Wednesday, July 6, 2011

All Children are NOT Created Equal

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.”

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 locally
4.  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.


  1. Hi! Visiting from the TOS crew! I have 2 girls and I find myself trying to do this! You are so right...I need to find a better balance and quit worrying about things being fair all the time...

  2. Stephanie, Thanks for the comments. It gets much harder to keep things equal as they grow older. Their needs, toys, devices, etc. all get so much more expensive and their tastes change. My kids may not always like it, but balance really is the key.



  3. I enjoyed this post ~ I know we have a lot of this in the future since my children are just 10 and 6.

    I am also on The Crew this year. :-)

  4. Good article. I agree, in this case, we are not all created equal and each of our children's privileges should be earned and not just given...

  5. This is always a tough one. We had one of the 4 who was just always more demanding and needy, and her sisters would just roll their eyes and take it well. They didn't have that personality and understood.
    Cheers from vB,

  6. My boys are 6 and 4 years old (26 months apart) and best of friends and SO completely different. I cannot in any way, treat them equally except in love. They both have different wants and needs and it absolutely comes down to balance. My brother and I tease each other still to this day about what we did and didn't get (he was older but I was the GIRL) blah blah blah - no matter what - there will always be that little bit of jealousy and we do our best to make sure that our children are balanced!

  7. I enjoyed reading this. I have older kids, 17 and 22. We struggle with this now. When it comes to big decisions such as school it really plays on your mind. Thanks for sharing your experience with us.

  8. Anything in life that involves finding a balance is tricky - especially parenting! Mine are both so little... I think it's only going to get harder:)
    Thanks for sharing,

  9. This is SO interesting! I have a 5yo daughter and a 3yo son and my daughter is all about things being equal. It's hard to do! And I really can't. So I don't. I like your philosophy!

    Visiting from vB!
    Smile and Mama With Me :D


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