Comparison has become a very common trait during parenting, we usually see in many of the Indian families where parents and elders tend to compare the children with their friends, siblings, kins and peers group. I have personally seen many of the parents when they compare their kids with other children and how miserable the child feels at that time. “See your friend he always secures a first division and a first position in the class, why don’t you?”, “Look at your sister she is so good in extra-curricular activities, why don’t you also participate like her?” such comparative statements can commonly be heard in most of the Indian families. However, parents begin to compare their children at a very young age but it gets heightened during the teenage, when the child is growing faster and his involvement in the world around is also increasing.
The basic mentality of the parents behind comparing the child is that that comparison is a stimulator for a child that will stimulates his/her passion to grow, improve and do better in the life, they feel that by comparing the child they are actually giving a boost to his determination and zeal but almost every Psychologist and Professional Counsellor confirms that comparison has never been a positive booster for the child in fact it can create many harmful impact on the mind and personality of the child.
Parents do compare their kid with other children knowingly or unknowingly and some of them even become so overwhelmed by it that start rejecting the identity of their own child and try to make him/her a replica of the other child. “I want you to behave and act like him”. “Why can’t you think like your friend, see he is so intelligent and you behave so dumb”; such things are deterrent for your child’s innocent mind. Just think for a while how can you expect a child to grow and to improve when you simply renounce his personality? A child is like a small sapling that needs to be nurtured with inspiration, motivation and compassion in order to let it grow and not the actions like comparison that may harm its uniqueness and integrity.
Every child is unique in fact every human being is different from the other and has got his/her own specialities so why to push them to copy someone else? The mental- development of the child is as important as his physical growth, and believe me, by comparing your child with others you are actually blocking the way of his mental growth. Mental development of your kid can only be realized by positive thoughts, encouragement, appreciation and acceptance and not by any other negative action.
As I said that comparison is always unhealthy for the mental growth of your child so, let me tell you in what way it is harmful:
- Child becomes Critical: when a child is being compared with other children he/she sooner becomes critical about his own thoughts and actions. He might start criticising whatever he does and also what others do because the child feels that his actions are overlooked or being over tested thus he tries to prove his own worth by criticising the other children or might simply lose faith in his own actions and become a cynical.
- Develops insecurities: when a child is being compared he/she simply develops many kinds of insecurities; such as the parents don’t like and love him, he/she is good for nothing, he is not worthy of anything, he/she is always at some fault. When such insecurities trap the child’s consciousness his personality would automatically become insecure and pessimistic.
- Low self-esteem and confidence: comparison always lead the child towards despairs and misery, the child is never able to believe that he/she can do anything at best. Because the parents already want him/her to become and behave like some other child then he obviously develops a low self-esteem and losses self-confidence. The child can no longer do anything with focus and determination. It is very painful for the child to know that his parents are not interested in knowing about what he can do at best but want him to become someone else’s replica.
- Develops unhealthy emotions like Jealousy & Hatred: when the child feels unable to match with the expectations of the parents he/she might cultivate unhealthy feelings of jealousy and hatred against the child with whom he has been compared with. And these unhealthy feelings might turn into disastrous emotions sometimes the child might get involve in fights, arguments and revenge if the comparison with others continues for a long time.
Thus, parents must understand the fact that every child possesses certain qualities and distinct features in personality, instead of focussing upon the weaknesses of the child they should rather motivate the qualities in order to facilitate his/her mental growth. Every child has a certain capability that also, should not be ignored by the parents however it has been found that motivation can miraculously affect the child’s capacities and efficiencies, if your child has the capability of securing second division then only motivation can help him rather than any comparison that would obviously bring down his current efficiency. Comparison in a way is an action of Denial or Rejection of one’s personality so it is better to help your own child to grow and to improve instead of pushing him towards despairs and mental turmoil.