“That’s not fair!”  How often do you hear it?  If your kids are anything like mine, you hear it a lot. One day I got sick of telling them that “Life isn’t fair.”  It didn’t seem to be registering.  So instead, we started to tell our kids that in our family, fair does not mean equal.  If one of us has to get a shot, we don’t ALL get shots.  Only the person who NEEDS the shot gets it.

The underlying principle is that everyone in the family will get what they need, and that needs are different from wants.  So when one of them needs new shoes, and the other one wants new shoes, we might say something like, “When one person in our family needs new shoes, do we ALL get new shoes?  No!  That’s silly.  As soon as you need new shoes, we’ll get them right away.  You can start thinking about what kind you’d like.  In fact, today when we’re looking at new shoes for your sister, you can start your shopping and looking.  We won’t be buying them today for you, but you can take paper and draw pictures of different things you see at the store that you like for us to remember when we shop for your shoes.”

I’m not saying this will stop the complaining or the melt-downs, but if we say it enough times, maybe they’ll get it, and it will teach them this important concept that will serve them as adults.