More often than not, we see parents using other children to set examples and as role models for their children. While this may have both positive and negative impacts, it is important that parents are aware of their children’s abilities and work towards their uniqueness.
This dad shares his experience and thoughts on this topic:
I am Mr Francis Oraemeka. I am retired now but I used to work at a gas company and then later at an advertising agency.
I have six children, the first was born in 1978 and the baby of the house was born in March 1991.
I have never compared my children with other kids or use other kids to set examples for them. I had a family standard I set for all my children which I made sure they always complied with. Morally and educationally, I didn’t care what other people’s children were doing as long as my children were living up to the standards I set in my home and so I never had a need to compare. The white man will say, “there’s no perfection in life”, so, if I find their standards lacking in any area, I brief them up to par immediately.
In my family, we always labour to be abreast with present standards be it social, economic or educational. So, I always make sure my children never lag behind. I don’t recall such a comparison ever being made but if it ever came up, I don’t think my children were ever found behind.
Like I said earlier, there’s no perfection in life. It doesn’t matter what standards you attain in terms of achievement, you’ll always discover that certain persons or groups are above or ahead of you, and anytime I discover such with my family, I make sure we brief up to meet that standard and are not rated second.
Well, I do not know if any of my children looks up to and admire the good qualities of the peers. If they did, I don’t know about it because I raised them to be the best versions of themselves, so, whatever good qualities their peers may have had, I reckon they possessed those as well.
If my children don’t meet my expectations, I call them to order, I point out their areas of deterioration, I talk about where they’re lacking. Instead of comparing them with other children, I would challenge them.
I would say, “Look at Okonkwo, look at Okoye, look at Jide, what do they have that you don’t have? If you are equally blessed, there’s no reason to lag behind them.” With this little inspiration, they often go ahead and exceed the persons they were challenged with.
I make them realize that this is what is expected of them so I’m happy they’re making us smile.
If I could give one piece of advice to other parents who find themselves frequently comparing their kids with others, I will say: Development among children as far as I am concerned is God’s gift. So as parents, if God has given one child the gift to be ahead, maintain it and hold on to it. On the other hand, if another child is not as talented don’t go over stressing yourself as a parent. Help that child keep that pace because the God who created him/her knows why he put them on that level. But make sure that at whatever level a child is, they maintain their standards and good name.