12 Yr Old Says “It’s Just Not Fair!”

by denny hagel on January 9, 2011

“Why do some parents try to make their kids be all the same?” asked my 12 yr old grandson, Zach, with a very confused look on his face.

Zach and I had just finished a “snack” break (we home school) and were back at our desks to continue with our work, Zach with fraction subtraction and me writing an article for my next newsletter encouraging parents to respect the individuality of their children.

As I started to type, Zach asked if there was anything he could do to help me. It was more of an attempt to show gratitude for his offer but I read what I had written so far. He listened intently to what I had written about how life is without a doubt much simpler for parents of multiple children to “group parent” especially in this day and age when everyone is so busy. And then he said, “That’s pretty good but you should just explain to them that kids are different and it isn’t fair to try to make someone be like someone else!”

Of course my first reaction was as his grandmother so I was touched by his generous attempt to help me in my work and chuckled at his simplistic view of solving the problem…I even posted it on face book with this photo of Zach to share with all of my friends.

And as I read the kind and complimentary comments posted on my face book wall about my sweet and oh so helpful grandson, I began to realize that he was absolutely right. When I looked at it from a coaching perspective I could see how Zach’s simplistic view was dead on. The direct and simple approach that gets right to the heart of the matter from the ones who are affected the most has got to be the one that will have the greatest impact on parents.

So, I am taking Zach’s advice.

Rather than spend a lot of time explaining how important it is to a child to be honored and respected as his own person and how celebrating the differences in your children raises their self-worth and self-esteem…

I am going to simply relay a few examples of Zach’s perspective on how he feels kids think…

According to Zach, kids feel it’s just not FAIR:
  • to expect me to like baseball just because my brother does.
  • to think I should get all A's because my sister does.
  • to make me eat eggs for breakfast everyday because my brother wants to.
  • to think I should be interested in fishing because my brother is.
  • to get upset with me when I don't want the same exact shoes my brother has.
  • that you act disappointed when I say I don't want to enroll in gymnastics like my sister is.
I bet if you ask your children
they will probably agree with Zach!

Honor and respect your children’s individual preferences and personalities so they can be who they are and not someone else. It is the fair thing to do.


Denny Hagel is a child advocate and parenting coaching, devoting over 25 years to the success and well being of all children. She is the published author of over 50 articles on parenting, several of which have attracted international attention, and is a contributor to the parenting section of "The Infinite Field Magazine".

Denny was blessed with forward thinking parents who raised her to live according to the principles of the law of attraction long before it became a household term. Subsequently she has purposefully studied and practiced the law of attraction for the last fifteen years. Her formal education was in early childhood education, psychology, and substance abuse.

She is the founder of Awakened Parenting LLC, and created the discussion group "Awakened Parenting…The Missing Secret" on Face Book. She does on line coaching with parents and teachers who consult her on a regular basis. Denny collaborates with counselors, authors, coaches and others working with parenting and the law of attraction.

Denny Hagel is the author of "Mini-Me Syndrome", “Parenting Using the Law of Attraction” and “Becoming an Awakened Parent".

  • http://www.WebMarketingConnections.com Carol Douthitt

    Great insight and advice from Zach. Maybe he should help you with your homework more often!;-)

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  • Carolbender8

    Another great example of what is important to today’s youth. Thanks

  • http://twitter.com/epicparent epicparent.tv

    This is strong! Each of our kids have unique gifts and passions. It is a parent’s job to unleash the strength and uniqueness of our kids!

  • Anonymous

    Well said! Thanks for commenting!

  • Anonymous

    And they are willing to share if we are willing to listen! Thanks for commenting!

  • Anonymous

    Yes! And he is thinking the same thing…he is basking in all the kind words from everyone! Thanks Carol.

  • http://twitter.com/SusanMcKenzieWY Susan McKenzie

    I love to watch for the uniqueness in each of our kids (and grandkids) but it hasn’t always been easy, and I have failed in too many ways to share, to do as much as I would like to help each one of them with their unique desires and goals. As a parent, and now as a grandparent, I wish I could do so much more! I love how each is different! You communicate an important message and a core value, Denny and Zach!

  • Anonymous

    Thanks for commenting Susan, I feel the same way…I love seeing children grow into “themselves”.

  • mary b.

