I don’t treat my kids equally, on purpose
It’s true, I go out of my way to make sure my kids are not treated equally. Better yet that F word, fair. You may have decided to glance at this because of how mean the title makes me sound. I’ll admit, I would’ve agreed with you even a few short years ago. Starting out as a parent I did play it this way. Watching things in the world around me has changed my thinking on fair.
With multiple kids in our family I was always trying to make sure each kids had the same amount. Christmas gifts, same amount. TV/Video time, same amount. Responsibility, same amount. Sports involvement, same amount. Riding in the front seat, same amount. Down to the same size cookie! Cause God forbid one has a cookie a little bigger than the other. If you are cutting something in half, each one is going to think the other got the bigger piece regardless.
You have probably seen it in action if you have ever made your kid share a drink. “They’re drinking ALL of it!” I went so far as to seeing a cute shirt for my daughter and after grabbing it I realize I need to get something for the other kids too. You know, so they don’t feel left out. Turning my 1 impulse buy into a mad shopping trip. This game is definitely not fair.
What was I creating? Working hard to make each kid feel like they were being treated exactly the same. Did I really want them to grow up thinking life should be fair? If you watch the news for a half a minute you will see people protesting. You will hear interviews from people in jail or court and there is a common theme. Some how they aren’t being treated fairly. They spend time, money or punishment trying to fight what they feel is unfair. I am not debating the validity of what they feel is unfair. Also, I’m not saying people shouldn’t stand up for things. I am saying, don’t we seem to feel that way a lot more in todays society than ever before?
I recently heard a story of a blind man who was in a restaurant. He dropped $20 on the floor and the woman behind him picked it up and took it. The young cashier asked her to give it back to the man and when she refused he made her leave. She was angry and felt she was treated unfairly. That young man went over to the blind man and took $20 out of his own wallet and gave it to repay what the woman had taken. Well, I don’t really think that was fair that the young cashier lost his $20 for the wrong that the woman did. BUT, I sure do want to raise kids like that young cashier.
Maybe I was creating exactly what I didn’t want by making my kids think life should treat them fairly. I don’t want them to be like the woman who took the $20. Thinking, it was on the ground so it’s fair game for me to take it.
Fair should be less about how you are being treated and more about how you are treating others. ~Jess
I now go out of my way to make sure I sometimes only get that one shirt for one kid. Letting them know, I saw it and thought of them. I heard “what did you get me?” and a few “that’s not fair!” at the beginning of this shift. Now when anyone says that in our house the kids reply “life’s not fair”. I might have said that a few hundred times by now. Pointing out times that each one has gotten something the other hasn’t. My son earned a gift card at school. It was ok that he got to go get a smoothie with it and my daughter had to buy her own with money she earned (I explain that more here). My daughter was given a fidget spinner. My son didn’t get one and I didn’t go buy him one! Guess what, there was no meltdown about it.
Life’s Not Fair
There are simply going to be times in life that things happen. Childhood and adult life deal us a bad hand sometimes. An injury before the big game. Leaving your wallet at the gas station with cash in it. Getting detention for talking in class when it was the kid behind you. Being let go from a job you love. Not being picked for the lead role because you got laryngitis right before the audition. Not getting the promotion at work. That puppy ate my Barbie (true story). That puppy ate my Sperry’s (also unfortunately true)!Someone eating the last oreo! Life just isn’t fair. Being hung up on the unfairness has been debilitating to some. I don’t want that for my kids. Not being hung up on the fairness will allow them to work on overcoming whatever it is instead.
This is why, in our house, we don’t use the F word anymore.