Fair Parenting

special needs parenting As soon as you become the parent of more than one child, I think a big concern becomes: how do I keep things fair with my children?

If I buy child B a new toy, does child A get one of equal value? What about if child A needs a new coat while child B has a perfectly decent hand-me-down from child A?

And then there are birthday party invites, sports, activities, fun things that come up while the oldest is in school but the youngest can go to.

And you want to be fair, not accused of favoring one child over another.

But, being fair doesn’t mean being equal. It’s near-impossible to keep everything completely equal.

All we can do is to be sure that each child is getting what they need. And maybe a little of things that they want. But, completely equal? Not going to happen.

If one of your children has special needs, this becomes even more difficult. Well, in my experience. If any of you have figured out how to do this better, please share. Or actually, please come show me exactly how you do it so I can take notes.

I’ve admitted before that I’m not a fair mom. Not if your definition of fair is giving each child the exact same thing.

My 5 year-old suffered from lead poisoning for years. He’s still dealing with the after effects, which include sensory issues along with aggression issues. He was recently diagnosed with PDD-NOS and ADHD.

Often, we have to consider his needs and how he will react in a situation when we are planning outings or even deciding on meals. My other two boys are easy-going and go-with-the-flow.

Even though they still end up enjoying whatever we do(for the most part, anyway), those choices do tend to take their brother into consideration more than them.

And that’s not fair.

And then I immediately think that it’s not fair that our middle son has to struggle so much.

And then my head pretty much starts to spin with the thoughts of what is fair and what is not.

Last week was another rough week AND Hubs was out of town for five days.

Saturday was especially rough and I could see my bookends(oldest and youngest) getting a little disappointed that we weren’t going to head to the movies as we planned because their brother was having a meltdown. Even though he calmed down, he was still too unpredictable to attempt taking him to a theater full of people, where he might get upset because the movie is too loud or someone was sitting too close to him or his clothes felt weird or whatever it is that would be his trigger at that point.

But, instead of letting his brothers down again, I arranged for Bear to go to his grandma’s house.

And the bookends and I chowed down on popcorn and sour watermelon gummies, shared a tub of Sprite, and giggled our way through The Lorax. “That was awesome!” declared my three year-old as we were leaving the theater.

It was awesome. Even with my pang of guilt thinking that Bear would have liked the movie, too.

But, being at Grandma’s house is hardly a punishment: all of the kids love going there and especially love it if they get to go alone and be spoiled rotten.

And I don’t even want to add up all the times that my bookends haven’t gotten exactly what they would have chosen because we had to take their brother into consideration.

Every once in a while, they need to be shown that what they can come first, too.

Do you struggle with keeping things fair in your family?

 

Comments

  1. says

    I think you made a very good decision there, Shell. It’s hard to be fair and equal, as you’ve articulated so well, and compromise just has to happen. 

    I have no tips – in fact, I need to take notes from more experienced parents when I have the 2 boys at an age where these situations will occur. 
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  2. says

    Absolutely, I struggle with this all the time. We have the same issue, because of Ashlyn’s unpredictable behavior there are things we just can’t do with her or we attempt to do and then have to leave which isn’t fair to the other kids. She spends extra time with the grandparents too where she gets spoiled rotten which allows us to do the things that our little ones deserve to do but I do wish it was different and we could all just pile in the car and do things together as a family without issue.
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  3. says

    Bravo…I great parenting!

    Overall, things aren’t too bad.  I remind myself all the time, all four of my kids are completely different people, with different needs, and different desires.  I try to tap in to each personality.  Sometimes I drag the others through it, and sometimes they get individual time.

    I only have one who thinks everything is unfair. He could be getting what he wants and still find that things aren’t fair for him.  Selfishness is a part of his personality I don’t particularly care for.  I do find myself pointing it out to him way more than I’d like too.

    The fairest thing we can do for our children is to love our children with all our hearts, the way they need us to love them.
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    • Shell says

      Thankfully, mine haven’t started thinking things are unfair yet. I love your last line. I do love mine all so much!

