View Full Version : Comparing kids...how do you discourage that? Long....
03-31-2008, 11:44 AM
My df has a 27 month old little boy. My dd is 21 months. Her ds is a busy, active little boy. My dd is a busy, active little girl. Sounds similar, but they aren't. Her ds is rough and tumble, pushing the boundaries, climbing on the furniture, etc. My dd is more inquisitive, she goes to check this out, run and look at that, etc....and being 6 months younger than he, she hasn't quite reached terrible two-dom yet. My dd is also extremely verbal. She sings the alphabet, (and several other songs) can count to 15, uses 3 and 4 word sentences, is learning to ask questions..."where brush go?" that type of thing. Df's son is just not quite there yet verbally...I chalk it up to the fact that they're good a different things. Period.
BUT, df worries about her son....especially when she hears what my dd is doing, or usually (because I don't say much about what dd is up to) when she hears dd talking in the background while we're chatting on the phone. Then she'll compare the two a bit....her ds doesn't talk that much, she thinks her ds is behind, my dd does xyz? her ds doesn't do that...etc. I usually just tell her that yes, my dd does do that, but she's a little girl and they often (talk, potty train) sooner than little boys. And, her little guy is doing many physically adept things that my dd just isn't doing. I always hope this makes her feel better...but I'm not so sure it's working.
How can I help her stop comparing our kids? It makes me uncomfortable....and it's getting tougher. After our last conversation, with all the usual, "oh, don't worry, he's fine!" and "yes, but he's doing xyz and she isn't" in my effort to come up with something else reassuring, I blurted out something stupid about well, yes, I know..."but dd's daddy has an IQ over 160, so it would stand to reason that she's bright." Oh g*d. I think I put my foot in it. I truly hope she didn't take it the wrong way...I didn't mean it to sound awful. We are just very different families and we do things differently. I do not judge her for the choices she's made, she's a wonderful friend and her son is happy and healthy. I just don't know how to handle her comparisons. I'm at a loss. How do I reassure her all is fine when she compares our children? Every child is different, why do moms do this to ourselves?
03-31-2008, 12:17 PM
I'm not sure if you can, it sounds like you are doing your best, discussing things her DS excels at. I really try never to say anything, but sometimes people notice (hey your DS can go up and down stairs and mine can't).
I find that there are always those parents that want their child to do everything faster or better. As long as she is not one of those, maybe she just want reassurance that her DS is fine. I wish I could give you great advice, but I don't really have any, except that you seem to be doing what I would do.
03-31-2008, 12:41 PM
I would be careful to never talk about what your DD is doing. I'd be vague when your friend asks, she's doing all the same kinds of things, and then share what she's struggling with and whatever you are "worried about" (not for real), but kwim? Then say, but I know she'll get there when it's the right time for her.
Compliment her son, reassure her. I think you did put your foot in it, but that's over, move on.
You can also say you feel uncomfortable comparing the kids because each child is different and you know they are both doing great. If she is seriously stressing then comfort her and tell her she's fine.
Sure you are different parents and have different kids, and that's perfectly OK. I find that moms need reassurance from each other once in a while that we are all doing just fine.
03-31-2008, 01:10 PM
Unlike my DD, at 27 months, my DS was neither talking in full sentences nor singing his ABCs. By 3 years, he really turned a corner. We did enlist the assistance of an Early Intervention Program that provided a speech therapist for free in our home and seemed to help not only our son, but also gave us tools to encourage him to speak more. Meanwhile by the time he turned 4, he was fluently reading dinosaur encyclopedias with very little help and he continues to be an academic leader at school. In addition to the gender differences, my DS tends to be a perfectionist and holds off until he can do things well. I would assure DF that the differences in speech at this age have nothing to do with intelligence. Kids are going to learn different things at different speeds, and ultimately have different strengths. If your friend is worried, she can have her DS tested through an EIP. It will either put her at ease that her DS is on track, or alternatively, give her a resource to help him out. From what I recall, the EIP here only went to age 3, after which time the program shifted to group lessons at various locations.
03-31-2008, 01:21 PM
I would assure DF that the differences in speech at this age have nothing to do with intelligence. Kids are going to learn different things at different speeds, and ultimately have different strengths.
Both my kids were very vocal from an early age so we used to hear a lot of comparisons. And now ds does a lot of stuff early, probably from watching his sister, who also plays school with him! What I always say is that, by the time they get to third grade, they all more or less catch up. Sure, it's more fun when they do things early, but it isn't *necessarily* a mark of higher intelligence. My dd was a little resistant to reading "chapter books" until second grade. Now, in third grade, she is reading the Narnia series, Roald Dahl, etc... When they are ready, they are ready, and nothing will stop them!!
03-31-2008, 01:31 PM
My daughter is the perfect example of "kids grow at their own pace."
