The comparison trap is dangerous. For us, and our kids. Have you noticed your kids getting sucked into the comparison trap? If so, here are a few tips to help them get out.
A few days ago, I was talking to a friend. Just a regular conversation while our kids were off playing.
As we talked, my friend started to mention how she’s felt like she’s doing a crappy job of running her household.
It took me by surprise because I’ve often felt like she had it all together. She homeschools her 4 children (not including her toddler), her home is always comfortable to be in, and her marriage has been going strong for nearly 15 years.
So, I asked her what made her feel that way. Not only because I was curious, but it seemed crazy to me that someone who seems so on top of things would feel like she’s messing up somehow.
“I look at you and all that you are doing and feel like I’m just not doing all that I could be doing.”
I feel like this is something that so many of us do!
We look at what other people are doing and compare their progress with our own.
And, usually, we have no idea what goes on behind the scenes.
So, here I am, secretly comparing my life to hers. Meanwhile, she’s doing the same thing!
As a result of this type of comparison, we might feel like we’re not doing enough, not good enough, not successful enough, not smart enough, not pretty enough…
Just not enough.
But when we stop comparing and start embracing, things would be so much better.
- We should embrace our strengths.
- Embrace what makes us unique.
- Embrace our accomplishments.
- Embrace the journey ahead.
And so should our children.
Because guess what? We aren’t the only ones who get caught up in the comparison trap! Kids can compare themselves to other kids. They compare how they do academically, socially, and in extracurricular activities. They especially compare themselves to kids they are close to – like siblings and friends.
Have you noticed your kids getting sucked into the comparison trap? If so, here are a few tips to help them get out:
Focus on their strengths
Just like adults, kids can get so caught up in what they are not good at that they forget what they excel at. Make a conscious effort to highlight what each child is skilled at and encourage those strengths. It will help build up their confidence, which is something they will need to get through life.
Celebrate their successes
Don’t let successes go unacknowledged. Celebrate them! It could be something as small as a reward sticker! Just show them that you see what they have been working hard at and you are proud of their accomplishments.
Give Positive Reinforcement
Rather than focusing on the negative (such as if they are struggling with something), encourage their efforts. Also, be sure to remember and point out that everyone learns and grows at different rates.
Avoid making comparisons
Last, but certainly not least, avoid making comparisons yourself. I think it’s really common for parents to compare how their child is progressing to how other children are. From the time our children are born, we are on the look-out for them to hit certain developmental milestones, so it can be hard to break this habit. But remember that when we speak or act on these comparisons, we are usually doing our children a disservice. If you are truly concerned about whether your child is “behind” on a certain milestone, it’s definitely okay to speak with their pediatrician. But try to avoid making those types of observations to or around them.
Remember that you and your children are all unique human beings with your own set of talents and experiences. Focus on growing as individuals – not comparing yourself to other individuals.
Have you had any experience with how comparing oneself to others can have negative effects? Feel free to comment below.
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