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Parents: is it normal to not love your children the same way?

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Parents: is it normal to not love your children the same way?

“Will I love him as much as the first?” Without really admitting it to themselves, many parents ask themselves this question while expecting a second child. Cool, we play it down and listen to what the shrink tells us.

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“Will I love him as much?” A question that we inevitably ask ourselves one day when we are expecting our second baby. Logical, we already know the first one, we love him very much, and how can we manage to give so much love to this little being we don’t know yet? And if it were normal? Here’s what our expert has to say.

Parents: Can we love our children as much but differently?

F. M: Why not simply accept the idea that we never love our children as much or in the same way? After all, they are not the same people; they necessarily reflect something different to us depending on their temperament, expectations, and the context in which they came into the world. Being unemployed or in a couple that is struggling when the second child is born, for example, can make the attachment more complex. On the other hand, if the youngest resembles us a lot, this can unconsciously reassure us and encourage the bond.

Weaving strong bonds can also take several days, weeks, months, or even a few years for some mothers. And the fact that our society sacralizes the image of the perfect mother cherishing her baby from birth does not make it any easier.

Is it serious to prefer one of your children?

F. M.: Even if all parents don’t necessarily realize it or refuse to admit it, we love each of our children for different reasons and to varying degrees, whether we like it or not. Unlike our friends, we don’t choose our children, we adapt to them, so when one better meets our expectations, we will naturally become more involved with him. The important thing is that each child finds his or her own emotional balance between his or her father, mother, and other family members. Trying to love them, all the same, is both impossible and useless because, depending on their age and character, children do not have the exact needs for love and attention and do not express them in the same way.

When should we talk about it?

F. M.: When our behavior gives rise to sibling jealousy – even if, of course, there are some in all families, as every member of the sibling family needs to feel unique – and the child tells us that he feels less loved or has difficulty finding his place, we should talk about it. Even if it means consulting a specialist to help us find the right words, this is still a very taboo subject. What would a mother want to admit to her child that she has more in common with her brother or sister? This outside help can also reassure us on a crucial point: it is normal not to love them the same, which does not make us bad parents!

Discussing it with our friends and family will also help us play down the situation and reassure us: other people can also be fed up with their offspring or have ambivalent feelings, which doesn’t stop them from loving their children.

What can I do to avoid hurting my child?

F. M.: Sometimes, we don’t realize that our attitude gives the child the impression of being less loved than his brother or sister. If he comes to complain about this, we start by asking him in which situations he felt left out to rectify the situation and reassure him as best we can. Then, in addition to kisses and cuddles, why not think about activities in which they can meet and share special moments?

It is not a question of behaving identically with your children. Buying the same gifts or cuddling at the same time risks creating rivalry among siblings, who will try to stand out in our eyes. Also, our eldest child of 11 years old does not necessarily have the same emotional needs as his 2-year-old sister. The most important thing is that each one feels loved, valued for their respective singularities: sports, studies, human qualities, etc.

Can this change over time?

F. M.: Nothing is ever set in stone; bonds evolve from birth to adulthood. A mother may prefer one of her children when he is small or be very close to him, and he may lose his status as a darling as he grows up. Over time, as we get to know our child, the one we felt least close to, we may begin to admire the qualities we would have liked to have – for example, if we are introverted and our son is very sociable – and choose him because he complements us. In short, there are almost always preferences, and they usually change. One minute it’s one, then the other. And then again.


Loving a child takes time, and it is parents who fail to bond with their children who lack emotional feelings. I believe that each child is unique and that each must be met where they are and in accordance with their own special needs/personality. As a parent, you must invest time in getting to know your children.

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