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Should I keep rules / expectations the same for both?

Dear Mr. Hutton,

Well I finally took the plunge and started your program! I am now working my homework for week one. My humble statement was more difficult to deliver than I thought, but I somehow managed to get through it- Family dinner night for week one was minus M___, but I am hopeful he will eventually show as you say.

My questions to you are: I have two teenagers- M___ 17 and M_____ 16. I actually delivered the mission statement to both even though M___ 17 is the one with all of the symptoms of overindulged child. Should I keep rules / expectations the same for both?




Hi M.,

Re: Should I keep rules / expectations the same for both?

Great question.

Answer: No.


Because each child is unique and has a different set of needs.

Your mantra should be: "I love my children equally, but parent them differently."


Thanks for your quick response. How do I handle the fallout from that when M___ sees different rules for his sister ? Wow what a situation- If I keep rules the same for both, the one with less need for stricter boundaries will rebel. If they have different rules M___ will be very vocal and negative with that. Considering that M___ thinks the whole world is against M___ (no personal accountability) this ought to be very painful for all involved. M___ is your textbook overindulged child. I could hardly believe it when I read your list of characteristics, every single one described my child. I was very ashamed of myself. I know, I am working on the forgiveness part and moving forward. This is the first time that I feel that I can help my son. Thank you!




Hi M.,

Re: How do I handle the fallout from that when M___ sees different rules for his sister?

Children are great "fairness detectors" (i.e., always looking for justice whenever they perceive injustice).

When siblings complain about being treating unfairly, parents should NEVER explain themselves. Rather, they simply repeat "I love my children equally, but parent them differently."

Say it with me, M., "I love my children equally, but parent them differently."

Remember this line. You will be using it frequently.

You may have to say this 278 times over the course of the next several months.

Your son will get tired of hearing your mantra around the 300x mark.

Mark Hutten, M.A.

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