Do things have to be even between siblings? - Mothering Forums

View Poll Results: Do things need to be "fair" between siblings?
Yes 3 9.68%
No 20 64.52%
Depends on the individual child's feelings 8 25.81%
Voters: 31. You may not vote on this poll

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#1 of 60 Old 05-25-2013, 06:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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So for my own situation: My MIL wants to knit a baby blanket for when LO is born. I am 100% behind this but only if she will do so for subsequent children also.  My huband thinks I'm crazy that I think it's unfair to have Jaya receive a bunch of hand make or engraved things from relatives at the shower when the liklihood of others receiving the same treatment is low.

 

My mom also mentioned when I said that I am painting a tapestry based off her name meaning that I shouldn't feel obligated to do so for all of my future kids. If I can get around to it later on then go ahead.. and girls care more about that stuff than boys. I should mention that we hope to have a big family by today's standards. 6 kids, or at least 4. 

 

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. 

 

What would you do? 

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#2 of 60 Old 05-25-2013, 07:08 AM
 
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Things should be fair, which is not the same as identical.

The example of one child getting a present on everyone's birthday, when the siblings only got presents on their own birthdays, is UNfair.

A newborn getting a handknitted blanket, whose siblings do not is reasonable. Newborns don't really care who gives them things, and subsequent children can be told the blanket is a gift to ALL the babies in the family. My uncle made a stool shaped like a turtle for the firstborn of each of his nieces and nephews. Had he made one for each child, they would have taken up too much room, and the need for the stool is outgrown. The need for a baby blanket is also outgrown.

A painting with the child's name is NOT outgrown. That would cause jealousy if younger children are not given their own paintings. It certainly would seem like the oldest is loved more. Truth would probably be that mom doesn't have time to paint with a child or children around. However, it will SEEM to children like they are not loved as much
I'd think twice before doing that.

Again, fair is the goal, so all feel loved. Equal or identical is not possible, and most will understand if the reasons are explained (I.e., the blanket was intended for all the babies).
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#3 of 60 Old 05-25-2013, 07:45 AM
 
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TBH, I hear your concern but I would not stress it too much. I think the first kid in the family will get more stuff. I know my son did as a baby. But honestly, none of my kids have ever cared about stuff their older siblings got before they were born. Also, for something like a tapestry or even a baby blanket, there is a long period to make these things. I think baby blankets are actually lovely things and certainly my kids still treasure theirs but I don't think any of them would feel hard done by or certainly less loved for not having one. My kids know their grandparents love them because they call them, they write/email, they remember birthdays, they spend time with them playing games and talking and all the rest. They actually only quite loosely connect the fact they own these nice blankets with their grandmother. I also really don't think they'd care if their grandma had decided to buy one of the blankets not make it.

 

Actually, now I think about it, my mother in law actually didn't make a blanket for my oldest when he was born, made one for my first daughter out of lovely handdyed cotton in her favourite colour, and one for my youngest out of leftover acrylic in really a really eyepopping army green. Its a gift, a gift of time more than anything, and that's what matters IMO. TBH, they don't care. She later made them all patchwork blankets, but I think they got those when they were about 4 or 5 each time.

 

I think something else to consider. I'm guessing this is the first grandchild? That's a rite of passage for your family too and I think its quite normal to want to mark it. My guess is that for subsequent kids your mother in law will want to do the same. She might not be able to, sure, but she'll be wanting to. TBH I think its really lovely that you have people around her wanting to mark this for her. 

 

Re the presents on another kid's birthday. No, we have never done that. I don't know anyone who does. I think unless you have SEN at play then that is a pretty bad idea.

 

My kids really do not always get fair or equal treatment, tbh. They don't get the same amount spent on them, and they don't even really get the same amount of time. Parenting several kids at once is about catch up a lot of the time. Its about parenting the kids you have and the mix of personalities. What I think is important is to listen to your kids, both what they are saying and what they are not, and to do your best to meet their needs. And to let them know that you are trying and that all their needs, all their interests, are important. I'd say the key here, especially with a larger family, is to create ringfenced family time (meals, time outside, walks), otherwise IME its easy not to spend that much time together at all. 

