Why You Should Never Compare Your Children
Created by Megha Grover Updated on Aug 12, 2021
Once a parent, always a parent! We worry, fret, scream, cry at the drop of a hat and make up too. Because we love our child immensely, it is natural that we expect her/him to hit the developmental milestones like any other child of the same age. We often set arbitrary expectations and get disappointed when they are not met by our child.
Shouldn’t she start teething at 6 months? Shouldn’t a child start walking by 1? Shouldn’t she start forming words by 2? These are questions that set behavioural expectations from the children. But have we ever tried to understand the whats and whys behind two children being so different and also how our expectation can hurt our child.
No two children are the same
Commonly, when parents find early developmental symptoms in their children, they tend to attribute it to intelligence and good parenting. Sadly, it is neither. Every child is distinct and develops differently. Their physical and social ability, ability to perform a task properly and attention levels are always different. Also, every child develops at a different pace. A child is a mix of nature and nurture. Nature is the intrinsic qualities that the child is gifted with while nurture is the role the parents play in the upbringing of the child. There is also a third factor that comes into play where development is concerned and that is the environment he or she is exposed to. It is important to understand that children absorb from their environment which explains why day care kids are sometime better regulated in their schedules against children who are pampered by grandparents at home. To sum it, it is impossible to have a situation where two children have the exact matches of all 3 factors, and therefore each child is unique.
Why we shouldn’t compare our child
Being competitive can result in serious problems in your relationship with your child. By constantly comparing the little ones to others put a lot of stress on the child for incorrect reasons. And, when children fail to meet expectations, parent’s behaviour towards them changes and often result in children getting scared, stressed and intimidated.
We often come across situations where often a child does or does not do, things, just so as to please her parents. This unexplainable behaviour can be attributed to a similar situation where our expectations are so high from our children, that they do things to just meet the expectations rather than enjoy themselves. The other way children react when unrealistic expectations are enforced on them is by avoiding the job or getting irritable. This pulls them off and also kills their skill and talent.
Be patient and trust your child
Thus, as a parent, the best idea is not to think too much about your children attaining milestones but focus on trying to do what’s valuable.
1) If your child resists some activity, take a few days off (and give the child a break as well) and gradually work with your child to your desired behaviour levels, after the gap.
2) Get generous with your words of praise and constantly encourage while raising a confident child.
3) Extra dosage of patience, affection and adequate quality time can surprisingly produce excellent results.
| Aug 12, 2015
Well said Madhurima! Though easier said than done, the art of judging the child by his/her own parameters is important for a happy parenting experience. I feel, as parents, we often lack knowledge on what are the expected milestones in reality, so compare with other children of the same age ending up in a valueless baseline study... When my daughter was teething late (after a year), I ended up sharing my concern with a stranger having a child of similar age and she said, "Have you seen a child of 5 years without teeth? So they will come when they have to.. " :-))
| Aug 13, 2015
Thanks Rhituparna. Truly mentioned , easier said than done, the comparison between 2 children stems from inherent insecurities of a parent. The society we live in fosters a fiercely competitive environment that we all fall preys to. I try and condition my mind to stop comparing once I highlight on my son's strengths that is rare to find.
| Feb 18, 2016
That is true! We should never compare two kids. Even my two kids have different likings.. one is talketive abd the other one is quite. Elder one is eXpressive she wants to tell me constantly something and the other wants to observe her. We should focus on the important factors which are beneficial for both..