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Old 12-21-2007, 04:40 PM   #61
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my brother & sil insist that mom loved me more but they never noticed that mom kept out more pictures of my brother than she did of me. mom & i were very good friends and i was actually nice while my brother was a mean s.o.b. for most of his life. he and mom butted heads often while mom & i were of similar mind. if anything she loved my brother more, it's just that she liked me better. she never showed favorites though and i believe that in her heart she loved us both so very much that any difference made no difference at all.

i have a cousin who treats her kids very differently and my complaining about that has hurt our relationship. it is embarrassing to be around them while the mother and younger sister denigrate the sibling, who i actually like more than any of them. granted, the kid does not have a high i.q. and tested at 100 when she was very young while the younger sibling is likely in the 130s, but they actually call the older sister stupid to her face and it kills me to see that.

what they don't get is how much nicer the "stupid" one is compared to both of them. she has the most amazing social life. the kids at school love her. when she was only four years old, i drove up to the house. she came running out to the car to greet me. i got out of the car and was about to pick her up. she said "no, don't pick me up, it's not good for your back." this so-called "stupid" four year old not only remembered that i had thrown my back out but she it was more important to her that i be careful then she gets to be picked up. nothing stupid about that.

i tried my best to wake my cousin up early on about treating her children the same but i think that if she ever wakes up later in life that she will awaken to much regret. so it goes.
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Old 12-21-2007, 05:31 PM   #62
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i have a cousin who treats her kids very differently and my complaining about that has hurt our relationship.
The same has happened in my family. My mother's sister (my aunt) has tried several times to point out the favoritism my parents show my brother's family. My parents just deny it and it has hurt the relationship between my aunt and my mother.

People just see what they want to see...
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Old 12-21-2007, 08:01 PM   #63
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my brother & sil insist that mom loved me more but they never noticed that mom kept out more pictures of my brother than she did of me.
The post office puts out lots of peoples pictures. Doesnt mean that they're the most loved though...
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Old 12-22-2007, 11:07 AM   #64
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brother was such a trouble maker i would not have been surprised to see his photo there too. more public photos of my brother? i told you so; it isn't just mom. the world loves him more.
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Old 12-22-2007, 03:58 PM   #65
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I feel like my parents more than discharged any obligation to me with a fine childhood and even help with college. Sure there were things that could have been better, but there were also plenty that could have been worse. Now, that all my siblings are adults, there are plenty of inequalities. One sister is quite wealthy, but lives close so there's much more interaction and focus on her and her kids. Other siblings actually still live at home and financial arrangements there are very beneficial. Another sister, like me, moved away and raised a family and like me paid her own way from her own efforts. The time and attention of our parents is not equally distributed and the financial assitance offered by our parents is likewise not equally distributed. I do not believe they are intentionally withhold from any of the siblings, just seem moved to give differently. I don't see anything wrong with that and hope amongst us siblings we can avoid any jealousies or hurt feelings. We are all adults here.

Interestingly, in my parent's generation, there are bad feelings among the siblings (my aunts and uncles) that have simmered for years and jealous factions don't talk to each other over perceived slights from their parents. Maybe it's this example that helps my siblings overlook any inequal treatment and just let it go. Ironically it's the wealthy sister who seems to get favored treatment who is most jealous of anything given to the others. Who knows, maybe the preferential treatment is my parents way to keep her jealousy in control (how jealous can you be if you are favored) and in their own way maintain a sort of peace in our generation. More likely, they are just trying to be generous to all their children and are taking different actions at different times as they see fit, without regard to maintaining any score to insure equality - however one defines it.

I try to treat my children as equitable as I can though they are very different people with very different needs and desires. Will I still try to scrupulously balance when they reach adulthood? I'm not so sure it's possible.
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Old 12-23-2007, 07:15 AM   #66
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Hi Boilerman, I don't quite know how to answer your plea for help, but I will try...

I feel your pain. I also grew up, (and still growing), under unequal circumstances in family life. In fact, mine was very much like your situation. I obsessed over it many years, (like you), but have come to terms over the situation and reached "equlibrium". It has made me fiercely independant. I do not understand why people...parents...can act they way they do and be blind about the whole thing.

I think from the parents view...the most dependant child, (and troublesome), needs the most help. So, most of the energy is lavished on the poor bird. The poor bird is manipulative and quickly learns what strings to pull. In reality...the more help poor bird gets from momma bird, the more dependant and worse off little bird becomes. He may be well off finanicially but is still dependant. Baby bird may inherit the farm, but will piss it away in short order since he has not been taught the proper life skills. Parents don't see what they are doing since they just want to fill a need. They may subconsciencely know-but are in denial.
It's not odd that YOU frequent these RE forums!

