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I Can’t Stop Comparing My Daughter

My 4-year-old daughter is beautiful, smart, caring, loving and quite articulate. But why is it that every chance I get, I’m comparing her to other 4-year-olds?

It started about the time I noticed a friend in my Instagram feed proudly presenting her reading child.

What? She can read already? I thought to myself. We’re behind!

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I know I need to stop, that every kid develops differently, and just because she’s not reading yet, doesn’t mean she will be behind in school, and it certainly doesn’t mean she will never read. But despite my logical way of thinking, my irrational persona takes over and has me ordering a new set of "Bob Books" to help us practice more.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t stop with reading. When I peek in on her at dance class, I have to stop myself from looking at the other girls and sizing them up to see which 4-year-old has the moves down. For a split second I wince when I see her facing the opposite direction of the rest of the class.

You know when you’re doing something you know is wrong but you do it anyway? That’s how I feel with this predicament. I know comparing my children to others is just putting myself on a slippery slope, yet I can’t seem to stop. I worry it will only get worse when they start elementary school.

When the Sunday school teacher told me none of the 4-year-olds actually memorize the weekly scripture, I took it as a challenge and spent the week memorizing it with my daughter.

If I’m being completely honest, this didn’t just start this year. It started when she was an infant, and came out a whopping 9 pounds 9 ounces, holding her head up to look at me. Now that’s bragging rights right there. Yes, hello, I’m Jennifer, the mom who loves to have the most amazing kids.

When the Sunday school teacher told me none of the 4-year-olds actually memorize the weekly scripture, I took it as a challenge and spent the week memorizing it with my daughter. When the time came for her to say it into the microphone, she froze on stage and needed help to make it through. Though for a split second I was sad she didn’t do it on her own, it was an awakening for me. It doesn’t really matter if other people know how amazingly awesome my kids are, as long as I know, and they know I know.

Fortunately, there is a positive side to this.

1. I don’t ever actually compare my daughter out loud… Well, other than this blog post. I mean I don’t intentionally brag to other parents when I see my daughter succeed (aside from Facebook friends, and Instagram of course… OK, maybe I can do better).

2. If anything, my findings have made me more conscious of ways I can spend time with my daughter and help her improve at her own pace. Sometimes this means practicing her dance routines with her before bed, or pretending to teach her dolls how to read.

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3. I’ve learned my lesson. I know competitive parenting is bad. It’s gotta be in the parenting rule book somewhere. But I’m in the recovery process. And I’ll try not to fall off the wagon this time.

Do you compare your children to others? Be honest.

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