The Best Parenting is Not Fair

mother with two children patting one on the head

How many times did you complain to your parents “That’s not fair!” as a kid? Many parents believe that they should be fair to their kids by treating them equally. In fact, if we redefine “fair” to mean that we are giving each child what they genuinely need, than treating kids equally is not fair.

As a new mom, I thought I was failing my first baby because he spent so much time playing by himself. I was constantly getting parenting messages that said I should be joyfully on the floor playing with him for hours. It was only after I had my second baby that I understood what was really going on. I did not treat my kids equally, and that was a good thing. I wrote about the story in Psychology Today and about how the best parenting is responsive, not equal.

Responsive parenting means we tune into our child and notice them. It means we respond to their individual temperament and development. The Sigh, See, Start method is the quickest way I know to become a responsive parent. Maybe we won’t be treating our kids equally, but we will be doing what they need.

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Author: Alison Escalante MD

Alison Escalante MD is a Pediatrician, TEDx Speaker, Writer and Mother on a mission to help parents caught in the culture of criticism.

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