The Norman Transcript

Features

February 7, 2014

How to solve the ‘it’s not fair’ problem

NORMAN — Q: I have three kids ages 8, 6 and 4. I need help solving the “pick up the playroom” dilemma.

When an area in which they’ve been playing needs to be picked up and straightened, the 8-year-old always ends up doing all the work.

The other two continue to play or just pretend to be helping.

The oldest complains that it’s not fair, and he’s right. What can I do to ensure that they all do their share?

 

A: This very common problem is the result of parents who think children are adults.

One aspect of emotional adulthood, not to be confused with chronological adulthood, is the understanding that cooperation with others is usually necessary to accomplishing anything of value and, furthermore, that cooperation results in short- and long-term benefit to all concerned.

Children are not adults, which may seem self-evident but obviously is not. When siblings are assigned to the same task, it’s typical that one or two siblings will do as little as possible while one — usually the oldest — does all the work.

That’s human nature, which is fundamentally irresponsible and always looking for the easy way out.

The solution to this problem is to rotate tasks among the kids. Picking up the playroom is a good example.

The first time it needs to be picked up, assign it to the oldest child. Send the other two kids elsewhere.

The second time it needs straightening, assign it to the middle child.

The youngest performs the next cleaning and then it’s back to the oldest.

Voila. The job gets done and none of them complains that “it’s not fair.” Or, they all complain, which, after all, is only fair.

 

Q: I have a follow-up question. Let’s say it’s the middle child’s turn and he holds everyone up by dawdling.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Features
  • Technology can interfere with parenting

    Hi, I’m an eighth-grader and have a little sister in fifth grade. We love our mom and dad. They are always on their cell phones. When they ask us about how school was that day, we don’t think they even listen to our answers. We feel ...

    April 25, 2014

  • Journal is wrong

    The Wall Street Journal says there’s no difference between a child whose primary interest is reading and a child who uses social media obsessively. In WSJ’s March 22-23 “Mind and Matter” column, Alison Gopnik recounts, in fable form, her ...

    April 25, 2014

  • Deer workshop set

    It may not be deer season in Oklahoma, but hunting enthusiasts never stop thinking about the most economically impactful game species in our state. According to the Oklahoma Department of Wildlife Conservation’s (ODWC) website, deer ...

    April 25, 2014

  • April is when nature renews itself

    Wind-sheers, hail and strong south winds can damage young transplanted tomato, pepper and other tender plants as well as fruit such as apples, peaches, nectarines, etc. A large, plastic pot with the bottom cut out placed upside down will ...

    April 25, 2014

  • National Garden Club members headed to Norman

    Oklahoma Garden Clubs Inc. will host the 85th national convention from April 30 through May 3 at Embassy Suites Norman. Several hundred guests are expected for the four-day event....

    April 25, 2014

  • Random thoughts

    Do you ever find your mind bombarded with weird questions? Why do we expend brain cell energy on questions that have the importance of a speck of dust? In the grand scheme of things we should think about earthshaking things. Whether you ...

    April 25, 2014

  • Pancreatic enzyme disease in dogs

    Dear Dr. Fox: A close friend has a police dog (a German shepherd, bred in Germany for that purpose) with severe health issues. The major problem is pancreatic enzyme deficiency. His vet has him on pancreatic tabs, but he still has loose ...

    April 24, 2014

  • Norman resident honored as volunteer of the week

    Each week, we recognize a volunteer who is making a difference in the lives of veterans and surviving spouses in the area. This week’s volunteer has been making the trip each week to Goldsby for the last five years. I’m proud to say that ...

    April 23, 2014

  • Air travel tips for seniors with special needs

    Dear Savvy Senior, I would like to fly my elderly parents across the country next month for my daughter’s wedding but have some concerns about the flight. My mom has trouble walking long distances and my dad has COPD and needs an oxygen ...

    April 22, 2014

  • Couple with autistic children lead Thorn Bush Autism group

    For Leah and Christian Eisenbeis raising two children with Autism is not only a challenge but it’s been a blessing, too....

    April 20, 2014