It is difficult for parents to bond with their children
Soulmate - This is why parents are not equally close to all of their children
Therefore, parents are not equally close to all of their children
There are parents who have a special connection to a child. This is what the famous family therapist Jesper Juul says. For a long time he did not dare to defend the thesis publicly.
It's not about mom's darling. Or daddy's princess. And yet it is about children and parents who have a special relationship with one another. An “intuitive connection” is what one of the most famous family therapists in Europe, Jesper Juul, calls it.
For many parents, the Dane is what Remo Largo is in Switzerland: Stop on the daily educational balancing act. He has written around forty books on child rearing, the penultimate one, «Leitwolfe sein» (2016), became a bestseller again. In his latest book, "Lovers Remain", he has hidden a chapter on the "intuitive connection". The book is actually about how parents can have a good relationship with one another, despite the constant arguments with and because of the children. In the middle is now what he had previously only dared to say orally.
A delicate thesis
Juul says the main reason he didn't mention this topic in any of his many other books before that was because parents were concerned that parents might use the phenomenon against each other during a divorce. And even in functioning partnerships, there is often a subliminal competition about who is the better parent.
That special connection with a child is a sensitive matter. Because if there is such a thing, how is the other child and the other parent doing? And doesn't Juul just talk about the well-known “favorite children”?
"It was always a challenge for me to explain this connection to parents," says Juul when asked. He never talks about favorite children. That only signifies an emotional attraction. The intuitive connection is about an existential relationship. "It has nothing to do with love." Just because parents had no other name for this bond made them think it was love. So parents don't have to feel guilty or jealous of their partner. An intuitive connection is also no distinction. "It is what it is, what it is."
Juul found the traditional theories about "favorite parents", "firstborn" and the like just not explanatory enough. The family therapist openly admits that there is no scientific evidence for his theory. But you can't prove something like that from the outside either. But those affected, especially the children, are mostly aware of the “intuitive relationship”.
Juul cannot explain why such a connection arises. But he suspects that it only occurs in biological families. Over the years he has met many adopted children. Of those who met their biological mothers, half understood what he meant by an intuitive connection. And he wonders whether the other half have one for their father. "Interestingly, not a single adoptive child could name one of his adoptive parents as having an intuitive connection with him," he says. So there may be a biological link between children and parents.
Constant conflicts with the daughter
Juul tells of a mother who, in family therapy, began to cry with relief when Juul tried to explain the intuitive connection to her. The mother said she always felt bad about seeing her family split in two: she and her 9-year-old son on one side - her husband and 14-year-old daughter on the other. “If I ask my daughter to help me in the garden, it often ends in a conflict because I have to tell her everything ten times. If my son helps me, he'll do everything right the first time. Working with him is just so much easier. "
Juul describes many family situations. Even those with seven-year-old Elisabeth, who sat down on the sofa near her father during the first conversation. It was also easy for this mother to recognize the close relationship between the other two: "Oh yes, you can bet that you are spot on," she said to Juul. "She hasn't let him out of her sight since she was born." Only the father reacts shocked. Then he says: “I've never thought about that. When you say that, I feel in my heart that it is true, but I always had the idea that my wife could be better with children. "
Fathers often reacted like this when they were the one with the intuitive connection with a child, writes Juul. And not all mothers can handle it well: Many find such a connection unfair when they almost single-handedly took care of the child.
Whether you call it intuitive connection or otherwise, it is painful to realize that the relationships in a family are differently close, one way or another. When the American science journalist Jeffrey Kluger wrote about favorite children in Time Magazine in 2012, he started a long-lasting discussion. He claimed that every father and mother has a favorite child.
But Juul says: «I try to avoid words like 'all' or 'everyone', simply because I don't know whether that's the case. I have met families who did not know such a connection, and I have no desire and no reason to doubt it. "
But just: Juul is not interested in favorite children. It is not just about more than feelings, it is also more than “we will be the same”. He describes cases of separated children who became depressed without one parent.
Both are important
Juul is convinced that with this intuitive, existential connection, the parent is the stronger role model. The child unconsciously learns from him how to cope with life and adopt forms of behavior. He also sees this as an opportunity, but - with difficult biographies of the parental role model - also as a challenge.
And what about the partner? Is it superfluous? “The other person is just as important in the child's life as the parent that gives support,” says Juul, “It offers security and stability. If a child only has the parent with the intuitive connection, they only have half of what they need. "
And the Dane warns parents not to abuse the "intuitive connection" as an explanation for anything. For example, when problems arise in the family. He says: "I really only have one recommendation: whatever connection you have with your children, try to be as useful for their lives as possible and enjoy it!"
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