Our parents are dysfunctional. That's just the way it is. Not all families are warm and fuzzy. Try not to obsess. You have to work with what you got. Only you can control your environment for happiness. If your folks need your help...they will ask. But, out of sight is out of mind to them. And for you...you don't need to be where you're not wanted. Kind of a self fulfulling dilemma. Just get on with life and raising your family. And this time...it will be done right!
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Old 12-23-2007, 05:00 PM   #67
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Hi Boilerman, I don't quite know how to answer your plea for help, but I will try...

I think from the parents view...the most dependant child, (and troublesome), needs the most help. So, most of the energy is lavished on the poor bird. The poor bird is manipulative and quickly learns what strings to pull. In reality...the more help poor bird gets from momma bird, the more dependant and worse off little bird becomes.
I'm beginning to think that parents who act this way are faced with a parenting dilemma...supporting the sick bird through adulthood (continuing with your analogy) because that's what a parent naturally does vs. maintaining a sense of fairness to all the baby birds. Maybe the parental instinct to help out an ailing bird in need overwhelms everything else, even if it's at the expense of the all other baby birds (OK now, I've taken the bird thing as far as I can ). By the way, see post #55 above for a pictorial representation!


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It's not odd that YOU frequent these RE forums!
Interesting observation...hmmmm. It's all coming together now!
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Old 12-23-2007, 06:21 PM   #68
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Boilerman...That's one reason why I used the bird analogy...the other is I always see things in respect to animals...since critters are what interest me most. If you get a chance...look up a type of bird called the "Cowbird" and see how the baby chicks fit into all of this. Some human families have a baby cowbird in their midst and don't even know it...
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Old 12-23-2007, 08:44 PM   #69
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It's been my observation that when a grown child is getting money from the parents, some form of "payment" is oftentimes extracted.
This is so true; I have seen it from the son's POV, and the father's. I and the brother next to me never asked for or got any support beyond university, which was plenty in my opinion. My younger brother and sister got ongoing help. But at the same time, they put in more face time, because they lived nearby and I honestly think that they liked Mom and Dad more than I did. Their kids were the available grandkids; mine were 1000s of miles away. As locals they ought to have gotten more. At the same time they got a lot more "advice", which from my Dad was often enough correct but even more often overbearing and obnoxious.

My own children have been self sufficient at a high level right out of the gate. I am proud of them, I love to spend time with them, but they sure don't need me in any way other than whatever naturally flows from affection and respect. And that I have to cumulatively earn, as I can't whip out my billfold and buy a little.

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It is interesting that the rich wife is the one complaining about fairness while the son is perfectly happy with his parents. Note the kids #1 live a much more lavish lifestyle than the parents.

This is no surprise to me. My ex's parents were quite well off and they had 4 children. One son is an extremely successful MD with a lavish lifestyle, one
daughter a banker with a wealthy husband, then our family doing OK but frugal and somewhat constrained, then brother musician who never had 2 nickels. Guess what --all the money and attention went to the rich ones, I think because her parents felt they were buying some association with prestigious lifestyles. The musician's wife was eaten up about this. OTOH, I felt it was fine as I didn't want my MIL and FIL in my life any more than necessary. I think it is possible that wives are more bothered in these situations because they relate to their children's needs as well as their own.

I really have no interest in anyone else's money, unless I could earn it from fees or something. I want mine to be mine, and theirs to be theirs.


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Old 12-23-2007, 09:15 PM   #70
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OK - the bird analogy is broken.

The bird parents do NOT lavish the attention on the most sickly bird. The most sickly bird is the one that does not survive, because the healthier birds compete more successfully for the parents attention and thus get fed more often.

And the cowbird (nest parasite that it is), out competes the other baby birds because it is the one bigger and more demanding than the others.

In fact, I'm not really sure of any situation in nature, other than humans, where the more sickly/needy offspring get more attention. Survival is usually too tight for animals to lavish excess attention on those less fit to survive - simply because things are so tight that there is no excess attention available to be had.

Sorry - just cringing at incorrect biology......

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Old 12-23-2007, 11:26 PM   #71
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OK - the bird analogy is broken.

The bird parents do NOT lavish the attention on the most sickly bird. The most sickly bird is the one that does not survive, because the healthier birds compete more successfully for the parents attention and thus get fed more often.

