Don’t compare your child with others


You compare your child’s grades with others and then determine whether your kid’s academic achievements are ‘normal’, better or excellent. Then we resort to giving example of other children’s accomplishment as a way to motivate our own child. For instance, “Look, Archana massi’s son secured 90 per cent in Maths” or “Your neighbourhood friend Pinky stood first in signing competition”. “Learn something from other kids. Stop loitering in the neighbourhood and join some classes”. You certainly don’t aim to hurt your child, but unknowingly these verbal statements do more harm than doing good. Comparing your child with others’ is actually making you and your child stressed and is an useless activity, but the urge is hard to resist.
Sometimes the sole motivation of comparing your child to others is to instigate competition in the child, so that this feeling can push the child to perform at par with his capabilities and excel. Competitiveness definitely is a driving force towards performance, but is this working for your child?
No two children are the same. They have different talents, interests, develop at different rates and have different strengths. Practically speaking, parents can either build or break confidence and self-esteem of their child. Expressing unhappiness due to poor performance or bragging about his achievements; both are appropriate. Read below to know about the negative effects of comparison and the alternative approach:
Negative effects of comparing your child
Stress: The child feels burdened if he is constantly being compared. Your job is not to pressurise him to perform and in turn making him anxious and insomniac. Sit and talk to your child, if there is something bothering him, which is affecting his performance. Devise solutions together
Lowers self-esteem: The kid starts believing that others are better than him and that he is incapable of performing well or living to expectations of the parents. This feeling is very damaging for the personal and academic growth of the child
Lowers self-worth: Despite his efforts, if he still gets to hear that he needs to follow the other child to perform well, this breaks his confidence. The ‘good for nothing’ starts to settle in. This may deteriorate his performance further.
Shy away from social situations: If your kid is consistently ridiculed or taunted by comparison then he will start avoiding public interaction with you Comparison negative effects.
Builds carefree attitude: If the child’s talents or achievements are constantly ignored, then he may not even bother to please you anymore since you clearly favour the other child who has more ‘appropriate’ achievements.
Suppresses talents: If your kid spends more time in charcoal painting and you prefer him to go for badminton practice, the kid faces a dilemma. If the painting talent is unappreciated and he halfheartedly goes for playing badminton, he may not score very well. Eventually the painting talent won’t have room to grow and will be lost
Distances from you: Clearly, if the kid is being held negatively up against his siblings, cousins, friends or neighbors. It becomes evident to him that something about him is unacceptable to you and you are unhappy with him. You become the source of hurt to him and he will try to maintain distance from you. This may make your kid feel insecure and lose trust in you. Which may lead to development or behavioral problems as your child matures.
Positive comparison approach to help your child
Set benchmark instead of comparing: Appreciate the effort, even if he secures 2 marks more than the previous exam. This builds the confidence
Encourage to cope with the weakness: Ask if your kids needs any help. Support him.
Praise the strengths: Whatever task your child performs well, appreciate it.
Don’t set up unrealistic expectations: If your girl wants to become a writer, don’t force her to take up engineering. She may be smart, intelligent, but lacking aptitude and interest, which are detrimental for success in any field.
Provide unconditional support and love: If your kid couldn’t score well, do not make him feel that he has let you down or embarrassed you. Always support your child. Engage in a pep-talk, encourage him to practice more and always appreciate his efforts in public.
Vijay Garg


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