Children often equate fairness with equality, and one of the most important lessons to teach our children (and remind ourselves) is that fairness and equality are not always synonymous.
Like many other well-meaning novice parents of twins, I tried to do everything the same because I wanted to make sure that one child did not get preferential treatment. I was afraid that treating
one differently would produce one well-adjusted and one maladjusted child. To ensure that each baby had an equal chance at succeeding in life, I felt I had to make things perfectly equal.
Faith and Hope taught me very quickly that they were individuals with differences, even as babies. For example, Faith initially had more gastrointestinal problems and needed to be held more often, while Hope was able to contently interact with me from her bouncy chair. If I forced equal arm time with Hope, Faith would cry and upset Hope, resulting in two crying babies.
The following month, their needs completely reversed. Through instances like these, I learned that I had to give up my strict adherence to everything being equal and instead embrace the joy of doing what was right for each baby. It's important to teach our twins this important difference as they mature.
By instructing them that fairness is not always the same as equality, they learn important lifelong lessons:
The next time you feel that twinge of parental guilt because you think you aren't treating your twins the same or you hear that oh-so-familiar outcry, "It's not fair!"
remember that fairness and equality are not always synonymous—and they shouldn't be. We are doing our children a lifelong favor by teaching them early how to differentiate between the
Excerpted from Twins 101: 50 Must-Have Tips for Pregnancy through Early Childhood from Doctor M.O.M., by Khanh-Van Le-Bucklin, MD, M.O.M. Copyright © 2009 by Khanh-Van Le-Bucklin. Reprinted with permission of the publisher, John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
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