For a long time, I’ve been teaching my four year old never to compare herself with anyone, because she’s different from them and even though there are stuff her friends have that she doesn’t, it doesn’t exactly matter. We usually end such discussions with a rather thoughtful look on her face, and I usually find myself musing, “A penny for your thought, baby.”
So, today, on the way back from school, we had this conversation.
Me: “Doodoo, when we get home, I’m going to relax your hair.”
She: “What’s that, Mommy?”
Me: “Errrmm…I want your hair to be more easy to comb and plait so that you won’t have to cry and run away each time you have to make your hair. Your hair will look just like Priscilla’s own.”
She: “No, Mommy. I don’t want my hair to look like her own, even though it’s beautiful. I want my hair to look like mine. Remember you said I’m different.”
I remained silent the rest of the trip, realizing that I’ve actually given a valuable life lesson to her at such an age. And not only that, it was actually humbling to see that she actually took my words to heart.
When I first read this post, I said to myself “Ejiro deserves a medal”. Not every parent understands the value of teaching their children to be themselves very early in life. The truth is, the earlier you help them understand this, the better they build their confidence.
They don’t have to have everything the other child has, or be everything the other child is. “Every child is unique” is one of PSA’s five rules of raising children
and it is very essential for every parent or guardian to understand this early enough.
I have met a boy who always throws a tantrum to have the things his friends have. From lunch bag to lunch box to school bag and the list is endless. Sadly, his mum doesn’t see anything wrong with it. In fact she goes all out to get the same things his friends have to satisfy him. This leaves me wondering, how long she can carry on before she can’t keep up. They grow up to be very competitive (in a negative way), jealous and want to have what others have at all cost. You definitely know how bad this can get in the long run.
So the next time your little girl wants something because her friend has it, let her know she can have it because she wants it not because her friend has it. And try not to let your little boy do or get things because his friend is doing the same thing or getting the same thing.
Stop the comparison game and let them know that: “You is Unique, You is amazing, You is awesome”