  4. says

    It’s always hard to keep things fair.  I often think that Buster gets the short end of the stick just because he’s so laid back.  Buddy is so opinionated that when we go out to eat, we often just go where we know he’ll eat, or we ask him.  It’s not really fair, and every once in awhile, Buster will throw a fit, reminding us of that fact.
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    • Shell says

      We do have to go with our picky eater here, too. The other two can pretty much find something wherever we are. 

  5. says

    Such a tough place to be in. I find myself searching for what I would do and that anxious feeling just reading your words. Sometimes fair means waiting for your day at least that’s what I keep telling my middle one as he sees his brother leave for school or field trips. I think things are going to get even more difficult as the little one realizes more and more each day how big he wants to be.

    • Shell says

      It really is hard to figure it out. I can’t see how it could ever really be totally equal. 

  6. says

    I was wondering how I am going to do this with a growing family…so I’m taking notes! I think you did a great job balancing the boys and glad the bookends did get to go to the movie :)
    Natalie recently posted..The Luck of the IrishMy Profile

    • Shell says

      It is a struggle. I think it gets a little easier if we go ahead and admit that things will never be completely equal. 

  7. says

    Being fair is not being equal. That is such a good word! I grew up with a brother with special needs and while I may have felt like I got the short end of the stick sometimes, that’s how life is. It didn’t mean my parents loved me or my older brother any less. And I think it gave me a better view of life. Fair does not mean equal. As an exaggerated example, I definitely didn’t want as many doctor appointments as he had. Please don’t make me have equal!
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  8. says

    You did exactly the right thing.

    Fair isn’t a word we use much.  Different kids have different needs.  We explain often that sometimes it is Teagan’s turn in the spotlight, sometimes it is Zach’s, and sometimes it is Daddy’s and sometimes it is Mommy’s.  For us, being part of a family means that we focus on the happiness of the people in our family and not our own selfish feelings.  Doesn’t mean we don’t have them, of course.  But we don’t often hear about “it’s not fair” in our house and I hope it’s because we have always made the point that we all take turns with our special times and that life is a lot more fun if you can celebrate that person or that moments and be part of it rather than choosing to complain and be miserable.

    And there are times we have to divide and conquer.  And there are times we tough it out together.  And there are times that both kids end up “punished” for the choices of one.  It’s just what happens in life.  When i go to work, if someone else has been slacking off and coming in late and not getting work done, there’s a good chance the entire department will end up changed for it.  That’s just how life works.  

    We also believe that Fair and Balance are 2 very different words with different meanings.  Life isn’t Fair but we do strive for Balance.
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    • Shell says

      Such a good way to put it.

      I’ve yet to hear “it’s not fair” from my boys. It’s more extended family members who look at the choices we make and tell me I’m not being fair. 

  9. says

    You handled this beautifully…even on a day when you could have thrown in the towel and just stayed locked up in your house after a very long, hard week. I believe that what we originally feel in our hearts is what is fair. Sometimes we let our minds think too much and talk us out of that. This time, you listened to your heart and not only ALL of the boys but you as well came out equal…

    I want to pat you on the back and give you a hug!! Keep at it, Shell!! You’re an amazing mommy!!! xo!!
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    • Shell says

      Thanks so much, Kristen!

      It was very tempting to simply stay home and simply wish the weekend away. But, everyone ended up having fun. 

  10. says

    It is hard to keep things fair, especially with a boy and a girl. I feel like Maggie can handle more and is tougher than PJ, even though she is a girl. She’s just more fearless. I guess that’s how it goes when they are little.

    • Shell says

      Age, gender, ability, interests, needs- it all plays into it when we are making decisions for each. 

  11. says

    To a child, fair means equal. Grown ups know better. Would it be fair for me to send my 3- and 5-year-olds to overnight camp this summer? Of course not! But their two older brothers are going. It wouldn’t be fair for us to require the same chores of the littlest guy that we do of the oldest. But everyone does some chores. It’s a little like parenting Marxism, right? From each according to their abilities, to each according to their needs!

