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Favoritism among adult children


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Old 5th July 2012, 1:28 PM   #1
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Question Favoritism among adult children

My husband is upset because he feels like his family is showing favoritism towards his sister. We are all in our 30's, and he and I have been married for 10 years. She is single and lives in New York City. Her occupation is low-paying, so my in-laws subsidize her lifestyle by paying for her latest iphone (along with the monthly bill), monthly trips to purchase new clothing, cash stipends for bills and incidentals. Every year they take her and the step-sister (who is in her 40's) on vacation with them--all expenses paid. Oh, and the sibling constantly brags about all of this while we are together during holidays.

My husband and I have stable careers and recently had a child. We live within our means and do not have the latest technology/latest fashion. We also live in a city with a reasonable cost of living (relative to NYC). Has anybody else dealt with parents who subsidize their adult children's lifestyle and show favoritism? How did you deal with this? Of course, the parents are free to spend their money as they wish; however, I fear that it is driving a wedge and causing resentment.
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Old 5th July 2012, 1:56 PM   #2
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This is something that hit my family also; I have a sibling who was obviously and constantly favoured by my parents - my father especially, though to my knowledge, my mother never said anything to the contrary, certainly not in front of us other two children....and it still goes on, even thoug my mother is now widowed...

What did I do?
To be perfectly blunt - I got over it.
As far as I can ascertain, it';s not rare, it happens and as such, you can either fester in resentment, animosity and alienation - or suck it up, deal with it, and consider it part of life's rich tapestry.
Frankly, I truly don't give a damn. I have personally more important issues in my life than worrying about "Oooh, they're getting this, while I'm only getting that!"
All I know, is I'm not doing it with my kids.
Period.
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Old 5th July 2012, 2:40 PM   #3
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I never experienced it in my own family but i saw it in my extended family. Tara's advice is spot on.

Read this thread :
Jealous older sister
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Old 5th July 2012, 3:46 PM   #4
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This is actually very similar to my husband's family favoring his half brother. I don't think it's intentional. But fact is, they see him as much more attractive than my H, he got his bachelors degree within 5 years of high school and he lives across country. Whenever they visit or are visited, they do all kinds of activities, but when the relatives see us, it's just for a tea-time in passing before we take them to the airport.
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Old 5th July 2012, 4:45 PM   #5
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I went through it as a kid---it 's very painful, when you're not old enough to process it rationally.

My sister was favored by my dad to the point of absurdity---i.e.--one year, for Christmas, she got a piano........

I got a calendar.

The next year she got a car.......

I got a calendar.

This was after my parent's divorce, however, and my dad was trying to buy her loyalty, to get back at my mom. I made it clear that I couldn't be bought.

So, while I felt good about myself---it still stung.

The scapegoat/golden child dynamic is still very pervasive in a lot of families, even when the kids become adults. It's sad, and very destructive.
I think it does more damage than many people realize........
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Old 5th July 2012, 7:33 PM   #6
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So, while I felt good about myself---it still stung.

The scapegoat/golden child dynamic is still very pervasive in a lot of families, even when the kids become adults. It's sad, and very destructive.
I think it does more damage than many people realize........
I agree. It does do a lot of damage.

This is going on with my aunt and her two kids. She shows favoritism towards her daughter and neglects her son. He is very angry about it, and talks about it often. It's very sad.
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Old 6th July 2012, 1:47 AM   #7
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I'm gonna get flamed for this, but i suspect that the daughter is more likely to be considered the golden child.
Like i said, my parents never did it to me, but my grandfather did it for 2yrs.
I was 5, she was 3, she was the only niece he had.
He was very tough on me, said he saw something bad in me so he tried to punish it out.
She quickly learn to cry, and i would get punished over it.
My parents visited every week-end and i would go off and cry when they would leave.
One time my dad saw my bruises and he went and argued with him.

This was quite unusual for him because the grandfather actually did the same thing with my dad and his brother.
His brother left the family and cut all ties.
My dad was manipulated into doing everything for his family, even for his estranged brother.

I could go on with examples from his friends, and how they did similar things in their families.

On the other hand, my parents both knew of this and did everything in their power to undo the damage that my grandfather did.
They never treated us this way, and it shows. My sister and I eventually made peace over what happened [she was the only niece on both my dad's side and my mom's side of the family].
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Old 7th July 2012, 12:17 AM   #8
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My paternal grandmother has a favorite granddaughter and it's not me, lol. G-ma only has two grandkids, both granddaughters; my 20yo cousin and me (I'm in my 40's). I am the daughter of the black sheep of the family and my cousin is the daughter of g-ma's favorite and only daughter of her five kids. Growing up I was treated much differently than my cousin is. I'm happy for my cousin she was treated better than I was because what I got wasn't good at all. G-ma later pitted my cousin and my own DD against one another, as they are much closer in age.

FWIW, I have no problem with my cousin and the situation is laughable, especially given our age difference of 20+ years. However, some of the things my g-ma has said to me personally over the years still sting if they cross my mind. Thankfully, my other grandmother was a saint in comparison and I am grateful for having had her as a grandparent.

There's nothing you can do about someone else's behavior but you can control your reaction to it and/or choose to not entertain the bragging, etc. If it were me, I'd ignore your SIL whenever she started in about what's been given to her lately. Change the subject, walk away, etc. Or don't go to the holiday get-togethers.....if the conversations are that boring and trite (SIL listing off and bragging about everything she's gotten from mom lately), there's no way I'd want to go anyway. But that's me, family events.... I can live without most of them, in all honesty.