 

Also, younger kids have different experiences. The oldest, regardless of whether they have a personal tapestry, will be special to some extent. For a long time they will do all the "firsts", and any other kids only get to be different to the first. But other kids have other advantages. They are born into an established family, which is used to being a family. That's quite a big deal. Just having siblings around to smooth the way is a great thing-having an identity as "x's little sister" often means easier transition into new groups, even if you then spend your time proving you are not just x's little sister. IME they are much more likely to be sucessfully breastfed, be part of a strong social network from birth with often playmates in the other younger siblings. My feeling really is that the hand embroidery is perhaps a privlege of the firstborn but that the younger ones have their stuff too, and that allowing your in laws this rite of passage is a pretty harmless thing.

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#4 of 60 Old 05-25-2013, 07:46 AM
 
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I didn't vote; the title of your post and your poll question are two different things; yes, things should be fair between siblings; no, they shouldn't be even.

I would agree with your husband and mother; if someone offered me a gift for one of my children, I would thank them and be grateful and in no way would force them to buy / make a similar gift for the other child. Your mother might be 20 years older by the time you have your 6th child. You can't possibly expect her to knit or paint things if she's not able to, or to commit to such a thing now.

 

Between my kids things are often UNeven, especially as there is a 5 year gap between them. My 8 y/o gets an allowance that he learns how to spend or save; my 3 y/o is happy to play with a fistful of pennies that she constantly loses around the house. I also think that making things uneven helps them be selfless and be happy for their brother or sister. When it was ds's birthday, everything was about him; the same for dd. Ds even spent some of his money to buy his sister a gift "from him".
 

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#5 of 60 Old 05-25-2013, 08:51 AM
 
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On a practical level, if your kids are close in age, it could be helpful to have another round of blankets.  If the first gets attached to the blanket and it is now a lovey, then it would be nice to have a second blanket for #2.  But not with the intention of promising one for every child.  And it doesn't have to be handmade--infants and little children couldn't care less.

 

My family is hypersensitive to evenness and fairness, and I can say that it can be nearly endless.  And at the same time, something that was received when they weren't born or shortly after is barely on their radar.  Those things are largely precious to mom.

 

That's not to say you don't do your best, if you feel it's important to your own sense of fairness, but I don't think it's "fair" to pull others into that.  I would even question putting a lot of time and effort into something that is highly unlikely to be replicated after baby #2, unless you are that kind of energetic person who can pull stuff like that off in between face and bum wipings, cleanup and dinner and bathings and bedtimes.

 

Frankly, and not to be dismissive, this is something that first-time moms-to-be care more about.  You are asking this question in a hive of BTDT moms-- we have already had our priorities straightened out for us by the reality of kids and families.  You would probably get answers more in line with your thinking from other first-time moms-to-be.

 

All that being said, I am pretty good at keeping things "even" in my family, I like the democratic quality of it, but I still get accused of being "unfair".  That's because fairness is in the perception.  Once, my oldest was in tears because she couldn't find anything good to buy with her allowance and dd2 could.  Well, dd2 buys things like .95 rubber snakes and one .35 miniature dog, and she is thrilled.  DD1 couldn't find a horse she liked that she could afford.  She easily had 3 times the allowance in her jar, but somehow in her mind, it was not "fair" that she should be walking out of the toy store empty handed.  So, no matter your efforts, no matter how careful, if your child is hypersensitive to fairness, this is going to be an issue.  Making things "even" will not prevent that, if it's going to happen.

 

Regarding the gifts, since others have brought it up, I started giving a "together" gift at birthdays.  They enjoy it, and I enjoy getting something for both of them.  Even though they are getting older, I still enjoy it and will continue doing it.  Sometimes it is a Children's museum membership, I've given riding lessons, sometimes big-ticket toys that I didn't want to be reserved by one of them.  

