How do u handle "It's not FAIR"??

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by P-nut2004, Apr 20, 2011.

  1. P-nut2004

    P-nut2004 New Member

    One of the recurring issues I have with all 3 kids is explaining things they think are 'unfair'.... difficult child thinks its unfair that the PCs get to do lots of things she can't do; they are allowed to have caffeine on occasion, are less limited on sweets, can leave the yard to ride bikes etc, can use scissors/ knives etc, are allowed to shut their door....the list goes on & on, and I can't justify all of it by age anymore, difficult child is realizing she is very limited compared to friends her age as well. In contrast, the PCs find it very unfair that difficult child has little responsibility, she doesn't have chores like they do, doesn't have to clean her room (sometimes I make her help me), gets more flexibility on her homework & gets away with some things they would be in trouble for because I have to pick my battles with her. How do I explain to the PCs that difficult child is different without it coming off in a negative manner or being something they tease her about?? How do I explain to difficult child that the PCs can handle things she cannot without lowering her self esteem? I have been using the "you're to young/ too little" excuse until now but she has seen through that & I don't know how to manage this issue without causing difficult child to feel disabled or causing the PCs to treat her differently. I am petrified that explaining things the wrong way will backfire. Right now difficult child does good in school, she is scoring above grade level & only her teachers know her diagnosis, since starting medications she has been much more focused and easy for them to work with. difficult child is very big on excuses and I am afraid that explaining her diagnosis to her will just give her a new excuse. She has also started to question why she takes 6 medications a day & PCs dont (3 are behavioral, 1 is for bedwetting & isnt working, one is for bowel issues & she's on a maint antibiotic for recurring UTIs). I have explained the medications for her bladder & bowel issues but the others she just knows help her feel better, which honestly only seems to work while she's at school. She misses a few hours of school every friday for her therapist & classmates have started to ask about that as well. I have enough trouble explaining her diagnosis to adults, any advice on how to handle the kids would be greatly appreciated :)
  2. JJJ

    JJJ Active Member

    We have the same issues here. When Tigger was younger, if I had to get the housework done quickly, the other two would be given chores and Tigger's job was to sit on the couch and stay out of the way. Now that he is older, he keeps saying that he doesn't need a chore cause he's great at the one we already gave him ;)

    A little bit of Marxism can help here.."from each according to his abilities, to each according to his needs". I think this requires a 1:1 conversation with each child as the approach will be different with each one.

    12yr old: I know that you are frustrated that the younger kids don't have the same responsibilities that you do. I really appreciate that you (clean your room so well, do the dishes each night, etc). easy child 2 is just a little bit younger than you and is doing a lot of things too but difficult child is only 7 and I know you get mad when it seems like she gets away with things. difficult child's brain doesn't work like your brain does. It takes longer for her to learn things and if we try and rush her, it'd be the same as asking you to drive to the store to get some milk. It just wouldn't work. Eventually, she will be able to do all the things that you can, just like one day you will be able to drive to the store to get the milk. Since we are a family, we all need to work together to help each other. It would be great if you could be kind to difficult child and help her while she is learning things that are hard for her. I also want to do something nice for you since you are such a big help for me. I would like to (take you for a girls day to get our nails done, etc).

    Have a similar conversation with the 10 year old.

    For the 7 year old, break everything into tiny pieces, ex. if she helps you clean her room, have a mini "dance party" when you blast your stereo and act goofy with her. If there is some "big kid" thing that she really wants to do, try and figure out if you can modify it for her (for example, if she really wants to go the park without you cause she "isn't a baby", maybe you can hire a young teen to take her so she is still supervised but not by a parent.

    I can frequently be heard tying their good behavior to their positive rewards. "Piglet, it helped me so much that you cleaned the kitchen while I was in the shower. It makes it so easy to take the time to drive you to your friend's house." "Eeyore, I am so proud of the young man you have become, you showed such patience with Tigger when he was crying." "Tigger, you did your homework so you get to go play at M's house. Do you want me or Piglet to walk you there?" (course, he wants to walk alone but he prefers Piglet since it is less embarrasing to be seen with your sister than your mom).

    Don't worry about saying the wrong thing. You love all 3 of the girls so you aren't going to say anything awful and you will get lots of chances to have the discussion again!
  3. Josie

    Josie Active Member

    I go with "You are right. It isn't fair. Would you want to trade places with her?" to A. To B, sometimes that is the appropriate response but sometimes I just agree that it isn't fair and I am sorry. She doesn't really say this much because she realizes life isn't fair.

    You could tell difficult child something like, "It isn't fair that easy child's can have caffeine and still feel ok and you can't, but caffeine makes you hyper so you need to avoid it" or whatever fits.
  4. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not

    My son's teacher had a great technique:

    Because she was so good with them, she had a lot of kids in her class with IEPs that required special accomodations for this or that. And as might be expected, the kids without IEPs would often complain that this kid or that was getting special treatment and "It's not fair!"

    The teacher had a medical issue that required leg braces. Whenever she heard that complaint about it's not fair - she would point to her brace and say "Well, should everyone get to wear a leg brace just cause I have one?" The student would be forced to think about that for a minute...and then the teacher would explain "This is what I need - it is not the same as what you need. The things that you can do are not the same things that I can do. It is not about 'fair' - it is about helping those that need help...and we all need help with different things."
  5. P-nut2004

    P-nut2004 New Member

    JJJ- Thank you! You did such a wonderful job of laying that all out. Your example of telling easy child 1 it would be like having her drive to the store was excellent & Im definitely going to use it. I have been doing some of these things but need to focus more on the positive reinforcements.

