I grew up seeing elders who keep on comparing their children to other people. There were many times when I had a talk with my friends’ parents and out of a sudden they opened up topics about whom’s kid is better or more successful, and then comparison would be there. No doubt that parents’ aim is to assure a good future for their children. Because they want to assure their children’s success, they make their children follow the path of those whom they think are epitomes of success.
On the other hand, I’ve known many friends who were given no choice by their parents when it comes to deciding about their life: studies, career and marriage. They were like trapped in an islet with no trail to the path of their choice. There are many youth today who are not happy with the plans they chased because they never wanted it in the first place. They were scared to open up their plans because their parents already decided for their future.
Comparing children to another is a natural thing that parents do, but it does not mean that they can not avoid it. They just have to understand some things why they should stop comparing their children to other people.
It destroys parent-child relationship.
Kids have big ears. They are always curious about what their parents think about them. They love to eavesdrop on their parents because they are excited to hear what adults would say about them, they expect to hear positive things, only positive things. They expect that their parents are proud of them because that way they will feel that they are making their parents happy. What will happen when they thought their parents are proud of them but then they heard their parents are comparing them to other people? They will pretend as if they heard nothing, but they will be seriously hurt which may result to a trouble in the relationship between the parents and the children.
It decreases the children’s self-esteem, confidence and motivation
One of the effect of comparing ones’ children to another is that children will have high chance of becoming rebellious. Children are young, sensitive, and vulnerable. Just one unpleasant word they hear from the two most important persons in their life will seriously break their hearts. If they hear that their parents think that other people’s kids are better than them, they will lose their self-esteem and they will lose their motivation to do better and worse they will lose the reason to live. There will always be reasons why some kids are rebellious. Usually, it’s because of family problems which includes this issue. Parents are children’s strength, but if they feel that their parents are not happy for them, they will really be disappointed.
It deprives the children their right to discover their selves
Children want to make their parents proud. They may not convey it openly but It’s one of their main goals. If parents will keep on comparing their children to others, the children will have the thought that they should chase the life of others whom their parents think are better. They will have the idea that to make their parents proud, they have to be like those people. However, they will not be able to discover their selves, because they will be chasing the life of others. They will live under someone else’s mask, clueless of what their capabilities are and confused of what their personality really is.
It is like saying “They are not good enough”
Constantly comparing their children’s achievements against those superstars would never make them appreciate their children. There will always be better than anyone, and if they will always compare their children to others, they are closing doors to see see how good their children are. This may make both the parents and the children, dissatisfied, unhappy and ungrateful.
It’s okay to suggest plans to children, but do not force them. It’s okay to advice them, but don’t discourage them. It’s a responsibility of the parents to guide their children in taking decisions in life. On the other hand, the children will always need their parents’ guidance. Parents should not put pressure to their children by telling them that success is what they see in other people. Parents should let their children grow with their guidance, let them discover where they will be effective persons, and let them be who they are meant to be. Parents should not feel bad if their children choose a decision which is against theirs. If their decision won’t destroy them, won’t make lead them away from Allah (SWT) and won’t bring them to a haraam living, then why they should feel bad about it? If they have raised their children with fear and faith in Allah (SWT), then they should not worry, Allah (SWT) already has best plans for them. If they let them grow to who they are meant to be, in Allah’s will, they will not be just people of success here in dunya but in akhirah.
Parents should be reminded that their children’s have their own unique skills, strengths, talents, capabilities which others don’t have. They should appreciate those by not looking at others’ uniqueness. Parents should focus on their childrens’ interests, boost their self-confidence, guide them to what will make them happy and show them how special they are.
Success varies in every individual. Success is not following the path of others, it is creating your own way to it. Success is self-fulfillment, happiness, contentment, satisfaction and not pleasing other people but only Allah (SWT). The reason why people want to be like those successful people because they think life is a race when life is a series of journeys. And, everyone of us has different journeys. Letting go of comparisons will help define what success really is. In shaa Allah.