Have you ever felt secretly happy when your child hit a milestone ahead of a classmate or friend? Or perhaps felt a twinge of disappointment, or even jealousy, when a kid the same age as yours got there first? While these are fairly common feelings, there are good reasons to keep quiet about them, especially in front of your child.
First, the range of "normal" development is vast — just ask any pediatrician. If your child falls within this range, there is no need to worry or to compare her to others. Comparing your child with others will quickly teach you that even if he is "ahead" in some categories, he is also no doubt "behind" in others.
Second, once your child reaches preschool age, he takes in what he overhears you say. Allowing him to hear you compare him to others, whether favorably or unfavorably, can make him self-conscious about being so carefully observed — which can't be helpful to him as he grows and develops.
How to Dodge Comparison-Making
Even if you're a mom who doesn't tend to compare kids, you have to deal with those who do. Circle of Moms member Mae L., whose daughter is small for her age, finds that other parents routinely ask how old her little girl is and about what she is and isn't able to do yet. She was even approached by a grandmother who commented that her little girl was small for a four-year-old, "unlike my granddaughter."
If you're uncomfortable when strangers ask about your child's abilities, there are ways to deflect them. A Circle of Moms member who goes by "K.R." suggests using humor, for instance that her three-year-old daughter can recite the names of the vice presidents forwards and backwards and that she reads six books a day, at least two in foreign languages, "all while riding a unicycle balancing a fruit basket on her head." This seems like a surefire way to change the subject!
Then there are the comparisons that originate with friends rather than strangers. Heather W. is one of many Circle of Moms members who have ongoing discussions with friends about their children's development and abilities and who wish they could change the pattern of their conversations. To moms who feel like they are trapped in this dynamic, Tassia P. suggests a direct approach: telling the friend that "every child is an individual and they are all different, so it is not necessary to compare them."
Finally, Samantha M. points out that you can be proud of your child's accomplishments without comparing him to other children or bragging to others. I'd agree. My son knocks me out every day, but in comparison to no one — except for maybe the person he was yesterday!
The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.