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June 27, 2012 / Gul Malani

Comparison with Siblings and Peers

Frequently, we hear parents admonishing the child and comparing him/her with siblings and peers. Statements like ‘See how good and studious your brother is’, ‘why aren’t you as well behaved as your classmate Sailesh?’ etc.

This affects the child’s self esteem and the child will start resenting his/her brother and his/her classmate, perhaps for the rest of his/her life! Communication and love between siblings disappear because of such parenting. Instead the child starts harboring jealousy and hatred for his/her siblings and peers! These emotions will not help the child and may even affect his/her physical and psychological health.

Parents have to realise that each child is unique and has or can develop his/her own specific capabilities and strengths. Comparing the child to others, is in fact asking the child to be a copier rather than an original person. No child can achieve anything substantial in life by copying. He/she can become very special, if he/she does what he/she is capable of, and if the parents understand this and help him develop his/her own specific capabilities.

Even while praising one child in the presence of another, we have to convey very clearly that we do not expect the other child to compete with the child that is being praised, as the other child also has his own capabilities and strengths and we parents are proud of him/her too!

Parents have to let the Rose plant bloom Roses and for the Tulip plant to bloom Tulips! We should not force the Rose plant to bloom Tulips!

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