Although all parents are told time and again not to compare their children with each other, or with children of their friends and relatives, they cannot help but do so. After all, this is the way parents judge whether their child is 'just' average, or above.
Sudha says, "I went to a birthday party, where all mothers were just sitting and talking about how smart their children were. By the looks of it, every child has something special. But then, on the way out, I overheard the mother who bragged the most about her child, yell at her on the way out and call her a careless girl who's good-for-nothing, because she had forgotten to give her a message."
If you feel your child is special, shouldn't you make sure your child knows how you feel? "I never told my daughter how beautiful I thought she was, because I thought it would go to her head," says Veena. "In any case, looks are so superficial."
Maybe so, but looks may be the most important thing in a teenager's life. And a teenager who is insecure about any aspect may easily lose focus. A secure child, on the other hand, is more likely to work hard and fulfill his potential.
Many children develop insecurities at school. They bring these insecurities home, and it is up to the parents to work at removing these insecurities, and making sure a child is comfortable with himself.
Every child is special
Every child is special in his or her own way. Yes, your neighbour's daughter may be able to recite the numbers up to fifty at the age of two, but your daughter is always smiling, and laughing, hardly cries and has the temperament of an angel. That's special too. It doesn't matter if your son cannot read as quickly as his brother. He may be good at tennis, so don't forget to tell him how proud you are.
Above or below average, any child can shine
Parents almost never admit their child is average to others, and secretly keep hoping they spot some hidden talent somewhere that will prove how special their child is. There's nothing wrong in being average, or below average. Winston Churchill was dyslexic. He failed sixth grade in school, and was poor in studies. He also had a stutter. But as far as famous people go, he rules the roost! He was an incredible orator, a great leader, and a Nobel Prize winning author.
Let your child know he's exceptional
Yes, parents long to believe that their child is gifted in some way. Instead of constantly telling everyone how your child is smarter than everyone else, just believe it, and let your child know that you think he is special. That's more important.
Academic performance is not all-important
Don't push your child too hard to do well academically. Yes, you should certainly encourage him to study and to strive to do the best he can. But just because you stood first in your class at every exam, doesn't mean that your child has to do the same. Let your child find his own strengths.
Comparisons worsen the situation
Don't compare children in front of your child. If a friend's child won the Gold Medal, don't discuss it in front of your child, especially if your child is a weak student. It is far better you speak to your child directly and work with him to improve his performance, than admire such other child aloud and hope your child will garner inspiration.
You may also be interested in:
- The Indiaparenting Team