"Sometimes the dog is my favorite child -- not often, but sometimes she is."
So says Jill Smokler, a Chicago mother of three (not counting the dog), who admits she sometimes favors one child over another. Jill is at the forefront of a growing parenting trend: not being afraid to admit she sometimes has a favorite child.
For years, "I love you all equally" has been the instant response of parents, when asked by their children if one of them is the favorite. Now, some parents are daring to admit they were fibbing all along.
Partly responsible for this trend are psychologists like Ellen Weber Libby, author of The Favorite Child (Prometheus Books, 2010). Libby sees more problems arising out of parents covering up their favoritism, because they've been taught it's the right thing to do. "Favoritism doesn't have to be bad," she says. "It's what we do with it that makes it disastrous or productive."
Libby believes many parents have shifting inclinations toward favoring one child or another, over ...
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