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And the favorite child is?

And the favorite child is?

Every family that has more than one child faces a question as to which one is the favorite child. When asked, a parent will typically say, “They’re all my favorite,” which is BS and we all know it. Every parent should be able to know which child is their favorite, even if they can’t be honest about it.

Evaluating Your Offspring

Trying to determine which is your favorite is not as easy as it sounds. Flight attendants giving the pre-flight safety briefing on Southwest Airlines sometimes encourage parents of flying with more than one child to determine which child has the best earning potential in case they have to choose one to give oxygen in the event the cabin depressurizes. This is funny the first 20 times you hear it, but that doesn’t stop  them from delivering the joke 100 hundreds of times.

However, earning potential is a poor criteria for determining a favorite child…unless you have a binding contract that gives you a kickback as a quid pro quo for favorite child status. Quite frankly, successful adults often start out as horrible offspring, so I would not use earning potential as a factor.

Ease of child-rearing is also not a reliable criteria. Often it is the badly behaved child that teaches us the most about ourselves and our skills as a parent. Bad children can also become grateful adults, although one shouldn’t bank on that either.

Children who are ‘Mama’s boy’ or ‘Daddy’s girl’ should not be considered as an indicator of favorite child status. Sweet young children can become Satan’s spawn as teenagers, leaving the parent to wonder what they did wrong…as if the parent is at fault.

Children who remain in constant contact, calling their Mom or Dad daily, may seem like candidates for the favorite child, but this stalking technique is illegal in most states, so it doesn’t seem prudent to consider it as a factor?

So how does a parent determine the favorite child?

I have two adult daughters and a nine-year-old son. My daughters have successful lives, wonderful children and selected husbands that are more intelligent than their (my daughter’s) father. My son works hard to do his best and constantly impresses me with his development out of conservative it’s-all-about-me behavior into liberal, make-the-world better behavior. It would seem I would have a difficult time choosing the favorite….

….but I don’t.

The secret to choosing your favorite child is remembering that life is made up of moments. Every moment (in person or by phone or text) with one or more of my children is a moment with my favorite child or children. Our offspring don’t often understand why ‘family gatherings’ are so important to parents because they don’t realize that it is a time when a parent is rich with favorite children.

This doesn’t mean any of our children fall out of favor just because they are not with the parent at any given moment. Children are part of a parent’s life at all times, but when we have the opportunity to interact with our children, the moment is special.

Children are our legacy and we can move on in our lives reassured that we have accomplished all we needed to when we have raised a child. Our offspring become the painting of life we create as parents.We are artists and when we spend time with our children we can admire the grace and creativity of work that we did without a manual, training or degree. We can’t take credit for everything our children become, but we can smile and be content in that role we played in their lives….even if they don’t realize it.

This holiday season, remember to enjoy your favorite child and know that you are not limited to just one. Happy Holidays!