Years ago, the mother of one of my students shared with me her concept of how to raise children in the most “fair” way. She told the story of purchasing a new winter coat for one of her two sons and the other had complained, saying, “It’s not fair. You bought Jimmy a new coat but you didn’t buy one for me.” The mom explained that she bought Jimmy a new coat because he’d outgrown his old one. Billy, the complaining son, could still fit into his coat and it was perfectly fine. She told Billy, “I’ll buy you a new coat when you need one.”
The logic and brilliance of this was immediately clear to me. As a parent, her philosophy is to provide what each of her children needs when they need it. To do otherwise creates competition and materialism. Treated this way, each of her children could relax, knowing that their needs would consistently be met.
This was actually the most “fair” thing she could do, she told me.