Thursday, October 4, 2007

Secret Comparisons

I have been taking Aaron for swimming lessons every morning this week. The lessons are more about water orientation and teaching babies what to do if they fall into water rather than any real swimming. The classes are full of singing and Aaron has been having a blast. He can now fall in the water, hold his breath, 'swim' towards me and cling to my shirt.

Today I noticed a medium sized sign hanging up near the pool that reminded parents not to compare their children and to appreciate them for all the talents that they have. Its a no brainer and everybody tells everybody else not to compare their kids, but to some extent, I think we all do it.

"That boy looks younger than Aaron but he is talking a lot more"
"Ah, Aaron is so much cuter than that little girl"
"Good, it looks like Aaron is progressing at the same rate as the others"

All sorts of thoughts like that fleet across my mind each day. Surely this must happen to other mothers as well. So, in the end, comparing is something that may come naturally to us but I think the damage occurs when we voice them out. Or let the thoughts consume us until we give off these 'comparisons vibes'. Babies understand so much more than we think they do so if they did overhear comments like that, I think they do get hurt. Of course, older children will feel the sting even more.

Even though I have these thoughts, I don't think I am really comparing or wishing for Aaron to be like any other baby. Its more like observations.

The problem comes when other people make thoughtless comments. They don't mean any harm but sometimes, the child may not understand that part. And when I do come across them (I haven't yet) I think my job will be to help Aaron look past somebody else's words, instead of shielding him from it. Now, how do you communicate to a toddler that everybody is entitled to say what they like but we don't need to listen to it all?


number said...

Parents often do make comparisons out of their own kids as well.

Wished my parents took me swimming at a younger age...when the learn at their teens, certain phobia would have already set in and makes the process more difficult.

Bilbo said...

There isn't a parent in the world that hasn't compared their child (usually favorably) to other children. It's normal. For example, it's obvious that Aaron is almost as cute as my grandchildren. What's important is that we love our children and do our best to raise them...even in the absence of instruction manuals.

John said...

"'s obvious that Aaron is almost as cute as my grandchildren." Bilbo, you're a riot!

Jean-Luc Picard said...

Parents are always comparing!