A friend’s child is already reading chapter books and yours can barely recognize the letters in their name. Instead of celebrating the other child’s achievement, you fret that your child is falling behind or worry that it is a reflection of your parenting.
It’s so tempting to attribute early successes – walking, talking, reading and other developmental milestones – to good parenting. Our kid is excelling, therefore we must be doing something right. Right? Likewise, if our child is late to walk, talk, read, write, cross the monkey bars, you name it, we worry. And compare. And worry some more.
And maybe feel just a little bit annoyed or jealous that it has come so easily to our friend’s child, especially if the parents are prone to bragging.
An acquaintance was constantly bragging about how her preschool daughter was reading chapter books. Of course mine was barely writing her name, but instead of going the competitive route, I instead heaped on the praise, asking her husband, “How exciting, what is she reading?” It turned out that her reading was more along the line of the BOB beginning reader books, very advanced for a preschooler, but hardly chapter books. The father also elaborated on how physically timid she is and unable to catch and throw a ball.
It was an interesting conversation with a valuable take away. This kid was advanced in one area, but a little behind in another. Not all kids develop all skills at the same time, but they all wind up in the same place. First is not necessarily best in terms of developmental milestones. In fact, a chiropractor friend recently told me that kids who walk early tend to have more back problems as they get older.
Do you find other moms competing with you? How do you handle it?