who have the qualities I most admire. I’m not sure if or how this closeness translates to love, but I know that these are the ones I prefer to spend my time with, and whom I most trust.

nikipedia's avatar

Sheesh. As a second daughter, this does not please me.

janbb's avatar

I love them both intensely but the relationships are very different and I wouldn’t be able to quantify or rank that love.

Zen_Again's avatar

You worked out pretty good @nikipedia ;-)

SuperMouse's avatar

@nikipedia, I hope what I am about to write soothes you a bit!

I have three boys. I can honestly say that I love them all the same amount. It was just as exciting welcoming my second and third boys into the world as it was welcoming my first. I love the each the most. One day the full size is my favorite, the next it is the economy size, then the mid-size. It varies incredibly and I believe it all comes out even in the long run. I have very special feelings for all of them and those feelings are different.

Zen_Again's avatar

@SuperMouse Loved the references – lol’ed at economy-size

MissAusten's avatar

@SuperMouse I love the size references too!

We have three kids, and I while I don’t think I love one of them more than the others, I love them in different ways. They are all different people, with different personalities. I avoid saying to them, “I love you all the same,” because they aren’t the same. Instead, I tell them “I love you because you’re the only (name) I have!” Once my youngest got upset with me because he said he wanted to be my favorite kid. I said, “You are my favorite five year old kid in the world.” It’s a little cheesy, but sums it up well. :)

chyna's avatar

I’m fourth born, and get forgotten a lot. How about it @dpworkin ? Is your 4th born forgotten? Least amount of pictures taken? Or is it just our imagination?

filmfann's avatar

I have 2 of my own, and one step. I love them all equally (as much as possible), but I like some better than others.

stardust's avatar

I don’t have kids, but I iimagine when I do, I’ll love them all in different ways, as different people, but the love will be equal. I can’t imagine someone being able to quantify love for their kids.

MissAusten's avatar

@chyna We have just as many pictures of our youngest as our oldest. The difference is that the pictures of the youngest tend to stay in the camera or computer and not make it into photo albums! Maybe when they all go off to college I’ll have some time on my hands and can catch up on all the photo memories!

SuperMouse's avatar

@chyna, I am fourth too (out of six), all those birth order books stop at three so I have always wondered what that means for us poor forgotten number fours!

Zen_Again's avatar

Number fours are unique in that they have a depth and independance not always found in the “top three” spoiled kids. They are also first – first of the next “crop.”

;-)

SuperMouse's avatar

@Zen_Again and @MissAusten thanks for the comment on the size references! I have never liked using their names on my facebook pictures (even though only friends can see my photos), so those have become their tags.

mikey_ca's avatar

Wow! Quite the touchy question, but a good one. I think most people will have a hard time being completely honest with themselves when it comes to this question. We tend to answer questions the way wish the outcome would be rather than how it is.
What is love? (Or should I say “lurve” on this site)
If you define love by the amount of outward love that you show, therefore, by your actions rather than your feelings, it would be easier to say that you love each child equally. Will power and self control come in to play with this definition.
If you define love by your feelings, and what you feel like doing, then it could be more difficult. If you have a “problem child” (hard to trust, seems like they hate you and disobedient) vs an “angel child” (they love you more than anything and are obedient) child, you might feel more positive feelings for the “angel child”.
I like to think of love as a comitment rather than a feeling, and can therefore say that I do and will love them equally. But if it is purely based on feelings, I might fall into a bias in the future.
I am a father of 2 little girls under the age of 2yrs, so I have no experience with disobedience, YET!

perspicacious's avatar

Love them equally. There were times when one was more pleasant to be around than the other.

mikey_ca's avatar

@chyna and @SuperMouse:

Please don’t count the amount of love your parents felt for you based on the amount of pictures you have as a baby. Nor feel forgotten due to a lack of photos.
Parents, including myself felt like taking many photos of our first child’s every movement, word, step, etc and did end up takinng hundreds of pictures. However, this had nothing to do with the amount of love we felt for our first born. It was the reality of seeing a little human that was OUR OWN child grow up. We feel the same amount of love for her as we do our second little girl; however, the photo taking has dwindled considerably.
It is more a measure of new experiences rather than a measure of love, in my opinion.
Example: You might love your home town very much, but don’t go around with a camera. But if you visited a 3rd world country that you would by no means live, you would take plenty of photos. Hope this helps.

