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Do things have to be even between siblings? - Page 2

Poll Results: Do things need to be "fair" between siblings?

  • 9% (3)
  • 64% (20)
  • 25% (8)
    Depends on the individual child's feelings
31 Total Votes  
post #21 of 60

Okay, Im going to be the voice of dissent here. 


I am the oldest, the first grandchild, and the first person in my generation to have any children. Therefore, my daughter is the oldest and the first grandchild as well.


I got all the baby blankets, the cross stitched name in a frame, my name on everything, etc. My mom wrote detailed information in my baby book, kept a pregnancy journal, and saved ev.rey.thing. having to do with my babyhood. I had four younger siblings, and they all had baby books, but they were barely filled out. No homemade baby blankets, and my poor littlest sister didnt even have her pictures made in the hospital like the rest of us did. She's always been a little butthurt about that. 


My daughter got all.the.things when she was born.My son got nothing. Like, really, nothing. Pretty much the people in my family were in the "damn, you just had a baby." camp. When the twins were born, they got lots of stuff, but nothing personalized. No handmade stuff. And honestly, no one gives/gave too much of a crap about any of my other kids. DD1 is IT for all of them. She is the favorite, and no one in the family has been really excited about any of my other kids. And if their behavior doesnt change soon, the twins are going to know it- just like all of my younger siblings new that I was the favorite for aunts and grandparents. 


DD1 was so hard to deal with that I didnt keep a baby book, a journal, or anything. Im the kind of "fair" mom who bought five of the same baby book (just in case I have two more) so that I wouldnt just cop out and never buy the next kids one. Now, Im having to go back and recreated DD1's information in her baby book so that it will be "fair" because Im keeping super close track of everything the twins are doing. 


So, while I think it's a little unreasonable to request that your MIL make a blanket for everyone, I think you should ask her not to sew this baby's name onto it. Then, it's a gift for YOU to use for all of your children. Not something that only the first child gets. My biggest issue is books. Grandparents give DD1 books (classics, the kind that stay around and you pass down to your kids) and they always write her name in them with a note. Well, they dont need to buy that same book for the other kids, cause we already have it. So, when they grow up, I guess DD1 has all the books? Not fair.   So, I bought 3 copies of The Lorax and The Giving Tree so that all my kids would have one to take away when they leave my house. Because I'm fair like that ;)

post #22 of 60
I voted no. I frequently pick up something for one child and not the others when I'm out and no one cares. A lot of the time they share toys anyway so its pretty non issue. It helps too that the oldest 3 are pretty far apart
post #23 of 60
Originally Posted by inconditus View Post

This brought up a big conversation about whether or not things need to be even. For example, I remember when I was a kid my 2nd oldest brother always received presents on everyone else's birthday because he would get jealous. I know this is a common practice between parents especially when their kids are young. 


Yikes! I wasn't aware of this tradition. It doesn't seem wise.




Originally Posted by Adaline'sMama View Post

So, while I think it's a little unreasonable to request that your MIL make a blanket for everyone, I think you should ask her not to sew this baby's name onto it. Then, it's a gift for YOU to use for all of your children. Not something that only the first child gets. My biggest issue is books. Grandparents give DD1 books (classics, the kind that stay around and you pass down to your kids) and they always write her name in them with a note. Well, they dont need to buy that same book for the other kids, cause we already have it. So, when they grow up, I guess DD1 has all the books? Not fair.   So, I bought 3 copies of The Lorax and The Giving Tree so that all my kids would have one to take away when they leave my house. Because I'm fair like that ;)



I can't agree with asking the MIL not to sew the baby's name in it.  It is a gift. It is a gift for this baby, not any other babies.  It most certainly is not a gift for the mom, though obviously Mom is the one who appreciates it and gets how special it is, at least until the child gets older.  Fairness or equality or whatever you want to call it, with blankets for each grandkid down the line, is something parents have to figure out as it comes up, if it comes up.  Give Grandma a chance to do something special for each of her grandkids, without being told what and how to do it.  Unless a gift is offensive (racist, maybe?) or dangerous, like someone mentioned  -don't interfere.


Books, boy do I get that. But I figure it's one of those unfair things you just have to deal with. I loved my big sister's edition of Little Women and was surprised and disappointed when she moved out and took it with her.  My parents had an Encyclopedia Britannica that I grew up with, poured over and got lost in. It went to my sister's kids -my parents first grandkids. Again, I was surprised (why? you'd think I'd have learned by then) and disappointed. Too bad! Honestly, while I'm disappointed, my kids don't know the difference.


