Thursday, September 09, 2010

f is for fairness, f is for fun

Fairness: Children are acutely sensitive to favouritism between siblings even if parents are unaware they're doing it. F is also for fun, look for it every day.


Fun, well that's easy. I'm the Queen Of Fun. I try to make fun every day. And if that was all I needed to raise my children it would be, well... fun.

As for fairness, how many times have I heard other parents talk about treating each child as different as their individual needs? So I'm going to ask the question: How can we ever be seen to be fair to each of our children?

Eek.


Throughout just one of the days in the life of us, Madison will observe something that I let Noah do, which I no longer let him do. Madison will always comment. Madison is 4. Noah is 1. Noah is a baby and it's easier to just let things go. Which is what I did when Madison was a baby. Of course, Madison doesn't remember that (although I remind him). And I wouldn't let him get away with the same thing now, purely because he is older and should know better.

But Madison sees Noah get away with what seems like a lot. For example, every night in the bath, there's splashes from Noah, but Madison is the one who has been told that lots of splashes end up in lots of crashes (we've had a fair few slips on the wet water recently).

It hardly seems fair from his perspective.

Now, if I'm the Queen of Fun, my husband is the King of Fair.

When it came to raising his girls, he tried very hard to make sure that he divided up his time evenly, and that he ensured that their needs were met. He even spent quite a bit of time ensuring that presents were useful, good quality and something that would last. But if there was a comparison on Christmas gifts, holidays, treats and time, he didn't defend himself. Even though he'd done his best he used to say, "Sometimes life just isn't fair." And as they groaned with what seemed like a completely unsatisfactory answer, I'm sure he was hoping for a life lesson to be learnt.

Not fair? Absolutely.

So, should we teach our children that life is fair, when it isn't? Treat them the same when they're different? How do we show no favouritism to those we love the most and those we'd do anything for?

The A-Z of Parenting Tips were inspired by this article in the Courier Mail.