“Don’t compare your child to others.”
I wonder, how many of us have been told this?
“Don’t worry about your son, he’s just going at his own pace.”
“He’ll catch up. Boys are just slower than girls.”
“She marches to the beat of her own drum.”
I know I was about both my boys. Turns out all the nay-sayers were right, but in a totally different way, both my boys have an Autism Spectrum Disorder. But that’s not what we’re going to be discussing here today.
My husband and I received some wonderful news. Great news, in fact. Our little boy, S (3), and I are going to be touring typical preschools. This after only half a year in a Special Education, self-contained classroom. By all means, this is means for celebration.
The celebration was bittersweet, though. You see, as I’ve said before, I don’t just have one son; I have two. My D (4) is not quite so lucky. Now, I know I’m not supposed to compare the boys to others, I got over doing that long ago. But it’s not quite so easy to do it when the “other” is his younger brother.
So what can we do? My husband’s fear is that he will unintentionally favor S just because he’s advanced further. It’s normal. It’s like with Grandparents. Sometimes they enjoy the ones they can hold more, or play catch with, or take to a football game. When you can have a conversation with one child, but not the other, and you’re their parent, it’s much more difficult to come to terms with that fact.
I on the other hand fear I will push S aside. That I will start to focus more attention to D because he needs the help. I’m resigned to the truth though. S doesn’t need more help; he needs different help. D, we help to speak more clearly, in 3-4 word sentences. S, we help give and take in conversation.
So what do I suggest for anyone who is struggling with this same dilemma?
1. Know you are human. Yes, you’re going to make mistakes, but guilting yourself into making one isn’t going to do you any good. Keep in mind your fears, but work through them.
2. Keep a list. I try to keep a list in my head of things both my children need help on. Things that they both can work on together as well as the ones that need more one on one attention. If you can keep the list mentally, fine. If not, there’s no harm writing it down.
3. “Count your blessings. Name them one by one.” I’m not sure how many of you have grown up in a church. I did off and on through my life. But the song quoted here is so true. Be thankful and celebrate that your child is succeeding in what (s)he’s doing.
(BTW, Congratulations my dear, S. You have made me one proud mommy.)