Children are sensitive to how parents differ in the way they interact with them. Mom may not comfort your scraped knee the way Dad does. Dad may not make macaroni and cheese as good as Mom. Mom may let you out of time out in five minutes; Dad in ten minutes. So children develop different ways of relating to each parent. A child’s favorite parent for playing games may not be the same parent for cuddling at bedtime. Most often children recognize the go-to parent for nurturing, how-to advice, and explanations. This is the parent that comforts. This is the one a child wants in the middle of the night after a bad dream, the one for finding a lost shoe, the one who will listen about a day at school; the one who will explain homework; and the one who will give driving lessons
There is always the other parent, the one to “play” with – board games, sports, Playstation. This may be the more spontaneous parent: the “Let’s drive to California tomorrow” parent. This may also be the more emotionally volatile parent who gets angry, pouts, and has hurt feelings over relationship foibles with his children.
Depending on the type of personality each child has, the relationship with each parent will be different. And, “favorite” parents will change over time as each child grows up. A favorite parent for a toddler may not be a favored parent for a teenager.
Do you recall having a favorite parent? Do your children have a favorite parent? Does the favoritism change?