“It’s not fair!”
All day yesterday I listened to my 9 year-old son tell me that my decision to have him stay home and not play with his friends was completely unfair.
There were too many chores that needed doing, and, besides, he’d been at school all week and had barely interacted with his little sister in days. I wanted to give my daughter the quality time with her older brother she’d been craving since Monday.
“But, it’s not fair!” he cried then. “I didn’t get to play with them all week!”
“And it’s not fair to your sister,” I explained. “She hasn’t gotten to play with you all week. She loves you and wants to spend time with you. And she wants to feel like her big brother wants to spend time with her, too. So, do that for me today and you can see your friends tomorrow.”
He sucked up his frustration – albeit with some final grumbling – and feigned having fun playing with his sister. Soon enough, he didn’t need to pretend anymore. He was legitimately having a good time.
Yet, it was inevitable that he’d remind me today of the deal we’d struck yesterday. Just as it was inevitable that the unfairness baton would be passed to my daughter, who would turn her focus inward and complain about the wrong she perceived being done to her.