Guest Author - Celestine A. Jones
Favoritism can occur in the home or school without intention. The effects of favoritism can be detrimental for some, while needed for others. Children with special needs often need a lot of attention. The extra attention can seem unfair to other children in the home, as well as the classroom.
Favoritism is the act of giving preferential treatment to one child, while not allowing the same privileges to another. One child may be allowed to watch television until 8:00 p.m. while another child in the home is required to go to bed at 7:00 p.m. Is this showing favoritism or is it good parenting skills?
There are many things involved in proper parenting. One of those things is teaching responsibility. One child may be more responsible when getting prepared for school the next morning, while the other child struggles to get out of bed. This would definitely not be favoritism.
Children receiving special education services at school are often allowed accommodations and modifications in the classroom. Other children may view this as favoritism. They may ask why they cannot do the same things that another student does in the class. They may want to know why the class is required to complete twenty questions, whereas another only has to do ten. As an adult, we know that this is not favoritism. The child may not understand. It is the responsibility of the teacher and parent to discuss the needs of other children. A simple example to use would be the wearing of glasses. Telling the child that wearing the glasses helps him see just as well as another child that does not need glasses. The outcome is the same. Both children will see the board to complete the assignment.
Children sometimes voice their opinion by saying that it something is not fair. When parenting children with different needs, it is important to show attention and affection to both children. Present opportunities for each child to have one on one time to feel special. Although it may not be the intention of the parent or teacher to show favoritism, the child may feel as if it is. This is where children can feel hurt and become resentful of others. If handled properly, everyone will feel equally treated and happy.