And the cowbird (nest parasite that it is), out competes the other baby birds because it is the one bigger and more demanding than the others.

In fact, I'm not really sure of any situation in nature, other than humans, where the more sickly/needy offspring get more attention. Survival is usually too tight for animals to lavish excess attention on those less fit to survive - simply because things are so tight that there is no excess attention available to be had.

Sorry - just cringing at incorrect biology......

Audrey
Some birds lay two eggs, mainly to ensure that at least one will hatch. The first to hatch, if only by a few days, has a size advantage over the younger smaller bird and will kill its nest mate. The parents make no attempt to save the younger bird.

Not all birds operate this way. Many birds take care of all the eggs they lay, and if food is plentiful, they may raise two families each year. There are even documented instances where young birds from the first set of babies will assist the parental birds in feeding the second set of babies. So, even birds find a way to work out family problems!
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Old 12-24-2007, 05:10 AM   #72
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Proposal for all parents of 2 kids and more:
1) Print this discussion. Read it every 10 years.
Think about how you try to treat your kids fair or equal (both is not the same). Send the discussion to your kids.
Ask them if they believe that you treated them fair or equal.
Be prepared for some surprising answers.
Do not jump into discussions with your kids. You will never convince them that their impression is wrong.
Just take their answers as they are and, if you like, take some corrective measures in terms of time and money.

2) Or just treat the kids as you like because you are aware that they will always be convinced that the other one got the better part.
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Old 12-24-2007, 08:20 AM   #73
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Some birds lay two eggs, mainly to ensure that at least one will hatch. The first to hatch, if only by a few days, has a size advantage over the younger smaller bird and will kill its nest mate. The parents make no attempt to save the younger bird.

Not all birds operate this way. Many birds take care of all the eggs they lay, and if food is plentiful, they may raise two families each year. There are even documented instances where young birds from the first set of babies will assist the parental birds in feeding the second set of babies. So, even birds find a way to work out family problems!
Yep - you got your bird biology right!

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Old 12-30-2007, 08:56 PM   #74
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Boilerman – you seem to be handling this very well, so don’t listen to the couple people telling you to be ashamed to want things from your parents.

I’ve seen two families really hurt by this issue, and one was just about torn apart with bitter feelings for many years. As you said in your situation the parents were simply blind to the situation, and in one case it was only when the favored son ran his life into the ground through some personal problems that the other siblings were able to forgive him.

The desire to be accepted by your parents is incredibly basic – like the desire to breathe and eat – and, if you think about it evolutionally, we’d be in quite a mess if it wasn’t. So, don’t feel bad at all about any hurt feelings that you or your sister might have about the situation. BUT, try as hard as you can to let it go. While it is completely natural to feel bitter, it is not going to do you any good. Here’s my suggestion if your parents get to you: laugh. If you and DW can have a good chuckle about how those “goofy parents” of yours are blind to the inequities and think $10 to you is as good as $1000 to your brother, then it just won’t bother you nearly as much. And if you think about it, it is pretty funny.
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Old 12-30-2007, 10:11 PM   #75
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Boilerman – you seem to be handling this very well, so don’t listen to the couple people telling you to be ashamed to want things from your parents.

I’ve seen two families really hurt by this issue, and one was just about torn apart with bitter feelings for many years. As you said in your situation the parents were simply blind to the situation, and in one case it was only when the favored son ran his life into the ground through some personal problems that the other siblings were able to forgive him.

