Avoiding Parent Pitfall #4: Cookie Cutter Parenting

Lisa Cherry —  December 13, 2013

gingerbread boys on tray
By Lisa Cherry

"Mom, that's not fair! You let him do this at my age!"

Our kids are born as individuals. They have individual strengths and individual immaturities.

And they are born with a potentially dangerous tendency to compare themselves with their siblings and friends. We must not fall into this trap with them.

When we only had two or three children, I found myself pressed into the "fairness" mold all too frequently.  But can you imagine the impracticality of buying everyone something at the store every time one child needed a clothing article or school supplies? :)

So I reframed the issue:

"Son, we love you and each of your siblings individually and completely. Your dad and I will do our best to meet your unique needs in your unique way in your God-ordained timing. So, of course, we will not be forcing your plan on your siblings, or their plan on you!"

Wow, how freeing that change of posture was to all of us!

When they measure themselves by themselves and compare themselves with themselves, they are not wise. 1 Corinthians 10:12

Image: Blucolt, “Cookies” Flickr Creative Commons
License: Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0)


This post is part of my series about potholes-- pitfalls that can really jerk your car off the parenting road. These are road hazards that I can personally testify about, because I have fallen into some of them myself!  Here are the other posts in this series:

Avoiding Parent Pitfall #1: Too Much Too Soon
Avoiding Parent Pitfall #2: Flattering Your Child

Avoiding Parent Pitfall # 3: Assuming They Get It

Gratefully linked to:
Faith Filled Friday
Essential Fridays
Tell Me a True Story

  • Mel Caldicott

    Oh, the "it's not fair!" refrain is so hard to manage as parents. We try to treat our kids as individuals and explain this to them. They still seem to regard fairness synonymously as being the same. A great post on a tough issue.

    Thanks for sharing at Essential Fridays.
    Mel from Essential Thing Devotions.

  • Hazel Moon

    Thank you for sharing with us here at "Tell me a Story." Your post is so freeing to allow your children to each grow according to their own personality and their emotional bent. As to the three of us growing up, we knew if one of us needed new shoes that one received theirs first. Our turn would eventully come. As to my children, I remember my daughter saying, but mom, the Pastor's kids get to do this! I told her, but you are my child not the Pastor's child, and I say no! Maybe I was a mean Mom, but I don't think so.

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