As much as we want to protect our children from harm, including negative emotions such as feeling defeated, I believe it's more important to help them manage such emotions when they experience them. We as adults, understand fully that life is truly unfair. We have probably also received the shorter end of the stick at various stages of our lives. Building resilience in our young children involves letting them experience defeat and lifting them up again with love and wisdom so that over time, they too would master the ability to lift themselves up on their own.
Here's another version of my "life isn't fair" pep talk in a not-so-calm manner when I was truly frustrated at my son's whining.
Can you please stop saying "it's not fair?" Do you know what's really unfair? What is really unfair is there are some children in the world who are born in really poor countries, who don't have enough food to eat and no toys to play! Here you are, having sooo many toys, more than enough for 20 kids, and still fighting over the toys and saying it's not fair! Would you like me to help you stop fighting by giving away your toys? I know there are many other children who would be so happy to have these toys and would really take good care of them and share with the other children.
This would either stop the boys from complaining and promote peaceful playing between them with the common fear that their toys would be taken away, or lead to a meltdown from the same fear -- "I don't want you to give my toys away!"
If the meltdown happens, I would calm my Son down by assuring him that I won't take his toys away if he knows how to take good care of his toys and be nice in sharing with his Brother.
Giving him a big loving hug always helps to stop the tears and calm the tantrums. I also make it a point to get my Son to verbalise our agreement when he has calmed down. It's part of teaching him that it's important to mean what we say and that we ought to keep our words
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