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Winter frost

When one child is less naturally generous than the other

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Winter frost

Hi wise eb parents

One last post seeking advice before we go...I have a dd aged 6 and a ds aged 5. I obviously love them both and they each have very different qualities.

My ds is v v easy going, makes friends easy and I swear he was born with an inbuilt fairness meter. He is the kindest most generous kid (and i really think it is true despite me being his mother). If another kid gets upset he would give up his toy etc etc.

My dd has found life harder. She gets v anxious and there are suggestions of asd and/or adhd. I love her to pieces but what i find hard is her lack of kindness. Even something small.  Ie today she accidently spilt a stack of lego. She resisted the 1st 8 times i asked her to pick it up. Ds started to do it and after 5min i told him to stop and when she eventually arrived she winged and complained about ds not helping. He didsnt spill the lego!  She constantly takes the bigger half of a sweet. She complains if ds gets anything, she controls the remote if we are not there and she became distraught after school the other day because the teacher handed out prizes and she didnt get one.

On world kindness day does anyone have any strategies to help me help her understand about fairness and kindness? I am really worried that in making adjustments for her to avoid meltdowns we have perhaps given her too much.  We have read books  talked about it calmly quite a bit and a few times i have rewarded ds when he does something amazing (not always) but it doesnt seem to sink in.

I know she can be generous and kind but it doesnt seem natural to her.

Any ideas?

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MadMarchMasterchef

I have 8 and 10yo girls. 

  6 is a hard age, particularly for girls, I know its not just at this age, but the things you have described dont really sound that terribly unusual for the age group, particularly among siblings.  Im not saying I would accept that behaviour, just that I  think it doesnt sound that unusual.  Shes not actively being mean, teasing ,  hurting anyone, taking the others things on purpose or damaging somebody elses stuff, for example.  

I think you should follow up  if you think she may need a diagnosis, and maybe talk to the teacher.  Lots of praising good behaviour, and not tolerating bad, but also not going on about it (easier said than done I know).  Also make sure you spend one on one time with her and listen to whats going on in her world.  I found my girls act out at home if somebody is mean to them at school for exampl.e.  

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amdirel

Aww she's only little OP, I think you're expecting too much of her!!

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**Tiger*Filly**

Not advocating against being kind, especially not today! But reflecting on how my very kind eldest child who is now an adult gets walked all over and never pushes for what she wants so she misses out, and my much more selfish, pushy child who is also now an adult is getting what she wants in this world. The world is not kind or fair, and yes we need to teach our children to be kind and fair when it’s needed, but women especially are often too kind and fair and get taken advantage of because of it. Just my current state of mind! I always think it’s interesting that the attributes we like in small children are often the opposite of what they need once they’re young adults. Be good and quiet and well-behaved, do as you’re told, don’t argue or complain if you don’t get your way... vs go after what you want, don’t let anything stand in your way, stand up to anyone that tries to tell you that you can’t have it!

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Winter frost
24 minutes ago, **Tiger*Filly** said:

Not advocating against being kind, especially not today! But reflecting on how my very kind eldest child who is now an adult gets walked all over and never pushes for what she wants so she misses out, and my much more selfish, pushy child who is also now an adult is getting what she wants in this world. The world is not kind or fair, and yes we need to teach our children to be kind and fair when it’s needed, but women especially are often too kind and fair and get taken advantage of because of it. Just my current state of mind! I always think it’s interesting that the attributes we like in small children are often the opposite of what they need once they’re young adults. Be good and quiet and well-behaved, do as you’re told, don’t argue or complain if you don’t get your way... vs go after what you want, don’t let anything stand in your way, stand up to anyone that tries to tell you that you can’t have it!

I do get this.i don’t know, I don’t mean to be harsh, I just think she has a few hurdles already, if she is always selfish it may make life harder. But perhaps not.

 I have also noticed that my son is naturally lucky and wondered if that plays into it. It sounds ridiculous but he just wins things. Stupid things like when we play board games (which we do a lot) he rolls the perfect number 90% of the time, he always gets the ooshie he wants etc etc. he does seem to just win at life without trying. It has crossed my mind that my dd sees this and it feeds into other issues (or may that it allows ds sees this and it allows him to be kinder).

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crankybee

You don't have to be naturally generous but being fair is a non-negotiable in our house. We work on this skill with my ASD2 daughter all the time.

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Lou-bags

One book that I really like about kindness and empathy is ‘Unselfie’ by Michele Borba.

Ive got the audiobook version, listen to it from time to time in the car as a refresher. 

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blimkybill

I think that your DD will be aware if she is being compared unfavourably to her brother. She will probably feel that you like her less, not that she can change herself. So I would probably avoid doing that in any way. (We had a bit of something similar between two of mine, and the one who was less kind was also hurt by any comparisons and I don't think it helped at all). 

But I don't think that stops you pointing out what is fair in given situations. You can step in if a situation seems unfair and say what you think is fair, without pointing out differences between your two children. 

One thing we used to do when I was a child, was that if there is a treat to be shared, one child divides the treat in two, then the other child gets to choose. It made us all keen to be able to divide something very fairly.

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GlitteryElfFarts
Quote

 She constantly takes the bigger half of a sweet

We dealt with this by allowing one child to halve the chocolate or lolly or whatever, and the other child gets to pick which half they want first. Worked a treat for these kids.

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CallMeFeral

I feel like the first part of your post is written about my kids. Also a year apart, DS 10yo has the generosity and fairness meter, and DD 11yo will take what she can get away with. 

