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Do you ever wonder if the scale of fairness is out of alignment with your children?

It is an issue I think we struggle with daily.

Let me set the stage for you.  I have two of my children still living at home.  My daughter is 18, and my son is 20.   Due to getting their wisdom teeth pulled, they are sitting home, reading, watching movies, playing video games a lot more than usual right now. The 18-year-old is having a tougher time with the healing process than my son is. She usually helps out, however, will grumble and complain about any help we ask to be done.  My 20-year-old, will make out like he is helping, but has figured out ways to not really do anything.

My husband and I got all the Christmas decorations up one day except for the decorations on the tree. Due to extremely busy lives, and some of that business caused from taxi driving their butts around town for this, that, and the other things, we knew we were not going to have the time to finish the tree anytime soon.  So we went to our children asking for their help.  My daughter absolutely refused and my son told my husband that he might ‘possibly help me with’ it….. maybe!

Coming home this afternoon I knew I was going to have to get down to work as soon as I got home. I am a home-based travel agent as well as blogger/author. My husband had sent me a text telling me my son was going to ‘help me’ with the tree when I got home.  My first response was, “help me, why can’t he just do it?” Knowing I was going to be too busy when I got home I was frustrated that he had sat home all day, probably playing video games instead of actually finishing the tree for us.  But I was also annoyed at my daughter as well for even refusing to help at all.  Her point was she did it last year.  My point was, I did it every other year and I am not the one that cares if it gets done.  So then I am called the Grinch because I don’t care if the decorations get up or not.

When I got home I started to get caught up on work, my son is still upstairs playing video games and annoyed at me because I made him come down seven steps to take his antibiotics,  while my daughter is downstairs.  Out of the two of them, who do you think is decorating the tree? Swollen, not feeling great, not even wanting to do it, but understanding the complexity of how time is not on our side this year, she has decided to give in to her brother once again and just do it.  I asked her if she wanted me to force him to help her or if that would be worth the aggravation that would come with it.  Not to my surprise, she said, she would just rather do it herself. And because she was doing the job I left it alone and understood her point.

There are many issues in this article that we will break down throughout our journey of blogging, but the one I want you to see today is that we have to know our children well enough to know when to step in and when not to step in.  I wanted to make my son go down and help his sister.  But my daughter was in no mood to put up with his lack of commitment to really helping her and would rather do it herself.  This is where parenting gets interesting.  In all appearance, it looks like my son got away with something.  And for now, he did. However as is very typical of me, in a couple of days when my son will need something from me, like a car so he can drive to work, or wanting me to buy something for the house we don’t really need, I will just tell him he doesn’t deserve any favors.  If my daughter asks for something I will give in to her if possible and I will make sure my son knows I have done so.  But to show the scale of fairness tonight I made my son clean up after dinner all by himself.

If you want to know how to deal fairly with a teen, click here.