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Should parents compare their child to other children?

by annep (follow)
Parenting (216)      Kids (112)      Social (107)      Advice (63)     
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Sometimes, parents simply can't help comparing their own child to others, whether it is a sibling or their friend's children. They might do it reflexively or on purpose as a way to encourage the child to try harder. However, whether this is a good parenting approach is still up for debate.

What do you think? Should parents compare their child to other children? And what should children do to deal with competitive parents?

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Personally, I really hate it when my parents compare me to other kids. I mean, I know they mean well, but it just hurts when your parents tell you that. It crushes your confidence and makes you feel that they don't love you. Seriously, if parents want to motivate their child, there are many more effective methods than this.
Yes and no...but always with love. It also depends upon what exactly the parents are comparing the children about...are they wishing that their sensitive artistic child was more sporty like the kids next door or are they understandably worried that their three-year-old's language skills don't seem to be developing at the same rate as other children the same age?

I think it's helpful that parents have at least a basic understanding of the developmental milestones. Often parents informally compare their children with others of the same age on this basis...when their children are starting to walk, talk and develop other skills...and this can sometimes be helpful (if done with love and not within the children's ear-shot) as it can create an early awareness if the child has got some kind of health or developmental issues such as problems with hearing, speech or eyesight.

However, I think it should be avoided if it's done with a mood that of wishing that one child was more like another. Each person, both adults and children, are unique and special, and comparing them to others undermines this uniqueness, and in the mind of a child creates immense insecurity.
Definitely not as every child is different, special and unique.
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by jonaja
Competitive Parents to me are like mosquitoes you so badly want to catch them, and smack them.
Same go's for parents who compair their child to another.

As for them unable to not-compair, they need a good wake-up call.

In my opinion, they should seek help...before that child grows up with big issues of self worth.
As for what should the child do?....this is my point, the child is 'helpless' to do anything.
How can any child stand up to a parent, unless they are 10-11-12 and onwards, and by then! that child has been through so much anyway, from these parents....it's a no-win situation.
In terms of developmental milestones I think it's normal and pretty much unavoidable to compare your children with others. You want to know whether your kids are developing as they should, with things like speech, fine motor skills etc. The trick is not to do it too much and remember that "normal" is actually a pretty broad range. Ultimately it won't matter whose kid walked first or talked first.

If you mean comparing your child to another out loud in front of the child, then no, that's awful. Saying to a child "why don't you get marks as good as/run as fast as/make as much money as/dress like so and so" sends a message that says "I am not happy with the way you are. You are not good enough." It's not a nice thing for a child to have to carry around with them. I'm sure it comes from a good place, and I get wanting your kids to be inspired by other people and see what they might be able to achieve themselves but maybe just showing them examples and letting them draw their own conclusions would work better. It would be considered pretty obnoxious to say to another adult "why aren't you as smart/pretty/wealthy/thin as so and so" and it's even worse with kids who are still forming their sense of self. You love the people you love for who they are, not who you want them to be.

It remains to be seen whether I'll do this with my own kids as they get older. Possibly. Parenting is hard. You have so many hopes and dreams for your kids and it's difficult when those don't line up with what your child wants or the kind of person they are.
I don't think it is an issue to compare your children to others for the purpose of judging their developmental progress, but to openly compare your children to others for the purpose of criticism is another story. I don't think it's a good idea because it can lead to a sense of inadequacy and resentment toward the 'other' child/ren and/or the parents involved. If you must compare, why not compare your child where they are to where they could be, i.e. the best them they could be or reaching their potential for example.
by Vee
In my mind, I may have. But never openly to my children. That's just cruel. I was always interested in listening to them tell me about their day, & discuss ANYTHING they wanted to talk about. This we encouraged from the very beginning.

Always enjoyed praising them for achievements, & guided them as much as possible to higher accomplishments within their various abilities.

Have now two very successful, within their chosen fields, & confident adults. Hooray!



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