"It's not fair" - Common parent-child arguments and what to do about them

Parentree-editors 2009-10-26 12:44:47

Your son has been asked to do something or has been denied a request. His response "It's not fair".

Typical example:

You are about to go to meet your college friends and your son wants to go with you too. You refuse to take him and he says "It's not fair".

What you are tempted to do or say

  • Threaten to punish him if he continues his behaviour
  • Get angry and shout him down
  • Bribe him because you feel guilty on hearing that your child thinks you are "unfair"

What you should do

  • Explain why you have to do what you have to do and why your child has to do what he has to do
  • Give examples of compromises you made for him and explain that fairness means everyone gets some of what they want
  • Give an example where your child got what he wanted while someone else did not (like when he picked a movie, or a restaurant etc.,)
  • Distract his attention and give him something else to focus on (not a bribe). Like the benefits of doing what he was asked to do.

Is there a silver lining to this type of behaviour?

If you are getting frustrated by this type of behaviour, remember this scenario does have some long term benefits to it.

  • Fairness - Your child has started to understand that fairness means give and take, not just getting what he wants
  • And of course, he is learning assertiveness, which in the right measures is a very good thing.


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