Tweens are often unfair. They are inherently selfish creatures, and thus think about their wants and needs, and because of this often present themselves unfairly. However, fairness is an important attribute to develop. Fairness in your own family, and among friends should be developed. Here is how:
Don’t make kids feel competitive: While competition is healthy in some cases, among siblings and friends, outside of athletic or game type settings, it can lead to unfairness. Do not compare your tweens to one another, or to other tweens. If you do, they will start to feel like they are in a competition instead of a team, and that will lead to problems.
Practice fairness when dealing with them: Kids learn what they see, particularly tweens who are in the stages of figuring out who they are, and what they want out of life. So, if you are unfair with them, it is only natural that they will start practicing unfairness as well. Even little things like saying, “No eating outside the kitchen,” and then you proceed to do so anyway, can contribute to their acting unfairly. Be conscious about how you act, and make certain that in your dealings with them, that everything is fair so that they have no justification for unfair behavior of their own.
Tweens have a hard time distinguishing between fairness and reality.
Encourage fairness by praising demonstrations of it, and be specific in your praise. They may not be toddlers any more, but when you see them sharing, and acting fairly, say that you notice. You can say things like, “Thanks for being so fair with your friends.” Most everyone responds well to praise and wants to continue the behavior so that the praise continues as well.
Listen to your child, as it is a matter of both fairness and respect. If you show them how to be fair, they will likely be fair in kind. Listening when they talk is one of the best ways to encourage fairness in subtle, and healthy ways. They will always benefit from learning good listening skills, throughout all of their life.
Be careful in choosing your punishments for tweens when they act poorly. Punishments is often one of the areas that tweens feel their parents act most unfairly. They may think you overreact to their behavior, and thus over-punish them. If you do this, you reinforce the idea that it is okay to be unfair as long as you are in a position to do so. Help them see fairness in you through careful choosing of punishment. You can even let them help you determine what kind of punishment fits their crime.
A fair child will grow to be a fair adult. This will help them throughout the rest of their life, so make a concerted effort to help your tween learn fairness, as it will pay off for them.