The desire to be accepted by your parents is incredibly basic – like the desire to breathe and eat – and, if you think about it evolutionally, we’d be in quite a mess if it wasn’t. So, don’t feel bad at all about any hurt feelings that you or your sister might have about the situation. BUT, try as hard as you can to let it go. While it is completely natural to feel bitter, it is not going to do you any good. Here’s my suggestion if your parents get to you: laugh. If you and DW can have a good chuckle about how those “goofy parents” of yours are blind to the inequities and think $10 to you is as good as $1000 to your brother, then it just won’t bother you nearly as much. And if you think about it, it is pretty funny.
Thanks for your encouragement. The real test will come when we're face-to-face with a new situation where my parents show favoritism again for my brother's family. Do we shrug and move on or will all those familiar feelings of hurt and resentment bubble to the surface? I'm hoping that if we feel hurt, that at least it will be short lived and quickly followed by the acceptance and understanding we've developed here.
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Old 01-04-2008, 08:12 PM   #76
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We have two grown children and we have always told them that that the day I have to start keeping score to make sure the other doesn't feel badly will be the day that we are all in trouble. For those of you children that feel slighted by your parents giving more to a sibling than you, get over it. For those who feel their parents shouldn't move closer to another sibling, how could you possibly be more selfish? For the one who posted that they couldn't move closer to either one of their children, I feel sorry for you and the time you may miss with one of your children and grandchildren. As a parent of two I will always do my best to help my children whenever possible but there is a limit. My youngest, 23 years old and a recent college grad, is still living with us as we prepare to downsize and move into a condo to get ready for ER. There may not be enough room for him to move with us but it is time for him to join the real adult world and I don't feel badly at all. I know it may sound harsh but if we continue to enable this generation what will they be like with our grandchildren?
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Old 01-05-2008, 12:35 AM   #77
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We have two grown children and we have always told them that that the day I have to start keeping score to make sure the other doesn't feel badly will be the day that we are all in trouble.
If that means you intend to blatantly favor one child over another, then you might be knee-deep in trouble sooner than you think. Anyone having read this thread could learn about the hurt that can be caused when parents act without regard for the other children's feelings. If fact, I believe my own parents have recited those very same words as yours above!

Sounds like at least your youngest child is 23 and still single? And does your oldest have a family yet? I think these kind of issues get magnified once the kids get married and start having grandkids.

I recommend you read through the posts again with an open mind and try to gain a better understanding of the issues involved. If not, you might end up like mine so many other families - torn apart and never the same.
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Old 01-05-2008, 09:55 AM   #78
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You know a post on this forum is thought provoking when all the "big hitters" weigh in. I don't have any kids yet, but was raised with a brother in and out of the house; he committed suicide when I was 18. I have wondered in the past whether favortism played any part....not necessarily with money, but I had an easier early childhood than him (parents divorced when I was 4, he was 8 and more effected)...so as we grew older, he had a more difficult time with life and I may have gotten a DIFFERENT kind of support that he might have longed for. Of course, you ponder every possible question for answers....and they never come. All aside, my GF has two kids that may one day become my step-kids. If we choose to have a child, this topic may naturally surface, although I will try to never let it as I love her kids dearly. Thank you for not only this post, but for all that make me think on a different level. This is not just a FIRE communty, and I hope it always remains the same..
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Old 01-05-2008, 10:29 AM   #79
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Boilerman: No I don't intend to blatantly favor one of my kids over another. They both will continue to get whatever help they need within reason. I have put both through college and have given them financial help whenever needed. My daughter has started a successful carreer as a speech pathologist and my son is interviewing for jobs. He lives with us rent free and hopefully will be employed soon and able to find his own appartment.
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Old 01-05-2008, 10:38 AM   #80
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Officially, my parents have a rule: whatever they give to my sister, they give to me and vice versa. We get the same amount of money for birthdays and Xmas, they paid equivalent amounts in college tuitions for both my sister and me, etc... It works... most of the time... well sometimes...
My sister lives 1.5 miles away from my parents and I live 4,500 miles away. So when I am not around my sister get a number of "gifts" that I don't get. She got to "buy" my parents' three year old car (she told me she paid $1800 for it when it was worth about $8000, but according to my parents "she paid full price"). She gets new tires when she needs them. My parents offered her to rent one of their rentals for half the amount they would normally charge (Though my parents told me she would pay full rent. she ended up refusing the offer). My parents also buy a lot of food and toys/clothes for my sister's family. My parents' lies and omissions show they feel a bit guilty about the situation IMHO.
But I don't mind too much. 1) my sister doers not have the means that I do. and 2) I don't envy her dealing with the parents on almost a daily basis. Because I know that all those extra gifts she receives come at a cost. Even though my parents are still young, they are demanding and living close to them definitely comes with obligations. They call on her all the time to come help them do things. That car she paid so little for is often used to run errands on their behalf. And she has to spend significant amouts of time with them every weekend. As they get older, she will have to spend even more time taking care of them. I don't envy her at all.

My wife and I live right down the street from my MIL while her other kids live 300-500 miles away. She moved next to us, because she felt closer to my wife than to any of my wife's siblings. She does not give my wife more gifts or money than her siblings, but she told us that my wife will get the majority of her estate upon her death. Her siblings I am sure will find that extremely unfair. But, My wife and I spend a lot of time (10-12 hours per WEEK) helping her mom while her siblings' only worry is to make sure they call on her birthday and major holidays.
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