Why I Don’t Treat My Kids the Same


I have two kids. One boy and one girl. One big and one little. One kid for my right arm and one for my left. Restaurants always have a table for our family of four and no one is ever left out on the rides at Disneyland. Sounds like perfect balance, right? The thing is, there’s nothing balanced about the way I treat my kids. It’s entirely unbalanced and some might even say it’s not fair. But fair is not at all what I’m aiming for in this whole parenting thing.  

My kids are totally different and entirely unique. My son is a textbook firstborn. He’s a rule follower (for the most part) and he pretty much met all the traditional benchmarks that go with baby and toddlerhood – when to begin solid foods, potty training and sleeping through the night. My daughter…not so much. She’s for sure the one that was the easiest to birth but will most likely be the hardest to raise. She’s daring, independent, and my favorite adjective used by moms of strong-willed girls, “free-spirited.”  

When it came to discipline, I never wanted there to be a double standard between how we treated our boy vs. our girl. I quickly learned that we were going to have to take a different parenting approach the second time around.  Our daughter fights us going to sleep, wakes throughout the night, and gets up early. She tests the waters and pushes limits in a way our son never attempted. At first, I worried that one child would think they were getting special treatment over the other and certainly didn’t want to create the appearance of a “favorite.” But somewhere along the way, I realized that it’s okay if how we respond doesn’t come across as fair. It’s okay if not everything is perfectly equal. Instead, it needs to be equitable. Equity means that everyone gets what they need. Sometimes it means that one gets extra comfort and sometimes it means tough love.  For anyone around us, it may seem like I’ve coddled one and been harsh to the other. Far from it. The truth is, I know my kids best and know how to best meet their needs.  

If the second has taught me anything, it’s been to appreciate each unique child for who they are and what they bring to our family, to not compare, and to certainly not draw a hard line in the sand for how I treat my kids.    

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Danielle and her husband met at Arizona State University and have been living in North Phoenix since 2010. They have an energetic son and sweet daughter who bring more joy, laughter and laundry than they ever thought possible. Danielle serves as the Chief Communications Officer for one of the largest school districts in the state where she also received her K-12 education.  She and her family are playground connoisseurs who are always in search of the latest and greatest neighborhood gems. Danielle cherishes 5 a.m. trips to the gym where she spends a solid hour to herself a few mornings a week. A real treat for her could be catching a hot yoga class, enjoying a girls’ day at the spa, taking in a live theater performance or stealing away for a weekend trip alone with her husband. Danielle has been known to indulge in a reality show or two and should never be left alone with a spoon in the ice cream aisle of the grocery store. She is passionate about providing opportunities for young people and believes that education is the answer to everything.


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