The words cruise out of our mouths inadvertently. Yes, they do. “Look at him/her, she is so much better than you”. Why do we compare our children with others? As much as we want to refrain from it, we end up doing it. Is it an inevitable human trait or can we push ourselves away from it if we try?
Well, ‘comparison’ is bad for all. But it is all the more debasing for children. Children are naïve beings and they do not take too well to criticism. And if the criticism involves telling him/her how the others are better off than him/her at a certain thing, then it is all the more sinful. Of course, we as parents should pin point the mistakes of our kids but we should stick to just that. Accepting that you have erred is tough enough, on top of it if we are constantly reminded as to how someone else is excelling, it will lead to frustration.
Every child is different. In the present age, where competition has spread its tentacles in every walk of life, it is crucial to teach our kids to be grounded. And comparing him at each step will just not help. He should be taught to better himself with each day not to be better than his counterparts.
It is natural to know where our child stands amidst others, in this world of ranks and percentages and wherein everyone is bidding for that coveted seat in a top school or university. But to constantly, harrow him as to how others are better than him will fill him with inferiority complex. Here are some prime reasons as to why we should not compare our children with others:
Leads to Self doubt – If we are told by someone that we are not good at something and that there are others out there who are par excellence, eventually slowly but steadily, self doubt will loom large over us. Our children would fall in that pit of self doubt, when our job as parents is to encourage them at every step.
Pangs of jealousy – Comparison leads to extreme jealousy for the person with whom we are constantly comparing our child. It can be a neighbourhood kid, a class mate, a cousin and so on. Jealousy is not a very healthy feeling to harbor and the poor child will burn in the pangs of jealousy which can even be transformed in to hatred.
Negativity – Constant comparison can make a child negative. He can easily fall prey to negativity. Negativity is not at all good for a person’s well being. We all want to raise children who are positive and who spread happiness around.
Hatred towards the parents/caregivers– If you tell your child time and again that the neighbour’s kid is better off than him, he/she will eventually start despising you. Children are emotionally vulnerable. They would not be able to see the bigger picture that you are concerned for them. Rather, they would feel that you are not on their side.
Jittery/ Nervous Children– Parents who do not restrain from comparing their kids at the drop of a hat, will eventually make their kids nervous and jittery. They would continually make attempts to please their parents and would wonder if they can come up to their expectations.
Parenting is the most difficult job in the world and there is no such thing called ‘ideal parent’. But, nevertheless we are the first teachers of our children. We are the ones they look up to and we are the ones they come to when they are low. So, it is our duty to strive to put our best foot forward. Let our kids grow each day in a positive environment. Let us tell him/ her each day as to how special he/she is. As mark Twain rightly put, “Comparison is the death of joy”. So, let the joy pervade in their lives forever.