Is Doing Child Comparison Reasonable for Parents?


child comparison

Parents will involve their children in a comparison game, whether they find it reasonable or do it out of whim. Even the most educated parents once in a while come across this ‘telling off’ situation with their kids.

So, is it reasonable to compare your child with the others in an expectation of their betterment?

Child comparison is speculative, only justified by its root cause and the wise application of it. Parents should make some constructive comparisons to only make their children work on their own potentials. Biased comparison is bad and mostly, it brings nothing but chaos and an uncertain future for your kids. 

Whether you do it intentionally or unintentionally, try not to make child comparison a habit on a daily basis.

Apply prudence whenever you feel the urge to talk your kid out of an unacceptable act and the subsequent situation.

Let’s delve into this subject and try to figure out a way to deal with your kids in a positive manner.

Does Child Comparison Work?

child comparison
Does Child Comparison Work?

A famous quote from the great scientist Albert Einstein pops into the head while dealing with child comparison, “Everybody is a genius, but if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing it is stupid.”

Here comes my point. Every child is different. And this difference doesn’t come in appearance only but in several other ways.

Comparing your kid with the neighbor’s or your relative’s is a stupid idea as long as there’s nothing to match your child’s innate quality. Observe your kid keenly so you can nudge the correct point to spurt its hidden talent.

Finding your kid’s talent will make you both content, and give you the ability to do less comparison in the future. Constant comparison will only intimidate your child, making him/her lose even the strongest characteristics it’s born with.

Your child may possess one or two sports talents, but you compare him/her with your neighbor’s child who’s merit flares at study. You observe your toddler scrambling its toys, you think he/she’s a waster, but in fact, it could be a sign of a genius mechanical engineer; who knows!

Remember, you must teach your child about competition in life, but let that competition space be within his/her own skill territory. Give it a thought, if you judge an athletic kid by its grade in science, it’ll be unfair.

Your child will take more stress than his/her ability due to your nagging. They’ll start losing their confidence, thinking they’re not worthy.

You mustn’t want your child to live its whole life with the misconception about itself; just like Einstein’s fish mentioned above.

What’s the Alternative of Comparison?

It’s understandable why you compare your child with the other. Every parent wants the best for his/her children.

Yes, sometimes, a parent’s intention is pure, but the concerning approach is wrong.

It would help if you motivated your child instead of comparing him/her with another one. Motivation, small talks, a little laughter, etc. could let them know more conveniently what you expect from them!

I won’t say that Comparison never works! Well, sometimes it does, but in most cases, it ruins your child’s mindset.

Parents always try to impact their kids positively. If you want this too, you have to stop ‘Comparison’ from today and rather try the positive talks more often.

Ask yourself, which one works: giving your kid the next-door-boy’s midterm report card as an example or patting him/her on the back for whatever achievement and talk about future growth?

If your child adapts to a comparison mentality, it will be tough for him/her to stay happy in life! They will always compare themselves with the better position holders, and eventually, be upset finding the other person beating him/her in competition.

Parents Compare Their Child with Others out of Expectations

As a parent, you must have expectations from your kids. It allows you to try extra hard on them to achieve something more significant. But your expectation should never exceed your kid’s limitation.

Comparison and competition, these two are prevalent in modern days. Even the education system in many countries has also encouraged comparison-mentality in parents.

It’s true every great personality in history and in present days has gone through immense hardships in life. It’s a massive lesson your children must pay heed to. But you as a parent must know that ‘biased comparison’ wasn’t the element in those great figures as a way to success.

In the Eastern world, there is a norm that a person is considered successful only if he/she becomes a doctor or an engineer. Although having different potentials, kids are less likely to utilize those potentials to work on their passion!

One may show the sign of a successful businessman, but the parents would force their children to pursue a career in science. A calculative mind of numbers and figures may hardly find the peace of heart in theories, researches, and inventions.

Even though the adult becomes successful in the long journey of life, there remains a grudge that he/she couldn’t fulfill the childhood dream!

Will it be wise to create some future-regrets for your kids? Shouldn’t you be a supportive parent? If yes, then encourage them to find their responsibility and happiness together.

Avoid putting extra pressure on them. Their happiness should matter to you.

What to Do?

Parents can’t always avoid pressurizing their kids in some cases. When a child gets ahead of him/herself and repeats a mistake, or show idleness about a responsibility, parents must act with an urge to keep their kid on track.

If your child does something wrong, you have to make them realize their mistake and give them the chance to rectify it.

Here, you can follow a few ways:

  • Show them how to do it.
  • Give an example or be that example.
  • Show him/her the potential consequence of that mistake.
  • Give him/her incentive from storybooks, animation movies, or real-life stories. 
  • Take a walk, talk for a while lightly, know his/her inner struggles, and encourage positively. 
  • Whatever you do, make sure not to make your child more upset about their mistake.

A little scolding may be handy but taunting him/her by comparing it to others can dent the heart deeply. It’ll demotivate them.

Some of your taunts may crush your child from the inside, and it’s challenging to overcome that scar. It creates rifts in the family.  Some kids even remember childhood taunts forever.

So, the parents’ utmost duty is to accept their children as they are and make ways for them to flourish.

There are Positive Sides of Comparison, Though!

child comparison
There are Positive Sides of Comparison, Though

It’s the other side of the coin. Even comparison can be helpful too.

Comparing your kid with another will put him/her under the required pressure to accomplish a task. It pushes the kids to bring the best out of them.

If you think your kid is strong enough to take the criticism, then you can go for the option. Critics aren’t always wrong. Some children are resilient enough to work best under pressure.

Some kids possess talent but are reluctant to do the hard work. There’s a saying, “Hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard!”

You may become the villain in their story initially by pushing them hard. In the long run, after becoming successful, they would value your true mentorship.

So, if you can take the mental toil of that initial phase, this can prove to be a very efficient way of seeing your child on the top ladder of success.

If your child is reluctant to study, you can tell stories of other kids toiling hard to achieve their goals; something your kid’s missing in them. Such real-life stories may uplift their spirit to a great extent.

This change can even turn your child from an average student to an A-class student.

Allow Your Child to Flourish before Defining Success

child comparison
Allow Your Child to Flourish before Defining Success

Every child has unique talents in different fields. We can’t blame our parents entirely for comparing their kids with others. Maybe they were raised that way too. But there’s always room for a change.

Never prioritize your social status higher than your child’s happiness. True success doesn’t come by social status. Appreciating your child’s interests and aims is also like making a way for his/her success.

A scientist’s child doesn’t need to become a scientist too. If your child loves painting and drawing, encourage them to do so. Please, don’t think about what people would say or never compare your child with their child.

It’s wise for parents to become their child’s friends. It allows them to discuss thoroughly and open up about things. Your child may not earn big bucks, but they will have the freedom to choose how they want their life to be.

Bottom Line

Teach your children as well as yourself that all the diversities around the globe make human lives so interesting and worth living. One-way comparison has a little space here.

Learning to work on potentials will enable a child to value others. Eventually, this same trait may open many doors in his/her life to thriving projects and long term successes.

Let’s end this discussion with a thought-provoking question: what happens if your child does a comparison between you and other parents?

Hope you’ve finally reached the bottom line here.

Sofia Kamal

Sofia Kamal is lively, spontaneous, and pleasant as a person who loves to write, travel, eat, and hang out. She is a published author of two books and looking forward to publishing her next one soon. By education, she’s a major in Management Information System, who’s aiming at being a professional business analyst.

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