Monday, April 10, 2006

Saying "No" to Comparison Parenting

Why is it that as parents we are so prone to comparing our children - to each other if we have more than one, or to any other child the same age which comes within viewing distance? It is as if an automatic scale goes off in your head - the other child can read better, speak better, is more coordinated, etc. On the other hand, my child is more polite and better at sharing (at least at this particular moment!).

I try so hard not to get into these comparison discussions with other parents, especially since most things parents compare are completely not in our control. I mean, really, I have no say in how tall my children are, and any talents they have are their gifts, not mine. I see no purpose to the whole "my child is better than yours" competitions.

I admit, however, that at times I do discuss my children's accomplishments or current difficulties with other parents - it feels good to be able to be proud of my children on occasion and to get sympathy or advice when they are being challenging! Seriously, though, the same advice I always give other parents - "Each child is different. They learn and develop at their own pace" - is advice I often need to take myself.

God created each of our children with unique abilities and talents. There are areas that they will always have difficulty with. But God made them the way they are for a reason. While it is hard to see one child excel while another struggles (especially when both are your children), I have to trust that God gave each the tools he needs to live the life God has planned for him. My job is not to try to make my children into someone else or to have them excel at something that they have no innate talent for, but rather to help them make the most of who they are and the gifts they have been given. I want my children to be the people God wants them to be, and I will try my best to help them along that path, and I will try to put the blinders on when tempted by the comparison scale in my head!

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