Self esteem

Why not compare some children with others

Why not compare some children with others


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Parents tend to compare some children with others even from a very young age. We compare our children with their classmates or with their friends in the park, and we continually compare siblings with each other.

What do parents want to achieve when we compare our child with other children or with his siblings?

On the one hand, we want to motivate our son to take his brother or that schoolmate as a model and behave like him. That they acquire that ability, that behavior, that quality that we adults consider to be admirable and can be beneficial for our child.

On the other hand, we are giving a glimpse of the parents' desire for how we want our children to be, because we consider that quality to be positive for our children. Without leaving room for the real characteristics of our son, which may be different from the one we are trying to model for that other child, surely because we see that quality as beneficial and advantageous for them.

But what actually happens to our children when we compare them? Is it really beneficial to compare some children with others?

The consequences of comparing children are many, but none of them achieve the effects we want. The main consequences are:

1. We create envy among children. Children perceive this comparison as that parental love between children is distributed based on those qualities that parents admire in one child and not in another. This creates envy and jealousy between siblings that can arouse disagreements between our children.

2. We damage our son's self-esteem. We are telling them that their qualities we do not value, that the qualities we value are those that they do not have. This can make children feel insecure, worthless, less loved, making it difficult for them to acquire healthy self-esteem.

3. We create rivalry with other children: In comparison with other children as well as with siblings, we dynamite our son's relationship with that child whom they see as a rival and perceive him as more accepted by his parents than himself.

Reinforce positive behaviors. Our children are sure to have thousands of positive and beneficial qualities, they are sure to be more tender, nicer, funnier, more studious, smarter than other children. We must let them know that we value all the positive qualities that you have. And not just pointing out and focusing on the negatives.

The way to motivate our children to acquire positive behaviors is to reinforce those behaviors when they appear, but not because another classmate or another sibling personalizes it. In this way we will motivate our children to acquire this behavior without feeling negatively compared with other equals.

We have to let our children know that we accept them as they are with their virtues and their aspects of improvement, but that the aspects to improve do not influence our love for them.

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