Why “It’s Not Fair” Is Just Not Welcome In My House

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Julie Cole is the co-founding VP of Mabel’s Labels, the leading provider of labels for the stuff kids lose!
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With six kids, you would think the statement “It’s not fair” would be a common refrain in our house. Strangely, it’s not. Or at least it wasn’t. I’m not sure why we had the good fortune of escaping it for so long, but it has recently become a part of our family’s vernacular.

It’s actually kind of surprising that the kids didn’t think to use it before. I suspect there are plenty of occasions in our biggie-sized family that they could have. Like on movie night when I put out one big bowl of popcorn and it’s every kid for him/herself. It never crossed my mind to evenly divide the popcorn prior to handing it out, but now that my kids are dishing out the statements about fairness, who knows where this nonsense will take us?

It never bothered me hearing other kids say it, but when it’s coming out of the mouths of my own kiddos, I get all anxious and uncomfortable. Believe me, it’s no fun raising children who sound like entitled little brats. The thing that irks me most is their improper use of the phrase. When they say “it’s not fair”, what they’re really saying is “it’s not going my way right now” or “I don’t want to do it.” Often it has nothing to do with actual justice or fairness.

In a fit of frustration, after hearing it again the other day, I decided to give the kids a tour of our house. I went through their bedrooms, looking out the window at their pool and trampoline. Then we peeked out the front to see the court where they spend their time biking, playing basketball and rollerblading. Next we wandered into the mudroom where their hockey bags are stored, along with dance shoes, baseball gloves and other equipment for the many activities they do. We walked over to the big harvest table where they gather to eat/waste beautiful food. And finally we wrapped up the tour at the kid-designated computer. We sat down and I pulled up images of children in Third World countries. If they want to talk FAIR, then it’s GAME ON!

So I’m done with hearing the word fair. Until they are able to use it in an appropriate and meaningful way, “fair” is a place they go to get cotton candy and ride on unsafe roller coasters. Fair or unfair, that’s how it’s going to be.

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