Why I Keep My Distance From People Who Compare Their Kids To Mine

March 19, 2020  |  

African American mother sitting on the sofa with baby

Source: SelectStock / Getty

Within weeks of my daughter’s birth, the competition began. She was born in close proximity to several other baby girls in our circle, which set the stage for immediate comparisons. One family, in particular, could not seem to get a grip on their need to compare our babies and what likely started out as something innocent quickly spiraled into a bizarre competition between newborns. Initially, they wanted to compare things like height, weight, and milk consumption. By the time the babies were a few months old, they wanted to compare hair length, hair texture, and developmental milestones. It wasn’t long before things grew uncomfortable. Every question they asked felt loaded because I knew there was almost always an ulterior motive and that the conversation would lead to another ridiculous comparison. Strangely, it wasn’t just the comparisons that got bizarre. They would all but call my husband and me liars when it began to look like my daughter was winning the secret competition they were quietly orchestrating.

It wasn’t long before I decided to end my relationship with the family. While we had always talked about raising our girls together as friends, I quickly realized that their competitive attitudes and insecurities would result in the exact opposite. I felt that the comparisons were unhealthy and feared they would be damaging to both of our girls in the long run if we continued to allow them in our space. I believe that as a Black girl, there will already be enough messaging in the outside world that will seek to make my child feel inadequate and stir up unnecessary competition between her and other Black girls. I refuse to willingly invite those elements into my home and parade them around as friends.

Protecting your kids from unhealthy comparisons is not just a matter of you refraining from doing the comparing. It is also important to correct others. Comparison is a natural human trait; however, it is one that has to be reeled in and put under subjection — especially when you’re a parent. When left unchecked, it has potentially damaging consequences for all parties involved. Here’s why:

It will breed insecurity

It never feels good to be measured next to others. Even when you’re the person being praised at the expense of another, it teaches our kids to take pleasure in the shortcomings of others in order to feel adequate. Regardless of which side they fall on, comparisons are damaging to children and their self-esteem.

It encourages jealousy and competitive attitudes

The thing about competition is that no one always wins. There will always be someone who is a little bit better at something than you. As a result, when we compare our kids or we allow others to compare them, we teach them to be competitive in an unhealthy way jealous of the success of others.

It causes unnecessary stress

All children want to make their parents proud and when they know that or other adults will be comparing them to other kids, it causes stress. They will often overexert themselves and go to extreme measures in pursuit of your

It will make you feel inadequate as a parent

Every child is different and parenting journeys vary. To look over your shoulder constantly worrying about what the next parent or child is doing will rob you of the joys of raising the unique individual your family has been blessed with.

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