Have a Discussion
If your child is old enough to hold a conversation, it’s time to have a discussion about fairness—and to have it as often as needed.
You’ll need to lay the foundation for your child’s understanding of this abstract concept. And to do that, you’ll need to understand it yourself. Let’s take a look at what fairness actually is, and just as importantly, what it isn’t.
According to Psychology Today, there are three different ideas about what is meant by fairness. The first idea is equality, which simply means that everyone is presented the same opportunities for success. Whatever your race, your social class, or gender, it is fair that you have the same opportunities for success, and that you are treated with the same basic kindness and respect as everyone else.
The second is deservedness. This is the idea that fairness involves people getting what they deserve. If you work for eight hours at your job, for example, it is fair that you are compensated for those eight hours.
The third is need. This takes into account the obligations all humans have toward one another, and is the idea that people who are less able should be given what they need to succeed. For example, it is often fair for a child that comes from a low-income environment to receive financial aid in order to complete his or her education. This definition requires compassion and empathy, and is the most difficult to implement.
Overall, fairness is the interplay between all three of these seemingly contradictory ideas, and each must be considered. Talk to your child about these ideas, and you’ll sow the seeds for later understanding.