I remember growing up thinking that anything my sister got I had to get too. I came by this belief honestly as my mother was obsessive about giving us exactly equal shares of everything. In fact, at Christmas time, she would buy us the same clothes only different colors.
As we grew, I began to resent this. Partially because anything I got ahead of my sister was better by the time she got it. I got a stereo with a turntable; a few years later she got one with a CD player. There’s no justifying this behavior – it was just plain spoiled.When I graduated high school, a friend’s family invited me to go with them to California. It was a great trip. As a result, my mother made sure to take my sister when she graduated. Always equal. Though, not really.
So… When I had kids, I knew the pitfalls of striving for equal when each child is his/her own individual. There are times when one gets more than the other – it’s completely situational and has nothing to do with who is loved more. Still, jealousy rears its ugly head.Even though situations are completely different, my older kids want equality. In fact, they even tend to forget about what they got when they were younger now that their young siblings are wanting things like phones, Ipods, etc. Why does Youngest get a laptop when I need a new one? Because, we already got you one!
We paid for our daughter to go away to college. She wanted the “college experience.” While she got lots of experience, not much of it was academic. We learned. Now it’s – “Why won’t you pay for me to have an apartment when Oldest got to live in one when she went to college? I hate living at home – you all bug me.”Simple:
1. We learned that was the wrong way to go
2. You are two different people with different maturity levels and abilities
3. You are attending locally4. Energy has to match investment or it’s a poor investment
5. Saying we bug you is probably not the right approach to getting treated like an adult
There’s the kid in me that fully understands why Oldest Boy wants his turn and resents not getting the same chances. However, there’s the adult in me that knows that it’s not about equality it’s about each individual.I think rather than equality, we need balance. Balance allows us to cheer on strengths, be supportive during times of weakness, and look at each situation objectively making a decision that’s best for all concerned.
Yes – I believe I choose balance over equality.