Tuesday, March 16, 2010

To compare is not fair

Apparently I am a poet. =)

I have always been notorious for comparing myself to others. I compare looks, talent, ability, sincerity, etc. While I think that this is normal human function I do not think 'comparing' is always fair or a good assessment tool.

My case in point, while its normal to compare parenting styles, I do not think it is fair to compare children. And here is why...

If you have hung around me enough you know that Joey and I come as a package. Unless it is a situation where Joey is not allowed or able to be taken care of properly he is cared for otherwise, any other time he's my plus one. Bringing Joey along undeniably means sporadic tantrums, sloppy kisses, high energy outburst, and a lot of bribing coaxing. It may not always be fun to deal with the not so pretty side of two year olds, but it's life. When those tantrums strike it makes me feel vulnerable to others judgments and critiques which inevitably turns into the normal comparison statements, "my son never did that when he was Joey's age" or "my son never had problems with that."


I know people mean well when they make these statements, but it in no way helps me.
I admit, Joey is a handful. He is strong willed and equally opinionated. It's his way or the high way. (He gets that from his Mom and Dad). But it doesn't give others the right to compare. It does nothing for me.

Lately, in a mad attempt to shape him up I have questioned every parenting move I've done in the past three years. What have I done to make such a wild and crazy kid? How can a kid be so strong willed? How can I get others to understand that all kids are different? I have scoured the internet, researched behavioral disciplines, and come to many conclusions. But today when I was called back to play land to pick up a non compliant Joey, who hit two kids, I felt defeated and embarrassed. Have I failed my kid?

It was then I realized the mistake I had made. I let others compare my child to theirs and in some way or another I was made to feel that Joey was not normal or ill-behaved. I was attempting to mold my kid into the ideal picture of someone else's kid. That is the injustice that I have done to Joey. I do not deny that Joey has more frequent tantrums or timeouts then the average two year old, but the average two year old either has a sibling or other children to model their behavior after. Joey has neither.

As an only child, Joey has the luxury of being tended to first. He does not wait behind anyone else, therefore his patience is not tested. He gets my full attention, that way he never lacks company and never has to entertain himself. I cannot help the fact that Joey is an only child, but I have come to realize that the comparisons I have been dealing with all have been done with children who have grown up with a way different childhood.

Today I began to research a lot about Only children. It is a very real possibility that Joey will have no siblings. I've decided to change the ways I do some things with Joey. From this day forward I will only take comparisons at face value, but will also keep in mind that others mean well. I've also realized that with the lack of a sibling or other children I will need to introduce that even more into Joey's life. I have a feeling that the more socialization I expose Joey to the more he will understand and the better behaved he will be.

But I do want to say that the point to my story is to remember that comparing your kids to others is what you want to do least. Instead, revel in the fact that you have been entrusted in caring for the less then 'normal' child...the one who walks to their own beat...the one that carries your heart on the outside of your body...

1 comment:

  1. I like the way your looking at things :) For the first 3 years of his life Raymond was an only child and man did we have a hard time. Even when Bobby was born things seemed to get worse and I blamed myself. Raymond was kicked out of so many preschools and I've even quit jobs because I felt he needed me. It took me years to realize what you just did. Joey is a normal ideal child, because there is no such thing as a perfect child.