Sorry Kid, Life Isn’t Fair

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Two siblings fighting.Overall, my kids are not big complainers. But if I had to choose one phrase complained out loud most in our house, it would be, “That’s not fair!”

Well, kid, part of my job is to teach you that life is indeed not fair. Ironically, the fact that life isn’t fair makes it fairer for everyone in the long run. Here are some good things to help your kids remember when life doesn’t seem fair.

1. It’s not your turn.

We have four kids. When it’s time for one child to get new sneakers, it doesn’t mean it’s time for everyone to get new sneakers. I remind the rest of my kids that it’s just not their turn right now. Everyone is growing at different rates and has different needs. Just because you aren’t getting new sneakers right now doesn’t mean you won’t get new sneakers ever again. In time, it will be your turn.

2. You didn’t do the hard work to get the prize.

One of my children is going to a tutor twice a week this summer. After each session, she gets a small prize (slime, an eraser, a lollipop). Of course, my other children think it isn’t fair that they don’t get a new toy. But they didn’t do the work to get the prize! It’s fair to only get rewarded if you’ve done the work to earn it.

3. Everyone has something that feels “unfair.”

My daughter thinks it’s unfair that her older sister has straight her when hers is curly. Yet, she gets constant compliments on her natural blonde beach waves. So, which isn’t fair – straight hair or curly? As adults, we know that everyone has something that they wish they could change about themselves, their situation, or their abilities. At the same time, we all possess a talent, attribute, or set up that another person wishes they had. Life isn’t “fair” for everyone, and we don’t always get what we want. The sooner we learn to be content with what we have, the better off we are!

4. You might not know the whole story.

Maybe your child has noticed that one student in the class always gets to be the line leader. Or maybe another student receives extra time on a test. Having things be “fair” doesn’t always mean equal treatment. Some children have struggles that your child doesn’t. It helps to remind your children to keep an open mind about why another student may need extra help before they jump to thinking their treatment is unfair.

Life isn’t fair, and that can be a hard pill even for adults to swallow. How do you help your children work through situations when life isn’t fair?

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Kate S. is a mom at home in Fairfield with her 4 kids (2 girls and 2 boys) and one puppy. Kate's sister introduced her to Chris, whom she married in 2010. They welcomed their first daughter in 2012, a son in 2014, another daughter in 2016, another boy in 2018, and finally a puppy in 2021. Kate and Chris's parenting motto would probably be, "Just take them with you." As a family, they continue to enjoy activities like skiing, kayaking, and hiking by taking turns to teach the older kids or strapping babies into backpacks. Kate can be found out and about exploring with her kids, volunteering at their schools, or laughing with other moms at the beautiful chaos of life with children.

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