How to Help Your Kids Crush Comparison
My daughter was in second grade when she decided that she hated her hair.
Anyone can see that her hair is beautiful; in fact, strangers have often stopped us on the street to tell us so. She has gorgeous light brown ringlets with blonde highlights that frame her face. It’s the kind of hair that grown women pay money for. But no matter how many compliments she received, she still wanted to have straight hair like everyone else. She disliked her hair so much that she would often cry when she looked in the mirror.
It broke my heart to see her compare herself to others and feel this way.
At a young age, kids start to compare themselves and place their value and worth in how they measure up to their peers.
Kids often compare:
What they look like – “I wish I was taller, or shorter, or skinnier.”
How smart they are – “I wish I had better grades.”
Their athleticism – “I wish it was as easy for me as it for him to play basketball, or dance as gracefully as her”
What they own – “Must be nice to have the new iPhone.”
Comparison is rarely healthy, and most of the time leaves us feeling discouraged and insecure. Moreover, it robs our kids of joy and prevents them from embracing who God created them to be.
As parents, we can help our children avoid the trap of comparison when we:
Share with them that they are fearfully and wonderfully made. (Psalm 139:14) They are children of God and are loved. God’s love for them has nothing to do with what they accomplish, what they look like, or how well they perform.
Show them how to speak to themselves. The Bible says to “take captive every thought and make it obedient to Christ.” (2 Corinthians 10:5) Taking every thought captive means that when they have a negative thought, they have a choice to entertain that thought or stop it in its tracks and replace it with God’s truth. Not just once or twice but every time those thoughts creep into their mind.
Practice gratitude. We can model for our children intentionally appreciating what we have and who we are. An excellent practice is to read scriptures on thankfulness and write down 2-3 things that we are grateful for in a journal each day and have our kids do the same.
Refuse to compare. Our kids will pick up our behaviors and adopt them as their own. So let’s not compare our families to other families or ourselves to other parents, and we definitely don’t want to compare our children to others.
I wish the book I Want Your Smile Crocodile by Denette Fretz was around when my girl was little. It’s an adorable story about a meerkat that wishes he had what the other animals have, such as polar bear hair, porcupine spines, or a crocodile smile. Jack wreaks havoc on the zoo as he visits his friends wondering what it would be like to be them. That is until he understands that God created him with a perfect, purposeful design.
It took almost a whole school year before my daughter stopped wishing she looked different. Over and over again, I reminded her that God knew what He was doing when He created her and that He and we love her just the way she is. Her heart did not change overnight, but gradually she let go of comparing herself to others and embraced her curly hair.
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Instead of being crushed by comparison, we want to teach our kids to fight back the mental battle with truth and confidence in who God says they are! How have you helped your children learn to crush comparison? Come share with us on our blog!