PARENTING TIP: DON’T STRIVE TO KEEP THINGS ‘EQUAL’ (EVEN) BETWEEN YOUR CHILDREN.
one of the biggest – and often unseen – dangers in parenting is the notion that everything has to be kept ‘even’ between the kids. if i’ve heard it once, i’ve heard it a thousand times, “we’ve got to keep it equal.” well, in some respects equality is a good thing, in others it is a very dangerous thing!
too many parents believe that children need complete equality when it comes to developing mentally and emotionally. the reality is: what children need is equal devotion and love, not necessarily equal display of such things. equal devotion and love may look very different to one child than it does the next. trying to keep all actions, permissions, gifts, etc. completely equal often interprets to the children the very opposite of what a parent intends. often “equality” feels like betrayal to a child who needs a little something different than a sibling does, or to a child who has worked hard to earn a little something more than a lazier sibling has.
God is a rewarder of whom? everybody? certainly not! “He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” – Hebrews 11:6 (emphasis added). in the story of the talents (see Matt 25:15), God dispersed unto the people according to their abilities. in the story of the wage earners (Matt 20:1-16), a definite air of inequality is felt yet according to God’s view of ‘equality’ everyone was treated justly. when dealing with our children we MUST remember that not everything beneficial to a child’s development will seem “fair” or “equal” to the next child, but it very well may be “just”. don’t hold one child back from something they have earned or something they are gifted for just because another child has not or is not. it may seem fair on the surface and you may think you are avoiding jealousy, but in the end it is injustice and will do more damage than good. your kids need to learn to celebrate with those who rejoice and need to learn to overcome their own weaknesses and propensities towards jealousy. failure to do so will breed anger in the heart of the child who feels their reward and their measure of ‘talent’ has been stolen. love equally; display love specifically.