Part of my walk in being “one” with Christ is learning to hear from Him while I parent. One of the things God has pointed out in His word is we are all made fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalms 139:14). In other words, we are all made unique. We are all a blessing. We are all chosen. God did not make us exact replicas of one another. We were created for HIS good works (Eph 2:20), so why do we constantly compare us to each other? Comparison is dangerous.
Every time I hear someone make one of these comparison statements… I cringe. Honestly. It BUGS me. The thing with comparison statements is it tears people apart. It builds resentment, jealousy, and it builds hate. It does not unify us because we are no longer appreciated for who we are, but who are compared to the rest of the “world,” or who we are compared to the “average” person. We are judged as inadequate or beneath the rest.  What we are basically doing is we shame God’s creation. Author Preston Ni in an article of Psychology Today says:

“Habitual negative social comparisons can cause a person to experience greater stress, anxiety, depression, and make self-defeating choices.

We are constantly told to stop comparing ourselves to others. After all, that other person has nothing to do with our achievements, our goals, our unique lives, and our dreams. That is the same for children. We need to mold them for who God created them to be…not who we think they were created to be.

“I generally find that comparison is the fast track to unhappiness.”

— Jack Canfield

I beg you, as a woman or man of God, stand up for your child when this happens. And if you have so mistakenly done this, ask for forgiveness from your child. It is NEVER okay to compare your children to others, especially their siblings. And it’s definitely not okay to compare your child to your former selves. Do you remember the time when your parents or grandparents used to say, “When I was your age, I used to walk X plus miles in the snow, blah blah blah…” and you tune them out? That’s because whatever they struggled with then doesn’t apply to us now! We are in a different time frame. “Sorry grandpa, but whatever you’re saying is irrelevant.”
It’s not okay to compare. PERIOD. Stand up to teachers, to grandparents, or to anyone who may hold authority over your child’s life. They may unknowingly be making these statements. Gently educate them and forgive them.

How to Watch for Comparison Statements:

  • Be careful of the “-er” ending in words you use when describing your children and the use of “than”

    • strong-er
    • smart-er
    • quick-er

Tommy is “stronger than” John

  • Be careful of comparison to your’s or other people’s past experiences

“Johnny didn’t EVER do that when he was younger”
“When I was your age…”
“When your father was 4 years old…”
  • Be careful of the “whys”

Why can’t you be more like your sister/brother/cousin?”
“See? Look, your brother isn’t yelling…why do you have to?”

Remember, what children see and feel when hearing these statements:

  • They see someone as being better than them
  • They become afraid of failure
  • They lose their self-worth & value
  • They lose their identity and their uniqueness
  • They build resentment towards other kids
  • They build resentment and bitterness towards caretakers

Even at a young age of 2, when my son hears these, I know deep in his Spirit, it affects him. If these statements are being used against him, he becomes more bitter and resentful towards specific children.

DO:

  • Empathize with them. If they are yelling, try and figure out why they are yelling. Perhaps they are frustrated, upset. “I see that you’re upset because you’re yelling.”
  • Praise them for their own past efforts and improvements. “You are so much more better coloring within the lines than you were yesterday! Good job!”
  • Notice their strengths, not their weaknesses. “You are smart for figuring that out!”

Have you been guilty of making these comparison statements? Have you heard other people use them against your own child? Have you heard of other comparison statements? Tell me about it! I would love to hear from you!

Love,

Patty