This topic is adapted from the PursueGOD Couples YouTube channel.
Nobody likes to be compared to someone else. The comparison game tends to highlight our weaknesses and how we don’t measure up to others. It leaves us feeling deflated and insecure. So, why do so many parents fall into this trap with their kids? Why do we employ the comparison game when we know how damaging it can be? Here are a few reasons why parents fall into the trap and some reasons why it won’t work.
Parents Think They Are Motivating Their Child
The thought is maybe they will find motivation to try harder if they see how other siblings are doing things. Perhaps if they see a sibling excelling, they will want to also?
The problem? Your kids are unique individuals. It’s not a fair comparison based on many factors like birth order, sex, and age. All of these factors shape the personality of our kids, so to comparing them is unfair. Instead, we should relate to each kid in a way that nurtures and supports their uniqueness and find ways to motivate them based on what works for their personality.
Parents Are More Worried About Their Own Reputation
We all want to be successful and that includes in our parenting. No one wants to be judged as a bad parent. That judgement is based on the quality of our kids. Are they the star athlete, landing the starring role in the play, and in all the advanced classes? We might think that these things make us look good as parents. We feel compelled to use the comparison game to get the kid who’s lagging behind to get in gear.
This is unfair pressure to put on a kid. You shouldn’t view your kids as trophies in your display case of great parenting. Good parenting is about shepherding each child’s heart individually – knowing what makes them tick, helping them overcome struggles, and setting them up to accomplish their goals. It should never be about making parents look like superstars.
The Bible warns us from falling into these traps.
Colossians 3:21 Fathers, do not aggravate your children, or they will become discouraged.
To aggravate or exasperate means to annoy, enrage, annoy, or provoke. In other words, don’t play the comparison game! Instead, do what Paul says in Ephesians.
Ephesians 6:4 Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.
We need to encourage our kids to follow God and to live out the purpose God has for them. Our emphasis should be on encouraging them to honor God with their lives.
- Watch the video together or invite someone to summarize the topic.
- What is your initial reaction to this video? Do you disagree with any of it? What jumped out at you?
- Have you ever been the victim of the comparison game in your life? Explain.
- What are some other potential downfalls to comparing ourselves or our kids to someone else?
- How have you been guilty of comparing your kids? How did it work out?
- Describe each of your kids’ personalities. How do they differ from one another?
- Read Colossians 3:21. How have you exasperated your kids in the past? How do you know that you have frustrated them?
- Read Ephesians 6:4. How can you improve on training your kids to live out God’s purpose for their lives?
- Write a personal action step based on this conversation.