When you have two (or more) kids, you get used to hearing "it's not fair" a lot. It's "not fair" when one child gets a bigger dessert. It's "not fair" when one gets to go first and another has to go last. And it's certainly "not fair" when one gets to go to the beach while the other has to do chores. Of course, life is not fair in general. But should they be learning that at such an early age?
On the premiere of Louie, comedian Louie C.K. gives one child a Popsicle, but not the other one. She protests and he basically says, "Suck it up, life isn't fair." It certainly isn't. We don't have to look any further than the gap between rich and poor in this country to know that. Or the number of bad marriages that started in good faith. Or the number of children whose parents can't afford to feed them.
Life is certainly not fair. But 8 years old is a bit young for that lesson. Home should be as equitable as possible.
My husband and I have two kids who are very close in age, and they are just at the point where they are constantly trying to be first in everything they do. And so they take turns.
We never give a gift to one without also getting something small for the other. We try to always give food in equal sizes, too. This is as much for our benefit as for theirs. After all, who wants to hear a child screaming that their portion is too small?
Life isn't fair, it's true. And there will be times they won't measure up or won't get something in equal portions. They will lose games and there won't be a medal for "participation." In other words, they will learn these harsh life lessons with or without my help. But in our home, there will be as much fairness as possible.
They will take equal turns with a coveted toy. They will get a small token for each other's birthdays. They will receive an equal portion of food and take turns going first and then second.
Sure, life isn't fair, but our home will be. To do anything else just seems unnecessarily cruel. There is plenty of time for harsh life lessons.
Do you "play fair" with your kids?