Monday, November 21, 2016

You love her more than me



You love her more than me. You always take her side!”
I watched frustrated, hurt and a little annoyed too as H hurled that allegation at me and walked out of the room. I was just back from their PTM last week and had found them in the middle of a huge row. Of late I am trying to keep out of their fights, but I had to step in here. I was still preoccupied with the discussion at school and was hardly prepared to handle all of this. I simply wanted to restore peace.

And then H made that one allegation that unsettles me most.

This isn't the fist time this has happened
Yet it remains something of a raw nerve. Being fair is almost an obsession for me. When the kids were babies there were always people who preferred one over the other - visitors, friends, grandparents. Someone would like one of the twins because he or she was more talkative, more active, more chubby or simply because one of them resembled someone in the family. I was constantly losing my cool despite telling myself over and over again that it would happen and that it didn’t really matter as long as the Husband and I didn’t have favourites. Yet it drove me to distraction.

Now, when I have the same allegation tossed at me I don’t know how to react. I read somewhere that most parents have favourites (normally the first born) and so I spent hours in honest self-examination on whether I do love one child over the other and I can say so with all my heart that I do not. (I don't even have a first/second born to begin with!)

Each time I try to explain this to the twins it comes out sounding like I am listing things I do for each one of them and that is so very far from my intention. That day I ended up sad, worried and exhausted with a throbbing headache.

Sigh! 

That was one of the days when I truly envied people with single kids. I wondered at my naiveté that had me jumping for joy when I discovered I was having twins!!

As always when I’m lost in this parenting maze I turn to other parents - real and virtual - and here’s what I pieced together.

Some children are more insecure than others
and will always feel they are being treated unfairly. Nothing you say or do will convince them otherwise. The tweens (and then the teens) are perhaps the worst times when real and imagined angst is at its peak. You can only hope that they change their mind as they grow older. Sometimes the wait may last till they have kids of their own.

Sometimes they’re saying it only to needle you
When they are upset, tweens say things they don’t mean. In fact if they know something hurts you, they are more likely to say it to you to get their way. Oh yes, kids have crafty little brains. However, they do know in their hearts that it isn’t true. I need to remember that.

So what should I do?
Well, I realised that spending energy on convincing them is pointless, specially when they are angry. I will have to leave them alone and let my actions speak for me.

A sane, reassuring talk after the storm will help.

When one child demands/needs more attention than the other in pampering his/her need, in appeasing him/her I might end up being unfair to the other less-demanding child. So that’s an area I need to tread with caution.

As a parent I need to differentiate between treating them fairly versus treating them equally. That’s an area I’m not really good at. For instance if one of the twins needs something (and the other does not) when I get something for one of them I end up getting something for the other too only to avoid a showdown. Bad idea! The focus should be on the need not the thing.

More individual time with each of them, focussing on individual needs, is even more important as they are growing up.

Those are the things I'll be working on.

As a parent have you ever faced this allegation from your children? Growing up did you ever feel your parent favoured a sibling?

Linking up with dear friend Nabanita's #MommyTalks. Do drop by her post where she talks about kids and the evil eye. Do you believe in it?




51 comments:

  1. Thank you so much Tulika for linking in. :)
    Well, I cannot even imagine what you must feel. I'm new at parenting and I have just one. Still, I'm filled with doubts around my abilities.
    I agree with you that it should be about the need and not the thing but we tend to overcompensate.
    Strange that I was reading the portion of Brene Brown's book on parenting today and she says there is no perfect way to parent. It's okay to feel what you are feeling, this shame and blame feeling where you analyse if you are indeed doing it right. What I understood from her writing is that it's okay to feel this way. So, that icky feeling at being pointed at for being unfair is but natural and don't worry, H will understand. Like you said, you can talk a few days later and communicate this to him. Hugs >3

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    1. I am always wondering if I'm doing the right this Nabanita - even ten years since I had the kids. There are so many conflicting bits of advice out there that ultimately we just have to trust our own selves and go with what we feel.

