If you’re a parent, you might feel for Buzz Bishop. The Calgary radio host dared to publicly declare that he has a favourite child.
He’s been chastised, scolded, and called a selfish and disgraceful parent. But is he merely openly stating what many parents are feeling, and probably even unintentionally showing? Favouritism among kids is taboo-speak. We are told there could never be a favourite child, every child is equal in the eyes of the parent. “Your child will have social problems if you favour him!”, say the all-knowing child psychologists.
I think Buzz’s clarification made sense, though: “I don’t love either of my sons any more than the other, but I do like them differently.” He said that he is not fond of the “baby stage” (although, interestingly, his youngest is 2 years old – hardly a baby). He explained that babies are not mobile enough for how he can best interact with a child. I think if you ask most dads, they would say the same thing. Dads love to run, play-wrestle, play sports with kids – this is what Buzz does with his 5-year-old, who in turn responds to him positively for doing this. I think I get what he was trying to articulate. The problem is that he actually used the word “favourite” and at the end of the day, he has to live with that when his 2-year-old finds out and chooses to interpret it differently from how Buzz had intended it.
I am grateful that I won’t ever have to worry about who my favourite child is. I have often wondered how different the dynamics would be if we’d had other children. Would I find myself unwittingly favouring one over the other? My love for DQ is off-the-charts intense, so I can’t even imagine anyone “beating” her, but at the same time, I’m quite certain I would feel the same way about another child. Giving birth is just such an incredibly emotional moment. It really does feel like Cupid’s arrow hits you hard the moment you first hold your baby – you just feel like you’ve entered another realm. Having said that, I think many parents are not being completely honest if they say they don’t enjoy their time with one child more than the other, especially as the children get older. To me, that doesn’t mean you love one any less than the other.
Buzz was brave to “come out”. Only time – and his younger son – will tell if he was also being perhaps a little too unthinking and rash with his choice of words.