Photo by Braydon Anderson on Unsplash

“That’s not ————-                       fair!”

Rare is the parent who never heard this phrase uttered in the home. Most of us have heard that exact line pop out of our kids’ mouthes. (You intuitively knew how to complete the phrase above didn’t you?)
The child verbalizing this could be five or he could be 15. Fairness is a concept we jealously guard for ourselves. We want the fairness scale balanced when it comes to our needs or wants.
This is where the fairness training comes in.
  • It is positive children can identify what is and isn’t fair for themselves.
  • The next step is to extend that idea to others for their benefit.
To be fair, fairness is a soft skill that must be learned if we want our kids to  understand rules, honesty, and good decision making.
Fairness teaches us not to blame others, to care for others, and admit when we are wrong.

After studying fairness, I think it is also the beginning of understanding the concept of respect and a piece of grasping the idea of humility. Justice often follows the idea of fairness. Fairness moves people to protect the underdog.

It is good to train our kids to be fair.

Fairness is not equality. Fairness is equity.

Equal means everything, everyone is exactly the same.
There are no special considerations.
Fairness is equity in the way people are treated; 
all people get what they need to be successful. 

Here’s a little story of fair and equal as it could relate to family life.

The whole family goes to the eye doctor.
Only one person needs glasses but to be “equal” no one gets glasses.
To be fair the person who needs them receives them
and the ones who don’t need them don’t get them.

Fairness moves us to treat others the way we want to be treated. It stops us from using or taking advantage of others. We are motivated to think about how our actions or words will affect someone else. Anger, jealousy, and sibling rivalry are stirred when kids perceive parents playing favorites.

Rules, guidelines, and boundaries provide the structure for fairness and for conversations about what is fair. Fairness helps our kiddos feel safe and secure. If, as parents, we play by the rules and enforce our rules we will instill the character quality of fairness in our kids.

Once we can wrap our brains around fairness for ourselves and then others we have have a better understanding of what sacrifice means.

Jesus even talked about fairness,

So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you… 

How to Have a Wise Kid (#4) 
10 Questions to Evaluate Emotional Safety in Your Home (#5)
How to Increase Your Child’s Resiliency (#6)
10 Questions to Assess Your Child’s People Skills (#7)
How to Train Your Child to Share (#8)

Here are two related posts:

I Was Raised to be Charming 
10 Ways to Raise a Selfish Child

© LoriWildenberg. All rights reserved.

About the Author

Lori Wildenberg is a licensed parent and family educator, parent coach, and co-founder of 1Corinthians13 Parenting.com. She has written 6 books including Messy Journey: How Grace and Truth Offer the Prodigal a Way Home; The Messy Life of Parenting: Powerful and Practical Ways to Strengthen Family Connections; and her most recent book, Messy Hope: Help Your Child Overcome Anxiety, Depression, or Suicidal Ideation. Contact Lori for your next event or for parent consulting or parent training courses. Lori can also be found mentoring over at the MOMS Together Group on Facebook.