    You’re doing an awesome job, and teaching all of your kids to be flexible!

    • Shell says

      Thankfully, we have yet to hear about “fairness” from our kids. It’s been more extended family members who think that we should be equal with each. And that has been hard to take. 

  12. says

    It’s funny, I find it’s easier to be “unfair” with my kids (granted, my youngest is only 14 months so she doesn’t really notice not getting as much stuff as her 3.5 yr old brother) but my hubby has a hard time with it. He’s constantly buying our son Hot Wheels and feels really guilty for not getting our daughter anything.

    However, at Xmas with our nieces and newphews I have a hard time. We have 7 and it’s a big thing every year about equallity. I sent a budget for each kid (usually $20, since there are 7 of them and we buy for a lot of other kids at Xmas) and have to find the same number of gifts for each kid. 3 of them can’t get 2 items for the $20 and the rest get 1 or else I har about it from their parents about so and so getting more.
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    • Shell says

      I find it easier to be fair and equal with my nieces and nephews- because we don’t see them all that often, it’s easy to say okay, we’ll spend x amount on each on their birthdays and Christmas. Something that can be quantified. With my own and dealing with them on a daily basis, it’s a bigger struggle. 

  13. says

    I don’t have this problem yet but, I love how you handle it. Your kids are going to love you for all of it. And the way you deal with it is teaching them something as well.  They’re learning to put others first and that’s a skill that so many are missing.

    oxoxox
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  14. says

    Everyone else has already said what I was thinking: Perfect compromise, Shell.

    So let me simply add this – I love love love the picture I have in my head of your bookends chowing down on popcorn and laughing with you at The Lorax.  You gave to everyone fairly.

    Including yourself.
    Yep. Love.
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  15. says

    I only have one child, but I can I,agile how difficult it would be to,always make sure things are fair.

    I think you handle the movie situation so well.  And imthinkmyour bookends are learning great lessons with having a sibling that has a some difficulties.  They are learning about sacrifice and being tolerant and patience.

    Good luck with everything!
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    • Shell says

      The funny thing is that they rarely complain about it. It’s others who only see bits and pieces of our lives who are concerned about how “fair” we are being.

  16. says

    Girl, I know exactly what you mean! And the thing is, it’s especially harder when they’re all the same sex, I think.
    You did awesome though, I’m so glad your middle got to go to Grandmas (major hardship around here too, not!) and you and the bookends got to go to the movies. :)
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    • Shell says

      I think so, too. There are some differences that are natural between what you’d have a boy do and a girl. But having all boys, I think when there are different standards, it stands out more. 

  17. says

    Wonderful post, and you got it so right when you said “All we can do is to be sure that each child is getting what they need. And maybe a little of things that they want.”

    I think your solution was perfect. I would’ve done the same.
    Hope this week is better.
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  18. says

    After years of teaching and parenting I have an often used response to “It’s NOT FAIR!”

    I tell them “Life’s not fair and it is my job to teach you that.”

    Naturally I get lots of sighs and annoying looks from my children as they have gotten older. I have always felt that being fair is giving each child what they need…and different kids need different times. It is difficult for us to do thing as family because the 10 yr old and 5 yr old are very very VERY VERY far apart in their interests and abilities. Because it’s only me right now, we all do the activity or no one does…unless by some miracle on of the older 2 is spending the night at a friends. 

    It sounds like you can up with a perfect solution to the problem and middle son also got a special treat…something that he needed and could enjoy  that happened to be different than what your bookends wanted.
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    • Shell says

      I can’t count the number of times I said “Life’s not fair” back when I was teaching. LOL Good lesson to learn early on. 

    • Shell says

      The guilt can be awful. And it makes it worse when others look at my choices and talk about fairness, when they aren’t the ones who have to deal with it all on a daily basis. 

