Is it just plain old human nature to compare things?
Most of us are guilty of comparing ourselves with others at some point, even when we know that we really shouldn’t. I suppose it’s a bit of human nature to see how we fare against our peers in certain respects, but it will never ever be a fair comparison.
Everyone is different. We all have our own strengths and weaknesses and we are all at different stages of our lives.
But when it comes to raising your kids, is it normal to compare your own children with each another?
Comparing is possibly not the right word here, but more like “noticing the differences” not necessarily labelling anything as good or bad.
After Alyssa was born, we seemed to have used many of Alyssa’s milestones as yardsticks for when we could expect similar things from Aidan. Like for example, by 8 weeks of age, Alyssa slept through the night and we had an expectation that Aidan would reach that milestone round about that time.
But boy oh boy, we had to wait a very long time for that to happen with Aidan – like 2 years later!
There were some milestones that they reached round about the same time, but as time went by, we realised that these 2 children are so different from each other.
Alyssa is a happy-go-lucky confident (actual words used in her last school report) who is very much content in every aspect of her life. She’s always been this way. During the newborn phase, through the toddler years and up until today, she’s always been very independent and easy going. She loves being unique and creative and loves to have lots of friends, but at the same time can do things on her own and be just as content. She isn’t afraid to express her emotions but is able to deal with those emotions in a calm and reflective way.
Aidan is a very persuasive negotiator – even as young as he is. He is a sensitive boy and sometimes struggles to deal with his emotions. I think that he feels things more deeply than the rest of us in the house and isn’t afraid to express those emotions. He cries quite easily but sometimes does this to get his way (basically no tears in sight, just a very irritating screech). He engages only with people he is close to, although he is becoming more open to it as he’s getting older. He loves to engage in very complex fantastical scenarios about superheros and monsters which will actually scare the living daylights out of his own mind!
So how do we acknowledge these differences in a positive light?
How do we ensure that they don’t ever feel that they are inferior or better than their sibling?
As parents, we often struggle to find a good balance between meeting all of their needs and often find ourselves over-entertaining their unique quirks just to make them “happy”. But as they get older, I think it will be harder to do that. They observe our behaviour and will notice how we respond to the other sibling.
Somehow, I will need to tell them and show them (make them feel) that they are each perfect in their own way and as they grow up, they will find their own place in the world!
I suppose it all boils down to what our job is as parents.
We are basically there to mould these kids into becoming capable, self-sufficient adults but at the same time support them in their own unique way.
For now, I want to keep them as close as possible so that one day when they’re all grown up, when Alyssa is a Doctor in Spain and Aidan is out saving the world, they still make the time to take care of each other and help each other in this sometimes cruel and crazy world!
That is my only goal.
What are your thoughts on this? I’d love to hear.