Thursday, March 05, 2009




From TODAY, Voices

Wednesday, 04-March-2009


By Dr James Dobson


One sure way for parents to damage their child’s self-esteem is to play the comparison game.


It’s human nature for us to measure our ability and worth against others. The question is not “how am I doing?” It’s “how am I doing compared to Steve or Susan or Paul?”


And nowhere are these comparisons more prevalent than in childhood. Each boy or girl measures himself against his peers, and assesses his ability, his competence and his worth based on how he matches up.


The problem arises when parents get into the act. Mum and Dad want to know how their child ranks in school testing, or who sprints the fastest on the school athletics team.


This game is destructive in the long run. In fact, I believe this kind of comparison is the root of all feelings of inferiority. The child will weigh his greatest weakness against the strengths of his peers, which emphasises his inadequacy.


How much better it is to focus on your child’s unique strengths and abilities, applauding growth and development based solely on his own merit. In the quest to build self-esteem, the child subjected to comparisons usually comes out a loser, while the winners are those who are praised for their own progress.


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