    I was raised in a Native American boarding school in the ’60s, at 6 yrs. old I really wasn’t in any position to argue about “..keeping in line”. Doing what everyone else was doing was the norm. What I remember most about back then was that if you did anything other than what everyone else was doing you were the odd-ball. To day, at my age, I appreciate the strict upbringing and I truly am grateful for this. On the other hand I’ve had my issues with conforming to life’s terms and am still considered an “odd-ball” in some areas. My formative years are an area that I will carry with me throughout my life and so far so good, but I always encouraged my children to stand for something or you will fall for anything. It’s just fine to be different, give your best and when things ‘go south’, don’t give up, turn it around and try again, be yourself by all means because there’s a good reason for being who you are. We are an expressive group and that’s good! I appreciate people like Zach. Self-actualization makes our lives richer, and who can say whom we may effect just being ourselves?

  • Anonymous

    Thank you Mary for sharing your thoughts and wonderful insights! Celebrating our differences is the most powerful single thing any one can do…Blessings!

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  • Carol hazeldine

    praying for zach.

  • Ann-Michele Timmerman

    Oh, my goodness Denny. Know that I will be praying very deeply for Zach, you and your family!!


  • SharonODay

    Zach’s wisdom is as powerful today as it was a year ago, when he shared it with you, Denny.  We all continue to hold him in our hearts … so that his might heal.

  • http://drmommyonline.com/ Dr. Daisy

    So very true!! You have a very smart and bright grandchild and we should always take time away and truly listen to our children. Although it may be ‘easy’ as a busy parent to try and group our children together..it is doing them more harm than good. Love the lessons we learn from our children when we take the time to listen…thanks so much for sharing Denny and I continue to keep your family in my thoughts and prayers..

  • http://normadoiron.net/blogging-with-quality-content/ The LEARNED Preneur

    Great insight from Zach.  Those things he mentioned?  What came to mind is that it is much easier to group all our kids in the same box, it makes it easier on the parents.  No need to be doing stuff for 1, 2, 3 or 4 different kids!  Yeah.  Tell Zack he has a good point!  x0x
    The LEARNED Preneur @ NormaDoiron.NET

  • Christer Edman

    Wow Denny! You are showing or I rather say Zack shows how We shall relate to our children. Listen to the Children is exactly what we have to do and I am working with. It was with the help of children I succeeded with financing our participation on the “World Children’s Festival 2011″ and they are learning me to think of what I say and what I do. We learn more from our children and can become the leaders we are but it has to be in a close collaboration with them.

  • Patricia

    great article!  excellent vision from a 12 years old!  and hope he’s doing great and you too!  sending light and love and appreciation, Patricia

  • http://pristineperception.com/ Suzanne

    Denny, I’m glad Zack is speaking up.  So many people get lost in their lives later on for this exact reason. They are in their 30’s and 40’s wondering why they fee so unfulfilled and this is why. They were forced or expected to do what everyone else is doing and they forgot what it was they loved. Great post!

  • http://twitter.com/SaraShops Sara Nickleberry

    Thank you for your incredible insight Denny!

  • http://alexandramcallister.com/ Alexandra McAllister

    What an incredible insight from a 12 year old! Zach is an amazing young man.  Praying for Zach’s healing.  Thank you, Denny, for posting this article.

  • http://www.sherievenner.com Sherie Venner

    Wow, Denny, this really touched my heart. In my line of work, I see so many people who have to overcome the fact that they were compared to others growing up and so feel that they never could measure up. If we all remember the wonderful individuality of our children, they will blossom and grow like they were meant to. Wonderful post!

  • http://manifestingmydestiny.com/ Lorii Abela

    As I have read this post, I was really touched. Zach’s insights reminded me that each an every one of us is unique and special. That we should not compare, because we are who we are. 

    Praying for Zach…

  • http://twitter.com/SueGlashower Sue Glashower

    Wise words from Zach! As a mom of 6, it is hard to not compare your kids but so important to encourage them to bring out the strengths that God gave them.

  • http://micheletremblay.com/ Michele M Tremblay

    With my sons, they were all very happy to explain that to me, so I have to say it didn’t happen very often, but your grand-son is right. It is NOT FAIR!!! Unfortunately for kids, there are so many instances and occasions that are not fair. My goal was always to help them deal with the “unfairness” of their every day lives. It is certainly something we each, as adults, deal with regularly. Hugs to Zach!