  19. says

    I think you need to remember that what’s fair to one kid isn’t fair to another. 
    would it have been fair for the boys to leave the movie early because their bro was flipping out? Nope, so you did what was fair in that situation, left him behind. And it was just a movie, no big deal…sure he would have liked it, but you said yourself that going to the grandparents is just as awesome for him, so no biggie.
    And babe? if anyone figures out the answer to that question they are going to be bajillionaires after they write the book…
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    • Shell says

      Wish I had the magic answer.

      You’re right though- it wouldn’t have been fair to them to have to leave. They have to deal with that a lot- the park or bounce house or wherever we go. When we leave is usually determined by their brother’s behavior. 

  20. says

    I absolutely struggle with this all the time, particularly because my oldest son constantly demands to be the center of attention (he is the first born after all, right?) and his younger brother is often left fending for himself or playing by himself in their room while the older one is being entertained by grandparents, aunts/uncles, etc. That’s where I have the hardest time – making sure that they get the attention they need.

     It’s funny though because it’s my husband who feels most guilty and is constantly striving to recreate the same experiences and opportunities for our younger son that our oldest had. However, recreating an experience is not equal to the same experience for each kid. I completely agree with you in that fair is not equal.
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    • Shell says

      It’s such a hard balance to keep. We love all of our kids but making sure that each has an opportunity to do what they want is just so hard.

  21. says

    I’m glad the others got to see the movie, and the middle guy probably loved being at Grandma’s! If he had come along perhaps no one would have ended up happy – as it was it sounds like a perfect solution. You’re right – fair is not equal.
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  22. says

    I struggle with fairness all the time since my kids are 5 1/2 years apart in age. The kids typically can’t do the same activities so one of them is upset when I decide what we are going to do. 
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    • Shell says

      The age difference would make it hard. 

      Why didn’t anyone warn us how difficult all these parenting decisions would be? 

  23. says

    All I’ll say is nice work, girl. It’s not easy, even with ‘non-special-needs’ kids.
    I grew up screaming that tons of shit wasn’t fair. in the end, we all survived ;)
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  24. says

    Great post. It is impossible to be equal since everyone in the family (kids, spouses, others) have different needs and different responsibilities. I think you handled the situation very well. I guess all we can try to do is the best given each individual’s needs, including our own.
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  25. says

    I struggle with this so often. My oldest is 9 years older than the younger ones, so the fairness is so hard to maintain with activity and toys. I try my best to take turns and explain what I can to them, but it’s still a struggle. And now with another one coming into the mix? Well, I quit! ;)

  26. says

    Great topic! My son has ADHD and my daughter has issues with anxiety so it is so hard to be fair. Plus add my 3 older stepsons to the mix and you can just forget it. Someone is always going to get the short end of the stick. But taking time to show each of them they are special and important is key and much better than being fair.
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  27. says

    Your solution was exactly the right one. And with both of our being special needs, we spend some entire weeks on tenterhooks balancing out one kids needs against the other’s. And my husband never takes 5 day trips, for work or anything else, and neither do I. TOO STRESSFUL!!
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    • Shell says

      Unfortunately, mine has to travel. Though this trip was actually for fun, but most of the time, it’s work. 

  28. says

    Yes, I think everyone struggles with that, special needs or not. Big kids can’t do stuff because a sibling is too little to handle it or go, you can’t have that because your sister is allergic to it, the list goes n and on. I think you are doing a great job of trying to find that balance. I know it is a struggle and I know it takes its toll on you at times, but you really are doing great. Big hugs!!
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    • Shell says

      Oh absolutely happens, special needs or not. That just tips the scales in one’s favor right now. Another time, it will be something else. So hard to keep a balance.

  29. says

    I know how you feel. I deal with this all the time. Sometimes I feel like we give #3 the shaft because he’s a bit of a loose cannon, but honestly with THESE 3 it’s very difficult to take them all anywhere. I also feel bad for my oldest too. Sometimes we pass up invitations because it’s not fun to take all 3. Somehow Natalie always comes out smelling like a rose. 
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    • Shell says

      There are times when I weigh the effort it would take to go somewhere against what actual benefit they’d get out of it… and decide it simply isn’t worth it!

