Navigating Favoritism Between Parents: A Guide to Supporting Your Teen

Dealing with a teenager can be challenging on its own, but when a teenager shows favoritism between parents, it can add an extra layer of complexity to an already delicate situation. Favoritism can have a profound impact on a teenager’s emotional well-being and their relationships with both parents. Here, we’ll explore some strategies for parents to navigate this situation with empathy, communication, and understanding.

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Acknowledge Your Teen’s Feelings:

The first step in dealing with favoritism between parents is to acknowledge your teenager’s feelings. It’s important to remember that favoritism may be perceived differently from your teenager’s perspective. Sit down with your teen and encourage them to express their thoughts and emotions openly. Listen without judgment, and validate their feelings. Let them know that their feelings are important to you and that you’re willing to work together to find a solution.


As parents, it’s crucial to engage in self-reflection, because doing so is what makes you the adult in the relationship. Take a moment to consider whether your actions, behaviors, or words may have contributed to your teenager’s perception of favoritism. Reflect on whether you’re unintentionally favoring one child over the other and how you can make changes to be more equitable in your interactions and decisions.

Open Communication:

Effective communication is key to addressing favoritism. Have open and honest conversations with your teenager about the situation. Ask them for specific examples of when they felt one parent was favored over the other. This will help you understand their perspective better and identify areas where improvements can be made. It’s important to ensure that both parents are present for these discussions, so your teenager knows that you’re working together to resolve the issue.

Set Clear Boundaries:

Boundaries and expectations for both parents when it comes to parenting decisions are crucial when it comes to interactions with a teenager. As noted by the divorce lawyers in Boulder, this can be especially crucial if you and your partner are separated. By doing so, you can help create a more balanced and equitable environment for your teenager. You and your partner should take the time to sit down and agree upon rules, privileges, and consequences so that both parents are on the same page.

Spend Quality Time With Your Teen:

Make an effort to spend quality time with your teenager individually. Engage in activities that your teenager enjoys and use this time to build a stronger bond. By creating special moments with each parent, you can help alleviate feelings of favoritism and strengthen your relationship with your teenager.

Seek Professional Help:

If favoritism between parents becomes a persistent issue that negatively affects your teenager’s emotional well-being, it may be beneficial to seek professional help. A family therapist or counselor can provide guidance and support in addressing the underlying issues and improving family dynamics. They can help facilitate productive conversations and provide tools to foster a healthier parent-child relationship.

Encourage Sibling Bonding:

Promote positive sibling relationships by encouraging your teenagers to spend time together and support each other. This can help reduce rivalry and jealousy. Encourage them to communicate and express their feelings to one another, fostering a sense of unity within the family.

Be Patient:

Addressing favoritism between parents is a process that may take time. Be patient and persistent in your efforts to create a more balanced and equitable environment for your teenager. Change won’t happen overnight, but with dedication and consistent communication, you can work together to improve your family dynamics.

Show Unconditional Love:

Reassure your teenager that your love for them is unconditional and unwavering. Remind them that even though the dynamics may be challenging at times, your love and support remain constant. Let them know that you’re committed to working through the issue and creating a healthier family environment.

Ultimately, dealing with favoritism between parents is a delicate matter that requires empathy, open communication, and a willingness to make changes. By acknowledging your teenager’s feelings, self-reflecting, and working together as a family, you can address the issue and foster healthier relationships with both your teenager and your co-parent. Remember that every family is unique, and the strategies you employ may need to be tailored to your specific situation. In the end, the goal is to create a loving and supportive environment in which your teenager feels valued and respected by both parents.

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