Everyone is an individual. What can be acceptable for a 10 year old to handle isn’t necessarily the same for a 16 year old. How do you remain firm to the cries of unfairness or your children thinking you may be favoring one over the other?
Treating or effecting all equally: I do believe there are certain standards everyone needs to uphold no matter what the age. We should not resort to violence when we are angry, especially against other human beings. Theft should be treated the same no matter what the age. Your children will attempt to pit one against the other though when it comes to luxury items- or what they consider needs and what adults may consider wants. Cell phones. iPods. The use of a car when obtaining a drivers license. How you dole out spending money to two children at different ages.
My older brother has 4 years on me. I didn’t understand why he got to stay up later, got to go out with his friends and have a later curfew, or even earned more money for his weekly household chores than I did. I extended my services to others in the neighborhood if I wanted more spending money- mowing lawns, offering to help put away groceries, whatever it took to help me with other hobby purchases such as concert tickets, albums, baseball cards, and so forth. With maturity came higher expectations- and that’s when and why I realized to gain more respect, you have to handle more responsibility without whining but just proving myself through my actions.
Jim Rohn talks about in many of his seminars how you can’t get rich through demand. You may be upset that you are only making $10 an hour, but think about what separates a worker in the same company who makes $10 an hour versus a manager who makes 2-4 times as much? It has to do with your value per hour. The more valuable you are, you can expect others will notice and start paying you more. People will notice your work ethic, your attitude, how you interact with the staff, your work with the clients/customers- and reward you accordingly. But you can’t say you want those things and will it to happen.
Which is why my oldest daughter can get more privileges and my youngest one doesn’t. My youngest one states that she wants more freedom and privileges, yet wants everyone else to take care of her room, her chores and acts helpless when even picking out her own clothes. At 12. She doesn’t get the disconnect between her verbal promises and her physical actions. When my oldest daughter promises to follow through on action- she does. If she needs help, she doesn’t hesitate to ask. If there are problems along the way, my wife and I are informed. 3 years older, a different world in terms of maturity- and as a result has earned the right to move to a different class of freedom in terms of a curfew, spending time out alone in groups of friends, and ready to enter the working world after she turns 16 (she has already with a lot of babysitting this summer).
I guess the point I’m making is I do believe you can be impartial on certain items but in other areas of life, it is perfectly acceptable to individualize based on where people are in their lives. You want to set them up for success and not doom them to constant failure if they aren’t ready for the responsibility. You wouldn’t expect a 5 year old to cook a gourmet meal. We never expect a 10 year old to be ready to drive a car. I can expect my children to take their school work seriously, to keep up on their chores and learn how to expand their horizons as they prepare to be on their own as adults.
Be ready for the unfair cries, or “I hate you’s”. It’s a sign that I’m setting up structure and safety with love and expectations for achievement. I’m doing my job as a parent and as a role model. Look within your own family and see where you can deliver impartial wisdom and where you can support your children with their individual interests and desires.