Sibling Rivalry: Truth About the Family Favorite (cont.)

Jealousy is a big problem. Jealousy of parents towards their children is a big problem that, again, is just unaddressed entirely in psychology. And, if you go to a psychiatrist's office and tell them my mother is jealous of me, they'll look at you very strange and say you're very "oral" or "anal" or something. It's most difficult for a child to come to terms with the sense of having a close person be that jealous of them, especially a person who is supposed to be love giver and care giver. The feeling of guilt and rejection in the child is very debilitating sometimes. It's one of those things that a lot of therapy won't help you. What you really need to do is detach yourself emotionally from the hope that this parent will come around and eventually love you, because the jealousy is there and it's a barrier to love.

Moderator: How does a single parent play both roles that they demand, loving and strict at the same time?

Dr. Rabie-Azoory: That's an extremely difficult role to play. I would solicit, if I could, as a single parent, as much outside support as I could get from grandparents, aunts and uncles, even teachers, although it's not a complete solution. I would advise the prime love giving parent, the single parent is usually the prime love giving parent, I would advise them to be more on the strict side than they would like to be. I think that works best. I think most prime love givers tend to give in a lot and the single parent needs to stand strong. That's the role, often, of the secondary parent; it's to support the prime love giver in standing strong. But, since that second love giver isn't there, it's up to them to play both roles effectively. But that's one of the most difficult positions to be in. And it's not just the absence of the male that will fill that post. It could just as easily happen to a male that he gives in too much to the children. As you know, possibly from reading the book, I differentiate from parental roles as primary and secondary love givers, but also in half of families, fathers play the role of primary love giver and the other half it's the moms. So this is also unrecognized in psychology. We've always seen fathers as the less involved ones. And the fact is, that in half of families, the children rely on the father's emotional input. And very often, it's put down not only by society but by the mother also. And the family doesn't leave room for the father to feel important, yet the main emotional support to both her and the children is coming from him. So, I consider this very cutting edge information in the field. The book, incidentally, is being published in Brazil as we speak and is slated for worldwide publication eventually. The book, They Love You, They Love Me Not: The Truth About the Family Favorite and Sibling Rivalry is available online and 1-800-59-BOOKS through Barricade Publishing. Online, you can find it at BarnesandNoble.com

Moderator: What types of personalities become more successful in life? Are there any celebrity examples?

Dr. Rabie-Azoory: You'll find in reading the book that there are about 30 biographies of individuals who are celebrities. And the great majority, whether it's politics or entertainment, however we know the person, that the great majority are disfavored personalities. I had trouble, as a matter of fact, finding examples of favored personalities with their biographies on the shelf simply because the disfavored personality is that much more competitive and driven and will overcome all kinds of obstacles in order to gain the limelight in any aspect of life. That is, in business, in speaking, in acting, they try and put themselves in the forefront a lot more than favored personalities because the favored personalities are the more contented people. They're too content and usually too laid back to push themselves and to try very hard to get to the forefront. It's interesting -- two that we best know, John Kennedy and Robert Kennedy, were both disfavored. So, Joseph, the one who died in the war, was the favored personality, a very warm, lovely charismatic fellow and godfather to Ted, the youngest brother. By contrast, John Kennedy was sickly and fought a lot with his brother. They had fierce fights all the time. He was harder to control, for sure, than Joseph. But, Robert Kennedy, again, was a reclusive; he was shy, he was a needy child. His father was the prime love giver, Joseph, Sr. in contrast to Rose Kennedy who was the more rigid, religion-oriented parent. Joseph Kennedy was the warmer and more encouraging one. And, Robert Kennedy was next to Patricia who was third cluster. It was Joseph and John in one cluster. What happens is that in families they cluster off into small groups of twos and threes and compete only within their cluster. Second cluster in Kennedys, Rosemary, Kathleen and Eunice. And within each cluster there is only one favored. In the third cluster was Patricia who was favored and Robert who was disfavored. He needed a lot of encouragement to come up in politics. I believe it was Rose who had to introduce him before he spoke at a rally. He was fairly reclusive, brooding, passionate. And Edward, Ted Kennedy, was also favored, but then, probably was plagued with such a feeling of depression and loss because the prime love giver, Joseph, had been so hit with all these losses. He lost his favorite Joseph and his favorite Kathleen who died in a plane crash. She was also lively and vivacious. Joseph lost two of his favorite children. And then, Robert died too, but before that already the man was so devastated and drained that I believe Ted Kennedy didn't have access to the warmth and compassion, and probably took on the depressive characteristics more so of what Joseph Kennedy had left to offer. So, he's always been low energy, I think , and has always had this depressive core that he's never been able to overcome.

Moderator: What happens during adolescence?

Dr. Rabie-Azoory: If you're disfavored, you'll go through a difficult adolescence. If you're disfavored and your family splits up, you'll have an extremely difficult time with the break up. It's more an issue of being disfavored than being through adolescence. It's like saying there's a middle child syndrome where a child has difficulties because they're a middle child. It's not necessarily so. If the child starts as disfavored, all problems will arise with the advent of any kind of crisis and adolescence is a crisis. They'll go through any crisis in a difficult way. There are those adolescents who go through that period with little difficulty and others need so much help. It's an expression of the anxieties and lack of security and sense of failure, all the things that were determinants of their disfavored status in the family in the first place, so it's just another example of the disfavored position.