My kids are better than yours!
Is this something you've ever heard someone say? Hopefully not!
Is it something people have thought about their kids over yours? Yes!
Is it something you sometimes think about your own kids? Probably at some point.
Firstly, just know that comparing kids isn't just for babies, it can go right up until they are adults. Here is a sample of what you might hear or think to yourself:
"Their kid's not even walking yet!"
"They feed their kids what!?"
"Ew, what are they wearing??"
"Wow, they're reading already!"
"Dude, keep your children under control!"
"I'd never let my kids talk to me like that."
"They're STILL unemployed??"
Anyway, I've come to the conclusion that comparing your kids to others is dumb. If you look hard enough, you'll find kids that make yours look like Einstein. You'll also find kids that makes yours look like a monkey doing a Rubix Cube. I'm not saying that you can't look at others and borrow ideas to apply to your family, but comparing is silly. I'll get to the "why" soon, but first...
I get why we do it. We want to know how our kids are progressing, and specifically where they are on the various spectrum's. It starts at birth in the little Plunket books we're given. "Your kid is in the 90th percentile for their height." So I guess there is some validation there, because you want to know how your kids are tracking, especially if you’re a new parent.
Parents comparing their kids to others is really something I've only noticed since becoming a parent myself. It's doesn't normally happen publicly (but it can, e.g at a sports game, sideline parents anyone?), it's more often something you do privately, and sometimes with indirect but well meaning comments like "I wish my kid was still crawling, they get into EVERYTHING now." Translation: "Your kid's still crawling? What sort of parent are you, HAHAHA"
I'll be honest, I've compared my own kids to others kids and to each other. I think it's a natural thing you do, sometimes without thinking, but the more I've thought about it, the more I feel silly about it.
When we had our first kid, I would feel guilty when my daughter did something because as far as kids go, she's been pretty much an angel. I'd feel guilty saying "Yeah, she's sleeping through the night" at seven weeks old, knowing there are parents who's kids over one still weren't sleeping through. I'd feel like a show off talking about her rolling at 3 months. I remember trying to play down her achievements for fear of people saying "Can you believe that guy? Thinks he's so cool just because his daughter can talk already." But I would also secretly feel a little proud inside.
So when my twins come along, I have very high expectations, even with them being 4 weeks early. They've been COMPLETELY different. Not only do they do things in their own sweet time compared to their sister, but they do things at different times to each other. All their milestones have been behind their sister. But they've still hit them. They're still cute. They're still learning and developing. They just have their own timeline and their own personalities. And then I realised this happens to ALL KIDS.
So to "why" I think it's dumb. Since I've been at home, and gotten out among the mums and kids scene, I've noticed something...most parents are doing their best to raise their kids in the best way they know how. All children have different personalities that change and adapt as they get older and they all learn at their own pace. All parents change as they grow older too. Parenting is a "learn on the job" type thing and we all make mistakes. It's good to have goals and dreams for your children, but comparing them to others, especially if they know you're doing it, isn't the best. My solution? Compare them to themselves! Set goals that will help them get better than they were. Give them activities that test and stretch them. If they master something, give them something harder or something else. And if they fail, don't worry! It's how we learn.
Some kids are going to be intellectually brilliant, others will be great at sports. Some will be gifted socially, others will be talented artistically. Maybe they'll be a combination of all of them. Does it really matter if your kids walks two months earlier than normal? I don't think so. However, this doesn't mean you can't be proud of their achievements! Definitely celebrate their accomplishments, but don't be hard on them or yourself if you see someone else's kid doing it faster or better.
Do you agree? Or you do have a different opinion? Maybe there was something I missed! Please comment below or on my Facebook page. And please share with your friends and family!