Do You Compare Your Children with Others?
Do you compare your children with others? Every parent should ask themselves this question. And, if the answer is yes, you should stop doing it immediately. Comparisons are counterproductive and they don’t benefit your child’s psychological health. In fact, they damage their self-esteem and the formation of their personal identity.
As parents, we have the tendency to compare our children with others. Often, we do so to make sure our children are developing normally and to see if something isn’t quite right. However, the problem is when we make these comparisons in front of them. What happens then?
What happens if you compare your children with others?
In general, we all have a tendency to make comparisons. We go to the supermarket to buy food and we constantly compare prices with other stores. Because of that, we often compare our children without even realizing the consequences of doing so. It’s like it’s automatic.
When you’re comparing siblings, you may start to see rivalries, confrontations and jealousy between them. This can lead to the misperception that one sibling is more loved by their parents than the other. As a result, this can damage their self-esteem, self-confidence, and even lead to insecurities.
Why do parents compare their children with others?
Parents often make comparisons of their children with other children, without even realizing it. Why? If you’re teaching your child to learn to ride a scooter, and you see another child who is able to do it well, you’ll probably say: “Look at how that kid is doing it.” We do this to serve as a model for our kids, but it’s actually hurting them.
We use comparisons as a form of motivation to develop a certain skill, behavior, or anything else that we consider useful as parents. However, what we’re actually doing is making them think that’s how we want them to be. And we’re doing this without taking into account their characteristics and abilities.
Consequences when you compare your children with others
Comparing your child with their siblings, cousins, friends, neighbors, classmates, etc., will have consequences. Not only will it affect them in the moment, but also in the long term.
Jealousy and envy
When you make comparisons between siblings, you may start to notice feelings of jealousy and envy between your kids. They may start to think that their parents are happier with their sibling’s qualities than they are with their own. Then, they’ll think that they love their sibling more. In the end, this is going to have a negative impact on their relationship.
Rivalry with other children
Similar to the previous point, when we compare our little ones to other children, they’ll start to see them as a rival. Your child’s perception is that you appreciate and accept the other child more than you accept them.
Difficulty measuring their personal successes
Another consequence of comparing your children with others is that they won’t accurately establish bases for their self-demands and expectations. This will influence their personal development because your little one will get used to measuring their own achievements and failures on the successes of others. Instead, this should be based around their own achievements and their own worth.
Our comparisons are well-intentioned and are meant to serve as a model for learning. However, your child doesn’t see it that way. Their understanding is that you like the qualities others have that they don’t. In the end, this creates insecurities and a lack of self-confidence, which hurts their self-esteem.
In conclusion, you should reflect on whether or not you compare your children with others. If you do, and you want to change your strategy, we recommend encouraging and reinforcing positive behaviors, and to not attribute these behaviors to specific people.
It’s very important that your children realize that you accept them for who they are, including their strengths and weaknesses. Also, they need to know that their weaknesses don’t affect the unconditional love you have for them.