As a parent of more than one kid, comparing one to another is probably something you do consciously or unconsciously. Sibling comparison has somehow become a part of us. From pregnancy to milestones, kids are different, and it does not mean anyone is better than the other. Comparison steals the joy of enjoying the uniqueness and individuality of each child.
Comparing your children can damage their relationship with their siblings. Sometimes, parents believe they use comparison to spur them to be better, but the negative impact outweighs the perceived benefits. Child comparison can have lasting mental effects on the child and sometimes look like favoritism.
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Dangers of sibling comparison
Here are some lasting impacts child comparison can have;
Children compared to their siblings will begin to build their confidence around their parents or siblings. They always feel not being good enough and whatever they do can never be enough. They are likely to look up to their siblings to make decisions, build their self-worth around their siblings and develop low self-esteem.
Child comparison can pitch siblings against themselves. When a child feels they have to compete for everything, including the love and respect of their parents. You will find highly competitive siblings in an environment where comparison is the order of the day. Comparison can also make siblings lash out at each other.
Siblings get to spend so much time together, and jealousy might become a thing when compared. Sometimes, you wonder why some siblings will never get along even as adults, it could be a result of the comparison.
Even when the child has valid skills, he might not even realize it because the focus is on the praises the sibling always receives. Jealousy sometimes can grow into hatred and resentment if care is not taken.
Comparison can create a distance between you and your child, and it can suppress talents they have.
How to motivate your kids and harness their talent
There are some positive approaches that you can use to motivate your kids and also harness their talent.
Avoid unrealistic demands
Listen to your children and their interests, do not pass on your interests to them. Your children are not here to achieve what you couldn’t reach, allow them to find their passion. Focus on what they can do even though it doesn’t align with your happiness. What is important is that it makes them happy.
Praise their strengths
Whatever task your child does well, appreciate it, acknowledge their efforts, and offer to help if they need it.
Go on social media fast
If you feel like you do not compare siblings, how about when you compare them with others based on what you can see? Social media isn’t real life, and people only tell you what they want you to see.
Provide love and support
When they don’t meet the standards, it’s important they know you are not embarrassed or let down. Encourage them and engage in pep talks.
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Every child is different and unique with their superpowers too. Our children are all essential and where you feel they lack, they must make up with other areas.
The truth is, most times, this whole comparison is for the parents’ self-esteem, but your child’s performance should not be linked to your esteem.
If you are not a perfect mum, you cannot have an ideal child so refuse to pressure your child. Remember, every child goes at their own pace. We need to raise happy children. I hope this article has provided enough insight on how to avoid sibling comparison.
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