Equality Without Equity?


Equity: justice according to natural law or right, specifically, freedom from bias or favoritism.

Equality: the quality or state of being equal.

Can you have equality without equity?

As a parent of three daughters, I work hard to promote and support equality between my three girls. I make certain that my husband and I do not have favorites or develop habits and routines that could lead to favoritism or bias. Each of my three daughters have slept in the same bassinet, the same crib, have had the same first and second birthday parties. I even have gone so far as to buy them all the same gift on their first birthdays. I make certain that my middle daughter has the same opportunity to start swim lessons and gymnastics at exactly the same age as my oldest daughter. I read each of them the same number of books before bed each night. My husband I have a rotating schedule of which daughter we lay with before bedtime. We even have a system in place for when we get home at the end of each day; one day my oldest gets out of the car first, the next day my middle (this also drastically reduced the bickering and yells of “get me out first!” every time I pull into the garage!) As a mother, it is crucial to me that each of my daughters feels as though they are loved, cared for, and supported equally.

It is easier to monitor items that have some type of monetary value. It is more difficult to balance other things in life such as time, snuggles, support, and help. However, I always try to be aware of what I am giving to one child over another. I have learned that as children go through different phases they have different needs and wants. Newborns consume a great deal of time, but little of your money. Two-year olds can be entertained with the simplest of craft projects, but zap your energy with behavioral issues. Four-year olds want to be entertained, want to participate in extracurricular activities, and truly believe that every trip to the grocery store is a chance to buy a toy. Maintaining equality is hard, but that does not mean that I do not try my best to reach it.

Growing up how did your parents achieve equality, or didn’t they?

Do you parents or in-laws treat your children equally?

How do you address favoritism or bias when it shows its ugly head?

I realize that as my children get older it will be increasingly more difficult to keep things equal. At some point in their lives one of my daughters will need more than the others will. However, isn’t is a parents job to be as unbiased to their children as they possibly can be?

Is it ok for parents to show favoritism?

Where is the line between being out of balance and getting shafted? Does equality fall by the way side once children reach adulthood?

My belief is no. I do not believe that it is ever ok to blatantly give one child more than another. It does not matter if we are talking Christmas gifts, monetary support, time, help, or advice. A parents job is to understand the needs of each of their children and to make sure that the resources available to them are balanced between all. If one child needs more money, you balance it by giving your other children more of something else. If one of your children needs more physical support you balance it by giving your other children more advice, or physical love.

In my opinion if one of your children does not feel as loved, supported, included or cared for as your others, your job as a parent is to improve equality within your family, in the hopes of achieving equity.


5 comments on “Equality Without Equity?”

  1. I’m a big believer in “Fair is getting what you need”. My boys do not always have the same things- I just focus on meeting their needs. It’s exhausting, though, to constantly hear “Why did he get a popsicle first??? I wanted the first one!!!” ugh.

  2. With four little ones this is always a concern of ours. They are all so different we want to embrace and encourage their uniqueness without giving the impression that we favor any. We recently picked up a copy of “You’re All My Favorites” which we love. It’s a very cute story of a Mama and Daddy bear explaining to their three little ones how each is their favorite.

  3. I try SO very hard to treat my two boys equally. It is hard for me because of my youngest having Angelman Syndrome. He requires so much more help in every day tasks that I feel my oldest doesn’t get the time he needs with me. I have to feed my youngest almost every meal. I can never get my oldest out of the car first because my youngest can’t walk and I need to carry him to the door. I can’t imagine how that feels to my oldest. I make every attempt to spend some extra quality time with my oldest so he knows I care just as much about him…but then I feel like I need to spend quality time with my youngest so he knows I love him and am not just his caregiver. My oldest is an amazing helper and understands why my youngest needs all the extra help that he needs, but I just feel like the two don’t get the equality that they deserve. I think that keeping the equality in our home is the hardest for me about being a mom of a special needs child. Great post.

    1. Hi Jenn. It sounds like you do a fabulous job balancing the needs of your boys. Being the Mom of a special needs child must present a whole bunch of additional obstacles, but you sound like you are very aware of how your older son could be feeling. I imagine that you do now, and that you will going forward, let your older son know how important he is to his younger brother and to the entire family. Thank you for your comment.

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