I was at the store and found a great deal on something I knew one of my kids would love. That moment of excitement was quickly replaced with hesitation. I thought of how my other two children would react when they realized I didn’t get anything for them. The urge to search for something, anything, to buy them was strong. I just wanted to prevent their complaining. But I also didn’t want to rob my other child of receiving a gift I knew was perfect for him.
Do we really have to keep everything between our kids even? The truth is that life is unfair. It’s not exactly a secret we can keep from our kids. It does not take them long to learn this for themselves. So if we try to avoid upsetting our kids when things seem unfair, we rob them of these 3 important life lessons.
Life is unfair, but we can still rejoice with others.
When we try to protect our kids from unfair situations, we rob them of the opportunity to learn how to rejoice when others receive a gift or special attention. This is an incredibly difficult lesson to learn as an adult, especially with our tendencies to compare ourselves to others. Children should have the opportunity to learn how to be happy for others now while they are still under the wing of someone who loves them unconditionally.
When we try to protect our kids from unfair situations, we rob them of the opportunity to learn how to rejoice when others receive a gift or special attention.
When one of their siblings gets a gift, I want them to know how to be happy, not jealous. Allowing our kids to feel the weight of disappointment can create the teaching moment they need to practice rejoicing with others.
Life is unfair, but we can share tears when others are down.
When we try to protect our kids from unfair situations, we rob them of the opportunity to empathize with others. When life seems unfair, it can really bring our kids down. Floods of untruths can even fill their hearts, leaving them feeling like they’re unloved or not good enough.
But kids can give a healthy perspective to their friends when they struggle with unfairness too. I want my children to grow into compassionate people who know how to love others, even in their darkest moments.
Life is unfair, but I am still loved.
When we try to make everything even for our kids, we open the door for entitlement to grow. In a perfect world, our efforts would all get rewarded. But that simply isn’t how it works outside the world of participation trophies. Sometimes our kids will work really hard for something and still come up short. Sometimes they won’t work hard at all and still get rewarded. Simply put, our kids are not entitled to receive what someone else receives.
They must learn that their value doesn’t come from the number of treats or amount of attention they receive. If we remind our kids that not everything has to be distributed evenly, they’ll learn that when we show love to others, it doesn’t mean we love them any less.
How do you deal with the pressure to make everything fair for your kids?