My parents (my mom, really) had a star named after the first grand child. What a neat thing to do!  Kinda silly, too. They didn't do it for all their grandkids.

post #24 of 60

Dh and I did blow it one time with a Christmas gift. We gave a video game to our son, when obviously his sister was going to want to play with it, and we certainly meant for them both to use it, just like all the other games we owned.  The problem was when ds started insisting his sister couldn't have a turn because it was *his* video game.  


duh.gif  I apologized and explained that it was a mistake to give the game to just one of them, and let ds know he needed to share the game with his sister.

post #25 of 60
Journeymom, you were a victim of favoritism. Do you think it helped you be a better adult? Because that's what the goal is, to raise healthy (physically and mentally) adults.
post #26 of 60
I was a victim of favoritism. My parents wanted one child, preferably a boy. They had my sister and were happy, and figured they'd have a boy the next time. Nope, they had me. Then just a year later, they had my brother. My siblings have baby books and I don't. Heck, I don't even have any baby photos of me. I've lived this.

What will create unhappy adults is to focus on fairness and what everyone else has to such a degree. Constantly looking for fairness will only hurt any kids involved, both those who seem to have more and those who seem to have less. What made me a healthy adult was looking only at what I had and being grateful for it rather than what I didn't have or comparing what I had to what my siblings had. My siblings have both had a difficult time in their adult lives, while mine has been great. I really think it's because I didn't have expectations and they were always worried about what they had and other people had. And still are worried about that.

I mean sure, be equally loving and kind to your kids, and give them each all of what they need and some of what they want. But I don't think it's healthy to sit and compare what each kid has down to whether they have similar baby blankets from the same person.
post #27 of 60
Maybe we should make a poll and ask what everyone's experiences were. I wonder if anyone would say "I got all the attention, etc in my family"? In other words, does anyone feel there was favoritism and was the favorite? I bet my siblings would say I was spoiled and they suffered.
post #28 of 60

My sisters thought I was the favorite.  I did get to go to Camp Fire camp, not just one year but 2 (I think that was the main thing, but....)  I kept receiving piano lessons while my oldest sister's guitar lessons were dropped and middle sis had only band, no private lessons.  I was never told that college wasn't suitable for me.  I was the easiest.   I was the youngest.  Mom went through a bitter divorce when I was just an infant.  I cuddled with her while my sisters played together, and I was the only one who didn't beg for my absent father.  


Anyway, the bitterness of especially my middle sister is still apparent, though she genuinely tries.  She was the middle between the first daughter/grand daughter and the baby.  It didn't help that my pshycho-paranoid father once accused my mother of screwing around, and swore he wasn't the father.  Heaps and heaps of bitterness.  


And the stuff.  She felt like she didn't have the things--pictures, etc.  The funny thing was, when I went through my mother's things after my stepfather's death, I found that most of the favorite things she saved belonged to my middle sis.  Odd.  And what seemed like my parents' lame excuse--"all her baby pictures were on slides"-- turned out to be true.  I found the slides in a jumbled box.  I scanned and posted the best of them on my FB page, including some wonderful ones with our beloved grandparents.  She thanked me profusely.


Also, there was some perceptive differences.  My sisters claim mom drove me around more to after school activities, etc.  And they were right.  But looking back, I realize this was because of the way I dealt with my mother.  She would complain and complain and protest and give me the guilt trip, but I tuned her out and waited for the grudging "yes".  My sister's never had that talent, so they stopped asking once the first complaint parted her lips.


Yes, outright favoritism sucks.  The perception of favoritism sucks, but not all of it can be helped.  Like I said in my pp, I like the democratic quality of trying to make things somewhat even, as much as can be helped under different circumstances.  But also like I mentioned, oftentimes it can never be made to look "fair".

post #29 of 60

I don't think 'stuff' necessarily has to be even. But I think each child has to feel like their needs are getting met approximately as well as their siblings' are. I never lacked for 'stuff', and I was the first child so probably a lot of the handmade stuff was originally for me (including, probably, some stuff my sister ended up with, and I really never knew or cared). It was my emotional needs that weren't met, but that is kind of another story. Meeting physical/practical needs, including stuff like new clothes when they outgrow or outwear what they have, necessary equipment to do an activity, etc. is important. It doesn't have to be "even"; you don't have to get everyone a pair of swim goggles if only one kid is on the swim team, nor do you need to get the other sibs something fun because the swimmer is getting swim goggles, but you need to meet each kid where they are. Gifts to kids old enough to be conscious of them should probably be fairly even, if not in cost then in importance to the kid--I think it would be okay to spend more on one kid than on another if they are both very happy about what they get, like in the sword example upthread. 


