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Fair ball, fair catch, in the fairway. It’s a pretty easy concept when it comes to sports and we have instant replays to adhere to it. Playing fair is pretty clear and expected on the field. Ironically, the game of life is all too often, not so fair. How do we help our children understand that we should fight for fairness, but learn to productively cope with the inequities and injustices that pepper our days? Rutgers professor, Elizabeth Tricomi, PhD. studied the concept of fairness and discovered that it is something hardwired in our brains and an expectation by the youngest of children. Moreover, we tend to have an inherent desire to see the underdog win and the playing field equalized.

When our kids are faced with unfairness here are a few phrases we can expect them to practice:

“Tell, not yell.”

“Be mad, but not mean.”

“Be helpful, not hateful.”

Use intelligent remarks instead of hurtful ones.

Blame and shame words VS Playing fair words

Liar! VS I heard you say something different before.

You cheated! VS I don’t think that’s how this game is played. The rule is . . .

You’re a tattle tale! VS I wish you would tell me first when you don’t like something I did.

Move over! VS I don’t have enough room. Could you move?

You’re not the boss of me! VS I don’t like it when you give me orders.

You’re not my friend anymore! VS I don’t like what you said about me to Alicia. I’m mad at you.

You’re so mean! VS Stop teasing me. I don’t like it.

“Expecting the world to treat you fairly because you are a good person is a little like expecting the bull not to attack you because you are a vegetarian.” – Dennis Wholey

“Fair doesn’t mean giving every child the same thing, it means giving every child what the need to succeed”. – Rick Lavoie

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