“Comparison is a thief of joy” said someone wise. I couldn’t agree more.
As I sit here by the pavement in a park, watching my two neighbour kids play, I am amazed by the easy camaraderie and affection that these two 10 year old boys share with each other. Kids are special because we adults have life lessons to learn from their innocence and purity of heart.
A small smile plays on my lips as I observe the kids. That’s when one boy’s mother walks in, and tells her son, why are you dirtying your t-shirt so much! Why can’t you NOT roll around in mud! Look at your friend! He is so neat. He is also playing with you right?”
I could see that, with her sermon, she crushes her son’s spirit. He is hurt because his mother thinks that his friend is “better than him” and that HE is inferior. How awful is that! A beautiful bond between kids is broken and seeds of self doubt and low self esteem are sown. All due to his mother comparing him to his friend.
Comparisons are crushing. They mangle a child’s self esteem.
Why comparisons are crushing…
Sometimes, parents don’t realize how our, seemingly innocuous statements can damage the self esteem of our kids. Our intentions are right. When we compare our kids to their peers or siblings, we truly want them to do well at school – in sports or in developing good habits or in get good grades and so on. However, the manner in which we compare kids is largely negative and builds a complex in kids.
How to inspire instead?
A better way to help kids learn things that are good for them is by
- Being an example for them,
- By helping them look up to someone as a role model,
- Or by simply appreciating their positive actions and deeds.
- All of these things helps us “inspire” our kids to do well. And is that not what we want to achieve anyway?
How to go about this?
- It all begins with you. Ensure that you are a role model to your kids. Live by your values and be such that your kids want to look up to you and eventually emulate you for the good in you. Your kids will emulate you anyway. Why not set great examples and help them live a great life. Trust us when we say, you are their superhuman. 🙂 So be an awesome one at that. Our parenting program will give you easy, simple, and awesome ways to achieve this.
- Find external role models for your kids: Sportsmen, musicians, actors, achievers from various other disciplines, an elder in a family, it could be anyone! But pick a role model for your child who lives, the values and qualities, you would like your child to imbibe. Talk about that role model and narrate stories about that role model to your child! Give them scenarios where the role model did the right thing! Kids will pick up from that and learn fast and well.
- Finally, appreciate your kids for every little good deed, habit and achievement of theirs. If your munchkin has always been lazy but has recently started bringing you water when you get back from work, thank him/her! If he/she helps you fold the mattress and the bedding in the morning, hug them! If they managed to teach something nice to their sibling or together achieved something, however small, appreciate them. They will keep building on those positive traits and habits.
Now you are equipped to banish negative comparison and embrace ways to inspire your kids to live well and do the right thing. If you have more queries on this topic, you can write to us here or simple enroll for our online parenting program. Surprisingly, it costs lesser than a single trip to the mall to watch the recent (but awesome) blockbuster movie (you know which one! Wink wink)!