    Hope & Daisy: You are both right, it isn't fair and will never be fair and they all have to learn to accept their differences and understand that they are different ppl with different needs. Thank you!

    I realized today that although we knew things were not right with difficult child somewhere between 3 & 4 yrs old I kept hoping she just needed time, even once we started to get the dxs and broke down and decided medications were inevitable I didn't internalize it. I am just now beginning to realize what all of this means for her future and I am definitely grieving to some degree as I know she will never be 'normal' and I am so scared of the future now. Having to explain her diagnosis, especially to her, makes it all real and tangible but I think approaching each child individually will make it easier.
  6. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Great ideas!

    I tell my difficult child it's not fair that I have to deal with-my sciatica, my cousin and my dad, so I would love to change places. I'll go to school and do his homework, and he can take over my life.

    He tells me I'm nuts but he stops the no fair stuff ... oh, for about 15 min ... lol.
  7. skeeter

    skeeter New Member

    I started very early on answering "life isn't fair, get used to it". Got very little of that comment as time went on.
  8. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    At school with my students I use the phrase, "Being fair means giving everyone what they need." I also have been known to say the same thing as Skeeter!
  9. For the 95% of the time when I think they're just whining, I look at them very seriously and then say, "Who told you that life was fair? Life's not fair. Tell me who it was and I'll go straighten them out." They've never come up with a name.

    However, when the situation warrants it (usually something at school), I'll tell them that no, life isn't fair, but what you can do is try to make your little corner of the world fair by treating others properly. I'll make a stab at what the teacher might have been thinking and ask them if they want me to follow up with the teacher. Most of the time they say no. And, on occasion, I do explain that they are very different children so yes, I treat them differently sometimes ... that it's about ability rather than age, etc. I rarely hear anything about fairness anymore.
  10. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I always explained when mine were younger and they complained about things not being fair that it was just an age related right of passage that they would reach as well. If that didn't work, I just told them the only thing that's really fair comes to the state fairgrounds in September. They've gotten really tired of hearing that over the years!

  11. HaoZi

    HaoZi Guest

    I'm pretty point-blank with it. "Life isn't fair, gravity [hoovers], get used to it. If you want better, do/act better, then maybe we can discuss it again."
  12. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    I have always just agreed, "You are right. Life isn't fair. If like was fair I would be five foot six and have big boobs."

    The talk JJJ suggested with each kid should probably happen one time. After that, my phrase wouls be used. It has ended many whines at my house.
  13. P-nut2004

    P-nut2004 New Member

    Thank you all! I had the opportunity yesterday to talk to easy child 1 & easy child 2 separately about difficult child & although we had never really had a formal discussion about it before they seemed to have already grasped that she can't help most of her behavior. They both agreed to try to give me (& difficult child) less grief about whether things are 'fair'.

    Talking with difficult child is going to be a little more difficult and I'm still figuring out my approach. She recently started saying things like "I'm just dumb" or "I hate myself" when she gets into trouble and I want her to understand that she is not 'dumb' but she does have some difficulties that her sisters and her friends don't have. This morning my niece asked difficult child why she goes to a counselor and difficult children response was "It's fun" ........How & to what extent do you explain a child's diagnosis to them?? Should I even tell her at this age that she has any actual condition? or just tell her that she is different/ everyone has differences?
  14. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Found out that for kids, "fair" and "equal" are the same thing. So, we've had to really define those terms. If kid1 = 20x effort to do a task as kid2 doing same task... then how do you measure fair? equal results? or equal effort?

    Instead, for chores, we try to focus on getting them to do what they are good at and/or can do with reasonable effort - and its NOT equal, but it IS fair! When it comes to food and who can have what - its harder. Allergies/intolerances/restrictions are not fair.

    p.s. on that bedwetting - have you tried taking her 100% off dairy? that worked in my family 40 years ago...!
  15. P-nut2004

    P-nut2004 New Member

    Insane: Her regular pediatrician took her off of dairy as a 2 week trial to see if it effected her IBS symptoms but we have not tried continuing it for longer, she does not drink milk but I think I will try to take her off of other dairy to see if it helps any as I am lactose intolerant and we always have alternative products in the house anyway. Thank you for the tip!
  16. Hey, P-nut! Your kid already knows she has a "condition", but since she doesn't know what else to call it, she calls it "being dumb" and talks about hating herself for being different. I don't bother telling my difficult child his official diagnosis is "mood disorder - not otherwise specified because they don't have a good name for people like you" -- he wouldn't get that at all. I do tell him that everyone develops at different rates and everyone has a different brain chemistry. He didn't have the best luck with what he got. I do have the advantage of being just like him, so he has proof positive that he can grow up and be (more or less) OK. When he's a teen, we'll have a few other talks about how to best succeed. But most difficult children know (on some level) that they are not like most other kids -- you may as well tell them the truth and let them know you're trying to give them some tools for dealing with it. The actual diagnosis -- well, labels can change with time so I wouldn't want my difficult child to really identify with it. I'll tell him when he asks.

    My difficult child wet the bed until he was about 10. Every now and then, we still have an accident, but it's a whole lot better. I didn't bother medicating him for this particular condition, just tried to convince him it was best to tell us if there was a problem in the night. I had rather wondered if he would be going from Pull-ups into Depends at some point. Good luck -- the endless laundry gets tiring.