From birth, children are subjected to comparison. The birth weight and height, the features on their faces, their size, how they respond, basically everything.
As they grow, things about them continue to be the subject of comparison. How much milk they drink, how much they eat, how fast they are learning.
Most of the time, they get compared with their peers or relatives of the same age. As they grow, they may be compared with children who are younger or older.
Comparison sounds normal because people think they are just making passing remarks. Either that or they want you to notice something about their own children or other children. I must admit that I fall into the trap of opening my mouth and make comparing remarks at times.
Recently, however, I have come to realize how much comparison remarks can bite. Not every parent wants to hear these remarks, no matter how harmless your intention it is.
“Wow! Your girl is so skinny! She’s very short for her age ya?”
“Your child eats very little!”
“He can’t walk yet? Mine is running already!”
“He can’t seem to sit still ya? Mine will just sit down and listen to the teacher.”
Okay, thanks for pointing all of that out. And yes, I’m aware of all of that too.
My child doesn’t eat as much as yours, she isn’t as tall as yours, she’s slimmer (please don’t call her skinny!) and she’s quite a chatterbox. But she’s special the way she is.
Also, size and character are relative. Most of the time, our children inherit these things from us. I know I’m not very tall, so I’m not surprised that my daughter isn’t that tall too.
Why am I writing all this?
Because I have heard enough comparisons about my children with others and it bugs me. Sometimes it irritates the crap out of me.
“Why do you care what others say? Just ignore the comments. You don’t have to let them affect you,” I was told a number of times.
Not caring is easier said than done, especially when the subject of comparison are your children whom you pour your sweat, your heart, your soul and almost all your energy into. You try your best to feed them well and teach them well, but sometimes they just don’t seem to grow as fast as other children and sometimes they just don’t seem to want to follow instructions.
There is this much I can control when it comes to my children.
This is a reminder, both to myself and many who think that comparison comments are harmless. Don’t compare someone else’s children with yours or compare any two children, regardless of what the subject of comparison is.