Dad Hailed for Not Allowing Wife to Exclude Their Son From Family Vacation

Ask most parents of multiple children who their favorite is, and they’ll tell you they couldn’t possibly have favorites, but how true is that? While most parents will never admit it, it is true that they drive themselves crazy trying to make things equal among their children. Fairness is so much in the eye of the beholder, this can often be an impossible feat for parents, and the phrase “That’s not fair,” is a common phrase heard in many homes.

A father on Reddit has shared a fairly extreme example of fairness gone wrong in a post with nearly 30,000 uplikes.

In the post, user FairIsNotFaire describes a situation in which his son’s friend turned 13, and the friend’s family invited FairIsNotFaire’s son to go to Disney World with them. His wife was hesitant to let him go, believing that it was not fair on their 9-year-old daughter, who loves Disney princesses.

A father has refused to punish his son for going to a birthday event after his jealous sister gets upset. Above, a brother-and-sister rivalry.
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“I said that our kids won’t always have the exact same opportunities, and if we set a precedent here,” he explains, “We’ll have to stick to it if and when our daughter gets a similar opportunity. So we’ d just be punishing both our children needlessly. My wife reluctantly agreed that we should allow our son to go.”

Despite the boy’s coming back with a lot of souvenirs for the daughter, she burst into tears, “My wife later said we made a huge mistake and should never have let him go.”

The situation came to a head shortly after this event, when the user’s wife said she wanted to leave their son behind on an upcoming family holiday to “even the score.” “I told my wife that isn’t happening,” he explains, “We are their parents. We can’t favor one child over the other. Not being invited to the birthday trip of a kid you barely know is in no way comparable to being left out of a family vacation and I’m shocked she would even suggest such a thing. I refuse to allow it. Now my wife is angry, but I don’t care. I’m not punishing my son for being lucky .”

Does Fair Actually Mean Fair?

Website Imperfect Families, owned by mother of three and parent coach Nicole Schwarz suggests that to avoid hearing ‘it’s not fair’ parents need to treat their children individually, not equally.

Why should children get equal treats or opportunities if one is constantly difficult and the other causes no problems? If the less disruptive child sees their sibling being rewarded for their bad behavior while the sibling has done nothing wrong, they might think, What’s the point of being good, and resentment might begin to build.

Schwarz suggests parents should let their children feel their emotions. “Yes, it will be hard when one child needs new shoes and the others don’t,” she uses as an example, “Be empathetic. ‘It seems like you’re jealous of Claire’s new shoes.’ Let your child know that you hear their concern and understand that it is difficult.

“But, don’t feel obliged to do something, buy something or balance the scales to eliminate your child’s discomfort. It’s OK to feel feelings, it’s good for children to know that feelings come and feelings go.”

Online Reaction

Users were quick to agree with the father that there is no way the son should be punished for being invited to a friend’s birthday celebrations by being excluded from a family holiday, with some calling the mother’s behavior “shocking.” “NTA [not the a**hole],” wrote one person, “Your wife sounds like she has a clear favorite out of the two kids and isn’t afraid to show it. Of course your son should go on vacation with you all. I’m shocked that she would want him to miss out. That’s awful. Is she always this unkind to him?”

mother telling off son
The question is being asked: “Should siblings be treated as individuals rather than equally?” Above, a mother scolds her son.
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One person praised the dad for refusing to not only let the son be treated unfairly, but also for trying to prevent his daughter from becoming spoiled, “You’re saving your daughter from growing up entitled. You are completely in the right here. A friend invite: just the kid invited should go. A family invited: everyone should go.

“If your wife is adamant on doing something with your daughter, encourage them to have a girl’s day out or something. But you need to make sure she’s going to frame it to your daughter as ‘I’m doing this to do something special for you’ and not ‘I’m doing this to even the score with your brother.'”

Another user offered their own experiences of managing siblings, “My oldest son goes to a social group he’s been connected with for teens on the spectrum. When he goes out, my youngest gets to pick dinner for the night and we often end up buying mad amounts of junk and having movie night or Mario kart night on the couch.

“They both understand that because of their age difference (8/14), and friend groups, they can’t always do what the other does. Sounds like OP’s wife needs to adjust her worldview a bit.”

If you have a similar family dilemma, let us know via life@newsweek.com. We can ask experts for advice, and your story could be featured on Newsweek.

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