Favoritism creates major fissures in a family dynamic, particularly when it's so obvious everyone involved knows it's happening.
In a popular post on the AITA subreddit, a parent asked if they were wrong for punishing their daughter for not helping search for her cousin. They wrote:
My daughter (17) and niece (6) are the only grandkids in our family. My niece was a rainbow baby and the only child in our family (I found out about my daughter when she was 9 so we missed most of her childhood) so naturally she gets a lot of attention. My daughter is clearly jealous of her and has been very mean towards her. A few days ago we all went shopping and my niece went missing in the crowd.
Naturally, we all panicked and started to search for her while my daughter was on her phone playing. I told her that my niece is missing and she said good I hope she is not found and went back to her phone so when we got home I grounded her for a month. She thinks I was the AH.
You said your niece is the only child in your family. You also said she and your daughter are the only grandkids. Does your family not consider your daughter a part of the family, because she was introduced to them later in her life?
YTA Your daughter's response wasn't great, but I'm going to give her a pass here. You never really explained why you didn't find out why you didn't know you had a daughter until she was 9. Not exactly father of the year look there.
The way you describe your niece makes it clear, even to me, that she is the favored child. The miracle baby, if you will. And yes, rainbow babies ARE a big deal, and they are special, and something to be celebrated. But for a 6 yo to be this fawned over by your entire family? I don't blame your daughter for feeling slighted, emotionally.
Also, it's not cool that you are shoving off the responsibility of watching a 6 yo onto a 17 yo. You are the adult here. You neglected your niece, don't take out the fact that she got lost on your daughter, when YOU were supposed to be watching her. To be clear, I do not condone what your daughter said, but I'm choosing to give her grace considering the circumstances.
Will everyone please stop focusing on the part of my post where I said that rainbow babies are special and should be cherishes?
They ARE special to their parents, just like ALL of their kids should be; there just might be a few extra moments of relief and joy surrounding the birth than there would have been surrounding the birth of a baby who was born under so-called "normal" circumstances
I would expect that after a few hours, that relief would dissipate and the parents would go back to parenting as normal; finding uniqueness and joys in each of their children, as it should be, and not putting a child on a pedestal because of the circumstances surrounding their conception/birth, of which they had no part of.
YTA. She's obviously feeling neglected and lashing out. You are sending the message that she is less important than her sister. She's also not responsible for watching the child in the store. That was your responsibility. Huge AH.
You don't sound like you like your daughter at all to be honest. You're acting like your family can't have a great relationship with her like your niece because she was older? There's plenty of love in everyone's heart for ALL KIDS no matter the age. Being a rainbow baby doesn't mean a kid needs to be put on a pedestal. I'm sorry, but your niece is not YOUR DAUGHTER.
I'm not taking up for her because it wasn't okay at all. But it sounds like you need to take a step back and look at your own actions with your daughter to find out why her actions are this way?
Yea YTA. First 🤮 "rainbow baby". Wait, 🤮 again.
If that's how you all refer to this 6yo, I can only imagine the annoying af lengths ya'll go to. Maybe talk to your own child and figure out why she doesn't feel as welcomed, valued, loved. Jfc.
Edit: so I'm gonna give you a quick update while I figure out how to deal with her now. I decided to have a conversation with her about her feelings and behavior towards her cousin. We didn't have much of a conversation because she kept crying and screaming at me, listing all the times everyone ignored her or favored my niece. I honestly didn't realize how awful we have been to her.
She is my little girl and I never meant to make her feel like this. I'm going to talk to my family and tell them we need to throw her a late birthday party since we had to skip her birthday because my niece was very sick. It will be a day only about her and from now on we have to be more careful about how we treat her.
I don't know what to do other than that and I probably won't be giving any more updates since I have to go figure out what to do now.
Hopefully, OP and their daughter are able to communicate through this in a genuinely helpful way.