 

So, again, I like the idea of keeping things relatively even.  But I have 2 girls close in age, not 4 or 6 kids, and evenness shows more.  I can't imagine keeping it like this through 4 or 6 kids!  In some ways, what I said about first-time moms could be said about me by moms with a bigger brood.  Seriously, if Accident Baby  comes along (Virginia Amaryllis, I've already named her! orngtongue.gif )  I don't think I would buy a single toy for that child, or have a single birthday party beyond a cupcake with a candle, until that day that they find out about parties and presents, kind of like discovering that the ice cream man is more than just a cool car with music driving by!  For that child, it would be all about wooden spoons and colanders and mud.  

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#6 of 60 Old 05-25-2013, 09:06 AM
 
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I understand your good intentions to create fairness between all of your (current and future) children. If you insist on interpreting "fair" as "absolutely identical" then you are doomed to feeling like an inadequate failure as a parent. It just isn't possible - or desirable - to recreate absolutely identical experiences for different, individual children. You are confusing the true concept and purpose of fairness with a superficial appearance of equality. 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by inconditus View Post

So for my own situation: My MIL wants to knit a baby blanket for when LO is born. I am 100% behind this but only if she will do so for subsequent children also.  My huband thinks I'm crazy that I think it's unfair to have Jaya receive a bunch of hand make or engraved things from relatives at the shower when the liklihood of others receiving the same treatment is low.

 

 

 

As for this specific situation, to me the real issue is about the etiquette of gifts. I do not think someone - who is not even the intended recipient - is entitled to dictate terms and conditions to a gift-giver (absent some concern about safety etc.). If MIL wishes to give a gift to her grandchild, the appropriate response from the parent, on behalf of the child, is "thank you". 

 

BTW, my MIL suffers from severe arthritis in her hands and had to give up her knitting. She made lovely items for my DS and DD, but if we had more children she would not have been able to knit for them. My father made wonderful wooden toys for my DS, but he died before DD was born. I cannot tell you how much it would sadden me if we didn't have those keepsakes just because of some weird rule that all children must get identical gifts from their grandparents. 

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#7 of 60 Old 05-25-2013, 09:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by pek64 View Post

Things should be fair, which is not the same as identical.

The example of one child getting a present on everyone's birthday, when the siblings only got presents on their own birthdays, is UNfair.

A newborn getting a handknitted blanket, whose siblings do not is reasonable. Newborns don't really care who gives them things, and subsequent children can be told the blanket is a gift to ALL the babies in the family. My uncle made a stool shaped like a turtle for the firstborn of each of his nieces and nephews. Had he made one for each child, they would have taken up too much room, and the need for the stool is outgrown. The need for a baby blanket is also outgrown.

A painting with the child's name is NOT outgrown. That would cause jealousy if younger children are not given their own paintings. It certainly would seem like the oldest is loved more. Truth would probably be that mom doesn't have time to paint with a child or children around. However, it will SEEM to children like they are not loved as much
I'd think twice before doing that.

Again, fair is the goal, so all feel loved. Equal or identical is not possible, and most will understand if the reasons are explained (I.e., the blanket was intended for all the babies).

 

That's true. I suppose I could say that the baby blanket is for everyone. That's a great idea. I guess I just know a lot of people who held onto theirs, like bringing it with them when they moved out of their parents house. 

 

I agree that a tapestry is something that would not be outgrown. That's one of the reasons I want to do them because it's something that can be kept forever. Plus, like Fillyjonk said, a tapestry can take a long time to make. So, say I have this kid's one done before she is born but the 4th kid it takes till he/she is 4 years old... it's going to be applicable at any time because it's not something that's mainly used for only 18 months or whatever. 

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#8 of 60 Old 05-25-2013, 09:46 AM - Thread Starter
 
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BTW, my MIL suffers from severe arthritis in her hands and had to give up her knitting. She made lovely items for my DS and DD, but if we had more children she would not have been able to knit for them. My father made wonderful wooden toys for my DS, but he died before DD was born. I cannot tell you how much it would sadden me if we didn't have those keepsakes just because of some weird rule that all children must get identical gifts from their grandparents. 

