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COMPARING CHILDREN TO THEIR PEERS

 

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 As parents we always want the best for our children. We do every possible thing to be good parents and caregivers. We know “every child develops at his or her own pace” because we have heard it and read it over and over again. But it still may be inevitable for some of us not to compare Johnny with the friend’s child Matthew. It can be even tricky when we look at a 14 month old toddler and compare him to the developmental milestones. It is not as easy as following three milestones and drawing a conclusion as in “Johnny is fourteen months old and he cannot say as many words as he should at this age. Red flag!!”.

Take a moment. Calm down. A child’s growth does not follow a cookie cutter timeline. Milestones guide us but they do not tell us that Johnny and Matthew will follow the same pace or pattern. If Johnny can produce 15 words or even sentences this does not mean he is smarter than Matthew. It also does not mean that Matthew is less smart. It just means that they both are following their own biological pace.

How would you feel if your boss compared you to your coworker? Susan gets the job done quicker than you do. She writes better than you do. What if your child compared you to his dad? He is more fun. He takes me to better places than you do. He gives me more money than you do. Wouldn’t you feel hurt? Frustrated? Wouldn’t you envy or even hate that coworker?

It is important to accept the individuals in our lives the way they are. It is more positive and fair. We need to celebrate the people around us. We need to embrace our children the way they are. We need to see the strengths in them before we see the weaknesses or the things that are not so inline with the norms. I have seen so many children who were late talkers, late walkers. In the end they talked and they walked. They even ran. Sometimes faster than the children who walked according to the norms.

Keep in mind that children excel in different areas. One may draw wonderful pictures while another one may write stories and another may have amazing dance moves and can follow the beats. Each one of them is worth celebrating.

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