- Family and Parenting»
- Parenting Skills, Styles & Advice»
- Parenting Advice & Tips
Why You Must Not Compare Your Kid Negatively to Other Children
Avoiding Comparing your children
If you have more than one child it can be natural to start comparing your kids to each other, or even if you just have one kid, natural to compare him or her to other children. However, comparing kids is not such a great idea. Each child is different from every other child. Each one is an individual in his own right. Each has a special body build, a different rate of growth, a style of behavior that is his very own. Therefore recognize and respect each child’s individuality from the moment he or she is born. As time goes on, your child will develop his own traits and capabilities.
This tendency to compare our children with others begins at infancy. Parents are fond of saying, “You’re not doing well academically like your sister” or “You can’t sit quietly like Rosemary’s child” and “You’re very lazy, your brother is more diligent.” Children are special beings that need encouragement and love, so watch how you say things, and be careful not to make comparisons of your children.
Although well-meaning parents may make these types of comments out of frustration or as way to activate a child lacking in initiative, what the child often feels is that he or she must meet the performance standards of others to be loved and accepted or that his or her parents would have been happier with someone else’s children. The insecurity that will naturally follow can be devastating.
Comparing our children to others can cause several harmful reactions in them. Whenever comparison occurs, someone comes out on the short end. The child would wonder why you are usually cross with him or her and he/she probably takes your reproofs as a sign you don’t love him or her. However, this feeling that you don’t love him or her continues to build up and that you do not approve of anything he or she does. In time, if you do not learn to control your emotional upsets and angry outbursts, you’ll build up in the child doubt about his/her ability to do the right thing, and resentment toward you. This will seriously hurt his/her personality and his/her relationship with you.
Inability of your child to discover his/her personal gifts, talents, and interests could be dangerous. He needs to be helped and guided to understand his or her uniqueness and talents. Even in early life, a child must be give opportunities to try his talents, his own inclinations. The more your child is allowed to expand, the better he can express himself. While one child might speak best with words, another uses his easel or his carpenter’s kit, and still another prefers clay or needle and thread or suitcase full of dress-ups, his preferences often point out his talents. Unless he has the chance to sample a little bit of everything, he may never find out where these talents lie.
Children who feel they are constantly disappointing their parents are often left with low-esteem because they sense they have nothing within themselves to offer. This will build up in the child a strong feeling that he is inferior to other children. As parents we must be constantly seeking creative ways to build up our children by assuring them of our unconditional love. By encouraging their individual gifts, we will not only add diversity to the interests of our families, but we will also be allowing each child to sense in his or her special way. The support and encouragement we received made us each feel that we could make a contribution to the family, thus building our self-esteem and feelings of importance.
Each child is a unique individual and needs to be treated so, as parents, our parenting style needs to be adjusted because what might work for one child may not work for another; who might need a totally different approach on sibling. Insecurity, lack of acknowledgement of individual gifts, and low self-image will ultimately lead to competition and jealousy in the family. A frustrated teenager once confided that he would never have his father’s acceptance because he wasn’t pursuing a medical career as his older brother.
If we compare our children in a negative way to others, one will come out on short end. There is nothing more unfair to a child than trying to force him into a parent’s mold without considering the child’s own abilities, interests, and ambitions. The child soon feels that his parents are disappointed in him. This makes the child resentful toward them. If this attitude of comparison in our hearts continues, the eventual result is that we unintentionally resent the child for his lack and our perspective in the home is damaged.
If we, on the other hand, compare our children in a positive way, “I’m glad my children don’t behave like that” and continue with this attitude, we will have to eventually deal with a spirit of pride. Soon we are exalting ourselves and our children, only to find that, “Pride goes before destruction and haughtiness before a fall –Proverbs 16:18.
Have you been sensing insecurity, lack of initiative, or jealousy in your children? Have you been feeling resentful at their lack of development in certain areas? Stop and consider whether you have had a tendency to compare them to others.
When you have more than one child, as a parent it is important to recognize the fact that it is never proper to compare children, even if you think you are tactful at it. When you have children you are going to have problems like sibling rivalry, fighting, and jealousy, so do not feel these problems an accident or purpose.
If your child is not doing something when we think he/she should, you may become anxious. But to panic any time your child did not measure up to your standard and you start to compare him or her to other children, you will set up a lifetime of worry, jealousy and regret. So don’t worry too much all he needs is guidance.
As parent, if you want your children to have good relationship, and if you want to have good relationships with your child, then you need to never compare them with each other. Each and every child is an individual with their own set of unique qualities and attributes. They all have all the same interests. They may both like one thing, hate another, but there are going to be several things one like and excels at that other does not. So, because they are individuals, if you compare them it is unfair.
Each one is a unique individual, with his own strengths and weaknesses. Help your child form their own identity. If you do not compare your children you will aid them in having better confidence and help them be stronger individuals because they will be able to form their own identity, not base their identity on how they compare to someone else.
Help your child see your love for them is not based on comparisons but personal attributes. You do this by spending time just with them, but telling them how important they are to you, and not doing it in context with their siblings.
You must accept you child as he is and love him for what he is. Check your selfishness, quickly and completely. If you don’t, your child’s personality will suffer. The best attitude to adopt is to refrain from consciously comparing your children with others. It is an important, but often neglected, attitude parents need to embrace. This does not mean we should accept each of our children’s improper attitudes, lack of initiative, or negative behavior simply because that’s just the way they are. What this does mean, though, is that we recognize that our children are special individuals created by God with unique gifts, interests, and capabilities that will likely be different than those of his or her siblings or friends.