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No Comparing: Difficult but not Impossible
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May 6, 2015  |  Written by Carlota Nelson

It´s difficult not to compare. We do it so often that we are rarely conscious of it. We compare headlines, jobs, relationships, experiences, friends, singers, tablets, clothes… Comparing is instinctive and an activity that, sometimes, helps us to decide what is best. But when we do it with our children, some experts believe it´s a recipe for disaster. Today, we would like to share what comparisons are toxic and how to compare so its actually beneficial.

Have you ever wondered how many times you´ve compared your children? Or how many times you´ve compared them to their cousins, friends or schoolmates? There are many different ways to compare and many reasons to do so, but we must learn how it works so it doesn´t become harmful.

What hides behind a comparison? Sally-Anne McCormack, clinical psychologist and teacher, assures us that our intentions, when we compare, is what we must control and keep in mind. McCormack says that “comparing is normal, something that is intrinsic to human behaviour. It´s alright to do so as long as the comparison is born out of observation, not a judgement.”

When it comes to raising children, the majority of parents use comparisons to motivate them and get them to improve whatever it is they do. But to do it well, educators and child psychologists recommend the following tips:

Just like when we praise our children, we must be careful when we  compare and do it only when its related to the effort they place on accomplishing something or trying something new. “A few weeks ago, you didn´t know who to write cursive and look at you now! You do it so much better.”

Comparing can also be used to show their progress and development. “When you practice/concentrate, you are better at it.”

Another way of positive comparison is identifying their interests and talents and showing them that they might be different from their schoolmates, siblings or friends. But that is what makes them special.

We must not forget that each person is unique and we need to encourage it and learn to value and accept the differences.  “Your brother likes to play soccer and you like to play piano. Both are great activities. You might want to learn from each other.”

Establishing goals is important only if they are realistic and can be accomplished. Things like “Why can´t you be more like your brother?” will only lead to frustration, confusion and it will lower their self esteem.

It would be better to say something like: “Have you noticed how your brother concentrates when he´s carrying a tray? Why don´t you try it to see whether you can do it too, without spilling?”

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Comparing children awakens their jealousy, especially if you compare siblings, which causes them to fight for your attention and love.” Children feel the need to please us and when we compare them, they feel resentful and believe they aren´t good enough.

Part of our responsibility as parents and teachers is to inspire our kids. According o this article, published by BebesyMas, “inspiring means to teach them to be happy for others and it also motivates them to place more effort into what they want to do or learn instead of wanting to do the same thing as everyone else.”

Our mission at The Toy Blog is to help parents and teachers do the most important job in the world, one that is not taught anywhere. One of the keys to success is remembering that children need to feel good when asking for help, or when trying to solve a problem. They need to feel accepted and loved for whom they are and this should not depend on whether they do something right or wrong or are as good as their brother or classmate.

We must let them participate in conversations, tasks and activities. They too are part of the team and have something to say. Remember, when we react disproportionately, it could lead our children to avoid taking risks or trying just because they fear they´ll disappoint you.

We should teach them, not discipline them in an intimidating or humiliating way. We are the mirrors in which they look at themselves so let´s try not to judge or compare them but rather accept, learn to laugh at oneself and see the positive in everyone. It´s difficult, we know, but it´s not impossible.

Photo Credits: Emran Kassim

Photo Credits: Mike Babiarz

 

 

CATEGORIES: PLAYING TOGETHER  |  TAGS: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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