Should parents treat their children equally all the time?

A few days ago my wife went shopping. Nothing strange, right? Women love shopping just like most men love watching football. But there is an interesting twist to this story. Keep reading. 

Can parents treat their children equally all the time?
So there she was, doing her shopping without a care. And then she came across this huge sign that said "30% discount". She fell into a frenzy and started throwing stuff into her shopping basket. So far so good. The only thing she was thinking about was how lucky she was to come across this sale and how much money she was saving. 
Why laser focus is not always a good thing
She was so immersed in the shopping that she forgot about everything else. She was even oblivious to all the people around her. Sometimes I admire her ability to focus.  But not this time. Her laser focus got her into trouble as you will discover. 
Soon she was done with the shopping and was on her way home as happy as she could be. When she got home she called us all. That means me and our two young sons. She started presenting all the stuff she had bought, very proud to have saved so much money. Within a few minutes she was done. All the presents had been unpacked and admired. That is when our second son, the younger one, looked up at her with those eyes that you see when a hungry dog is begging for food by the table. And he said,"Mommie, why did you buy everything only for him?", meaning for his elder brother. She had bought completely nothing for our younger son. It was a sad moment for all of us, except for his elder brother who was just too happy to pay attention to such irrelevant questions. 
Now, how do you explain something like this to a five year old? Can you just imagine what kind of thought coulds be going through his head? Maybe mommie loves my brother more. Maybe I did something wrong and mommie doesn't love me anymore. This is the kind of stuff that can make someone spend huge amounts of money and time visiting psychologists in adult life. It could even sow a grain of enmity between our two children.  Believe me, my wife had a lot of explaining to do. I was glad it wasn't me and I really hope that my son understood and accepted the explanation. I also hope that he will quickly forget such experiences.
The moral you say?
There is always one. The fact is that as parents we can not afford to stop thinking rationally. We have to be always on our toes. One small mistake can lead to life-long complications. But the million dollar question is, is it possible to treat all your children exactly the same all the time? To give them the same kind of love, regardless of what they do, how they behave or what they achieve? If you have any answers to this question, leave a comment below.
Wed, 08 May 2013