Opinion: I hate it when my parents compare me with others.

Feting Blue

** This is a work of non-fiction based on an actual event experienced by me first hand; used with permission.

Parents compare children for a variety of reasons. Parental comparisons are often made to assess the child's progress or in an attempt to motivate a child. Children may feel pressured by these comparisons. This can lead to feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem (based on my experience).

There are some negative effects of comparison, but parents are often unaware of the damaging effects they can have on their children, as they are unlikely to make such comparisons with their friends or family. The most common tendency for parents is to compare a child to a sibling.

The most common reason for a parent to compare one child to another is to assess his or her progress. To assess progress, the child must be measured against an external framework.

This also happened to me during school time. When I was in primary school, my mum compared my grades with my older sister, a very bright girl.

She always gets good marks in all subjects, including maths and science. When our grades were compared, my mum would always tell me I should try harder to catch up with her. That puts more pressure and stress on me.

The comparison of one child to another can also happen for motivational purposes. But children may feel pressured to live up to or exceed the achievements of other children within the family.

Parents often believe that comparing their children will inspire the less successful child towards improvement. However, this may result in increased negativity towards the successful child or jealousy from the unsuccessful child.

Parenting is very hard. I hope I will not do this to my children. Feel free to share your opinions.

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