Siblings and Fair Vs. Equal

Don’t you just love it when your kids say, “That’s not fair.” Nine times out of ten it has to do with something their brother or sister got and they didn’t.

“She has more ice cream than me, that’s not fair!”

“You read him more stories than me, that’s not fair!”

“You gave him more brocolli than me, that’s not fair!” A little humor here.

Lisa and I always tell parents that to love equally is somehow to love less. What the heck does that mean? In other words, you would go absolutely insane if you tried to make everything equal in your house. And let’s face it, your children would never be satisfied.  What do to?

For starters, don’t get dragged into that game. If your child feels that he has unfairly been given less ice cream, don’t try to measure his against his sister’s and make it “equal.” You’ll be there all day. Instead, ignore the fairness factor and address his needs. “Enjoy your ice cream, (child’s name). If you’re still hungry once you’ve finished that, let me know.”

I stumbled upon a great advice column at PBS that explains the difference between fair vs. equal.

Planet Equal: where every sibling gets treated, well, equally.  You’ll to to bed at the same time as your little sister, even if your favorite team goes into overtime on Friday night.

Plantet Fair: Older kids can stay up later than younger ones, since young kids need more sleep.


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