Favoritism in Parenting

It’s fair to say that at one time or another, any child with a sibling feels that his brother or sister is parents’ “Favorite.” That title may have been bestowed by one sibling to another when he or she gets a reprieve from washing the dinner dishes, a later bedtime or seems to always get to choose the restaurant.

While many parents wouldn’t admit to having a “Favorite” child, a mother from England had no qualms about broadcasting hers. The mother of four children – girls who are nine, seven and two and a son who is one – recently appeared on the British daytime program This Morning. Her interview caused an uproar with her comment that her 2-year old daughter is her favorite child. She explained this away by saying that her oldest daughter was colicky and her second daughter was once her favorite. As for her son, she claims that she really wanted another girl.

Sometimes as parents, we play favorites with intention, but for good reason. Think of the newborn who needs more attention, or the child who may have special needs. Age sometimes sets apart middle children, who likely don’t get the chance to reap 100% of parental attention as do the oldest and youngest.

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Us Time

Whenever I need a good belly laugh, I pull out a Garrison Keillor story. One of my favorite Keillor tall tales is – “My father always said that you can’t plant corn and date women at the same time. It just doesn’t work. You can only do one thing at a time.”

I love that line. Aside from the awkward relationship between corn and dating, this statement holds some merit.

Many of us have learned to multi-task, perhaps more out of need than desire. Churning 72 hours of “to do’s” into a single day, in order to make room for tomorrow’s “to do’s”, demands this skill. And, it’s always a work in progress.

Most parents would agree that the finite number of hours each day and infinite number of responsibilities leave little time for that precious “us” time. The “Date Night,” or even two hours of “alone time” to curl up on the couch and watch a scary movie together that’s entirely too inappropriate for a toddler to see, can easily disappear unless couples make a conscious effort to hold onto them.  

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April 2018

Springtime at Dunebrook welcomes daffodils, blue birds and Child Abuse Prevention Month.

During April, Dunebrook joins with agencies across the nation to energize communities in taking a stand against child abuse. Child abuse is a difficult topic to read about in the newspaper or hear about on the evening news. Any time a person is harmed or dies at the hands of someone else it is tragic; but, when a child is the victim, it’s especially heartbreaking. We cringe to think of what he or she endured. Unbelievably, the harm to a child comes most often – 70% of the time, in fact – at the hands of parents. (Children’s Bureau, 2016)

This data trashes the myth from many of our childhoods that scary guys in trench coats lurking in dark alleys are the ones who hurt children. As it turns out, the scary person may not be a stranger at all.  

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Child Poisonings 2018

There’s a certain allure to blue window cleansers and purple dish soap that draws young children to them. Perhaps it’s the tasty illusion of blue raspberry snow cone juice or the exotic scent of pomegranates. That same magnetic pull drew my sister and me into eating a handful of chewable vitamins decades ago.

Medicine cabinets, the space under kitchen sinks and workbenches are chocked full of unusual and fascinating concoctions whose odor, texture and color intrigue children. Even purses can be a danger to little ones. Items such as mascara, lipstick, lip balm, foundation, liners and concealer may include waxes, perfumes, coloring agents and emulsifying agents that are safe for the skin but not so much for tummies.

It’s precocious curiosities like these which prompt parents and caregivers to call a Poison Control Center every 14.9 seconds in the United States. 

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Backyard Friends for Your Children

When my Dad recently started telling me the story of his childhood friend who had a pet black crow, I knew it would be something extraordinary. When my Dad spins his tales, one can’t quite tell what part of the story is real, and what part is re-imagined from a childhood that took place more than 80 years ago.

This is how the story goes: My Dad’s childhood acquaintance, Marvin, had a pet crow named Charlie. Charlie the Crow sat on Marvin’s shoulder and accompanied him everywhere he went. Charlie could talk, and had a rather large vocabulary. Apparently, he could communicate with the children, and would reply when Marvin asked him questions. Charlie was tame enough to be petted. Just when I thought the story was much too far-fetched, enchanting and curious to be true, my Dad threw in to the story the name of Marvin’s sister, whose children attended grade school with me. This cast off any doubt of suspicion as to the legitimacy of the story – Marvin was a real boy!    

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