Handling competition among family

Handling competition among family

Have simple, honest conversations to eliminate competition.

As parents, it's hard to ignore when other kids reach milestones before your own, especially when those kids are nieces and nephews. While their intentions may be good or their comments may be innocent, family members often like to compare children who are close in age or ask why another child has yet to pick up a skill the other child mastered months ago.While you may be able to ignore these comments from random acquaintances and even friends, it's much harder when they come from family. First of all, the comments feel like digs on your parenting abilities. Beyond that, you may begin to feel like your child is being compared more than he is being praised.

Thankfully, you can also be more honest with family members than with others. If you find the comparisons or general competition is getting out of control, take the time to speak up. Say something like "I feel you're not focusing on my child's accomplishments when you compare the two of them" or "my child feels left out by all of the attention you're placing on her accomplishments."

Simple, honest statements will help family members focus less on comparisons and competition and focus instead on each individual child's strengths. They may also cause temporary hurt feelings. However, by being honest now, you can save your children years of frustration because they are not able to "keep up" with another family member and begin to build positive relationships with your relatives.