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  2. You're among the few moms on the Web that I read with love and empathy. For your honesty and your compassion. I know how you say it like it is and it must be so much more challenging with two kids. I'm just having the one kid and some days are more exhausting than I bargained for! All I want to say is, Tulika, you've got this. I know many parents who must be going through this so I know how they would love this heartfelt blog post. I'm in love with this post. Sharing it right away.

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    1. Thank you Shailaja. As always it helps to hear from other mums that I'm doing okay. Somedays this whole job seems so thankless and exhausting.

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  3. Though I am a parent of one child, I could relate to your heartfelt post more as a child than as a parent. This is perhaps cause I vividly remember my teenage and how my brother and I were quite the children like your kids on whom all the points you made hold true.

    This is so true that the insecure child can never be made to believe that a parent has no favorite and kids do have a way of pushing the parent's buttons at times when it hurts the most because they are themselves hurting inside.

    I admire your resolve and dedication of taking care that your darlings are never compared. I'm sure your children too know it in their hearts.

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    1. Yeah I have to remember that when one of them makes an allegation like this, he or she is also really hurting. So instead of focusing on how hurt I am I should be focusing on why that child is sad enough to say this. Uff!!!! I think I am over thinking this whole thing.

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  4. I have two girlies and they were 3 and 6 when I found out I was pregnant with IDENTICAL TWIN GIRLS. I hear you lady.

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  5. Oh, I remember so well how I would accuse my mother of always siding my younger brother, just because he was, well, younger ! And, to add insult to injury, my bro would tease me that, yes, he definitely was mother's favourite child! How I hated him then! But, as we grew up and as I began getting wiser, I found these things rather silly and felt guilty at having said some mean things to my mother. I would apologise profusely and mom, being mom, would brush it away saying that's what all the kids do! So, Tulika, I think you should just let it be and let time change their thinking! They will grow up and realise how wrong they were! Hugs to you, sweetie!

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    1. I'll wait for the day when the kids grow up and finally realise that they are loved equally.

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  6. Just today, Tulika, I wondered why you haven't posted in a while and here you are. Well, I do not have any experience as a parent but I have as a child. I did feel many a time that my parents preferred my sister who was and is so much more smarter and talented than me in every way. Yes, I was insecure but know what, as I grew up I found out to my surprise that my sister too felt that way many times. She felt I was given a lot more leeway since I was the younger one. As a parent today, I realise that parenting is so much more than what I ever imagined. I understand my parents better now and realise how much a child's innate nature shapes the parents' attitude towards him or her. I understand and appreciate your need to be fair and just and I'm sure it must come across, even though H may not realise or agree yet.

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    1. Ha ha.. this is classic - both kids feeling that the other one was the preferred one. That's cute. I read a story somewhere in which the mum convinces all her children that they are the ones she loves best but they had to keep it a secret or else the others would feel bad. They discover much later that she'd told the same thing to all of them. I need to try that!

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  7. We were three of us... And we would always toss these allegations at our parents . Well I was the eldest so of course they loved me the most ;) now that I look back I feel my parents bought things based on need... And never for all just to please us ... Unless it was samosa and jelebi. Kids can say things that can touch a nerve... I did too... But still I will always go back to my parents. You are doing a great job in raising the twins. And your posts on parenting makes me appreciate my parents a little more.

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    1. Glad my posts make you appreciate your parents more. That's a good thing to hear. Thanks.

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  8. Loved reading your experience and views on this Tulika, I can only imagine how much tougher this situation is with twins :P. You sound introspective and super balanced as usual.
    I have heard this question on and off and my best response has been to say "How is that even possible? Didn't both of you come out of me?!".. at least it makes them pause even if not really resolving anything :D.

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    1. Oh they have a response - H insists I love N more because she's a girl and I'm a 'girl' too. They can always find reasons to support all their silly ideas.

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  9. We used to say that to our mom too, we still do it sometimes but its all fun...She does take it very seriously though...:)
    You can just reassure them again and again and again.

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    1. Oooh now go tell your mom that you don't really believe that - stressing out the poor lady!!