  30. says

    Sometimes everyone just needs different things to keep them happy, to keep the peace.
    And also, you have to be happy … not just the kids … and you have to do what is best for you too.
    I think you do an amazing job in all that you do and all that you accomplish – you rock it Mom!
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    • Shell says

      Thank you, my sweet friend.

      To keep me happy, I *may* have started planning another trip. LOL

  31. says

    Can you imagine how much it would cost me to always try to be fair? I play the game this way…whatever is the cheapest and needed item is the one that is purchased. I often head out to Kohl’s and bring home a bag full of random clothes for maybe three kids. But the others know that next time might be their turn. Since I bargain shop, I don’t have the money or the time to look for every kid every time. But I figure it all works out in the end. No one has gone to school naked yet…
    Sandy
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  32. says

    I struggle with this ‘fair parenting’ all the time especially with the triplets. Should they all get something just because they were born in a group?

    It’s so hard and unfortunately there are not instructions manuals.

  33. says

    I only have one munchkin but this makes perfect sense. You are a wonderful mama and you are very aware of each child and each of their needs. Bravo Mama. You are doing a great job.
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  34. says

    Best advice I ever got was from a mom of VERY different grown twins who told me “Fair does NOT mean equal.”  She lived by that and I try to too.  But you are right – it’s so, so hard sometimes.  

    Glad you got to see the Lorax.  I loved that movie.  Maybe one of my favorite kids movies ever.  
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  35. says

    Being fair is a tough situation when you have multiple children. Perfectly example for me, yesterday we took the kids to Sea World (we have passes and go often) my son had been wanting to get a new sword from there and had been waiting since December. He knew it was the item he wanted to get. It was $5. My daughter wanted to get something too and stuffed animals were off limits. ( she has more than FAO Schwartz) We agreed to get a caricature portrait of her, something she has asked for on past visits. Her item cost $15 I felt bad for my son who we only spent $5 on and the end of the day, guess who was asking for more? My daughter. It was a tough end of the day for us. Some days with her ADHD it’s like a regular day. then some days, it’s a long snow balling day of meltdowns and emotions.
    Being fair is tough and right now, it’s still easier because my son is 4. As he gets older, it could get harder.

    You sound like you handled it with flying colors, my friend. I wouldn’t have thought of that trade off. Bravo!
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    • Shell says

      Always so hard to keep a balance. Especially since everything can’t be perfectly even, especially money-wise. 

  36. says

    I agree.  Fair does not mean equal.  And I love the saying Fair means everyone gets what he/she needs.  But I do struggle with this too.  Because I want to be fair.  And sometimes it’s hard to figure out just what that means.  Glad that you were able to take the two to the movie and that Bear got some quality grandma time!
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    • Shell says

      It ended up going rather well… even if not every member of my extended family gets why I make the choices I do.

  37. says

    You could make yourself crazy trying to be equal. My mother always said, “The squeaky wheel gets the grease.” And as trite as it was, it proved true. Whether kids are special needs or not, there are going to be times when one kid needs “more” than the other–more time, more attention, more hugs, more therapeutic chocolate, whatever. One of my kids has had a few health issues and has needs relating to that. My oldest is very sensitive and has needs relating to that. I do the best I can for each boy. If I treated them the same, that would be unfair to everyone.
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  38. says

    Great post, Shell…

    Yes, I struggle with things being fair. Having B/G twins with one much more unpredictable than the other, I struggle with it all the time. If I’m the only one with them and boy-Crazy has a meltdown, we all have to leave. I feel like girl-Crazy often gets the short end of the stick. It’s terrible, but I love your use of the words “fair” and “equal.” Fair is not always equal and they’ll get that one day…until then, I struggle with the guilt and do the best I can.

    Sounds like your movie date was perfect.
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    • Shell says

      I imagine the differences are magnified with twins. 

