Comparison is a common approach that parents adopt to ascertain the performance of their children. Parents always want to know if their child’s academic or sporting achievements are ‘normal’, better or excellent versus those of their peers, family and friends. Parents will give examples of other children or siblings accomplishments as a way to motivate or encourage the same behaviour in their kid. Parents don’t aim to hurt the child but these verbal and non-verbal statements do more harm than good. The urge is often hard to resist, but comparing your child with others’ is just causing unnecessary stress for both you and your child.
It is important to remember that each child is unique in their own special way and each will develop in their own way and in their own time. As parents we need to nurture their confidence to grow, explore and spread their wings to eventually fly.
Children should be taught to better themselves with each day, not to be better than their counterparts
Some negative effects of comparing children:
- Stress – for both parent and child.
- Low self-esteem and self-worth – The child starts believing that he is incapable of performing well or living up to expectations.
- Supresses other talents that the child will not have the confidence or will to explore.
- Creates distance between parent and child – the child feels insecure and loses trust in the parent.
- Fosters sibling rivalry and jealousy.
Adopt a more positive approach to help your child, including:
- Set benchmarks instead of comparing:Appreciate the effort, build the confidence and encourage continuous improvement.
- Praise strengths.
- Offer help and support in problem areas.
- Unconditional love always support your child and provide encouragement.
Every child is unique, they have different levels of interests, different strengths and weaknesses. Homeschooling is a flexible and personal form of education that supports the uniqueness of every child.
As Theodore Roosevelt aptly put: Comparison is the thief of joy
Be proud of your children for what they are and help them to be the best that they can be. Give them your love and strive to build their confidence. At some point in their life they will find their unique talent and ability that we all possess.