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I'm Avital.

You want a present, peaceful and playful family life? I'm here to help you make that a reality.

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Rethinking Fairness – Dr Laura Markham Handles Sibling Rivalry

When you have more than one child, is fairness the goal? Do things need to be fair between siblings? What does it really mean when your child says, “it’s not FAIR!” and what’s the best way to respond to that situation?

I’m so thrilled to have Dr. Laura Markham with me again, along with her lovely daughter Alice. Dr. Laura Markham is a clinical psychologist, dear friend, mom, and author of Peaceful Parents, Happy Siblings.

The Fight for Fairness: Watch on YouTube!

You can watch The Fight for Fairness, a video about sibling dynamics full of role plays and examples to help you tackle sibling rivalry, here!

 

Watch More Peaceful Parenting in Action!

 

 

 

What to Say When Your Child Wants Fairness!

Here are some tips shared by Dr. Laura Markham and The Parenting Junkie on how to respond when your child feels that life is unfair.

1. Sidestep the Fairness Issue

When you hear the words “It’s not fair!”, try to sidestep the fairness issue and look at the actual reason behind why your child is saying what they’re saying. 

Are they saying it’s not fair that their older sibling gets to go on a sleepover? Are they expressing sadness that they don’t get to go to the sleepover as well?

Instead of teaching why the situation is or isn’t fair – if you can focus on the reason why one child isn’t able to do what the other child gets to do, you can begin to empower the child to find a way to make it possible for them in the future. 

 

2. Acknowledge What Feels Unfair

Humans have an innate sense of knowing when they are being treated unfair. Babies, even before they’re verbal, notice whether something is fair or not. We could say, “That really doesn’t feel fair to you. You think that if she has it, you should have it. I hear you.”

 

3. Sweeten The Pot to Help Kids Fair Better

Some children will fair better once you sweeten the pot a little for them. You can begin by acknowledging that it is hard when one sibling gets to do something that another doesn’t.

It can help to highlight that this circumstance could become something special on its own – whether it’s a movie night with mom, or getting to play a game that the older sibling never wants to play with them. 

 

4. Write it Down Fair and Square!

Children will feel like they are closer to being treated fair and square when you grab a pen and paper. Kids think that writing is magical! There’s documentation, proof, a possibility of justice in the future! 

Let’s walk through an example where a sibling gets a new pair of shoes.

“You see that your sister got a new pair of sparkly shoes, and you want a new pair of sparkly shoes too. Let me take a look at your feet. See, your feet are growing but they still fit in these shoes just fine. You’re not quite ready for new shoes yet. You will be ready for new shoes soon. When you’re ready for new shoes, would you like a pair of sparkly ones like that? Would you like to write that down with me so we remember?”

 

5. Rely on Your Connection

Preventative maintenance is the bottom line for children to accept the inherent injustice that happens with siblings. Your child needs to be able to trust that what you’re saying is true. If you say that “when x happens, you’re going to be able to y,” the child whom you have already established a relationship of trust with can accept what you are saying to be true.

 

6. Honor Their Grief about the Unfairness

There is a very real feeling of grief for younger, smaller children who aren’t able to keep up with their older siblings. There’s a sense of injustice for the younger child and I think the only thing to do with that unfairness, that grief, is to honor it. 

Not in the moment, but at a later, calmer time, it might be that you point out that as the younger child, you get…  (to be carried a lot more, a longer story time with daddy before bed, etc.) 

Both children will feel injustices and you cannot possibly undo that. All you can do is honor their grief about the unfairness and try and make sure to always hear them. 

 

7. Empowerment Should Be Our Goal 

 I’m interested in everyone’s needs being met, more than in everyone getting the exact same thing. You’ll often hear me say to my children, “Rather than saying what he got or what you didn’t get, why don’t you ask me for what you want.”

Another thing that I choose to tell my kids is that life isn’t fair. And I don’t think that that’s a problem.

I don’t say“Oh too bad! Life’s not fair!” to disempower our children. But rather,  I think it’s fair and reasonable to say, “You’re right. Life isn’t fair – that is the way life is. But your needs will be met and there’s plenty to go around.” This is an empowering message.

And you can even be more explicit about the empowering message by saying, “I wonder what part of this you could change if you chose to?”

 

Watch More Peaceful Parenting in Action!

 


Fairness & Fair Treatment of our Children

I would love to hear from you! Has your child reached the stage where they are preoccupied with fairness? What did you find most difficult about handling these situations? Please leave your comments below or over in our (free & awesome) FB community Love Parenting with Avital.

