Friday, February 20, 2009

Compare or Motivate -- what are we doing ?

Do not compare your kids with others or others with your kids or whichever way, baseline is do not compare kids. Period.

Each kid blossoms in his or her own pace so just let them be. If you have concerns, talk to the doctor but don't compare. If you are proud of your kid's over achievements you are mucho welcome to brag about it but again do not compare.

If you are a third party do not say stuff like "A's son cannot read yet but my niece started reading at 2", ok if you are saying that out of ear shot of A&A's son or the niece, I don't know what the protocol is.

Now that I have two kids I keep repeating such stuff to myself so that I do not ever compare them, maybe we discuss their differences but not compare.

But there is a thin line between comparing and motivating.

Like say Big Sis S wouldn't want to towel herself dry after her bath, her claim was she was too small for such tasks and so I should do it for her. So then I started drawing on examples of a friend's daughter who had started drying herself at the same age. This girl is looked upon by Big Sis S and so it was easy to convince her that such tasks are doable by 5 year olds.
Now what did I do just now, did I compare or motivate ? Or did I compare to motivate ?

So, what is your opinion, what is the fine line ? Or is it that I should not take such devious routes to motivate ?

Some harmless motivations can lead to funny results though. A few weeks back I has seen this post of ChoxBox. I loved the story idea and what n3 wrote.

Since Big Sis S now writes small sentences at school I told her if she would like to write a story, and asked her to write a story on "How The Tiger Got Its Stripes". She readily obliged, took her writing tablet to the table and was back in a minute. So there was the "Shortest Story of the Century" illustrated by the author and duly signed off as "By S..."

I was !!!:D


It says -- "I think they Paint it"


Asha said...

That's the one thing I don't do with my kids, ie comparing with other kids because my parents did that to me and I know how bad it feels.
My husband tends to do that all the time and I always stare at him until he stops. Mainly like this, "oh, that girl who goes to your high school got into this school which is better" etc and it makes Trisha so angry. She works so hard to achieve and he comes in and say 'hey, other girl did better, blah blah'! in a minute disregarding her. He doesn't do it hurt her on purpose but a bit slow to understand the sensitivities!!
Yes, encouraging someone saying "you know if you work hard now, your future will be better for you?" instead you say "you should do this because other one did it" is never desirable.
There is a fine line and we tend to blurt out sometimes without thinking. We Indians are notorious to do that, aren't we? Always comparing the ranks of others just so that we feel better but kids will feel inadequate which results in low self esteem.
I don't want to go against my husband but sometimes I have to, so kids don't feel bad about themselves. In turn, I feel guilty not standing WITH my husband. Can't win both ways, which makes me the villain sometimes at both ends! :D
Hug S and tell her how proud you will be if she towels herself next time and how grown up she is just like mommy. Might work! :)

Asha said...

WOWIE!! That's looonnnggg! :D

Sandeepa(Bong Mom's CookBook/DesiMomzClub) said...

You are right Asha, will try that

I can understand Aravind :), I don't compare for any academic issues but for some behavioral situtaions I do tend to.

indosungod said...

I totally agree with not comparing part, it makes me angry when I am compared with somebody so the same goes for the kids. Desi moms are experts at doing this (sorry for the generalization by that is the truth). I have learnt to leave conversations when the talk turns to kids, it invariably involves my kid does this and that what does yours, I know it is irrational but I lose my sleep sometimes if mine doesn't do these things again depending on how important the other mom made it sound. But as I grow older and ahem experienced as a parent I have learnt to relax.

DH is a strong proponent of no comparison which has made it easier to deal with as well. It also helps when DD wants a Wii or an Ipod just because some other kid has it.

For behavioral situations I usually say kids your age should be able to do it and that sometimes hurts their pride or sometimes glides off with no apparent effect. Win some. Lose some.

Again, good topic Sandeepa

Tharini said...

Love the topic Sandeepa. With 2 kids too, I have tried never to get on the comparison route but its difficult....for me the thin line is between discussing their differences and comparing them. Aren;t both of them the same in this case? Of course when you say comparison, we mean the kind that leaves negative feelings behind.

