Different Rules for Different Kids

Playing Fair

When you take a different approach with each kid, help them realize that you're not playing favorites.

  • Don't Compare Them A comment like, "Why can't you listen the way your sister does?" can undermine the sense that you have equal love for every child.
  • Never Withhold Affection Yes, one child may be a breeze while another is a veritable hurricane. But spread out the "I love yous" evenly anyway.
  • Adjust Your Standards It's easy to over praise an agreeable kid and ignore his argumentative sibling. Find nice things to say about everyone's progress -- even if you have to look a little harder.

Originally published in the June 2009 issue of Parents magazine.

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