One way this has manifested in my husband's family is that several of them have birthdays near Christmas and they HATE when people do the "oh, this present is for your birthday AND Christmas". The family is very conscious of this and tries not to do it. 

post #30 of 60
For me, it wasn't always the stuff, but the effort. My mother stood up for my sisters at school, while I had to fend for myself. I was told my grades weren't deserved, because they were better than my siblings' grades. That kind of thing.

I'm sorry I helped to take this thread off topic. Maybe we should get back to the original subject.
post #31 of 60

"That's true. I suppose I could say that the baby blanket is for everyone."


Except that it isn't. She wants to make a blanket for this baby. I would let her do that.

post #32 of 60
Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

Journeymom, you were a victim of favoritism. Do you think it helped you be a better adult? Because that's what the goal is, to raise healthy (physically and mentally) adults.


Oh golly. Are you referring to the Encyclopedia thing? Calling me a victim is a disservice to real victims of significant wrongs.  After I got over the devastating shock and disappointment of learning I was no longer the baby in the family (mind you, I was 13 years old when my nephew, the first grandchild, was born) I felt ashamed of my jealousy.  


The OP asked if things need to be 'fair' between our kids.  I believe absolutely yes, parents need to treat their children as fairly as possible. But people quickly pointed out that fair isn't the same as equal or 'the same'. 


I wasn't treated unfairly. It was my mom's prerogative to go ga-ga over her first grandchild. Yes, I got a healthy knock back on my butt.

Edited by journeymom - 5/28/13 at 10:22pm
post #33 of 60

I also think it would be okay to have an expectation in your family that the bulk of birthday/Christmas presents are going to be practical rather than toys--if everyone most of the time gets new socks and stuff, then that's just the way it's done in your family. The key would be to do it for everyone. I don't think it's fair for one kid to get socks and goggles and a new bike helmet while another gets My Little Ponies and a Barbie dream house, unless that's what everybody really wanted. (Perhaps when they're in high school/college? I loved when my mom gave me clothes for Christmas in college because she bought me stuff that suited my style and that I couldn't have afforded myself. But that's a whole 'nother story.)

post #34 of 60

I actually make a point to treat my kids differently. To let them each discover their own interests and excel at their own things, and being different I think minimizes competitiveness between the siblings. My kids rarely show jealousy towards the other, rarely try to get mom or dads attention over the other. And I think this is because they are each seen on their own. We don't buy the same things or even the same quantity or use the same amount of money. It changes all the time.


Kids are not the same, so they should not have the same thing. I have a 6yo DD and an 8yo DS. They have different needs, different wants, different skills, different expectations, different interests... Sometimes DS needs new underwear. Doesn't mean DD needs new underwear, or much else. I think the main thing is how it all comes out in the wash. DS was first, he got a lot of perks with that. Right now he is staying up later than DD who is in bed, because she is younger and needs more sleep. But it isn't all wonderful. Because he was the first, I made some big mistakes on him, that I didn't make on DD, because I knew better then. I still make mistakes more with DS, because he is the 1st. That can't be a bowl of cherries. Sometimes I buy stuff and DS gets 50 dollars spent on him and DD only gets 10 dollars. Next month it is the opposite. DD has probably three more clothes than DS. But DS doesn't care. DS has a billion more legos than DD. Whatever. I think they both feel confident that they are loved. Because of that, there is less measurement of who has what going on.

post #35 of 60

I think the problem is that we tend to define "fair" and "even" by objects. If each kid has a handmade blanket, then things are fair. But stuff isn't really what's important, is it? It's how they feel, how they are treated, how their relationships with others are. My mom's friend is a quilter, and made a GORGEOUS quilt for DS when he was a baby. I admit, I was so excited to see the quilt I assumed she would make for DS2, b/c her work is just stunning. Well, guess what, she didn't make him a quilt. She made him a stuffed animal. Just as neat, just as loved, just as beautiful. But I didn't see it that way at first. I worried that DS1 will have a "blankie" to keep with him, to use with his kids, etc. and DS2 is going to chuck the stuffed animal by the time he's 8 and not have a care about it. It didn't take me long to realize that it just doesn't matter. It's only stuff. And neither of them will ever really know this woman personally. A grandma, yes, OP's kids will know her, and isn't that more important than whether she made them each a blanket?

post #36 of 60
Fair is not the same as equal!

There is nothing wrong with treating your children differently, as long as it is also fairly. Different people have different interests, and while giving everyone swim goggles is equal, it is unfair to the ones who hate swimming. Is that point really so subtle that so many seem to be missing it?

