Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Let's Stop Comparing

 I recently overheard some moms talking about which math and reading groups their children are in. They were naming and analyzing the kids in each group to figure out which group had the smartest kids, obviously taking pride if their children were in the 'smart' group.  It made me angry.  Who were they to judge other people's children and decide who is smart, who is average and the worst fate of all, who is below average?  Being in the highest level doesn't make you smart and being in the lowest level does not make you stupid. There are no groups that help parents to judge if their child is kind, has a good sense of humor or is a good friend and shouldn't we be more concerned with those qualities?

When Mikias was in first grade, he was at soccer practice and the coach had the kids doing one on one drills.  One boy, who is clearly a natural athlete, was paired up against Mikias.  The boy loudly said "too easy" as if my son wasn't enough of a challenge for him. I was appalled, and looked at the boys dad, who I figured would reprimand his son for being rude to Mikias. Instead the dad nodded in agreement and mouthed out to his son "kick his butt".  This dad was completely invested in his son's athleticism, to the point that he wanted him to dominate even his own teammates.  Whenever I see that dad around town, I give him the evil eye.  I am pretty sure he hasn't noticed yet.

Kids come to us with a range of gifts and abilities that have nothing to do with us as parents.  You cannot take credit for the genes you pass along (or assume your awesome parenting skills are what makes your adopted child a success in a certain area).  It is not a reflection on you if you child is gifted, average, autistic, has a learning disability, is a natural athlete or a klutz.  I am not saying we don't influence our children or that the kind of adults they turn out to be is completely out out of our hands..... but can't we stop comparing?

Many parents see their children's successes as their own.  A pat on their own back for a job well done. It puts pressure on kids for all the wrong reasons. Don't get me wrong,  parents should take pride in their children, encourage them where they are strong and help them where they are not. Our children can't all be the best, but they all can be their best.  Our children are so much more that whatever group they are placed in or team they are on. Let's put our pride aside, and help our kids be the best they can be.


  1. Amen, sistah. I couldn't agree more.

  2. As the parent of a child who does well academically, I always feel yucky when parents compare their children to mine. My child is not the bar by which other children should be measured. They should each be measured by their own unique and wonderful successes.

  3. Parents need to stop living through there children ,for what they did not succeed in when they were young. Let them just have fun and be children,they are very young for a short time and then they go to school.You cannot go back to the store and buy what you forgot to do with them early in life.

  4. I just found your blog and have really enjoyed reading through it! I couldn't agree more with you about this post! I have 4 kids, each with his/her own abilities/talents/struggles. One has mild special needs and one is athletically gifted. That's just the way they are. Kids should not feel they have to "measure up" to anyone's standards but their own. As for the "kick his butt" dad, I hope someone kicks his!! (I have encountered many parents like this throughout my kids' sports endeavors, ugghh!)

  5. "Many parents see their children's successes as their own."

    Not only that. I am an adult children of parents who see me as an extension of themselves. They (still) try to control many aspects of my life through psychological manipulation. It is exhausting. To receive that unconditional love I have to behave according to their beliefs even if that is different from what I believe. I have a life long history of figth for respect and being labeled as a problematic/difficult daugther. Parents, don't do that to your kids! It is toxic. The comparisions at early childhood are just the tip of the iceberg. Wacht out for different manifestations of this type of behavior. As an adult I can say how devastating the consequences are.

    Great post!