"Fair does not mean the same. It means giving each child what they need."
I read this quote a while back on Shell's blog...it hit me like a ton of bricks as I am constantly questioning whether my parenting is fair or not...it's not, by the way.
It can't be...I am the mother of twins...boy/girl twins...two very different people.
How can I possibly parent them fairly?
What does "fair" even mean?
fair1 [fair] Show IPA adjective, fair·er, fair·est, adverb, fair·er, fair·est, noun, verb
free from bias, dishonesty, or injustice: a fair decision; a fair judge.
Hmmm...I am definitely not free from bias. If I were free from bias, I would hold the Crazies to exactly the same standards and make them do exactly the same things, but this isn't appropriate for them. It's not what they need. It wouldn't be fair to them as individuals.
- Hailey cannot physically eat as much as Matt...it just isn't going to happen. So, when I tell him to finish his entire plate, but tell her that she has to take two more bites of sandwich and then finish her fruit, I believe that's fair. It doesn't sound fair, but it is because it's what is appropriate for each of them.
- When Matthew knocks Hailey down and get an immediate time-out, there are times when Hailey only gets a warning for pushing. Why is that? Well, let's face it...Matt is a force to be reckoned with. He doesn't know his own strength. He can really hurt Hailey when he's roughhousing with her. He needs to learn the boundaries of his own physical prowess. On the other hand, Hailey isn't even close to that rough. When she shoves him, he barely moves...yes, it's probably annoying to him, but the possibility of him being hurt is much lower. So, while it doesn't sound fair, it is. It's conveying the lesson I want learned in my house...the lesson that will keep us out of the ER for a while longer.
- Hailey got to do the first solo activity. She started ballet class when she was two. I didn't seek anything out for Matt for two reasons. First, there aren't a lot of activities out there for young boys. Second, he didn't really need anything. He was secure in his love of running around, playing with trucks, and just being himself (a hobby within itself). I felt that Hailey was hiding in his shadows...behind his larger than life personality. We couldn't find any interests that she had and felt that she could really benefit from something to call her own. So, we enrolled her. Some parents would say that you can't do for one without doing for the other, but I totally disagree. Not only has she blossomed through dance, but they've learned to be apart for a short while...that's good for them too.
So, do I parent fairly? I'd have to answer "yes." I parent fairly for each one of my children...I parent differently for each one of my children. Does it always add up? Nope, but it works for us, so I let the guilt go (yes, there is guilt...I'm not a robot, people).
What about you? Do you parent fairly? Or do you parent appropriately?