      I do feel like my bookends get the short end of the stick when we have to leave due to their brother’s meltdown. 

      We did end up having fun. And Bear wants to know when he gets to go back to Grandma’s. 

  39. says

    Great way to turn the situation around. Before I was remarried with my 2 sons, who are close in age, I found myself lumping them together & almost always doing what I considered to be equal for both. I bought for one I would buy for the other. I got new coats, shoes, clothes, etc all together. Rarely utilizing my chances to hand clothes down. I wanted to be fair. Then a dear friend offered me some advice that I really needed to hear. She said, “you know your sons are two different people & it’s okay to do for one and not the other sometimes and vice versa.”
    Now I am remarried we have 4 boys a new baby and a special need child. Two of our boys are also “high maintence” while one is laid back and goes with the flow. We do are best to make each child feel loved, honored, & valued for who they are as an individual and sometimes we just suck at it! But we love them as big and as much as we can so when the “stuff” gets old they will know they always have us to lean on-we hope they understand! ;-)

  40. says

    Oh yes. It is hard with my two, and I can only imagine how hard it would be if you threw in a third, especially one with special needs. I think it is hard on my older one because she doesn’t remember that she got the same treatment the younger one gets when she was his age. She just sees us as being “easy” on him and “hard” on her when we are really just being age appropriate.
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    • Shell says

      Oh, that’s true. My oldest does say things about our youngest sometimes. I actually hear that’s not fair more about him than about our middle. 

  41. says

    I struggle with the fairness as well. Especially at Christmas. I felt so guilty that B had more gifts than C, even though I spent the same amount of money on them. It was hard, and C cant even tell yet that it was a difference. I cant imagine how much of a struggle it will be when they are both older. I think you are doing a fabulous job, though.
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    • Shell says

      It’s so hard to keep it all completely equal. We have to decide how we’ll do it. We go with $ at Christmastime, too. Even though it means totally different numbers of presents due to the different things my kids ask for.

  42. says

    Who does not struggle with fairness? If you have 3 kids, it is just like dividing your heart and yourself into three. I too,  agree if you have a kid with special needs , you tend to become more  patient, more understanding, everything that is “more.”  And I gather you know what I mean.

    At times I do explain to my kids, why  it seems I am in favor of the other one. But that does not mean that will always be the case. Let us say, Daughter #1 get to stay long in school and dauhgter #2 did all the cooking and preparing the food. The next day, the chores are reversed. It is a case of give and take. I can be understanding to my kids’ demands like schoolwork but to a certain degree. They still need to help with the chores at home. Since I cannot afford the services of a maid, then it is up to them to take care of their laundry, cook their food  and do their own homework. Our house maybe a zoo, but they have to learn somewhere. And when all of them act like monkeys, complaining all at once, then  I blow my imaginary whistle, and act as a referee. It’s not easy, but so far, they are learning. We all are. And as long as they remember, who is the boss, then that is ok with me.
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  43. says

    First of all I’m sorry that you’re having to stuff so much. I hope that everything works out soon and you find a happy medium with all the boys.

    I’m finding now with the girls older and having a toddler keeping things fair and finding the time for all of them is difficult. I’m still looking for a way to make them all happy.
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  44. says

    I think you did a great job. It sounds like you each gave each boy (and yourself) exactly what they needed that day. I am finding as my children get older it is a little bit easier to be fair, but not equal with them. They tend to understand things better and may get in a little huff initially, but then quickly get over it.

    I have to say that I also enjoy not stressing over every little thing with the three of them. If I see something that is perfect for one of them I pick it up without stressing about not having something for the other two. Same with special treats.

    • Shell says

      Thankfully, mine haven’t complained yet about things not being fair. It’s really been our relatives who don’t get it and question my parenting decisions. Which is not the most fun thing ever.