But by policy, I never compare Winkie to another kid his age. That;s one thing that has been sort of uniform with us!

A Childhood Journey said...

I think the comparison starts very early in childhood.I do not like comparing my kid to others but I do expect people also not to compare my kid with threirs or any others. I have a eight month old and I usuallu hear this from other moms "My child could crawl when she was 8 months", "My child weighed x pounds when she was y months" etc etc. Every child is different in his /her own way. We should let them be that way. And as far as the developmental milestones go, each child achieves each milestone differently.

I am sure it is that way all throughout while growing. In all fairness, it is never ok to compare infants, kids,teenagers - regardless of the age they are at.

I liked that you brought this up Sandeepa. By the way, can I join u guys at Desimomzclub if you dont mind.

Cham said...

I noticed mainly if you have a big group of desi (sorry about that) They tend to compare a lot.
I have only one, sometimes It happened to motivate I compare like as u do , could u wake up when your alarm ring, everyone does in the same in ur class. He gets more excited if I say his classmate does! More often it works !
About education , never ever think of comparing, each kid has his/her own pace, they pick fast in one thing , may be slow in some areas. That may hurt sometime.
I love the way ur Big S wrote! Hugs to her!

Sandeepa(Bong Mom's CookBook/DesiMomzClub) said...

Thank you guys for the response.

I agree with the "desi" take, fortunately the group of friends I have do not compare the negative way, at least they do not tend to do comparisons like A Childhood Journey faces.

That type of comparison on your face is very rude I say

But from your feedback I think I will try to not bring up comparisons in behavioral situations also.

But I do want to discuss and see what other Moms & kids are up to as that I think that gives me avenues to explore with my child. So if a Mom comes up and tells me her son plays the violin very well, I would be only too happy to discuss with her as long as she does not bring up that my daughter does not play anything at all

Janaki Gopikrishna said...

i am not a mom (in future will be) but with the fast ipod age parents want their children also download everything so fast. it takes time, we cant chop of a tree much before it bears fruits saying that its useless

choxbox said...

That is the cutest story ever! Really!

choxbox said...

Coming to the comparing bit - I certainly never compare my kids with each other and discourage anyone around if they do. Its the easiest way to set up rivalry between them and thank you very much but i already have my plate full.

with other kids - depends on how its done i guess. 'X loves this sabzi, would you like to try it too?' vs. 'X eats this sabzi. she is not at all a fussy eater. you should try to be like her and try it too' - the two have totally different tones right?!

Jaya said...

Good topic sandeepa,
I know it feels real bad, comparison with other kids when put up straight on your face is not good at all ......
I think or have felt that there is a very thin line between motivating kids to do certain things and setting an example while comparing them with others...
Every child is different and has different capabilities and even grasp ing power to evolve to a responsible individual.
But I would never evr compare my daughter with others on the pretext of doing well at academics or extra-curricular activities etc...It really de moralises the child and chop her of her self esteem...

Soma said...

nope no comparing... but to get the message thru' we rephrase it.. like "X does her chores & gets rewarded.. how about we reward you everytime u finish yours?" they hear the "reward" part... no academic/or skill comparison.. & no comparison between siblings either.

Thats a lovely creative story! & she has wonderful handwriting for her age.:-)

Solilo said...

I am strictly against comparison when it comes to studies or sports or such but the ones you mentioned like drying her hair is kind of motivational.

For eg. to teach a good value if we take another's example then I think it is okay. If X often forgets her manners then reminding her that how important it is to be polite and giving Y's example on how she says Please and Thank you is motivational. I don't think even X feels bad with this kind of comparison.

For eg. even we do that kind of comparison like how our friend lost those extra pounds by doing some health regime so we also follow the same. Something to motivate us is different to comparing and demoralizing children.

Sheela said...

Awww... loved the short story! How precious!

As to comparison, don't believe in it - it didn't work on me for the brief time my mom tried it and gave up when i was little - made it worse - i withdrew into my shell...