Every Kids Wants Duplication
Most kids think they want duplication for every kid, especially when they have to be the one who lacks an item. The kiddos had come to spend the night after being gone for two weeks. During that time, I’d purchased a used Minnie Mouse cover for the bed of Little Miss. The cover was now on top of her bed, but I had forgotten about it.
They found it within minutes of arriving at our house. Both of them came running downstairs. She was beaming. He was not.
“Is that cover for me?” she asked, all smiles.
“Yes, it is,” I replied.
“Why you didn’t get something for me?” he pouted.
“Because,”I emphasized, “a friend was getting rid of this one, and she didn’t have one for a boy. I suppose I shouldn’t have gotten this one since I couldn’t get something for you?” I asked with slight sarcasm.
‘Yes,” then he stopped for a minute. “I mean, NO!”
He’s learning. There are a lot of things he’d miss out on if I only purchased something for him when there was something for her. It doesn’t mean he is less loved. Instead, it simply means there was one item and it happened to be for a girl. What it truly means is that this is real life!
“We stopped at that store with the pink doors* in West Virginia the other week,” Dave told them. “I asked her what she was looking for, and she said, ‘Something for the kids.’ So we stopped to get something, but we didn’t find anything. If there would have been something for one of you, we wouldn’t have let it there just because there wasn’t something for both of you.”
We’ve been around this track a hundred times before (as well as with our own kids), but it never hurts to go around it again. In our selfish nature, we want what others have. It doesn’t mean we always need what we want – but we want it nevertheless.
Does duplication really spell Love?
When I asked Little Guy if he thought I loved him less because he didn’t get a new cover when his sister did, he grinned, hung his head, and replied, “No.”
Our kids need to know that our love is sure no matter what we are able to provide. Children from larger families learn this easier and earlier than children from a family of few children. That’s because it’s much harder for parents to supply equal items for a half-dozen children than for only two. Duplication for every kid in large families is just not possible. [That’s another benefit of larger families – and you can read about that here.]
The sooner we help our kids understand this, the better. It’s easier to teach our kids this concept when we model it ourselves. If they hear us complain about being left out, or that something isn’t fair, they will get the idea that all things should be fair. They will think that everyone should be included in everything – which is neither realistic nor practical. That’s why duplication for every kid does not work.
As parents and as adults in the lives of children, we need to model this and practice this. If we constantly try to duplicate what we do for one child for another, we will be miserable – and so will the child. There’s no way things can always be duplicated, so we ought not even try. It will save us frustration as well as the kids.
Preparing for a life of non-duplication
“It’s not fair!” or “It’s my turn!” can be dismissed easily if we refuse to buy into the sentiment that all things must be equal. Fair is not being equal, anyway. You can read about that here. Until we as adults (parents, teachers, aunties, grandparents, or friends) relating to children practice that ourselves, we will not be able to flesh it out with our younger charges.
Save yourself time and emotional energy by refusing to buy into the sentiment that what we do for one child we must do for another. Save your child some lessons to be learned by teaching them from the start that duplication does not equal love.
*the store with the pink doors is on Route 50 near Romney WV. White Oak Consignment is a delight to visit. We drive right by this store on our way to my hometown in western Maryland. Our dilemma is arriving there during store hours.