  45. says

    Very common within all our families. We always have to be careful that we are equally fair to all our children. Otherwise, they think we favor one over the other. I love the fact no matter how different our children are from each others, we, as moms love them all the same. Thanks for a wonderful post.
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    • Shell says

      that accusation of favoritism seems to come no matter what we try, doesn’t it? I haven’t had it so much with my boys yet, but I remember my brothers and I always thinking the other was the favorite.

  46. says

    To me “fair” parenting is ensuring that you are meeting each of your children’s needs. That may mean that one person gets a toy today and one doesn’t. I have to parent each of my Dudes differently because they are different. They may not understand it now but they will one day. I know I appreciate my mom even more now for her ability to that when my bro and I were younger! You’re doing your best every day which is the most important thing, right?!
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  47. says

    You mean yelling “life is not fair!” to my kids is the wrong answer? I’m so bad at this. I truly keep nothing ‘fair’ because as you state, it’s truly impossible..and try to just do the best job I can with each child as an individual.(and yes I shout ‘life’s not fair!’ a lot too. :) Hugs, friend. xoxo
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    • Shell says

      I said that SO MUCH when I was a middle school teacher. B/c that was the age of “fair.” It got so my students would say it before I had a chance to. 

  48. says

    I work really hard to be fair, but fair does not always mean equal. My son is in band. People…BAND IS EXPENSIVE. My daughter is not in band. We do not spend as much money monthly on her activities. When my daughter asked to go to church camp this summer, we said yes. Seemed unfair to my son, but his band expenses per year far exceed her 1 week at church camp. To us (the parents) that’s fair.
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    • Shell says

      We have to make the best decisions we can, I guess, and try to keep everything in mind.

  49. says

    you know this has been hard for me lately. i just had my second child in january and i catch myself thinking “did i do this with my daughter when she was this little, what if she thinks i love her less’ I was barely 18 when i got pregnant with my oldest and am now 22 with 2 kids and i have grown up so much. I’ve learned patience and better ways to discipline and i feel like it’s unfair to my daughter that she didn’t get me liek i am with my son- that she had to be my guinea pig. being fair is a huge struggle because i question myself about it waaay to often. thanks for this post. seriously- you always make me feel like i’m not alone! 
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  50. says

    I think you made a great decision where this situation is concerned. All kids are happy and you are able to enjoy a movie with two of your children while Bear enjoys time with Nana. You do the best you can, Shell. And your best is always good enough :) You are a wonderful momma. Anyone who has spent some time reading your words can tell you that.

    XOXO
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  51. says

    Someone once told me that fair parenting is about giving each child what they need when they need it. Your bookends needed some attention, and they got it. That was fair. Bear got some one-on-one time with his grandma, which is special. That was fair. I have a “Bear” too (and that’s what we call him), so I know what you’re talking about. There’s no point trying to force an ADHD kid (mine has ODD and anxiety thrown in for good measure) to participate in an activity that isn’t going to work for him. It just ruins it for everyone, including him.
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  52. says

    I don’t have a family of my own yet but this article made me remember how my mom and dad had a lot of hard time just trying to be fair to us. I have two more siblings and most of the time, our little brother gets all the spoiling. Of course, with a young mind, it was unfair to my sister and I, not really realizing how we’re giving our parents a very hard time. Eventually, when I get to that time where I will face this challenge, I will always note the things you mentioned here.

  53. says

    YES it can be such a huge struggle- especially when we’ve got all seven going in different directions.
    When it’s just the little four as it is most often, Mia is usually the odd man out. Lili gets frustrated with her being ‘babyish’… but the difference in 1st grade and 4th grade girls is a lot… and the twins are too young to want to do what she wants to do…
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  54. says

    Thanks for honestly admitting what I struggle with. It is so comforting to know that I am not alone. You have inspired me to look at things differently, to think differently. Specifically, I am starting to think about what is “fair.” Fair to me is loving all my kids as much as I can…perhaps just in different ways. At the end of the day, I want my boys to grow up and know that “mommy loves me.” That is what really matters – not he got more toys than I did, or this or that.  If they each know how much I love them, then maybe all is well…
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