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How to strengthen your child when life’s unfair

By October 28, 2016December 29th, 2020No Comments

With tears in her eyes, Jamie knelt down to get eye level with Jesse.

“But, Mommy,” Jesse sobbed. “He took my ball and won’t give it back. He said it’s his now since it bounced into his yard.”

Jamie held Jesse close. Whispering a prayer for wisdom to help her little son, she whispered,
“Tell me what happened, Honey.”

Jesse choked out the story between sob-laden hiccups.

“Timmy, Danny, Joe, and I were batting the ball around on the cul de sac like you said we could. Timmy hit the ball really hard and I ran to get it but it bounced into Mr. Sauerman’s yard. I ran as fast as I could to get it but he came out of his garage all mad and everything and grabbed the ball. When I asked for it back, he told me it was his now. He’s going to give it to his little boy.”

Jamie held Jesse as his shoulders heaved with sobs.

“That was my brand new ball!” Jesse wailed.

Jamie wiped the tears from her eyes, struggling to contain her own anger and hurt over her neighbor’s actions.

Life isn’t fair. And sometimes it seems downright ridiculously unfair.

And when it affects your children, your mommy heart breaks in new ways.

What’s a mom to do in this situation?

1. Comfort your child. No matter how simple the situation appears to you, your child needs you to validate his feelings. His little heart is hurt. Acknowledge the hurt.

2. Understand the full story. While life isn’t fair, you know that, before you jump to your child’s defense make sure to get the full story. In the heat of the moment, your child will only give you the part she wants you to know—the hurt part. But take the time to get her to tell you what happened. Try to get all sides of the story.

3. Walk her through solutions. Instead of fixing it for her, whenever possible, guide her to think through a couple of ways to change the outcome. Helicopter parenting only rescues your child; you want to teach your child.

4. Guide him to a healthy resolution. Talk through the possible solutions and let him pick the one he prefers. It may be necessary to walk him through each step of the resolution process. But as much as possible allow him to resolve the issue.

Life isn’t fair. And sometimes the resolution isn’t fair either.

In Jamie and Jesse’s situation it didn’t. Jesse didn’t get his ball back. Mr. Sauerman refused. And Jesse watched the little boy play with his ball.

But Jamie learned a big lesson: life isn’t fair. When you control your emotions enough to help your child learn, you are parenting well. Resist the urge to rescue.

Jesse learned that even though you apologize and ask politely you don’t always get what you want. Some people aren’t reasonable or kind. They are determined to be selfish and mean.

An extraordinary lesson for a child to learn at a young age.

What is your child facing today that seems unfair? My challenge to you is to take the time to walk your child through the hurt to learn. Resist helicopter parenting. You’ll both be better off in the long run.

How do you help your children learn through life’s difficult, unfair moments? Tell me about it below.

Live your legacy today,

Kirsten D. Samuel
Aftershock Recovery Coach
8-week Program, Custom-paced Coaching, Remote, or In-person Sessions


  • Kirsten D Samuel

    I empower Christian wives to discover they are seen, loved, and heard. These women find the freedom to be who they are beyond their partner’s struggles, and find hope that there is a life worth living.