My son was always gifted from the start. Speaking very early, reading early, was doing 100-piece puzzles at 4 years old. Even now he is incredibly gifted for his age (reading 4th grade level chapter books and doing 3rd grade math - he is in 1st grade).
My daughter, who is almost 4, was very late in walking, crawling, and talking. She didn't even start trying to communicate until she was 2 years old. She even had speech therapy at 18 months because Early Intervention Services deemed her quite behind for her age. (That lasted 4 months because we ended up moving to a different state).
We were worried for awhile that our daughter was going to be "behind" the other kids in her age group growing up because she just wasn't making her milestones.
However today, she is incredibly vocal now, much above her other classmates in preschool. Her teacher comments on how intuitive she is on figuring out stories, and how she can already recognize her numbers and write and recognize many of the letters in the alphabet. The teacher comments about how "above average" my daughter is for her age, both in maturity and intelligence.
She just needed to "do this" at her own pace.
03-31-2008, 03:37 PM
First, let her know your other friend (if I may presume to call myself that) with 4 children has observed how different even children in the same family can be. For example, Gator was walking at 12 months. Cha Cha wasn't walking til nearly 16 months but is so much more verbal and creative than Gator.
Secondly, let her know that girls and boys develop so differently. It's very interesting to watch- especially from a mom who has a baby girl and baby boy exactly the same age. My twins are so different, sometimes it's hard to believe they are twins. and in so many areas- social interaction, physical activity, etc. I see lots of similarities with the development of my 3 boys- my daughter SiSi, however, is very different in many ways.
Most importantly, I'd let her know that she should stop comparing her child. Because at some point VERY soon, he will become aware of her comparing him, wondering aloud if he is "measuring up" and it could actually affect his self-esteem.
I would maybe find a way to let her know that all children develop at their own pace. I see it so much with DS and DD. My DD isn't crawling at all, whereas when DS was her age, he was crawling and attempting to pull himself up. DD is much much more verbal that DS was at her age. They all end up in the same place. They just get there at their own pace.
Does your friend have real reasons to be concerned about her child's development? Is her son meting the developmental milestones at the appropriate ranges for language, social development, motor skills, play activities, etc? Is your child the only other child she sees and therefore her only basis of comnparison? Or does she see several other children as well and feel that her son is behind compared to them too?
When DS was just over 2 we were starting to fear that he was too far behind his peers in some of his milestones (and too far ahead of them in others). At that time, the absolute worst thing for me was when I when share these concerns with other parents (friends and family members) and they would say, "Oh, don't worry. He'll be fine. All kids develop differently." Everyone assumed that I was just a worried mom because DS is our only child. I felt like these people weren't listening to me or didn't understand my concerns. It wasn't until DS was receiving services from Early Intervention and undergoing a six-month diagnostic process at the children's hospital that these people finally realized that I was not just an overly-nervous first time mom. There was (is) really something wrong.
Yes, all kids develop at their own pace. Yes, boys and girls develop differently. Yes, you really cannot compare two individual children and be certain about either one's development. I would guess that your friend knows all this. And she is still worried about her child. Maybe this is just a case of different children developing at different rates. Or maybe she has real cause for concern. What your friend needs is someone who will listen to her concerns, help her determine if there is a real need to worry, and if needed encourage her to have her child evaluated by Early Intervention.
03-31-2008, 05:17 PM
I totally agree with Gina. In this day and age, we hear so much in the media about "warning signs" of this and that that is can drive even a typical non-worrier to be concerned with every little nuance in her child. And she may feel that she has true reason to worry. So encouraging her to have a professional take a look if she REALLY is concerned is a good thing.
I read your message and thought two things. One, she could be one of "those" people ("I look fat" when she's thin, or "we have no money" when they are fine financially - "my kid isn't developing like yours" when all is well). But she could be someone who is truly worried and glossing over her fears doesn't help. You probably know her well enough to know which type of person she is.
03-31-2008, 08:31 PM
Sounds like you are really trying to be supportive and to not "compare" children. Your friend sounds like she is really not comfortable with what she is seeing in her child, which is sad and a tough place to be.
That being said, remember, "every child has their own set of issues". We need to accept every child for what they can do and who they are. DC's last preschool looked at all of the things DC wasn't accomplishing and all of the "problems" were looked at and analyzed. There was discussion of therapies and the diagnosis of possible behavioral problems, it was aweful. So, this year we started in a new school; everything is positive and the teachers are really looking at every child in a positive light. What was cause for concern at the previous school, is now an asset and shows initiative. The difference is amazing in DC and in how we preceive our child.
Keep telling your friend just how wonderful both children are and how their differences will help them grow and will keep their friendship strong.
vBulletin® v3.8.4, Copyright ©2000-2013, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.