 

I agree that in situations like this. There is no way to tell the future and I wouldn't demand that anyone (other than myself) make that kind of commitment. I kind didn't give much of an answer because she asked "what kind of blanket does the baby want?" and sorted through some pictures asking "does the baby like this?" For some reason these kinds of things are a peeve of mine, especially when I am feeling hormonal already. I do think there is a big difference between making something and giving it as a gift and asking the to-be mama what her opinions are. If she never asked I probably never even would have thought of this TBH. 

 

I could also be sensitive to it also because I am the 5th kid and even though I got a lot of things my siblings did not because I was youngest/baby of the family, I never had anything made for me by a relative or my mom. My older siblings had baby blankets, hand-made toys and other things and it trickled down to less and less to where my older brother (4th kid) and have mostly store bought things that are sentimental to us-I still sleep with my stuffed duck. I'm not complaining it's just a bit strange when my brother pulled out his momento box to show to my niece and it was filled with things that grandpa, dad, and mom made him. 

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#9 of 60 Old 05-25-2013, 01:21 PM
 
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What I am saying about the tapestry is that parents sometimes have less time than they anticipate having. That's such a large project. You may take until age 4 for the 4th child, but never complete it for the fifth, and not even start it for the sixth, not realizing until they're leaving the nest. It sounds delightful! It also sounds like a lot of work if you're planning a large family. Just pointing that out to you, that's all. I hope it works out well for you.

All in all, I bet you are going to do a fine job of keeping the fairness balance even. Just the fact that you're thinking about it makes me believe that you will do your utmost. And generally children respond to that in a positive way (even if they do gripe a bit now and then). Good luck!
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#10 of 60 Old 05-25-2013, 02:34 PM
 
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I don't sweat it. Different kids get different things. In the long run, it evens out, but they don't all get the same stuff, and if someone were kind and offered something for one kid, it wouldn't even occur to me to demand that they promise to do the same for any future kids.

My older one has gotten a lot of stuff, and maybe more stuff has been made for her, but I think the younger one has more stuff overall because she has the stuff that's been made/given to her PLUS a lot of stuff that was her older sister's originally. No one is lacking for anything, and no one feels unloved or loved less.

Kids have enough trouble with sibling rivalry. I'm afraid making an issue of this kind of thing would encourage it, honestly. I try to discourage them comparing who has what and who got what.
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#11 of 60 Old 05-25-2013, 02:38 PM
 
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I agree fair and identical are not the same. Every christmas I got less presents then everyone else. EVERY FREAKING ONE! My mom would always apologize and say she thought she counted them. My brothers and sisters would get neat video games and I would get a mixer for making them food. IT SUCKED! I also had a twin brother to share my birthdays with. I understand its hard to be fare but impossible to be identical.
 

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#12 of 60 Old 05-25-2013, 03:22 PM
 
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I agree fair and identical are not the same. Every christmas I got less presents then everyone else. EVERY FREAKING ONE! My mom would always apologize and say she thought she counted them. My brothers and sisters would get neat video games and I would get a mixer for making them food. IT SUCKED! I also had a twin brother to share my birthdays with. I understand its hard to be fare but impossible to be identical.

 


Want to start a "crappiest present" thread?


Back to the OP :

As you can see, favoritism will be remembered. Avoid it, and all should be well.

Regarding hand-me-downs, a personalized item cannot be handed down.
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#13 of 60 Old 05-25-2013, 05:13 PM
 
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My go to story when people talk about fair is something my sister shared with me.  Her stepson had picked out a sword, that he really really really wanted at the store.  His sister picked out something quite a bit more expensive so their father made him put back the sword, so he could get something the same price, so that it would be fair.  THAT'S NOT FAIR.  Fair is everyone getting what they need and some of what they want, within reason.  

