“Sharma ji ke ladke ko dekho kahan padh raha hai.” (See where Sharmaji’s son is studying)
“Unki ladki ko dekho Doctor ban gai hai.” (Their daughter has become a doctor)
These kinds of lines have been heard by almost all children. Relatives, neighbours do it all the time. When there are siblings, they always being compared.
“Arey uski badi behen toh chhoti se zyaada sundar hai!” (Oh, the elder sister is prettier than the younger sister!) “Uska chhota bhai bade bhai se zyaada lamba hai!” (The younger brother is taller than the elder brother!)
Do they even realise how these lines affect a child? During these times, children look for their parents’ support. They want their parents to object to these remarks. But, have you ever imagined what happens when even parents start comparing? That is the worst situation.
Comparison cannot do anything good for children. Instead, it will demotivate them and raise doubts in their minds about themselves. It will fill them with negativity and hatred. Not only that, but they might feel detached from the people who compare them and they might actually start withdrawing themselves. This is a dangerous situation, especially with parents and family members.
Children should not be compared, especially with their siblings because they live together almost all the time. The constant thought of comparison will affect them more adversely than any other situation.
I have also been in that situation. There was a time when I would just refuse to attend any function or party, and I used to run away from people. Trust me, being compared is a very bad feeling, I can’t even begin to say how much. It really hurts.
Even teachers also do this. My teacher once compared my marks with a student in front of the whole class. He said to that student, “Iske sirf do number cut huye hai aur tumhe sirf do number mile hain!” (She only lost 2 marks, and you only got 2 marks!) This must have been very humiliating for him.
Children need praise and motivation, not these words of demotivation. To all the elders who compare children, I just want to ask – How would you feel if a child will compare you with others? Obviously you will not feel good. Then, why you do not think about this while comparing children!
Elders never realise that children also have feelings, self-respect, emotions, and dignity. When people compare, bad thoughts start invading children’s mind. Am I not good enough? Why has god made me like this? Why can’t I be like him/her? What can I do to get love from my near ones?
Imagine a child having these thoughts! These thoughts are very depressing. Even adults will not be able to cope up with these thoughts, how can we expect children to do the same?! According to a report by the World Health Organisation (WHO), which was released in 2017 on the occasion of World Health Day, 1,311.1 million people in India are depressed, of which, 75.5 million are adolescents (13-15 years). That is why it is said that depression can happen to anyone, of any age, of any gender!
According to the WHO report, 7% of adolescents were found to be “bullied” and they felt disturbed due to comments by their peers, family members, or teachers. The report also said that 25 % of adolescent were “depressed” and “sad or hopeless“. Let me remind you that those comparative remarks definitely be counted as bullying. Those remarks definitely will make a child depressed, sad, anxious, and worried.
But, many people still think that depression is just a phase, depression is not a problem, depression is not real, and so on. They should know that depression can lead to suicide, which is the second-highest cause of death among people of the age group 15-29 years in the South-East Asian region.
For you, it may be just a joke, it may be just a casual remark, but, for a child, it is not!
People must never forget that every child is special. Comparing a child with other children is like comparing the fingerprints of two different people! Robert John Meehan, an American educator and author, once said “It shouldn’t matter how slowly a child learns. What matters is that we encourage them to never stop trying.” Majority of successful people have a similar story. Most of them were not according to the “set notions of the society“. They could achieve so much in life because they were not compared but supported (at least by their parents).
We should remember that a child can only be compared to themself and no one else. Every child is special. Children are not robots but humans. They cannot be expected to fulfil everyone’s expectations.
Whenever you think of comparing children think about this line by Albert Einstein, “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will spend its life thinking it’s stupid.”
You must also think about this quote by Tori Amos (American singer-songwriter), “Some of the most wonderful people are the ones who don’t fit into boxes.”