We can all agree as parents we want our children to be the best. We want them to walk, talk and learn the same time as other children their age. We even want them to do better than their peers so we push them to try harder and pressure them so much. And if we see our children being a little behind on some things whether it is learning to read or whatever else, many of us start to panic because we compare them to other children their age and wonder why our children aren’t at the same level as some of the other kids their age. It’s something many of us do without even thinking about it. I’m guilty of it.
When I had my first child, there was a friend of mine who also had her son around the same time as I had my baby. My son was only a few days older than her son. When our babies were four months old, one day while we were talking she mentioned to me that her son was rolling over front to back. My son hasn’t done that yet, he hadn’t even rolled over at all. Automatically I started to question myself, why isn’t my son doing that?! Is there something wrong with him? Am I doing something wrong? I was worried!
For almost two weeks, my poor child had to deal with me trying to make him do something he wasn’t ready to do before I finally gave up and decided that he was going to roll over when he was he ready. Eventually, he rolled over and learned to sit on his own too. I panicked for no good reason! Forgetting that children’s abilities are all different, I compared my son to hers; it was a big mistake.
Comparing your child to other children will most certainly make you worried and stressed out unnecessarily. Out of frustration some parents may even go as far as yelling at their children, telling them how so and so has already memorized this much Quran or is reading chapter books now, is more helpful than you, etc. this type of pressuring and comparing children to others not only makes kids more anxious but they may even become depressed. We know we compare our children out of love and care—we only want them to excel in all that they do, to motivate them—but it really can harm a child in so many ways.
It’s very important to try as much as you can to never ever compare your child to other children or even his/her siblings. Constantly pushing and pressuring them can have significantly negative effects. Like adults children have varying personalities, likes and dislikes and abilities.
While there are so many negative effects of comparing children, I’ve narrowed it down to five. Here are the top five negative effects of comparing your children to other kids!
Being compared to others will even kill an adult’s confidence. Think of it this way, it’s just another way of calling someone a loser if you compare them to someone else constantly especially when you mention something the other person accomplished, or has; children are exactly the same way—when we compare them to other kids, they get the message that they are losers; this is especially true for older children who understand more. They will wonder why they can’t achieve whatever the kids they’re being compared to have achieved. In the long run, it will completely kill their confidence.
Incites jealousy and hatred for the other child
Comparing children to each other harbors jealousy and hatred. A child when constantly reminded of how another child can do something he or she is struggling to learn will definitely feel jealous and may even hate the other child for learning before him/her. Young children will just tell you “I hate so and so” every time you tell them your friend does this or that, or “why can’t you be more like her?” They will absolutely hate the other child even if it’s their brother or sister.
Makes kids learn for the wrong reasons
The more parents compare their children to other kids, the more their children will only want to learn for the wrong reasons. They will lose sight of the importance of learning. When always compared, children will see the whole concept of learning as just some competition. There’s a pressure put on them so they just want to perform better than the next kid and if it doesn’t happen, the seed of hate and jealousy gets planted in their little hearts.
Leads to sadness
The first people children look to for encouragement and kindness are their family members. If the people around them are always comparing them to other children it will give them the wrong message, a message of ‘you’re not good enough.’ Many children become sad and because they’re children it’s much more difficult for them to express how they’re feeling.
Leads to withdrawal
Another negative effect of comparison is withdrawal. Children will not even want to try anymore. They will be afraid to make mistakes or fail, why? Because they know that someone will be doing better than them. That’s why some children would rather not even try at all. This is the most damaging to a child’s mind and development. All of these five negative effects are related; one leads to the other.
We can certainly motivate, encourage and help our children without comparing them to anyone else. I know we are just human and we can make mistakes at times, but it is important to protect our children from anything that will harm them in any way. May Allah help us to become the best parents for our children. Allahuma Amin!
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