Updated: Jul 12
Perhaps the most challenging aspect of parenting is watching our children navigate an inherently unfair world. Unfortunately, we cannot change the world to be fair, but we can help adapt our children to the world they will have to live and thrive within. In doing so, you are teaching your child a means of gaining confidence and control in areas where they can foster the most impact.
Fairness Does Not Mean Equal: Children see fairness as equal and lateral. That is, fair means everyone gets the same thing. In our world, fairness means everyone gets what they need. After all, if everyone were to get the same thing, schools would not be providing students instruction based on what is the same versus tailored to strengths and weaknesses. Therefore, encouraging your child that fairness is based on needs is not getting the same.
What Is Within Your Control?: There are a lot of items that are out of a child's sphere of control. Support and help your child determine what is within their power when uncertain about what to do when they feel a scenario is unfair.
Be a Good Model: We all have times when we feel life is unfair or don't take responsibility for our actions. Remember, your child is watching what you do versus what you say.
Everyone Has There Say…If Not There Way: Ideally, we want our children to be assertive. We don't want them to be overly aggressive or passive. Hence encourage your child to utilize "I" Messages.
These are composed of three qualities.
"I feel…" have your child express their specific emotions.
"Because…" have them articulate why they feel the situation is unfair.
"So I would like…" it is not simply acceptable for your child to express their emotion and concern, but it is also necessary to tell how they feel this unfairness could potentially be remedied.
How Does the Other Person Feel?:. Empathy can be a challenging perspective for children to feel and learn. Yet, understanding from another's perspective first (even if they do not agree) can be a critical skill in bridging the gap between your child's view of fairness with that of an opposing youth.