Tuesday, 8 April 2014

How we stopped the cries of "SO UNFAIR"!

You know how it goes, especially in families with more than one kid, the older one inevitably needs to give way to the younger one/s at times. And there would be cries of "SO UNFAIR!" from the oldest child, whether it really is unfair or not. Of course, we try to educate Isaac, that life is not always fair. That he should try to look at things from a different viewpoint. That "fair" is not necessarily equal division. That some things are very trivial and not worth being upset about etc... In fact, as the eldest child, he does sometimes get benefits that the younger ones don't and we do not hesitate to point that out to him.  However, being a 6 year old boy, emotions do get the better of him, and what we say to him just doesn't seem to sink in. 
Isaac's first journal homework he had to do for school.
So we had this string of circumstances December last year, that was the perfect set up for me to educate Isaac and stop the cries of "SO UNFAIR!". You see, Isaac was attending Learning Vision which is a childcare centre that is also a kindergarten with a very sound curriculum that prepares the kids for primary school. For some reason (unknown to me), the childcare/school's end of school year, is in November. Thus, with Isaac in K2 last year, he technically graduated in November, and hence we had the choice of withdrawing him from childcare with his day in end November. I was in a dilemma for awhile. On one hand, I wanted to have him at home in December, as I thought that'd be his last days of relative freedom from homework stress before he commences his 10 years of formal schooling. His last days of play play play. On the other hand, I understand that the childcare had interesting activities to further prepare the kids for primary school for those kids still attending childcare. Also, it would be quite a nightmare getting the twins to go to school while their big brother didn't have to. In the end, I succumbed to fun. We withdrew him and he could stay home in December.
Isaac spending time with hubbs, playing a 'war' game, and ice-skating!
Another reason why I wanted Isaac at home was also so that hubbs and I could spend some time alone with him. Having three kids, our attention is somehow always divided amongst them. So we cherish the times when we can have one-to-one with each kid. The December hols last year was a good opportunity for us to spend time with Isaac, especially since hubbs would have his hols then too.

As written by Isaac in his very first journal entry homework he had to write for school, he had a very eventful December holidays. He didn't have to go to school (whereas the twins had to). We signed him up for one of Science Centre's Family Programmes, an Adventure Camp with Dinosaurs overnight camp that he had to attend on his own (parents not allowed!). He got to go ice skating with hubbs, just them two. He came with hubbs and I to karaoke one afternoon. And I organised playdates for him with his friends at our home. All these, just for him, while the twins were in school.
Playdates for Isaac and his friends during the December hols
So, in December, once the twins were in school and/or out of earshot, I would keep needling Isaac about how UNFAIR it was... I would say:
"Isaac, it's SO UNFAIR! How come you can stay at home while the twins need to go to school?! How come you can go ice-skating with Papa, but the twins cannot. How come?! WHY!? So unfair so unfair!!!"

"How come you can stay at home and have your friends come over and play while Asher and Shawna have to go to school? Why? So unfair. SO UNFAIR. I think we need to send you to school. This way, it's more fair. Isn't it?"

"Why is it that you get to go out with Mummy and Papa and come karaoke with us? So unfair leh. You go to school lah. Go go. What? No?! BUT THAT IS SO UNFAIR!!!"

"Wow you have so much Lego, but this who has so little... SO UNFAIR! We must give them some of your Lego! Oh and board games too! So many board games! Give away!"

"You so lucky! You have one brother and one sister! This (insert name of only child friend) don't have! SO UNFAIR! We must give away Asher or Shawna to him/her!"  - Thankfully he goes "No!!! Cannot give away Asher or Shawna!!!"

So on and on I went. Everything and anything that Isaac had a slight benefit over, I would milk it for all it's worth, pointing out the unfairness of the situation. And finally Isaac said:"Okay, okay! I get it! I won't say "SO UNFAIR" ever again!"

We're already into April now. And for the last 4 months, he hasn't said it, not once. So he remains true to his word, he has stopped saying "SO UNFAIR!".


  1. LOL! I need to try this with my son Sean too - he always says 'IT'S NOT FAIR!' and even my younger son Ryan has picked it up even though he doesn't really know what it means ;)

  2. So unfair. Mummy can complain while Issac can't? Hahaha

  3. That's interesting, Pamela , I should try it with my 5 year old! I do, to a certain extent, but should do it with more gusto and higher frequency like you :D

  4. LOL. Glad that worked for you! My kiddos do not yet understand the concept of 'unfair'. Hope I remember this when the time comes.

  5. Haha, so hilarious! Yup, I got cries of "so unfair" all the time in the past too! But as they got older, they kinda realise that they do have unfairness in their favour too, and the cries naturally stopped.


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