A little competition is healthy right? We've all been taught that's its okay to reach for the stars and if we do better than our peers we're praised for it. It's all a way of making ourselves better so we can achieve more.
Is this the same with our children?
Recently on my Facebook (I swear I'm deleting one day!) a friend posted a status slagging her friend off for comparing their children. Fair enough, no one wants to hear about how much better someone else's kid is at something. But this friend then went on to almost list every thing her child could do that her friends couldn't.
This seemed a tad hypocritical to me so I scrolled through the comments. She was basically pissed off because her friend had made a comment about how her child was behind because she wasn't potty trained yet but her child was. All throughout these comments was the reminder that this other woman's child was 6 months older. It would have made her 2 and a half. My friends child is 2 weeks older than Princess.
My question is this.. What the fuck does it matter?
I am a firm believer in every child will do things when they are ready. This means letting them go at their own pace and when they do decide they're ready to learn something new, support them in every way you can. Princess isn't ready to be potty trained yet. Don't get me wrong, we have a potty and it's always out, Princess just prefers to use it as a crash helmet than a toilet. And who can blame her, she's not even 2 yet!
Another example was posted in a Mums group. A mum was asking advice on how to make her child sleep through the night. She actually said 'make' as well like she could force her child to do it *scoffs*. Now I'm no expert, any regular reader of my blog will know Princess slept through the night for the first time at 18 months, but I commented anyway. My advice being that there was no sure fire way to get a child to sleep through, to just be patient, she'll do it. Eventually.
The majority of the other comments were just little tips and tricks. Some of them were along the lines of "..well my baby slept through the night in the womb." That's lovely and all, but how is that helping the Mum who asked for advice? She doesn't give a shit at what age your child slept through, she just wants to know how to get a decent nights kip.
I've overheard Mums comparing notes on how naughty their kids have been and trying to out-do each other with anecdotes of bad behaviour.
Here's an idea.. Why not actually learn to punish your child so instead of bragging about how naughty your kid is you can encourage them to do something better with his time?
We all fall trap to competition, theres no doubt about it. Sometimes I find myself comparing Princess to her cousin who is nearly 3 and thinking 'well she can do this and he couldn't at that age' and I feel bloody stupid because there's plenty he could do that she can't. The difference being I keep these thoughts to myself. I don't go rubbing them in people's faces.
Personally I think my daughter is a genius. A vocabulary of over 200 words, she can talk in half sentences, recognises colours and shapes, can count from 5 - 10 (I don't know where 1 - 4 went) and can sing songs. She's not even 2 yet and she's so smart.
Here comes the but..
BUT I don't brag about it. Apart from just then obviously. I don't compare her to my friends kids. I would never tell my friend that her children are behind. And even if a friend made that comment about my child, I would shrug it off because I am the grown up.
Rather than batting our kids off against each other, surely we should just encourage them to achieve their potential? If they're interested in something then we should just feed that curiosity rather than use it as a comeback.
It's more than okay to be proud of your kid. Sometimes I fill up with so much pride that I grin from ear to ear like an idiot. I do not however run up to the nearest parent and say "can your kid do this?"
I may one day look back on this post and snort at my former toddler-parent self (especially if any of your school gate mummy cliques are anything to go by!) but for now, I'm just going to carry in being proud of my future Nobel Prize winning daughter ;)