 

I think it sucks that someone would say "you can't give this gift unless you guarantee you will get one for any and all future children I have."  That's crazy, there are no guarantees on the future. My dad is going to give his ring to ds when he dies, there is no other ring, there is nothing else like it.  For me to say it's not ok, because there isn't something for my dd and my neice and nephew that is as precious as his ring would be nuts.  

People get more excited about first children, it sucks for the rest of them, but it's just one of life's sucky things.  

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#14 of 60 Old 05-25-2013, 05:53 PM
 
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Just gonna share the wisdom of my years... 

 

I'm the youngest of two. Coming up, I always felt the least favored. It felt my older brother always got more, better, etc of everything - time, stuff, etc. I *swore* I would never do that to my kids. 

 

FF a buncha years. As I look back, I think my youngest got more, better, etc. I click with both, but in different ways. My older one is so much like me, emotionally, We're both readers. Enjoy talking about intellectual "stuff". My younger is more like me when it comes to physical stuff. She's an athlete, and we both like sports. Participating and watching. Meeting their needs coming up, WAS unfair. Buying books and (music) comp paper was hell of a lot cheaper than sports equipment. Going to concerts took a hell of a lot less time than going to games.

 

Thing is... each got what they needed. And both will acknowledge that .Don't sweat the "stuff" part of it. 

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#15 of 60 Old 05-25-2013, 06:59 PM
 
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I could also be sensitive to it also because I am the 5th kid and even though I got a lot of things my siblings did not because I was youngest/baby of the family, I never had anything made for me by a relative or my mom. My older siblings had baby blankets, hand-made toys and other things and it trickled down to less and less to where my older brother (4th kid) and have mostly store bought things that are sentimental to us-I still sleep with my stuffed duck. I'm not complaining it's just a bit strange when my brother pulled out his momento box to show to my niece and it was filled with things that grandpa, dad, and mom made him. 

 

As the middle child of 5, I'm sympathetic. I'm sensitive about the fact that I'm the only sibling who always had to share a bedroom, due to configurations of ages and genders. I've always thought that the youngest in the family was one of the luckiest - always got assigned the least onerous chores and tasks, always got away with a lot because parents were kinda worn down by the time she came along, always treated a little extra special by everyone because she was the "baby"....  If I was to complain about fairness and equality between us, I wouldn't be focusing on the material goods of what each of us owned or received as presents or whether it was handmade or store bought. I would be more concerned with relative experiences. Yet, complaining would be futile because it just isn't possible for each child to have the exact same experience within a family. 

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#16 of 60 Old 05-25-2013, 07:00 PM
 
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Kids have enough trouble with sibling rivalry. I'm afraid making an issue of this kind of thing would encourage it, honestly. I try to discourage them comparing who has what and who got what.

 

This is so wise. 

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#17 of 60 Old 05-25-2013, 07:51 PM
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If you want to have things fair/equal, etc., don't have six kids.  It's just impossible with that many.  (I grew up in a family of six kids, so I have some experience of which I speak.)


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#18 of 60 Old 05-25-2013, 11:22 PM
 
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I don't understand why you wouldn't use the baby blanket made by your MIL with all your children. The hand knit sweaters and such that were given to me by my sister in laws were still in great shape after being worn by my two children. I find it odd that such lovely things should be boxed up and never touched after being so briefly used.

 

As far as going into the future, I went for "equity" in my parenting. Equity means "fairness: actions, treatment of others, or a general condition characterized by justice, fairness, and impartiality."

 

My children are very different people. I've done my best to make sure that they both have what they needed, and that they had enough of what they wanted to be delighted but not so much as to end up spoiled. That was really quite enough to work toward, without attempting to keep some sort of tally to make sure that it was all even. 

 

It's one thing at Christmas to get the same number of gifts or spend the same amount of money, but the rest of the year is marked with one kid needs new goggle for swimming, and then a few months later the other needs new pants for choir, and then one needs new shoes because of a growth sprout, so on and so on. I think that keeping tally would have taught them them the WRONG lesson. Kids who get too hung up of "fairness" sometimes start to think that if their sibling gets something that he/she needs and they don't get something at the same time it means they are less loved. I think we are better of showing our love to our kids in zillions of way and teaching them that what matters is getting what you need when you need it.

