As soon as a child is born, every parent inadvertently start comparing their little one to other babies. As the child grows, everything from crawling to teething or to performance at school is compared. Which one did better? By comparing children they put immense pressure on themselves as well as on their child.
“Your child is very active, mine doesn’t do half the things yours does”. “Your child is so clever at maths, mine hates studying”. “Your son is so tall”. It can be awkward for a mother whose child is being compared to! How do you even deal with such unfair comparisons!
Every child is special
In my opinion, every child has something special in them. If one child is good at physical activities, other might be good at maths. If one toddler starts walking at 10 months another might start crawling at 6 months. If one child is a good eater other might be a very obedient child.
Does comparison actually help?
In my opinion , comparison only causes unhappiness to the parents. A parent can’t make their child behave or act like somebody else’s child. If they try to do, it is going to be disastrous – for the parents because they won’t be able to make that happen and for the child because he/she will face immense pressure from the parents to do something they are unable to do. When the child is not able to do what the parents expect him or her to do, the child will feel that he/she is not good at anything. This will cause very low self-confidence in the child .
Good qualities of the child are ignored
Parents who compare their child to the others, always focus on making their child do something they are not good at. In this process they fail to see the immense talents or skills the child has, what comes naturally to the child. In fact, the child will not even realise that they are good at anything. They will just think they are good for nothing .
Affects relationship with the child they are compared to
If you compare your child to another, say a friend, then your child will start disliking or even start hating the other child. “What is it that she is doing that I am not doing?”. “Why am I always wrong and he is always right?” Comparison will create a lot of negativity in your child.
Impacts Parent child relationship
Because of the high or incorrect expectations , the child never ‘warms up’ to the parent with the fear that he/she might do something which might not please the parent!
So, what do you as a parent do ?
- Appreciate/accept your child the way he/she is.
- Find out what he/she is good at. Focus on it. For example, if they are good at piano and not at maths, support their piano skills by enrolling them for piano lessons.Help them with practicing piano etc. It doesn’t mean, that you ignore making them practice maths . In fact give them extra practice in maths as studying is equally important. But do not compare them to another child who is good at maths . Don’t keep reminding them that they are weak in maths.
- Whenever they perform well in maths, praise them. This will increase their confidence and also encourage them to perform better.
- Always, always focus on what your child can do, rather than what they can’t do!
Comparison always leads to trouble
There is no end to comparison. If you start comparing how many toys your child has as compared to his/her best friend, you will feel pressurised to buy more toys for your child. This will not only cause financial strain (depending how far you go ) but you might run the risk of your child being ungrateful and greedy. The most important thing your child will ever need are love and attention ! Everything else is secondary.
Never compare your children with each other
If you compare your child to their sibling, it will also start affecting the siblings relationship with each other. This might have a lifetime effect on your children. So for the sake of family unity, never compare your children. Each child is different. Each child is unique. Even if your parents compared you to your sibling in your childhood, don’t repeat the same mistake with your children. Do not repeat your parents’s mistakes.
Each child develops at his or her pace. All kinds of developments like crawling, walking happen within an age range. If you are concerned about any developmental issue, you should speak to medical professional rather than comparing your child with somebody else’s. Telling your child “why don’t you learn this from your brother or your friend”? can affect their confidence for the rest of their lives.
All parents (including me) tend to compare their children to others upto a certain extent, as long as it is done only as an observation. It shouldn’t go any further than that.
Do you compare your child or children? Or have you experienced someone comparing their child to yours? What do you feel about comparing children? Please share your experiences via comment box below!