Comparing in life is just not good, but comparing your children is worse. As mothers I know we can all agree that at one point or another, in our time as mothers, we have or will compare our child to someone else’s. It happens when we are picking our children up from school, when we are on play dates, when we are at the park, or any other time we are surrounded by other children. We have heard the dreaded “Oh your child isn’t walking yet?” or “Wow your child is a really picky eater. My child eats everything!!” When you are a new mom especially, comments like this can really get to you and make you question your parenting skills. Don’t do that!! You are doing your best and the bottom line is that every child is different.
Hearing this with my first child, I thought that these comments were normal, but after having three I have come to realize they are not. It took having three kids for me to reach the reality that all children really are different even when they come from the same family. All three of my kids have developed in their own way and I love that because it has made them unique. All children learn differently and at their own pace. One child may talk first and the other may walk first and that doesn’t really matter. Just because we all have been told it is supposed to happen one way and in a certain order, doesn’t mean that it actually does. I have put together a list of some funny and not so funny comments that I have received from other parents so hopefully you won’t feel so alone when you hear them or something similar.
1. He’s really active! It must be really hard to handle. I have two girls and one boy and I can tell you that generally boys will be the more active ones. Just because he is not sitting still with his hands in his lap does not mean that he is hard to handle. Yes he is very active and it can be hard to keep up with at times but I think it is great that he loves all kinds of different activities. This is part of learning and being a kid.
2. Your child’s not potty trained yet? How old is she again? This one goes back to what I said earlier about each child developing differently. Environment, lifestyle, and other factors can play a huge role as well. Let’s be honest, when you only have one child you have a lot more time and it is a lot easier to potty train them. Often times when other siblings come into the picture there can be set backs. When your child is ready and you are ready, you will know. It’s not going to happen overnight and again every child is different.
3. Your child’s not in Kumon or any other learning centers? As parents we can all agree on one thing: We all want the best for our kids. We want them to be the most prepared and successful that they can be when it comes to their education, and life in general. Unfortunately though, not everyone can afford it and as an educator I can tell you that the same learning methods don’t work for every child. They will learn in their own time and with their own methods. Sometimes that is hard for parents to accept but trust me, your child is probably as equally as frustrated as you are, so they need you to have patience.
4. You feed that to your kids? We only give organic and non- sugar foods! That’s great for you but everyone has different parenting styles. Just because my children eat non-organic foods and foods with sugar in them doesn’t make them any less healthy than yours. Additionally, organic foods can be costly and again not every one can afford them. No one is purposely feeding their child or children a certain way to make them unhealthy. Everyone has different lifestyles and there is nothing wrong with that.
5. Your child is not in any sports? Why not? Not every child enjoys sports so why make them do something they don’t like? There are plenty of other activities children can participate in that keep them active and entertained. Everyone has different interests and again there is nothing wrong with that. I can really vouch for this since I have three children who all enjoy different things. Even as adults we have different hobbies and activities we enjoy so why shouldn’t that apply to kids?
6. Your kids are really skinny? Are they eating right? This one I took very personal and think it is just down right rude!! Genetics play a huge role in the way our children develop and it just so happens that tall and thin genes run in our family. I understand the importance of a healthy lifestyle, but as a society we place way too much emphasis on physical appearance and this leads to many other issues (I could go on forever about this, but I don’t want to stray from the point of this article). These types of comments are NEVER ok so please keep them to yourself.
If you take anything away from this article, let it be this: EVERYONE IS DIFFERENT!! I know I keep reiterating this, but that is because it is so important to remember and it is 100 percent true!! Remind yourself that you are doing the best you can as a parent!!
At the end of the day YOU DO WHAT IS RIGHT FOR YOUR CHILD. You know your child the best and know what works for them. People are always going to have an opinion. That’s just part of life. Do your best to block out the judgement and you will be fine!! Your children are healthy, beautiful, and unique and that is what really matters!!