Tuesday, September 11, 2012


One is tall, one is shorter, one is reading, one is not, one is very verbal, one tends to be less verbal, and one is very competitive, and one is not. Does this sound like any of your great-grandchildren? We often use these comparisons to describe the members of our families, whether out loud, in front of them, to our friends, or just in our own minds.

Children develop in their own unique way, and growth can be uneven. Compare, means “Estimate, measure, or note the similarity or dissimilarity between.” We make comparisons all the time about all kinds of things, in order to make good choices. However, when you compare people/children, in developmental terms, it may result in you making an unconscious choice - an emotional judgment.

We CAN’T not compare…it’s unnatural. What we can do, is not compare developmental markers of siblings, cousins and/or friends. When developmental judgments are made parents can feel the sting and children can feel the bite.

We make comparisons on everything from when children are diaper trained, to when they learn to walk, talk, ride tricycles, read, etc. However, every child deserves recognition for each milestone in their journey. This doesn’t mean you shouldn’t praise your great-grandchildren for their accomplishments, as long as you don’t compare them to another child. Although not developmental, the same holds true for a child’s physical appearance, the clothes they choose to wear, and their choice of activities. This is hard, but try to choose your words and attitudes carefully.

We can influence our great-grandchildren by modeling empathy and the understanding that differences are ok. (See our previous article “IT DOESN’T ALWAYS HAVE TO BE “ME, ME, ME” – March, 2010). The bottom line is that different children do different things at different times, and it’s not our place to judge who is better, stronger, more intelligent, etc. It’s our place to love each one for who they are.