I was at the store and found a great deal on something that 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 that I didn’t’ get anything for them. The urge to search for something, anything, to buy them was strong. I just wanted to avoid the bad attitudes that I had to face when I got home. But I also didn’t want to rob my 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 that we can protect our kids from; nor does it take them long to learn this for themselves. If we try to avoid upsetting our kids when things seem unfair, we rob them of these 3 important life lessons.
Life is unfair; 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 get a gift, I want them to know how to be happy for them, 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; 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 with messages of not being good enough or feeling unloved.
They can give a healthy perspective to their friends when they struggle with unfairness too. I want my children to grow into compassionate people that 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 amount of treats or 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?