  • http://www.WinningAtRomance.com GinaParris

    GREAT insight for sure! My youngest two are twins – one loved baseball right out of the womb like his oldest brother, but his twin is more quiet & creative and has now taken up tennis. It would be easier on our schedules if they loved the same stuff, but Zach is totally correct: it would not be fair, nor would it bring out the best in them all.

  • Carele Belanger

    Love it! Thank you Denny, Thank you Zach! Denny, in every article you write you bring a better world for all those children. Thank you again!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1501034180 Susan Preston

    Thank you, Denny for sharing this beautiful post. Zach is certainly wise beyond his years. I agree with him,  he is spot on! I will continue to keep him, as well as you and your family in my prayers {hugs}

  • Theresa

    Dear Denny,

    You say, “Honor and respect your children’s individual preferences and personalities so they can be who they are and not someone else. It is the fair thing to do.”

    That is absolutely right!  Thank you to you and your grandson for such valuable advice and insight.  Sometimes I need to be reminded as a parent that I have to do what is best for each of my children as individual human beings…not what is easiest for me.  


  • http://twitter.com/RonaeHOPEcoach Ronae Jull

    Love this Denny! I would add that it isn’t fair to expect kids to like/do a certain thing just because we as parents want them to either!

  • http://www.paulinemagnusson.com/ Pauline

    Wise advice indeed, Denny (and Zach!)  I appreciated your remark on group-parenting; it definitely demands more of me as a parent to take the time and patience to be present individually to each of my children, but I believe it’s for the best – for them, for us, and for me as a person who continues to need to grow in patience and humility as well! 

  • Sue

    Great article, Denny.  Amazing what we learn from our children/granndchildren when we REALLY hear what they are saying..Continuing to pray for Zach and all the family…Thanks for reminding us just how special each one of our children is and how important it is to respect that uniqueness.  Sending (HUGS) your way! 

  • http://twitter.com/ElisePhotini Elise Photini Adams

    Such a wonderful perspective. Love his simplicity of heart and empathetic response!  What a great reminder for me too as I love all of our 6 kids/step-kids!

  • http://www.myyogasecret.com/ Rhonda Uretzky

    I could not agree more with this. Most people would see the validity of Zach’s view but how many are prepared to live it? how many parents would think it’s OK if their son wasn’t reading at age 7, and patiently waited til he was ready? how many would think it’s fine for their 12 year old daughter to “test” below grade level in a subject? How many would celebrate a C or D test grade? My own kids went to The New School of Monmouth County, NJ, where all of this was the norm. Kids are not supposed to be “good at everything” – they are supposed to be themselves and that in itself is inherently good enough! If parents can’t see it – there’s something wrong with the parent, not the kid

  • http://twitter.com/DEEP3R Tony Taylor

    Great tips Denny! Even though I am more of a discplinarian, I can incorporate a few of these into my parenting style.

  • http://expertmotivator.com Stacey Myers

    I think that is definitely true.  My sister and I used to lumped together a lot.  Even though 2 years apart, Mum used to dress us alike.

  • http://twitter.com/SusanMyersBiz Susan Myers

    As always Denny, this is a great article.  More than ever it is so important to build our children’s self worth up!

  • http://twitter.com/CarolGiambri Carol Giambri

     A great post Denny hearing from Zach’s perspective.  Thanks for sharing. You are an awesome grandma too.

  • Beth

    Sometimes it’s the simplest things that make the biggest impact.  Zach is wise beyond his years and you are an awesome Grandma!! Thanks bunches!!

  • http://www.el3mentsofwellness.com/ Carl Mason-Liebenberg

    I love this post, Denny! And I agree wih Zach! Smart kid!

  • http://www.JenniferHerndon.com Jennifer

    I love this article Denny!  I have 3 very different kids, and it can be such a challenge at times.  Although, I did learn that if I treat each one the way he/she needs to be treated, it ultimately makes life much easier.  I just wish they’d all like the same food!  Your grandson is so cute.  Sending healing energy for his continued recovery!

  • Lori

    Great article Denny and so true! All kids are different. Thanks for sharing and I love to be able to see Zach!

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