Raising children can be difficult and it’s often hard to stay fair yet fun. Some parents are on the fun side where their toddlers fully work an iPad, eat candy for dinner and have equal voting power in the house. The others on the fair side practice the Proverbs 13:24 (spank children) a little too much— speak only when allowed and have to ask permission to do common luxuries like watch TV.
But as your family grows, more challenges arise. One of which being: how do I pick a favourite child? Although it’s simple to pretend to love all your children the same, it will slowly become increasingly obvious who you love most. There is nothing wrong with this. However, if you are a poor actor in public, or private, it will seem unfair for the spectators around. Don’t let this bother you. They are jealous of tactics they aren’t capable of performing.
Moving on, you might love your children for their interaction, for their wit, for the darnedest things they say, for their cuteness, or for more noble reasons like future earning potential. The challenge is showing loyalty to the one child while trying to encourage the others to be better (or more like the ‘favourite’). There are practical forms of this. Ex. Why can’t you be more like ‘insert favourite name’. OR ex. Calling the children by numbers, 1 being the favourite and the challenge to move up the rankings of favourite child. (Saw this on a show growing up and it worked wonders). (Also tried on cousins). Sometimes you have to use a larger number than the number of kids you have.
Then, the busyness of schedules doesn’t allow for us to wait on that misbehaving kid to grow, or the slow learner to speed up. Hence why some sibling rivalry will ensure you have successful children and not a successful child. As a parent, you must be careful how you do this as we can’t afford another Cain and Abel’s fallout.
Another form of experiment is trial and error. This method differs from family to family so it may take time and energy.
Number 1: Reward the favourite, see how the others react. This method may work because it causes the others to strive for rewards.
Number 2: Reward the lesser child(ren). This method may work because it may cause a motivational effect.
Number 3: Punish all until they are better. If a peaceful house is the goal, do this one.
In conclusion, it’s tough to motivate kids these days. But laid out above is a simple plan, free of charge to encourage the lessers of your offspring to become the face of the family in the future.
And if you’ve made it this far, know that everything above is nonsense. Love all your kids the same. God does.
Joel is a serial TV watcher and napper. When he isn’t on his couch watching the Raptors or Jays, you can find him on the couch closer to his kitchen, eating poutine or pizza.