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Ask Julie: Why Does Dad Favor My Brother?

Well, I’m 15 and I’m really sad because my brother always gets everything he goes and sees my dad and gets £30 or more of him every time he gets money for stuff as well everyday and when I go and see my dad all i get is a £5.  My brother also got a xbox connect of my dad. I asked my dad for a xbox 360 and he said he has no money but he always gets my brother stuff and when my brother comes home he brags about it and I’m getting fed up of it. My birthday comes and all he gets me is a little ornament I don’t want to seem ungrateful its just he treats my brother different to me he should treat us both the same but he don’t. I think its favouritism.

A: I can see why you are so confused and sad about not being treated fairly by your father. Dads are the most important male figure in an adolescent daughter’s life. Consider talking with your dad about your hurt. Start by expressing gratitude to your dad for what he has provided for you. Then, gently call his attention to perceived differences in the way he treats you and your brother. Be sure to use “I” statements as much as possible and avoid using accusations like “you always…” and “you never…”. An example of this is “Dad, I feel sad when you give my brother more money than you give to me because I’m afraid it means I’m not as important to you.”

Another issue here is the competitive relationship with your brother. I can’t help but wonder what’s behind his bragging. It sounds like neither of you live with your dad, right? Do either of you have a fear of losing touch with your dad or of not being important to him? Is your brother exaggerating the gifts from dad so he feels more secure about dad’s love for him? I have more questions than answers here so feel free to write back.

It sounds to me like the core issue behind the money and gifts is your hurt and fear about not being as valuable to your dad.  The first place to start is sharing those feelings with your dad and asking for reassurance of his love.

Thank you so much for writing in and asking for help. Please let me know how the conversation goes.

Julie Hanks, LCSW

Originally appeared in my column