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6 Tips to Stop Comparing Children

Originally posted on February 5, 2023 @ 2:13 pm

Comparing children is a form of toxic parenting

Children are blessings from God. I believe there is no need to compare children with each other because each of them is unique and special. From my experience in the classroom, I have come to realise that children are different. We cannot judge every child based on the same standard.
God has created each of us uniquely different.

He made the line on our palms different, our DNA different, our eyeballs different, and even our thumbprints different. These differences are what make every child unique and parents have a responsibility of guiding them and helping them become the best version of themselves.

We must learn from our heavenly father who created us, God’s understands our strengths and weaknesses. His relationship with each and everyone of us is according to the abilities we have. I believe every adult and guardian has the same responsibility. Adults mustn’t compare children with each other so that we can grow a confident and self-reliant generation.

“I knew you before I formed you in your mother’s womb. Before you were born I set you apart and appointed you as my prophet to the nations.”

Jerimiah 1:5 (NLT)

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Effects of Comparing Children

There are many consequences and effects of comparing children. Every action reacts; so is comparing children to each other. Let’s go through some of the effects of comparing children.

Low self-esteem

Children who are constantly compared with other children or their siblings tend to develop low self-esteem. Their self-confidence and self-worth reduce and they feel lesser than other people. They want to please everyone, sacrificing their happiness in the process.

Increased stress and anxiety level

When children are constantly compared to others; they become anxious every time. They are afraid to take on new tasks or responsibilities. I remember having this challenge with some of the kids in my class. He is always afraid of answering questions. It took lots of patience and time before he felt confident.

Use developmental milestones to determine your child’s progress rather than comparison

Low body image

Some parents talk down on their child’s physical looks. They make negative comments about their body or physical attributes which contributes to developing a low body image.

Depression or suicide

There is an increase in depression and suicide among young people. It seems the numbers keep increasing exponentially. Adults have too many expectations for children; we are not allowing kids to be a kid anymore which is negatively affecting their emotional well-being.

Hatred towards parents

This is the most common effect of comparison. Children tend to despise and hate their parents because they weren’t given a chance to be themselves. Comparing children with other children or siblings leads to a damaged relationship among family members.

Sibling rivalry

Sibling rivalry is dangerous; it breaks families and causes unhealthy competition among siblings. When children are constantly compared to each other they begin to nurse a secret hatred for one another.

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6 Tips to Stop Comparing Children

Many parents who compare their children with others were once victims of unhealthy comparison. I have realised that our parenting style is largely dependent on our upbringing as parents. Parenting the proper way is a deliberate act and a conscious decision every adult must make.

  • Make a conscious decision to stop

To break every negative habit, there must be a conscious decision to stop the habit. Decide in your heart that you’ll not compare your children with each other nor will you compare them with other people’s children. I know it is a very difficult decision to make, and following it up with actions may be difficult but it is a necessary decision for your children and your future.

  • Check and reflect on your childhood

Childhood experiences have a lot of influence on our parenting style and habit. Children who grew up in toxic homes have a higher percentage of raising their children in a toxic manner. It is important to reflect on your childhood experiences to understand why you compare your children.

  • Make a deliberate effort to understand each of your children

Understanding each child is the key to fostering love, honesty and family relationship. While teaching mathematics to young minds, I realised every child has a way of understanding the topics. I had to separate my pupils into categories and I tried to reach a common ground to make sure they understood the topics taught properly.

It took a lot of effort to truly design a model that helped me reach as many pupils as possible but the reward was worth it. Adults need lots of patience to relate with children in a way they understand and cherish; the effort may be stressful but the reward is worth it.

  • Counselling

Going for counselling or mentorship is another way to help parents stop comparing their children. No man is an island and parents sometimes need to receive help for them to be the best version of themselves. I recommend going for counselling if you had a troubled childhood or grew up in a toxic environment.

  • Let their strength overshadow their weakness

Every child has a strength that compensates for their weakness. Learn to see them as their strength rather than their weaknesses. This doesn’t mean that they shouldn’t be challenged to turn their weaknesses into strengths but never allow their weaknesses to be all you see.

  • Learn emotional intelligence

Emotional intelligence is not only needed in the workplace or in our relationships with people. It is necessary to implement it in our relationship with our children. The reason a lot of parents or adults compare children is that they are emotionally drained. We want to just pass our frustration onto the next person, especially someone who can’t fight back.

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Children are not a dumping ground for negative emotions and anger. They need love and care to thrive and become excellent adults and parents.

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I have two daughters and them different. Most times when I go out with them people tend to comment and say a lot of things about how different they are. I sometimes want to also compare them but I have realised none of them is perfect. Each of them has areas of strength and weaknesses that make them unique. Comparing my children is something I have decided not to do and I’m always trying to control my emotions.

I have decided to love them and try my possible best to guide them in the right direction. Parenting is a full-time job and should be treated as such. It is necessary to give it the same time and dedication given to our regular jobs.It’s important for parents and caregivers to avoid comparing children and instead, encourage them to focus on their own strengths, progress, and development. By doing so, children can develop healthy self-esteem, motivation, and relationships.

Always remember “every child is unique”

When we compare kids, we tend to make them believe their weakness overshadows their strength

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