Also, a grandparent who chooses to abuse one grandchild, just because she wants to, should not be allowed. It is reasonable and acceptable for the parent to set limits, called boundaries, for what is acceptable and what is not. If you know your mother shows favoritism to the firstborn, and treats the youngest like a slave, you have the obligation to prevent your children from being treated that way -- AND passing that treatment along to ANOTHER generation.
post #37 of 60

I still think that so much is in the eye of the child.  No matter what you attempt as a parent-- treating kids "differently" or treating them the same-- you often end up with a child who sees things differently.


AllisonR, some of what you do can influence your children, but you also probably have children who fit neatly into what you have attempted to accomplish by making these choices.


 And swdl2422, for some kids, the stuff really is part of what's important.


I can say this, because the intensity of my first daughter has really made me reevaluate and change how I approach evenness and fairness.  Now, finally, at 8yo, she can understand with some intellectual clarity that "fair" and "even" can be different from "same".  She has challenged the justice of my decisions almost constantly, and I have had to examine the reasons for why I do things.  Often, there is an argument because I simply cannot comply with her demands.  Sometimes--oftentimes-- it's not about fairness.  It is an ongoing conversation.  And on and on and on.....


One could argue that I wouldn't have these troubles if I gave her enough attention.  Well, that's a conclusion made by parents with children for whom giving loads of attention was enough.  For my eldest, everything I could give was never enough.  You just wind up with these kids that don't neatly fit into all these theories about "give them X and they'll respond with Y".  And so often, this paradigm isn't challenged until we are the ones with those kids.


How is this helpful to the OP?  Well, frankly, I don't know.  I guess that you can't set things up thinking that if you do X the same, then you won't have any troubles.  If I make things even: stuff, attention, etc. then.........


.....well, it doesn't work that way, so don't embark on the task of making things even with the assumption that doing that will keep things fair and prevent those hurt feeling down the road.  Because all that is in the eye of each and every child.

post #38 of 60
Thread Starter 

Thanks for all the responses. I do agree completely that "fair" and "even" are two completely different things, especially when it comes to little things. Like the swim goggles, underwear, or even spending the same amount at xmas for all the kids. I probably didn't name the thread properly. I had such a hard time trying to figure out exactly how I feel on the subject.


I think it was a mixture of hormones and holding a grudge at my MIL for an earlier conversation when she said that the amount of kids DH and I want are "too many" and I should only have two or three. After thinking of this subject for a while I think I projected that conversation into my reaction to the baby blanket thinking "well, you are only going to make things for the first 2 kids because that's all you approve of."  I'm sure that's not going to be the case, and she will approve/love all my hypothetical children, but that was at the root of what I was feeling.


Even if that was to be the case I suppose it doesn't matter as long as my kids know on some level that I love them and stuff is really just stuff. It's completely logical to think that if I worry about material possesions between them being fair that is putting emphasis on something that in the grander scheme of things doesn't matter. It could completely back-fire and turn them into materialist people. 


Also I do agree that it depends on the kid's wants/needs. My nephew's only interest is minecraft. He would be happy doing nothing all day except play that game. My niece on the other hand wants to play sports, do drama, ballet, and recently asked if she can join a gymnastics team. These activities are WAAAAYYY more expensive and time consuming but that's what she wants. My sister forced my nephew to play soccer so that he would "do something not  computer related." 

post #39 of 60
Don't throw out the baby with the bathwater. Just because there might be a bit of squabbling down the road is no reason to not try to avoid huge hurt feelings. It's like driving. No matter how much you follow the rules of the road, you may have an accident. But does that mean you should throw caution to the wind and drive on the wrong side of the road for kicks?
post #40 of 60

I grew up as an only child, so I guess I naturally grew up as a product of favoritism; however, I can see how favoring one child over the other can definitely lead to some problems growing up. Although I was an only child, my parents constantly subjected me to comparisons with my "genius" cousin. They would incentivize me with toys and games if I could keep up with my cousin, and whenever I couldn't, they would continually comment on why I couldn't do the same. It really messed with my sense of self-esteem growing up. Comparing myself with others and feeling terrible when I matched up poorly became a regular occurrence. I can see the point of using the "more successful" child as the standard for the rest of his/her siblings, just so they can have a model to look up to and emulate, but when there is continuous dialogue of comparison without praise for each child's individual strengths and gifts, major self-image problems will arise. Just make sure you are conscious to the internal dialogue you are creating in your kids' heads when you do or say things that may conjure up thoughts of inadequacy, favoritism, or comparison for your children. They want to please you and make you happy as their parent, so make sure you show them the same appreciation in return.

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