I have no solutions though, unfortunately. And while I love DS's soft heart and immense kindness, I also worry about him once he hits the big wide world, whereas I hope DD is as confident defending her rights in the real world as she as at home, even while I feel sad at her lack of generosity. I try to equalise it as much as possible - e.g. if he's been cleaning up and she's been skiving off, I say "ok DS you can watch TV now, DD will have to finish the rest of the room" and so on, just so that helpfulness is rewarded and slackness isn't. It hasn't changed their personalities, but maybe it will help DS develop the expectation that he is appreciated for his kindness, and DD develop the expectation that if she leaves to work to others, she won't necessarily come out of it better. 

That said, DS's baby sister has him completely around her little finger, and he does a LOT for her that is never reciprocated. AND will get angry at me if I tell her off. I sometimes respond by just letting them at it (i.e. telling him they are both responsible for sorting the room) and eventually his fairness meter will kick in and he'll get angry with her and tell her off. 

Perhaps they'll all be grumbling about it in therapy in years to come. 

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Jenflea

I'm 46 and I still prefer the larger piece of the yummy food. That's human nature and not a bad thing in my eyes. 

She's 6, you are expecting her to behave like an adult and she's too young. 

Try to make sure there ISN'T a bigger and smaller piece if it bothers you, make everything as even as you can, but I honestly don't see the big issue of a 6 yr old wanting more than is 100% fair.  Most kids are egocentric and really only care about themselves first and foremost. That's pretty normal behaviour, even if your other child isn't the same. 

 

I would get her assessed if there are queries of ASD or anxiety, it will be helpful for you all to get a diagnosis and early intervention or treatment as needed. 

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MadMarchMasterchef
7 hours ago, blimkybill said:

But I don't think that stops you pointing out what is fair in given situations. You can step in if a situation seems unfair and say what you think is fair, without pointing out differences between your two children. 

I agree with this!  I find the old 'hey do you think you would like it if x did this to you?'  actually works really well, just helping them see the other persons perspective.  Perspective comes with time and adults still dont always have it. 

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foxbread

When DH splits the chocolate, he always takes an extra piece - in a sense that's fair because he's about a third taller and heavier than I am and really we don't eat equal amounts of anything else. It just doesn't feel fair when it's something tasty...

But I guess what I'm trying to say is that maybe all of your examples shouldn't weigh the same, and sometimes it can help to try to think of the underlying motivation rather than assign it to a character trait.

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Winter frost
On 14/11/2020 at 5:00 PM, CallMeFeral said:

I feel like the first part of your post is written about my kids. Also a year apart, DS 10yo has the generosity and fairness meter, and DD 11yo will take what she can get away with. 

I have no solutions though, unfortunately. And while I love DS's soft heart and immense kindness, I also worry about him once he hits the big wide world, whereas I hope DD is as confident defending her rights in the real world as she as at home, even while I feel sad at her lack of generosity. I try to equalise it as much as possible - e.g. if he's been cleaning up and she's been skiving off, I say "ok DS you can watch TV now, DD will have to finish the rest of the room" and so on, just so that helpfulness is rewarded and slackness isn't. It hasn't changed their personalities, but maybe it will help DS develop the expectation that he is appreciated for his kindness, and DD develop the expectation that if she leaves to work to others, she won't necessarily come out of it better. 

That said, DS's baby sister has him completely around her little finger, and he does a LOT for her that is never reciprocated. AND will get angry at me if I tell her off. I sometimes respond by just letting them at it (i.e. telling him they are both responsible for sorting the room) and eventually his fairness meter will kick in and he'll get angry with her and tell her off. 

Perhaps they'll all be grumbling about it in therapy in years to come. 

Thanks so much for posting - you have made me feel better. 

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Prancer is coming

It is a bit like empathy.  For some kids it is not natural and they need help learning it.  You know at the moment she is struggling with it, so don’t give her tasks where you expect her to be fair eg cutting the piece of cake in half.

 

What is fair is quite subjective.  We have talked here about the difference between equity and equality and I think that has helped.  And if she is feeling out or sorts or has something else going on, she may well feel she deserves extra attention or more than others.  Keep following up any potential diagnosis, as thst will help you to understand your child, which will then allow you to target your intervention to their needs.

 

 

 

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CallMeFeral
On 15/11/2020 at 9:11 AM, foxbread said:

When DH splits the chocolate, he always takes an extra piece - in a sense that's fair because he's about a third taller and heavier than I am and really we don't eat equal amounts of anything else.

Um no, that's not fair, treat food is not a 'by volume' split - and my husband would be taking his life in his hands if he pulled something like that with regards to chocolate! 

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Jenflea

What would be fair is if he took turns with you to get the extra piece. 

It smacks of "I'm the man so I deserve the most treats" to me. 

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foxbread

It's more of a "I always empty the compost bin and the cat litter so I get an extra piece of chocolate"... there's more at stake than just even division of treats.

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Sugarplum Poobah
6 hours ago, foxbread said:

It's more of a "I always empty the compost bin and the cat litter so I get an extra piece of chocolate"... there's more at stake than just even division of treats.

Does he clean the toilet(s) as well? And the oven? 

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Lady Sybil Vimes
7 hours ago, foxbread said:

It's more of a "I always empty the compost bin and the cat litter so I get an extra piece of chocolate"... there's more at stake than just even division of treats.

I think you should buy a block of chocolate and eat the whole thing in front of him announcing chores that you do before each bite. 

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Jenflea

I pushed out a baby after 3 years of AC and IVF, needing a transfusion after DD's birth. 

I win EVERYTHING. 

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123Tree
On 16/11/2020 at 10:43 PM, CallMeFeral said:

Um no, that's not fair, treat food is not a 'by volume' split - and my husband would be taking his life in his hands if he pulled something like that with regards to chocolate! 

I read this and as the second youngest of a large family I wondered where your husband comes in birth order.  

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