7 Reasons Not to Compare Your Child with Others ...

Alison

There are so many reasons not to compare your child to others. Whether it's to a sibling or the child of a friend, subjecting your child to comparisons damages their self-esteem and makes them feel inadequate. Yet many parents feel it somehow reflects on their child or themselves if their child isn't as 'good' as others. Here are some important reasons not to compare your child to others …

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1

Affects Their Self-Esteem

One of the really important reasons not to compare your child to others is that it hits their self-esteem hard. How would you like to be constantly compared to others? Low self-esteem issues usually have their root in childhood, so don't make your child feel that they're inferior to others. You don't want them getting conceited, but nor do you want them feeling worthless.

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When children are repeatedly measured against their peers, they may begin to question their own abilities and worth. This doubt can infest their minds, undermining their confidence in everything they do. As a result, they might shy away from challenges, fearing they'll only confirm their perceived inadequacy. Encourage your child's unique strengths and growth without making them feel like they're in a perpetual race with others. Remember, every child blossoms in their own time, and your support of their individual journey is invaluable to their personal development.

2

Every Child is Different

Each child is an individual, and has their own talents and interests. Why does it matter if one child is musical and another isn't? The non-musical child may be good at sports or love reading. One thing is not better than another, and neither is one child better than another. Let them develop their own interests and abilities. They should not feel that they have to be more like a sibling or your friend's child.

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Comparing children can inadvertently stifle their natural inclination towards specific passions or pursuits. A child flourishes when their unique interests are nurtured, rather than being pushed towards a preconceived notion of success. Encouraging them to follow their individual curiosity not only boosts self-esteem but also fosters a genuine love for learning and self-discovery. Celebrate each milestone, understanding that every child has their own pace and style of growth. Remember, the aim is to raise a happy, confident individual, not a carbon copy of another's achievements.

3

Resentment

Direct comparisons can make a child feel very resentful. When it's made clear to them that they're not as good as a sibling at something, they not only feel bitter towards you, but also towards the sibling. Do you really want to foster antagonism between your children? No you do not. So avoid comparisons; even if you think they won't find out, someone may tell them.

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This deep-seated bitterness can emerge in their interactions and affect their self-esteem and sibling relationships long-term. It could lead to issues of jealousy and competition, affecting the harmonious balance of the family. Recognize each child's individual strengths and celebrate them, rather than sowing seeds of discontent by highlighting differences. By doing so, you nurture a supportive environment where each child feels valued for who they are, not just in relation to others.

4

Stays with Them

You may be surprised at how long the memories of comparisons can stay with a child. Long after you've forgotten saying 'why can't you be more like your brother?' your child will remember being made to feel that they weren't good enough for you. The message soon sinks in, even if you didn't mean for them to feel that way. And it hangs around for a long time.

5

Self-Fulfilling Prophecy

It also risks creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. Over time your child will absorb the message that they're not good enough, and start to believe it. Why bother trying if they're not going to succeed? And so that's precisely what happens. The child is effectively set up to fail.

6

At Their Own Pace

Childhood isn't a race to the top; children develop at their own pace. Yet parents often worry because their child isn't walking at the same age that their friend's child did, or has a much smaller vocabulary. There isn't a set timetable for a child's development though, so don't worry about when your child reaches their milestones. They'll do things in their own good time.

7

Big-Headed

Conversely, it's also wise not to compare your child too positively to others. Do you want your child to grow up thinking that they are superior? Praise is good, but you have to be wary of constantly tell them that they are so much better than others. You're not doing them any favors if you raise them to be big-headed.

Comparing your child to others is likely to give them a negative image of themselves. Parenthood isn't a competition, and you don't have to show other parents how much better your child is, or worry that other children are doing better than your own. Gently encourage them to believe in themselves, and help them discover their own abilities. Have you ever been compared to a sibling, and how did it make you feel?

Feedback Junction

Where Thoughts and Opinions Converge

I wish this article helps my parents, but I've given up on trying to change their attitude towards me. I'm 13 now and yet they compare me to kids either kids my age or lower than me. Why, the are even comparing me to Albert Einstien or Abraham Lincoln. They make me feel down, and yet they call comparing as "inspirations."

#1 My mum always does this to me. She always compares me to siblings and also infront of my friends. It makes me really sad that it makes me think i am really worthless

So true, I honestly believe the first one is really important because it still gets to me when my parents compare me to other kids. it's seriously annoying and not to mention, you start hating yourself. or wished you were oh so perfect.

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