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Many parents compare their children to other kids. This can be done in many different ways. Some parents compare the achievements of their child to that of another child, others may just talk about how much smarter or more athletic one kid is than another. Comparing your child to others can have negative effects on both you and your family. If you are comparing, it can demonstrate that you are not happy with what your child has accomplished and is capable of. It could make them feel like they will never live up to the expectations of their parents. It can seem like they always seem fall short each time they try something new.
It’s so easy to compare our children to other children. We want them to be the best at everything. But this is a mistake – comparing your child can lead to feelings of inadequacy and disappointment.
Comparisons are rarely beneficial. Those of us who have experienced comparisons during childhood know too well how much damage it can make. Being compared to others when you are growing up can contribute to a mindset in which you are never good enough. There will always be someone who is better at one thing or another. Everyone hits developmental milestones at their own pace and in their own way.
Additionally, when a parent compares their child against another individual, they can never see their child’s true personality. The child only exists in the areas you use for comparison purposes. It’s unhealthy, damaging to their self esteem, and more often than not, useless. Here’s what to do when you find yourself comparing:
What if other children are already independent?
Every parent worries that their child may not develop at a normal pace. The truth is that young children, and especially toddlers, can learn different skills based on their experience and needs. For instance, if you are concerned that your children lack independence, the answer could be in your parenting approach. Indeed, independence isn’t an innate skill. It is a behavior you need to nurture in little ones.
Nurturing independence requires a lot of patience and guidance. Most toddlers crave independence from a young age. Allowing them to discover their abilities and do things alone builds confidence. It shows them you trust them with the situation, so they gradually develop self-dependence.
Comparing kids at a certain age across different areas like whether they’re potty trained or whether they’ll clean up after themselves can see parents start to become jealous of another family’s child. Children develop independence and social skills at different paces – instead of constantly comparing kids, parents would be better served using that time and effort to help their own child grow.
What if I am worried my child is “different”?
What does it mean to be different? When they are in kindergarten age, most children will mix with peers and learn new skills with a teacher. It’s important to understand that the typical school isn’t designed to address individual needs. For instance, if your child is dyslexic, they might find it hard to read and write. Unfortunately, traditional schools fail to support children with unique needs. However, specialist institutions such as dyslexia schools help nurture children’s skills and interests, encouraging them to be successful in their education. It’s worth mentioning that dyslexia doesn’t stop individuals from reaching their goals. Einstein was famously dyslexic, and his teachers believed he wouldn’t achieve anything. History proved them wrong. The lesson? A different learning pace is no indication of self-worth.
If you are concerned about your child’s development, have them diagnosed by a pediatrician or psychologist. The results will help you understand their needs and how best to support your kid in the future. There are many learning methods that work for children with different abilities; make sure you find one that fits your child’s profile.
What if my child doesn’t do as well as others academically?
Schools rely on grades to evaluate performance. While there is a good reason for grading copies as a reference, the strong focus on grades can be damaging. Indeed, grades are counterproductive, according to Dutch designer and THNKer Marcel Wanders. Grades encourage children to avoid mistakes and choose the path with the least resistance. This begs an important question: If children are not allowed to make mistakes, how can they learn? Additionally, a grade mindset contributes to a poor learning experience, as children record to memory only the elements they need to pass a test. Comparing grades has no correlation with your child’s ability or desire to learn.
What if I’m comparing my own children to each other?
Siblings tend to seek reassurance from their parents. Do you like me best? Do you prefer my little brother? The fear of being upstaged by a sibling is strong, especially among young children. Therefore, hurtful comments comparing one child to the other can add oil to the fire, convincing a child they are not as appreciated as their sibling.
You can help your children to forge their own path by encouraging different interests – there will be less opportunities for sibling rivalry if your child has skills and interests that are different to their brother or sister. It will also provide opportunities for each of your children to have friends in different circles, exposing them to different skills and experiences. When you focus on your children’s individuality, the comparison game will be less of an issue for everyone involved.
Don’t compare – set milestones
To avoid comparing your child to other kids, set milestones for development instead. For example, if you’re worried that your child is not as independent as other kids, start giving them more opportunities to do things by themselves. If you’re worried that they are not achieving to the same level as other children in school, worry less about their grades and focus on what they can achieve. If you’re worried that they are shy or introverted, give them more opportunities to practice socializing with others.
Acknowledge weaknesses, and help your child cope with them
When you learn about your children’s shortcomings, you can help and support your kids in overcoming them. They will need your love and support to overcome these challenges, and they will need to know that you understand their struggle.
Comparing your child brings no benefit – it’s a road of misery and jealousy. Instead, focus on finding solutions for helping your children overcome their weaknesses, as well as celebrate the things that make them unique and amazing! Weaknesses can be turned into different strengths, and these early years are the time you can make the biggest difference in their progress.
In conclusion – stop comparing children’s development, and leave it to the professionals
In conclusion, comparing your child to another person is no way to show how much you love them. Instead of worrying about whether or not your children are “normal,” embrace the fact that every child has different abilities and personalities. If they are developing normally, let them learn at their own pace without unnecessary pressure. Finally, focus on fostering things you find important in your child’s life, whether it be independence or leadership skills.
Comparisons are often hurtful and pointless. Whether you are worried about your child’s development or grades, comparing against other children will never provide the reassurance or comfort you seek. It’s time to ban comparisons and to nurture our children’s sense of self. In the end, you will have a strong sense of pride for something that is truly special: your children! Stop comparing kids. Start parenting.