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Why you shouldn't compare your child to others

Wednesday, 7 February 2018  | 

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Is Comparison Really The Thief Of Joy

 

There are times I have stood in a room looking at what other children could do, wishing upon wishing that mine could do the same.

 

When Number One would small, I went through a long time avoiding contact with many of our friends with children. Seeing their children effortlessly glide through social situations, whilst for my beautiful little girl they only caused anxiety. Knowing they could at the drop of a hat, change their plans to get excited faces from their children, whilst we got meltdowns.

 

I isolated us both.

 

Together we were us. Happy. Interactive. Calm.

Number One was intelligent, had a wonderful vocabulary, and could recognise a Disney song from the first two notes. She loved to write stories, to organise her toys. She was incredible in her own right, and when we were alone I could cherish that. I could relish her in her own right.

 

Over the years, we have been lucky. The gaps between her and her peers have narrowed. As imaginative play has become less an expected part of play dates, she has become more comfortable with them. They result in meltdowns less. She sits with her friends and moans about teachers or chats about books. Her special interest – currently Harry Potter – is appropriate for her age and something that her friends are always interested in.

 

We have gradually let more people in our lives.

 

The comparisons are now less painful. There are still differences. But for us – right now – the positive differences at least balance out if not outweigh the negative ones.

I wish she worried less. Enjoyed life more. And felt less anxious.

 

But the truth is, that is part of her personality. It is one of the things that makes her kind, considerate and loving. She assumes everyone feels anxious and is therefore considerate of that.

More people like her would make the world a better place.

 

The comparisons have shifted.

 

Maybe soon they will shift again. But if they do, that is ok.

 

Starting secondary school will I am sure bring us a complex set of challenges. The sheltered village school environment she lives in now, with only 40 other children will be shattered. And life will once again be flung into uncertainty.

 

But I am determined that comparisons will not steal my joy.

 

The gaps may once again widen. But that does not diminish the progress that she has made.

 

The key I have decided is to use comparisons to look back, to think how far our children have come. To appreciate the small things. To worry less about what is outside our family.

 

After all, life is too short to forget to enjoy the moments.

 

 

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