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  10. So wise, Tulika ❤️ I think the favoritism issue also sneaks into any family with more than two members. :) And neighbors with more than one kid. You're a wonderful Mama. Don't stress over this!

    I had no sibling issues. In fact, I only had one parent. Still, growing up in a joint family brought in the favorites thing: and it worked both ways!

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    1. That's good advice - not to stress over this. It is actually such a non-issue.

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  11. Tulika, I was nodding my head through your entire experience. I have faced it multiple times -- this accusation from both the kids. In my case, one is elder to the other one by 4 years and hence many times I have to just ask him to adjust to the younger one. The younger one feels/believes that the elder is my favourite. Okay, honestly, the elder son and I very similar in terms of wavelength and being my first born perhaps he is a wee bit more special to me. But like you I go to great lengths to be fair. And it gets my goat when they accuse me of being impartial. But what can I say. It never helps to give them explanation. I think they do it in the heat of the moment. And perhaps we don't need to take them seriously. At least that is what I do for my sanity. Not that I succeed all the time.

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    1. Exactly - I also go to great lengths to ensure that I am fair - it is always on my mind that none of them should feel I have a favourite. That's why it annoys me so much. Maybe I am giving it more importance than it deserves. Sometimes we simply need to ignore things to convince the kids that it is a non-issue.

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  12. This post came at the right time Tulika. Iam facing the same issue with my sons and as you said the one who is more insecure feels like this and accuses me of bias. I realised its better to leave him alone for sometime and talk when he is ready to listen. It's a dufficult phase for me and even iam looking for ideas to decrease the sibling rivalry. Great post by the way Tulika.

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    1. I am realising I'm not alone in this and that's a relief. Ramya you too can take heart from the fact that it happens to most moms.

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  13. Hi Tulika I am a single child and so is my daughter...but this post is also relevant in the context of dingle child where the child feels that the parent/s are being extra strict with them in comparison to their cousins/ friends etc.....it's a complicated turf...this parenting☺

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    1. Oh yes that too. Just like we compare them with their friends they compare us with their friend's parents. Weird!

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  14. My sister and I must have said this to mom a million times! and I remember how mom would look exasperatedly at our silly allegations! I'm am'n't spared of this either, and as the kiddos are growing up, they throw this bouncer my way every now and then. What I do is look at the kid who said this and whisper into his ear ,"you know that's not true, right?" and then give him and wink and a smile. it always works! I try not to take sides, but if I have to give my opinion, I open a debate and ask them what went wrong and what could have been done better..time consuming but I have found this to be very helpful.

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    1. Ooh Shubhangi things get way more heated up here. No scope for a joke! Hmm... asking them to think about it sounds like a good idea.

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  15. It's not just siblings who have this chip on their shoulder...ask me...both Anu and Diya feel I favour the other :-) and they are cousins :-)...its a tween / teen thing

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    1. I hope they grow up before every single hair on my head turns silver. Good to see you here :-).

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  16. Btw....I finally managed to comment :-)

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  17. Aah! You have a tough balancing to do. I think parents with 2 kids can still ask the elder one to adjust or can give some pep talk to the younger one. But with twins, it is really challenging. Let let me tell you once again, that you are doing great. I loved the way you are fair and believe in addressing their individual needs. A big hug to you ♥

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    1. Thanks Shilpa. I wish the kids would believe that too :-).

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  18. What a good post. We have two and I find it utterly impossible to have a favorite? It riddles me that people can even say that, after becoming a mom. But maybe that is because as a kid, I was the 'not' favorite. The other one. Kids deserve your all, in whatever way they individually need it. Bravo to you mama! #mg

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    1. Exactly I cannot see how parents can have favourites! Kids can really send one off on a guilt trip. Thanks for dropping by.