Cheers!

lynfromnm's avatar

I love my two daughters equally, but I don’t always like them just the same. For instance, when my older daughter jumps to conclusions without the facts, it annoys me. When my younger daughter is snobby, I am annoyed with her. As adults they don’t usually fall prey to these substandard attitudes so I’m just loving them like crazy.

ubersiren's avatar

My two children are very young, but different ages. There’s a definite line that divides the kinds of love I have for each of them, but the amounts are equal. The older of them is three years old, and lately, he’s been making it really difficult to get along with him on a day-to-day basis. I joked (but seriously) on facebook today that I’m getting my tubes tied. But I absolutely melt like butter when his sweetness and personality shine through. He still gives me hugs and kisses sometimes and I couldn’t be happier when he does. My two month old… well, who doesn’t just love their own cute and cuddly baby to bits? I love my boys. So much.

Jeruba's avatar

I would say exactly what @janbb said.

There are times when I feel closer to one than the other, and there are times when one needs more attention than the other, but my feeling can’t be measured or compared. It’s like asking which infinity is larger, the infinity of even numbers or the infinity of odd numbers? Infinity is infinity.

janbb's avatar

And I realized after I wrote my answer that I had said almost exactly what @dpworkin said so I guess a number of us are on the same page.

WolfFang's avatar

add this to the list of reasons I don’t think having children is a good idea ;)

contessa55's avatar

My Grandmother used to say to my mother. I love all my children, you are like the five fingers on my hand, Each of you are different and I need each one and do not not my thumb more than my pinkie.

jeanmay's avatar

Well, as for photos @chyna, there are no family pictures of my mum and her two sisters before their younger brother was born! But of course we have to take into account the difference in generation; in terms of both attitudes and the availability and prices of cameras.

I only have one son so far. He is a little pickle. We intend to have some more, but sometimes we look at our son and wonder how we could love another child as much as we love him! Hopefully we’ll find love in ample supply when the next one comes.

evandad's avatar

I love Evan (my 19 year old baby) the most. His older brother and sister know it. It’s never been a topic of conversation, but I know they know. I think it’s possible that my granddaughter will eventually win over that spot. Evans getting very independent and Lily lights up when she sees me. I guess I’m a fickle old fart.

YARNLADY's avatar

I was lucky enough to have two ‘only’ children, as my first son was out of the house within two years after the second was born, so it wasn’t really a matter of favoring one over the other.

Each child is different and requires a different amount of time and care, but that has nothing do with the love parents feel for their children/grandchildren. I don’t know how someone would measure that – it feels equal, to me.

I have read that some parents don’t feel equal love for their children, so I suppose it’s possible they can measure it, I can’t.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I do love them equally but there are times I gravitate more towards one or the other and this usually has to do with whomever I haven’t spent time with recently.

stemnyjones's avatar

I only have one child, so I can’t put my own input into this… but my father did tell me once that he always felt he had a special connection with me, and that I was his favorite. And we all know who my grandmother’s favorite was…

casheroo's avatar

I feel like my relationship to my oldest son (who is almost 3) has suffered greatly since the birth of my newest son. It’s not that I don’t love him less, but we don’t spend all the one on one time together, we don’t get to even snuggle as much as we used to. I miss being close to him. But, he is such a pain in the ass lately! Oh my god. He doesn’t listen. He throws tantrums. He’s spoiled I blame my husband.
And then, while trying to give him attention I realize my youngest is getting put in whatever baby device I have so I can have my hands free-and this little guy just wants to be engaged ALL the time.
Okay. That’s mainly how I cope with it.

I will say, when my newest was about six weeks old, and I’ve been able to breastfeed him, but wasn’t really able to with my first (only for 8 weeks and mainly pumped) My husband asked me “Do you feel closer to him than you did with Cash?” and I said, “Honestly? No. I’m just starting to love him”
And I think that sort of confused my husband. But, having him was way different than my first. I felt like I was just going through the motions and trying to get by for the first six weeks. I didn’t get to enjoy any of it. So now, I just want to have one on one time with him.

I can see having two children to divide my attention will be difficult. But, I feel so much love for both of them, I can’t imagine my life without them. I also cannot wait to see what personalities they develop as they get older.

SuperMouse's avatar

@casheroo you are still in the very early stages of having a second baby, it gets easier with time – much easier!

ljrix1's avatar

My first, a girl; second and last, a boy…I remember being so scared i would not love the second baby as much as the first, since i loved her with all my heart…..then, second baby came and WOW!....love can instantly double, just like the grinch….now they are 22 and 20 years old, and my girl is a “perfect” citizen (good paying job, votes, college…) and my boy took the hard path, dropped out of school and works as a cook…..(he is more like me)....but thru it all i love them both (the same- whole heartedly) for who they are and for the kind, honest people they have become….my daughter and i probly hang out more (we’re women and we DO love to shop)....but they are both cards and we love spending time together… I guess i’m saying, love is the same for all….but that doesnt mean you all share the same interests…

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