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.
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?