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  19. I truly feel relieved here , realizing I am not the only one. H has this constant complain sometimes verbal, sometimes just by the way she looks at me when I am cuddling the younger one. Is it not natural to still have that more hugs-kisses type of bond with your younger one ? should that be a cause of concern for a 12 year old ? I admit that i do feel more physical kind of bond with my 5 year old but isn't that natural ?
    I often feel guilty abt it , not the natural display of affection with my younger but the fact that I sense some kind of Jealousy in my daughter's eyes.
    She mistakes my need to correct and often be firm with her ( as she is entering teens) as lack of love towards her .
    Am clueless on how to deal with it . You have a case where your need to correct and be firm is the same for both so perhaps it helps or may be it doesn't ....
    That makes a case for catching up , it’s been a while :)

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    1. I don't agree entirely Jyoti. Why can't you hug and pet your older one? I think I will never stop babying H and N - not in public of course, they'd probably kill me, but when there's just us. Be firm by all means but don't stop the cuddles.

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  20. Omg, I still feel my parents favoured my sister and I am now nearly 50! I smiled as I read your post as I am sure parents the world over will as sibling jealousy is rife in every family. My teens, particularly if they are tired and emotional will frequently accuse me of loving the other more but it must be particularly tough with twins. #mg

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    1. Ha ha ha I have little hope then. I should just let it go.

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  21. Loved to see that you have come out with this and so truly too. I have had this feeling of my mom favouring my siblings when I was young and sometimes did mention it to my mom, however now when I think of it as a mom I feel guilty of accusing her with no reason. As a mother I dont think we can love one child more than the other. How do we compare love?
    Menaka Bharathi has recently published http://simpleindianmom.in/diet-thyroid-imbalance-dos-donts/

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    1. Having kids is the best way to finally understand your parents! How much grief we gave our parents over such non-issues!

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  22. Growing up I thought my older sister was the favourite. She was quiet and I made my self heard. She was thin and I was chubby, somehow I thought that meant she was favoured. As I grew I realised that I have a very special bond with both my parents. And that indeed they love us both and for different reasons. I have two older brothers too. I now feel very secure, but as an adult my brother who is second eldest is so competitive about who gets what and how much time our parents spend with the Grandkids, it drives the rest of us siblings mad, I mean who cares! With my own 3 it's gone pretty well, there has been small moments but nothing overly. I can honestly say I don't favour any of them, but I do love them for their individual things. Aspen and I think so alike, April is so quirky and unique she fascinates me, and Adam gives the best hugs ever. Good luck with your girls, I always wanted twins #mg

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    1. That's the thing kids don;t understand MG - that's they're special in their own ways. I love how you have three such distinct things you love about your children.
      Ah well twins - they have their goods and bads.

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  23. I've heard some of my friends complain the same way that their parents prefer their sibling more than themselves. I can imagine how much this can worry the parent. I've seen my own mom worry about the same even though my sister and I never had any complain. We used to assure her that we're all cool. Talking when in calm with the children always helps. Hugs. :)

    And hey, I've nominated you for the versatile blogger award 🙂
    http://dashyspeaks.blogspot.in/2016/11/being-versatile.html
    Feel free to accept or reject it. :)

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    1. Hey thanks a ton for the award Dashy. I love to hear you here because it's like listening to the 'other' side so to say :-).

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  25. Gosh! This must be hard. I remember accusing Mum that she loves my brother C more than me. And she always said no. Now reading your post, I think it must have been hard for her to prove that both children are equal in her eyes and stuff.
    I just know that you will tackle this for sure.

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    1. Most days it isn't so tough to ignore it and get on with life but some days it just gets to you. Thanks for being here.

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  26. Oh, yes, can so relate to this- with my daughter and son - who I ALWAYS threat the same ... and my own sister - 6 years younger - my god what a brat she was,..,,,,Hahahahaha I guess it is all in the eyus of whoever is seeing... Lots of love my sweet friend

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    1. Thanks Eli - good to see you back in the blogging world. I guess this is a common issue for all parents with more than one child. Sigh!

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  27. No amount of clarifications, cuddles or even candies could ever satisfy them. Even the grown ups (mine are 22 & 20) suffer from the ailment. And here's to the parents of smaller children, Don't nurture the hope that there would be less quarrels and unruly scenes at the home front once they grow up, thing would go only louder and complex and the reasons behind such fits shall be invisible. Well, that's life.

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