 

BTW, my mother in law knitted tons of lovely things for my 14 nieces and nephews,  but she passed away before my husband and I met and had children. Although my sister in laws all know how to knit, it isn't something they enjoy or usually do. When my DH and I were expecting our first child, they all felt sad that their mother wasn't here to make things for her last grandchildren, so they knitted for our baby. The things they made were so special to me because I know they were wishing their mother was still here to see her youngest child become a parent.

 

It's very special that your MIL is here to share this time with you and your DH. There are no guarantees about the future. Just enjoy what is.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#19 of 60 Old 05-25-2013, 11:59 PM
 
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I don't think any of us talking about fairness are discussing needs. That can certainly be understood. We are talking about about expressions of love, be it in objects or actions. Music lessons for the older children, but not for the "spoiled" youngest, simply because the parents are done with that, and "besides, you wouldn't practice, anyway" . And the child never gets to prove the parents are wrong. Mixers or needed clothes as gifts, while siblings get games or toys or books or jewelry. And even hand-knitted items that are "for Oldest, but I guess we'll let you use/wear it". It's how things are viewed, the attitude that accompanies it, that makes it come across as reasonable, and therefore fair, or not.

I totally agree that not allowing the child to get the wanted sword was unfair. Equally unfair would be giving the sister the more expensive item and the boy the sword, then refusing to buy a $1.00 Matchbox car for the boy because "I already got you something,; you never appreciate what you're given; if you wanted the same amount of money spent on you, you should have picked something more expensive ;etc" in angry tones (and I'm saying it was a simple request without whining ). That reaction (as described) would be unfair. It would be possible to not get the car without showing favoritism, though. The words are not as important as the feeling behind the words, which governs the tone. Children know when parents are partial or when they are responding lovingly to all, albeit in different ways.

Again, I think the OP has a pretty good handle on fairness as a concept. Trying to be identical is just as much a mistake as blatant partiality.
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#20 of 60 Old 05-27-2013, 03:55 PM
 
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You can not guarantee that things will be fair.  Accept the gift, and hope for ones for the future, but know it might not happen.  I have one special needs child, and one not.  Just meeting the basic needs of life, means that I spend twice as much time with DD than DS.  It is not fair, but no one ever said life was fair.  I try my best to make sure my kids get what they need, but the reality is that fairness is a perception.  I am one of 3 kids.  My older sister is 18 months older, but we were in the same grade (I skipped 6th).  I remember having different curfews in high school, and thinking it was horribly unfair (we had the same friends, lived in the same room, but had different rules).  However, sis turned 18 at the beginning of our senior year and I was 16, my om felt the rules should be different since she was legally an adult.  If the rules had been the same, my sis would have thought they were unfair.


Wife to M , Mommy to DS aka Captain Obvious  (06/06) and DD aka Lissalot  (03/09, anoxic brain injury)
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#21 of 60 Old 05-27-2013, 06:38 PM
 
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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 ;)


Holly and David partners.gif

Adaline love.gif (3/20/10), and Charlie brokenheart.gif (1/26/12- 4/10/12) and our identical  rainbow1284.gif  twins Callie and Wendy (01/04/13)

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#22 of 60 Old 05-27-2013, 07:00 PM
 
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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

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#23 of 60 Old 05-28-2013, 04:09 PM
 
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Quote:
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.

 

 

 

Quote:
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.


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#24 of 60 Old 05-28-2013, 04:19 PM
 
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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.


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#25 of 60 Old 05-28-2013, 04:21 PM
 
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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.
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#26 of 60 Old 05-28-2013, 04:33 PM
 
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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.
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#27 of 60 Old 05-28-2013, 04:54 PM
 
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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.
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#28 of 60 Old 05-28-2013, 08:15 PM
 
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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".


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#29 of 60 Old 05-28-2013, 08:45 PM
 
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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. 

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#30 of 60 Old 05-28-2013, 09:00 PM
 
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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.
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