When you have children it is only natural that you feel a sense of pride towards them. It is only natural that you want to share their accomplishments and milestones with the world and it is only natural that you want to compare with other parents. However, sometimes talking too much about the milestones and achievements of your children with other parents can leave you concerned that, perhaps your baby isn’t excelling in the same way you thought.
Competition is a part of life and there is always going to be someone who has more money, who has a better house and who has a child that may be smarter than yours. This can, however, be hard to accept. Below are some ways to avoid unwanted mummy competitions on and off the playground.
Educate Yourself on Child Development
All children will develop at a different stage. While children should be talking by two, this is not always the case. While children should be toilet trained by two and a half, this is also not always the case. There is no book that tells you exactly when your child will be walking, talking, reading, writing, sleeping through the night and peeing in the toilet. This all depends on his development, his temperament and his environment.
There are also several different ‘development milestones’ that you need to keep in mind: physical movements, such as crawling, walking and climbing; manual dexterity such as feeding herself and turning the pages on a book; hearing, speech and vision, such as talking and listening; and social behaviour and play, such as throwing tantrums, sharing toys and separation anxiety. Knowing what ‘average’ in all of these categories is can help you keep track of your child. If he is a late walker, then he is most likely also going to be a late runner; however, he may have talked earlier than what is ‘normal’. As long as he is progressing, regardless of at what speed, everything is fine.
Think Outside Your Children
However, with this being said, it can be hard not to worry when everyone else’s child is talking and your child barely says a word. Or, it can be quite unnerving when the other mother’s are comparing paintings that their children have done and your child barely holds a crayon yet. The best way to avoid feeling like your child is constantly on display is to create a distraction.
When you do attend a playgroup or are meeting other mum at the park for a play date, have other topics on your mind to discuss apart from the successes of your children. Constantly talking about your kids is going to get tedious, especially when it feels like a bragging competition. Consider movies or books you have recently seen or want to read. Think about activities around town that you might be interested in going to or talk discuss recipes, news events or products that you love.
If you feel like you really cannot stand hearing about the successes of other children, then walk away. Look for a different playgroup or take some time apart from the group for a while. You may simply be associating with the wrong type of people that do enjoy competition and bragging. Some people you meet in life will feel the need to show off their achievements; this is going to be true in any scenario, from at the office to at the playground.