Childhood is such a magical time. As a parent, I feel even more pressure to preserve this sanctity for my own children. Based on pure anecdote, I have noticed a trend: if there are at least two children in a family, there are two archetypes: a favorite and a performer.

The favorite in the family was the one that was, knowingly or unknowingly, doted on. Parents were well meaning, but they probably unintentionally engaged in enabling relationships with the favorite. This has consequences when it comes to our harsh, competitive world.

The performer, on the other hand, was someone who had to prove herself.

I do consider myself the performer in my family. It was subtle. I felt loved. I never felt I was wronged. But there must have been a range of behaviors while being around the favorite that had undue influence on my performance as an adult.

I was able to achieve more milestones in adult life than my brother. I felt more responsibility for the outcomes of the people I loved. I was able to change my physics whenever I needed to without the help of my parents. I will not claim I am self made, but I never asked for anything.

I find a lot of career and purpose driven people to be performers who weren’t the favorites in the family. It is a slippery slope to retrospectively explain what happened to me, by generalizing how I was treated in childhood.

But these thoughts make me feel cautious about my own parenting. Especially around my blind spots on how I treat my children.

I don’t want to favor anyone. I want them all to perform.

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