What is it your husband would rather have happen?
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Old 7th July 2012, 3:47 AM   #9
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i actually have this, my mother openly favours my other sibling, i actually have grown to be okay with it, i just dont have the normal child-parent bond like most people, so i dont feel much towards them however i also favour my sibling to my parents, i have a close friendship with my sibling.
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Old 8th July 2012, 1:04 PM   #10
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Originally Posted by jade4071 View Post
My paternal grandmother has a favorite granddaughter and it's not me, lol. G-ma only has two grandkids, both granddaughters; my 20yo cousin and me (I'm in my 40's). I am the daughter of the black sheep of the family and my cousin is the daughter of g-ma's favorite and only daughter of her five kids. Growing up I was treated much differently than my cousin is. I'm happy for my cousin she was treated better than I was because what I got wasn't good at all. G-ma later pitted my cousin and my own DD against one another, as they are much closer in age.

FWIW, I have no problem with my cousin and the situation is laughable, especially given our age difference of 20+ years. However, some of the things my g-ma has said to me personally over the years still sting if they cross my mind. Thankfully, my other grandmother was a saint in comparison and I am grateful for having had her as a grandparent.

There's nothing you can do about someone else's behavior but you can control your reaction to it and/or choose to not entertain the bragging, etc. If it were me, I'd ignore your SIL whenever she started in about what's been given to her lately. Change the subject, walk away, etc. Or don't go to the holiday get-togethers.....if the conversations are that boring and trite (SIL listing off and bragging about everything she's gotten from mom lately), there's no way I'd want to go anyway. But that's me, family events.... I can live without most of them, in all honesty.

What is it your husband would rather have happen?
I am not sure what he would rather have happen. We did not visit during the holidays last year because it was simply too expense and frankly not worth it (yes, the SIL does list off everything she's gotten--ipad, new iphone, trip to Rome, etc. and it is boring and trite).

They phoned him from their island vacation. It is his birthday soon so as he said to me, they called to "check it off the `to do' list." How sad.
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Old 10th July 2012, 8:38 PM   #11
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my dad favors my brother regardless. ive accepted that, as unreasonable as it can be.

at the end of the day, if my dad gets ill, my brother will NOT be there. guaranteed. he is a spoilt selfish man. it will be me there to pick up the pieces and my brother will be nowhere to be found.

every time he favours my brother i just invisage the type of nursing home ill be putting him in.
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Old 15th July 2012, 9:46 AM   #12
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My sister and I have both recently felt that the other was being favoured, and I feel really childish admitting to it, because we're also in our thirties. It isn't about spoiling in our case - it's about something else.

I wonder if they think that your life is more full, because you and your husband have each other, and your child. I know that shouldn't mean that they don't treat your husband in the same way that they treat his sister; do you think the treats would stop if she married?
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Old 15th July 2012, 10:01 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by sauget View Post
My husband is upset because he feels like his family is showing favoritism towards his sister. We are all in our 30's, and he and I have been married for 10 years. She is single and lives in New York City. Her occupation is low-paying, so my in-laws subsidize her lifestyle by paying for her latest iphone (along with the monthly bill), monthly trips to purchase new clothing, cash stipends for bills and incidentals. Every year they take her and the step-sister (who is in her 40's) on vacation with them--all expenses paid. Oh, and the sibling constantly brags about all of this while we are together during holidays.

My husband and I have stable careers and recently had a child. We live within our means and do not have the latest technology/latest fashion. We also live in a city with a reasonable cost of living (relative to NYC). Has anybody else dealt with parents who subsidize their adult children's lifestyle and show favoritism? How did you deal with this? Of course, the parents are free to spend their money as they wish; however, I fear that it is driving a wedge and causing resentment.

My step father and my mother favored my younger sister..my mum subsidizes my sister now..and I hold no resentment for this....because i dont think it has helped her be happy....or given her the satisfaction i feel at the end of the day of living within my means ...my independance is something that makes me happy the struggles have made me a stronger person and i dont hold resentment because resentment would not make my life more complete.....wedges have to be put in place by grudges....and grudges make your life a misery...so leave the wedges for the sour cream and sweet chilli sauce.....yummmm...Years from now after hard work, sweat and a few or more tears you will be proud of what you achieve......there is nothing like that feeling.....best wishes....deb
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Old 15th July 2012, 11:25 AM   #14
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I am not sure what he would rather have happen. We did not visit during the holidays last year because it was simply too expense and frankly not worth it (yes, the SIL does list off everything she's gotten--ipad, new iphone, trip to Rome, etc. and it is boring and trite).

They phoned him from their island vacation. It is his birthday soon so as he said to me, they called to "check it off the `to do' list." How sad.
Just saw your response. It's a tough one to deal with because it sounds like there's no stopping the SIL and her me-me-me monologue about whatever she's gotten lately. It also doesn't sound like your husband desires the same type of treatment from them, rather it would just be nice to not hear about all this garbage all the time. I tend to favor the course of ignoring the SIL's behavior (most attention hogs can't thrive in their behavior if no one cares). Of course, this may or may not work on your SIL.....it worked on my g-ma though. She eventually got the picture that I didn't want to listen to what I considered her negative talk.

Of course, I don't find myself wanting to spend a lot of time with this part of my family either. Some family members are better off taken in smaller doses anyway, less of an impact on you and your husband. Good luck.
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Old 31st July 2012, 7:16 AM   #15
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I've had to deal with this so much. As I'm the eldest if I don't help out my siblings I get screamed at and verbally abused. Yet if my siblings don't help me, my parents don't care at all. And actually get angry at me and tell me to shut up. Went to therapy but the therapist was crap.
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