>By Renée Smith | j&R Tutoring Academy of Indiana

I got a little behind on my posts this week. Seems like every year I plan to get those pesky taxes done early, but the middle of April shows up and I wonder how it happened!

For some reason taxes make me think about fairness.

Are you as tired of hearing about “fair share” and “fair shake” as I am? Then there is oft repeated comment, “Life isn’t fair,” usually spoken when someone has just lost their job or experienced a similar life altering situation.

The pursuit of fairness has invaded childhood as well. Teams give everyone trophies. Holiday parties that were enjoyed by school children for decades have either been relabeled or eliminated – to be fair.

There is even concern that institutes of higher learning are giving grades, rather than expecting students to earn them. Why? Because the students paid for the class, so it’s only fair!

How should parents handle this constant push for fairness?

Parents are not perfect and neither are children. Chances are that if you have more than one child, your parenting skills have improved. With improvement comes change, thus inconsistency, and possibly in the eyes of the older child, a lack of fairness.

When my older son was in college, he commented to me that his younger brother got away with everything! He proceeded to list numerous things for which he had been disciplined that now barely caused a blip on the radar.

My honest answer was that I hadn’t known any better! Even though I had been able to convince my husband that his brand of discipline was excessive, we still ran a pretty tight ship. As my experience and the number of children grew, I eventually learned that it was okay to let some things go.

The other issue that frequently raises its ugly little head is when one child is allowed to do something or have something that a sibling cannot. I’ve known parents who insist that each of their children be treated exactly the same. This isn’t fair to either child!

Parenting is a never-ending learning curve. What worked with one child may not be effective with another. As I have often commented, children develop at different rates. Additionally, each child has different strengths and weaknesses. To treat them all the same is a disservice to the child.

It’s okay to let one child do or have something that a sibling cannot. To do otherwise stifles growth and tramples individual differences.

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