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The Comparison Trap: Never compare your child with others

Is it OK to compare your child to others? It is so tempting to compare your child with someone elseโ€™s. Our natural instinct is to show our kids how they stack up against others, and we do so by commenting on their athletic abilities or academic achievements, or even their personality traits. But this isn’t a healthy habit for children; it can actually do more harm than good. We should never compare our children with others.
 

The Comparison Trap: Never compare your child with others

text on image reads Never compare your child to others

 

I often have trouble sleeping at night, and part of the trouble is that I can’t turn my mind off. Sure wish there was a switch. Have you ever felt the same? It seems like it’s on at night, but off during the day! I have had many of those nights. Often while lying there awake, my mind just keeps going and going. Then, I fall into the comparison trap! 

What happens when you compare your child to others?

What is the comparison trap? The guilt by comparison trap! I found myself thinking about a post I had read earlier that day, and the more I thought about it, the more discouraged I felt. I started comparing what her kids did and thinking that my kids probably wouldn’t do that. This made me feel like I had failed in some areas of character training with my kids and made me feel guilty. After all, I speak on “Training Character Into your Children“!! How could I have let this happen? Discouragement immediately followed the guilt.
Why do I compare my child to others? At first, I didn’t realize what was happening, and let the thoughts and guilt take hold. But then it was as though God gently spoke to me, and that’s when it hit me! I was doing just what I caution parents about in many of my workshops, and getting sucked right into that comparison trap:

          COMPARISON —–> GUILT —–> DISCOURAGEMENT

Immediately this verse that I often share came to my mind:

“For we dare not make ourselves of the number, or compare ourselves with some that commend themselves: but they measuring themselves by themselves, and comparing themselves among themselves, are not wise.”  II Corinthians 10:12

God tells us here that is NOT wise to compare ourselves to each other. I would guess that is because He knows that it will take us on a downward spiral that ends in guilt and discouragement.

Also, He doesn’t want us to live our lives trying to do what others are doing, but rather seeking what He is telling us to do. So when you read something on social media or one of those great blog posts that starts you on a guilt trip stop!

How do you stop a comparison trap?

Rather than letting yourself fall into the comparison trap, ask yourself:

1. What you can learn from the post.

2. What actions do you need to take after reading it.

3. What is one thing you can start working on. (rather than trying to start a lot of  huge changes)

Let me give you an example of what I mean, to make this practical. I wrote a post called 7 Responses That Make Your Kids Stop Talking To You

Perhaps as you read that post you realized that you were indeed guilty of some of those wrong responses. It would be very easy to compare and think to yourself that you are a bad mom because of the way you respond to your kids. It’s easy to think that your friend(s) or the author or the post doesn’t struggle with this. We can begin to compare our children and assume that they would never say some of the things to their kids that you have said to yours. The truth is, we all struggle with many of the same things, but for some reason, we always look at others and think they would never have some of the same struggles we have!

If you allow yourself to continue on with the thought process, you will end up even more discouraged, and perhaps even think that you’ll never be “as good of a mother” as they are, etc.

How do you avoid comparison?

Instead, take the ideas I listed above. After reading the post, ask what you learned. (I have been  responding wrong to my kids at times.)   As you think and pray about it, you might decide you should take the following actions.

  • First, ask God to forgive you, and thank Him for bringing it to your attention.
  • Second, go and apologize to that child, and let them know you realize some of your responses have been wrong, and that you are going to try to do better.
  • Then choose the ONE that you are most guilty of, and start working on changing that one first.

Never compare your child with others

There are many wonderful blogs and social media posts out there to encourage us, and help us in our parenting, homeschooling, marriage, walk with the Lord. May I just remind you to read them with an awareness that they can lead to comparison and guilt, and to choose to learn and be encouraged from them instead!

Building Character in Your Children

beware of blog trap, comparison

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8 Responses

  1. Excellent reminder! I am most guilty of falling into this trap when I hear what great conquests other homeschool moms manage to make in their homeschooling. No matter what curriculum they are glowing about, a little voice speaks up inside, “maybe you should use that program.” So easy to become discouraged when we compare ourselves with others!!! Thanks for the reminder! I needed that!

  2. Wow, great minds think alike, lol! I recently wrote a very similar post about comparing ourselves to others, (but I haven’t posted it yet). Great post. When we’re busy comparing ourselves to others and feeling guilty because we don’t think we measure up, we fail to gain any positive ideas or tips from their blog posts because we’re too busy feeling bad about ourselves! ๐Ÿ™‚

    Thanks so much for linking up!

  3. I think it’s incredibly easy to jump to conclusions, and not see that we’re only reading one part of the story.

    Thank you for sharing the reminder at Motivation Monday!

  4. All so true! What we see online is only a snippet of the big picture and it’s so dangerous to compare. Thank you for a much needed reminder! And thank you for linking up last week!

  5. Good point! As moms we tend to beat ourselves up too much, anyway. I believe that most of us are doing the best we can with who we are and where we’re at in life. Debbie @ ilovemylemonadelife.com

  6. I’m visiting from Winsome Wednesday and as soon as I saw the title of your post I knew I had to visit. ๐Ÿ™‚ As a new blogger, I’m learning that the trap of comparison is oh-so-easy to fall into. I even wrote a post about it titled My Monday Morning Confession. A more accurate title would have been My EVERYDAY Confession because the Lord has been showing me I struggle with it more than I realized. Thanks for the encouragement! ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. I’m with you! I call it the “keep up with the Jones’ syndrome. I try hard to avoid it. I believe we are placed here on this earth to help and encourage each other and celebrate each others successes, rather than put ourselves down for the ways in which our weakness do not measure up to other people’s strengths…. I am glad for your reminder, my friend! Happy mothers day!!..โ€ฆ ๐Ÿ™‚

    hugs xx
    Crystelle
    Crystelle Boutique

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