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If you know me (and especially if you're a Present Player) you'll know I LOVE... indoors swings! ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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You guys. Sensory swings have changed our lives.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Swinging is calming, and it develops gross motor skills, fine motor skills, balance, confidence, perceptual skills, core strength, and spatial awareness. The motion helps focus. And swinging supports the orientation schema (if you haven't heard of schemas in early childhood, check out my YouTube video "Schemas in Early Childhood") and the vestibular system. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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My favorite swings are the Raindrop and the Trapeze from @funandfunction and the Ladder Swing from Amazon. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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I get questions all the time about which swings to get and how to install - so I compiled my answers into a FREE INDOOR SWING GUIDE for you - get it on my website here or find the link in my bio @parentingjunkie www.theparentingjunkie.com/why-we-love-our-indoor-swings⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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❤️ Do you love indoor swings? Which one(s) do you have?⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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#indoorswing #sensoryswing #childhoodschemas #presentplay #playpandemic
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“I feel so bad about all the mistakes I made.”
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My clients have come to me feeling guilty about…⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
・having a c section/birth trauma ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
・misunderstanding their child’s needs⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
・taking too long to get a diagnosis ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
・not being home enough⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
・yelling or threatening⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
・not co-sleeping (or for co-sleeping)⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
・not learning of peaceful parenting soon enough⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
・letting their child cry too much⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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For anyone who needs to hear this today:

✨ 1. FORGIVENESS is a great quality - practice it first and foremost to yourself.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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✨ 2. Guilt is a great INDICATOR for when we are not comfortable with something - after you’ve received this message, it loses its utility.
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✨ 3. My guess is you’ve done a hella lot of things RIGHT. If you’re choosing what to spend time reminiscing - why not reminisce about things that make you feel great about yourself?⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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✨ 4. Trust that you’ve always done the BEST you could with what you had.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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✨ 5. DON’T OVERESTIMATE the power your actions had - try not to go down the over-analysis track. You really don’t know what was cause and what was effect.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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✨ 6. DON’T UNDERESTIMATE your child’s resiliency - going through some challenges (even with you), serves them in being stronger, more capable, more adaptable people.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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✨ 7. HEALING, apology, and repair are always available and children are incredibly forgiving.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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✨ 8. Your kids don’t want you to feel bad about how you parented them. Show them that whilst you are imperfect and flawed, you’re overall confident and PROUD with how you’re raising them.
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✨ 9. MODEL for your children how you own and celebrate your accomplishments more than you busy yourself in guilt with mistakes you perceive yourself to have made. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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✨10. Continue in comments!
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Are you spending endless hours at home? I'm with ya! All the more reason to make our homes into havens... We sit down to this table for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. It's taken on kilos of playdough, hundreds of family games, and dozens of date nights in.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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CLEARING SURFACES is one way I raise the vibe of my home - for me, it's essential for feeling less overwhelmed and more inspired to be present.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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★ And let me tell you about that highchair! I've had it since my first was a baby - so almost ten years (including a transatlantic move) - and it looks like new, ready for baby #5 and I'm still just as in love with it. If you're looking for a quality high chair, I put the link in my bio @parentingjunkie⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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#oxohighchair #highchair #highvibehome #loveparenting #homewithkids #momof5 #oxotot
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Play is one of my favorite topics to read about, talk about, and think about. To me, play is the spice of life – the ingredient that makes any endeavor worthwhile, satisfying… fun.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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But often, I hear parents or teachers say things like, “They think they’re playing, but REALLY they’re learning” to which I think: “What’s the difference?!” and further: Why isn’t playing enough? Why does there have to be a quantifiable, measurable end?⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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When play happens, time is forgotten - safe in the hub of imagination and authorship.⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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I believe that all children are born with the capacity, and the drive, to get lost in their imagination. To create worlds in which they are the masters and the directors, and in which they can truly find themselves. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Play IS the point. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
(Plus, I think it’s vital for parents, too. Am I right??? Definitely helps me feel LESS overwhelmed.)⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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10 WAYS TO ENCOURAGE INDEPENDENT PLAY⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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1. Set Up a Play Zone⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
2. Separate Screens From Play Spaces⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
3. Don't Overpower Their Play (they're the leaders)⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
4. Don't Hover Over Their Play (give them their space)⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
5. Provide ONLY Age Appropriate Toys (more autonomy, less assistance needed)⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
6. Examine Your Own Expectations⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
7. Keep Play Close By (off the kitchen for example)⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
8. Provide Toys That's Easily Accessible (#trofast is my favorite)⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
9. Treat Play As a Birthright - Not a Chore or Punishment⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
10. Don't Praise, Comment or Evaluate⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Do you have tips for encouraging independent play? I would love to hear in the comments below!⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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Read more on the blog post + video⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
https://www.theparentingjunkie.com/10-ways-to-encourage-independent-play/⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀
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#independentplay #playspace #presentplay #playislearning #kidsplay #kidsplaying #strewpro #habatoys #playideasforkids
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