“Aww! Your son is so cute! How old is he?”
“Really? He’s big for a year. Is he walking?”
“No, no he’s not walking yet.”
“Oh, well my daughter was walking at 9 months. Just give him time he’ll do it. Is he talking yet?”
“Yeah, he says ‘mama’ and ‘dada’ but he doesn’t really know what they mean.”
“Well, my daughter was talking at 11 months, he’s going to get there….”
Sound familiar? What I have just recounted is a common phenomenon amongst parents; competition.
Human beings are inherently competitive. But that competition intensifies when it comes to our children. Because our children are extensions of ourselves.
So if another parent tells me that their child is talking at one year, I get anxious and defensive; its only natural. I’m thinking to myself:
Why isn’t my son talking? Is there something wrong with him? Is there something wrong with me? What’s going on?!
So what do I do? I bring up some other wonderful thing that he has started to do!
“Well, he just recently started pointing!! And that’s early too! He’s actually under a year. Usually kids don’t start pointing until after they turn a year.”
I know, its immature of me. But I need to feel secure about my son’s development and my parenting skills. But I’ve noticed that I’m not alone. Many other parents are competitive with regard to their children.
However, I have noticed that this competition is not productive. For me, it makes me constantly question myself and my son.
The solution; be more mindful of when I compete with other parents. My competitive nature is not going to make my son do things any faster. Because at the end of the day, our kids do things at their own pace on their journey to becoming who they are.