life is not fair

How to Help Your Child When Life Isn’t Fair

All children see unfairness take place and often experience unfairness firsthand in their own lives, whether it’s at home, at school, or in their relationships with friends and authorities. But if not handled properly, children can become very bitter and even calloused to the unfairness in their lives and the world around them.

However, when life is unfair, it gives us a perfect opportunity to speak life into our child by bringing a proper balance to the situation. Our job is to help our child see that it’s all about perspective. So the next time life throws an unfair curveball at your kids, remind them of these 4 important principles.

1. Life will never be fair.

I like the words of John F. Kennedy: “Life isn’t fair. It never was and never will be.” There’s a lot of truth in that statement, and the sooner we can help our children to understand this, the better. Because so many things in life are out of our control, many of those things will also often be unfair.

2. It’s OK that life is not fair.

When what’s unfair happens to our child, our natural tendency is to want to make right what is wrong. But in reality, most of the unfairness our children will experience in life is OK. Let’s be real for a moment. It’s unfair that our children were born in America while other children suffer daily from hunger. It’s unfair that some people are born into poverty while others are born into wealth. It’s unfair that some people are gifted in ways that we will never be. It’s unfair. But it’s not only unfair. It’s OK.

If we are patient, what is unfair now may become understood later.

3. Our response to what happens is more important than what actually happens.

Surprisingly, throughout history, some of the happiest people who have learned to enjoy life the most are people who have often been treated the most unfairly. Go to a third world country where they have far less, and you’ll be surprised at how little they talk about life being so unfair. In fact, they are often filled with joy, because it’s all they have. When our children get hurt or treated unfairly, it’s important to remind them that life is 10% what happens to you and 90% how you react to it.

4. There is a much bigger picture at play.

Recently, our teenage daughter was struggling with some unfairness, and I remember having some in-depth conversations with her to help her navigate through her situations. What was encouraging to me was to hear her later telling me about how God had connected all the dots in His time in ways that didn’t make any sense to her at the time. We had a great discussion about how there is always a bigger picture at play than what we can usually see at the moment. If we are patient, what is unfair now may become understood later.

If we can help our children maintain a proper perspective of whatever life throws at them, there is nothing they can’t face.

Sound off: How could you help your child today to have better perspective?

Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What’s going on right now that you feel is unfair?”