It's very upsetting when your parents prefer your sibling and can cause a lot of resentment between you. Some parents make it very plain that they have a favored child; others may not mean to show favoritism but seem to have an obvious preference for one of their children. But sometimes it's just the impression that you get, and in reality your parents don't have a favored child at all. Here are some ways to cope when your parents prefer your sibling …
1. Tell Them How You Feel
When your parents prefer your sibling, try telling them that you think they have a preference and that it upsets you. They genuinely may not have noticed that they show a preference. Talking to them will bring your feelings out in the open and allow you to discuss them. But avoid being accusatory and getting upset; a calm discussion is more likely to have positive results.
2. Don't Blame Your Sibling
Don't hold your sibling responsible for the attitude of your parents. They probably haven't done anything to encourage their favored treatment. Some parents who show a preference actively encourage dissent between their children; if this is the case, don't go along with that. You don't want to lose your relationship with your sibling.
3. Is It Really Favoritism?
Take a step back and look at the situation with a cool head. Could it be a matter of perception - are your parents really treating your sibling better than you? Are you misunderstanding the situation? You may realise that it's not actually how you think it is, and that your parents are actually treating all of you equally.
4. There May Be a Reason
If your parents seem to show a preference for one of your siblings, there may be a reason for it that you're not aware of. Perhaps your sibling needs more attention, and your parents see you as stronger and more capable. So it could actually be a compliment to you, even if it doesn't actually seem that way at first.
5. Talk to Your Siblings
You could also benefit from having a chat with your siblings. You may find that they think exactly the same way, just that they see you as the favored child! And if they are indeed favored by your parents, it may be helpful if you have their support in trying to change your parents' behavior.
6. They Still Love You
It may not be all that suprising if your parents do prefer one of your siblings. This is nothing to do with you, but we all have favorite people - family included. Perhaps your sibling has more in common with your parent and shares their interests. It doesn't mean that they don't love you.
7. Not Your Fault
Finally, remember that if your parents show preference for one of your siblings, it isn't your fault. It's nothing you have or haven't done, and doesn't mean that you're lacking in some way. The issue is your parents, and only they are responsible for the way they act.
So if you can't change your parents' preference for your sibling, try to come to terms with it and not let it affect your life to much. It may be painful, but it's not your fault. Do you secretly prefer one of your own children?