“It’s not fair she got more cereal than I did!”
“It’s not fair he got more TV time then me. ”
“It’s not fair he always gets to go to his friends house and I don’t”
Does this sound familiar? There are some things that children say that send us running for cover. “It’s not fair” is one of those phrases parents hate to hear. We try so hard to make things fair to no avail.
Here is something you should know. We can’t fix the injustices of life, even in our own house, to make it fair for our kids. I hate to sound cliche, but life is unfair. Children need to understand this truth. Parents so badly want to create a perfect world for the kids and we can’t.
There is one thing we can do which is more effective and helpful to children. We can accept our children’s negative feelings that it hurts when life is unfair. This will help our kids have realistic expectations of the world we live in. It will help us avoid conflict, and power struggles and redirect them to the situation at hand.
So instead of trying to always make life fair for your kids, try this:
Acknowledge their feelings:
“It can make you feel bad when someone gets more than you.”
“It can hurt so much when your brother gets to watch more TV than you.”
“You want to be able to go to your friend’s house just as many times as your sister does.”
Redirect your child to what needs to be done:
“It is time to eat breakfast. When you finish your cereal, I will get you more.”
“Right now it is time to go to bed, tomorrow we can discuss our TV rules.”
“Children who are five stay home with their mother after school. When you are eight you can make play dates with your friends after school. Lets find something for you to do.”
Life is not fair but it is easier to bear when you have people who love you and validate your feelings. When we are thrown curve balls we need to take a moment and collect ourselves and then dive back into what needs to be done. When we accept our children’s feelings and redirect them to the situation at hand we send them the message, “Life sometimes hurts, but you are capable of handling it and doing what needs to be done.” Teaching them this philosophy of life is not only right but also very fair.
To learn more skills like these join us for our highly informative parenting workshops. Visit us at here for more information.
Adina Soclof, a certified Speech Pathologist, received her masters degree from Hunter College in New York in Communication Sciences. Adina developed TEAM Communication Ventures and conducts parenting, teacher and clinician workshops via telephone nationwide. You can visit her website at http://www.ParentingSimply.com
Danielle @ A Sprinkle of Joy says
I have been trying more to validate my daughter’s feelings. Some days can be harder than others.
Carrie Ford-Coates says
I just have one child who is a toddler. Once I started acknowledging her emotions (toddlers are so emotional!) it seems to help her calm down or not go into full on meltdown!
Charissa | thenotsobusymom says
I was just chatting about this topic with a few fellow moms. I love the reminder to acknowledge the feelings in the situation. Sometimes I just blow past that. Thanks for this post. 🙂
Life isn’t fair, and it’s important that we teach our children that so they don’t get an awe full reality check when they are on their own.
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It is a tough lesson to learn that “fair isn’t always equal” and as parents it can be hard to explain this to our children. Thanks for sharing!
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