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For once in your life, especially to those who have other siblings at home, did you ever thought that your parents have what we so-called “favorites” among all of you?
This is a very common topic for discussion, and mostly, I heard that the middle child always gets little care and less attention from parents.
Parents are always there for their children, their love, care, and attention should be shared equally, that's what I thought when I wasn't a parent yet.
I grew up with less attention at home, before my father and mother separated, I was the one who was always being left alone, with less supervision, and seldomly asked if I'm fine. I have an older brother whom I saw was treated like special by both of my parents. He was always asked if what he wants for a snack, he could sleep all day without being scolded. Unlike me, I couldn't sleep until 7 am, I felt I was trained to do the household at a very young age.
That happened before my mother left us, left me at home. I always noticed that when every brother was hurt, they always bought him something to soothe his mood. Whenever he was sick there's always a plate of fruits prepared by mom.
I often saw that scenario, but I seldom experience it, to be the one they cared for.
That's the time when I thought, they have chosen their favorite between the two of us. That I'll be forever who will run their errands at home.
I honestly felt jealousy, it wasn't a healthy feeling, I grew up with a bit of enviousness from my brother, still, I am just thankful our relationship as a sibling wasn't affected.
However, I grew up longing for attention from my parents, especially my mom. My father loves me so much, I knew it because I could tell it on how he treats me but he has no time to check up on me every day.
Then, when my mom got pregnant with our third sibling, everything became unclear. Our family was slowly breaking, the bond and the ties were gradually torn apart.
When our little sister arrived, I was given the responsibility to take care of her. Me, I am just a kid but I felt I am not one of those children outside our fence. I was left at home alone with an infant, I was instructed to watch over my tiny sister sleeping soundly in the hammock.
I was obliged to cook rice every 6 pm, I learned to do it as early as 7 years old.
Those feelings I dealt with weren't good to remember, I was often hit by my mom with bamboo sticks whenever I made a mistake. And as an immature being, I once asked myself silly questions.
I remember when I was in grade two, I was too lazy to go to school and my mom threw all my clothes outside. I was crying helplessly and tried to fold them one by one. I knew she had her purpose but honestly, it broke my youthful heart that time.
Then, the favoritism factor I used to believe became bigger.
There were times I was being locked in the room because I accidentally broke a vase in the living room. In my innocent mind, I once thought about how miserable my life is. I even thought about giving up or running away from home, but those might be caused by my traumas.
Why among us three, I am the one who's treated like this?
It was a long story but our family became broken. My brother and I were left with our father and our little sister was with our mom.
Then, our story became more crooked. My brother hated our father that much because he broke up with our mother. So, I became a young adult at home. I took care of the kitchen, I do the laundry, wash the dishes, and keeping the house clean at the very young age of eight. I have no choice, but I never hated my mom leaving us.
I am somehow thankful because of her treatment of me. Because of her, I learned to do the household chores and applied those learning when she left us. I learned to be brave to face the new situation served in front of me.
Then when I slowly turned mature, I realized those weren't always about favoritism at all. Maybe there could be at times, parents give more attention to one sibling than those of the others, because that sibling needs extra attention and guidance.
Because they need to help them build their characters to be stronger too and be ready to face the world as they age.
My brother before rarely talks about his true feelings, whenever he's mad or disappointed he always locked himself in his room. He hardly listens to advice, and barely communicates maybe those were the reasons why my mom was so eager to attend to him.
While I, the middle child in the family who gain little attention, doesn't need further attention at all, as I could handle things more than my brother can. I'll just take it that way.
Now that I am a parent too, I always show my kids that I love them equally, but honestly, the attention I could provide to each of them give wasn't equivalent.
Because the attention and care each of the kids needed weren't the same and equal as always. Since every child is special in their “own” ways, the attention they needed should be compatible with their own individualism.
So while there's a chance, don't let your children suffer jealousy from believing in favoritism among siblings. Just like any other human being, we all need attention so as the youth, don't let them beg for your time and care all the time.
I know for some parents don't want their children to feel the way I felt before, however, unintentionally, it hurts the children's feelings when they see they are less cared for. It may be not intentional but the scar will leave a mark when left unattended.