I Compare My Child to Others

I compare my child to other children. Yes, I do. Am I awful? Should I just be focusing on my child and letting him go at his own pace? Well, I say no to the first and yes to the second.

Everywhere I look, mothers are asking questions on forums, discussion pages and Facebook about their child’s development. More often than not, a few will pipe up in response, “You really shouldn’t worry…all children go at their own pace. It’s best not to compare”

I’ve only got one child so far. And sometimes I compare him to other children. Not because I’m competitive and not because I’m ‘freaking’ out about his development. But because I like to KNOW things. I’m curious as to when he will be doing certain things and achieving certain milestones. I don’t think there is anything wrong with that.

Tom has reached most milestones when he is expected to. His first smile, first tooth and first steps. He was a late-ish roller and crawler but he got there in the end.

Now we are on the edge of concern. We aren’t overly worried. It’s not time to be yet. But it seems there is one milestone he will not be reaching at the expected time – talking. And with a family history and a possibility of some minor surgery it’s definitely something we need to be aware of.

Now had I refused to ‘compare’ or even just notice that other children were well on their way to talking by his age, how on Earth would I have known that something might possibly be amiss?

It might be nothing. It could be something. But he is my one. My only. I have a duty of care to make sure I stop and take notice. We are getting help now to find out more. It’s not because I’m OTT and it’s not because I’m forcing his development. It’s because I noticed and I went with my gut and because I believe if I can help him, then I want to, and I will, as soon as I can.

I want to celebrate every time he hits a milestone –  no matter when it happens, but I also want to be there to nurture him as he jumps on the stepping stones to take him there. And if he can’t seem to jump to one, then I want to be there to gently guide him.

Q: Do you compare your child/children to others? Do you use it as a guide for your own child’s development? Why or why not?

10 thoughts on “I Compare My Child to Others

  • I think being a teacher doesn’t help in these situations either 🙂 Does he make sounds at all? Are there any words he can say, like Mumma, Dadda, bubba? I think if you are worried definitely get a hearing test done soonish. When is Tom 2? I had similar concerns with Charlotte around the same age but I know her constant ear infections and her personality all impacted on her development of sounds and words. I was definitely comparing her to others in our Mum’s group at the age, being your first you tend to do that too.

    • You’re right Judy. It doesn’t help. We are made to think this way! He makes sounds. He says Dad and he used to say mum a while ago. That’s mostly where it ends, he tries to get words out, but it sounds like he is stuttering or having difficulty. His hearing is good. Just might be something else going on with his tongue. Or not. Who knows. He’s a busy bee and it’s hard to get him to stop, focus and look at you. He’s always go, go go! I’m not overly concerned, really. I just want to check things out. He won’t be 2 until November. He’s had a few ear infections too.

      Thanks so much for reading and the constructive comment!

  • Yes I compare my children to others (and each other) but I don’t make a big deal about it with them.

    My eldest son is now 7 years old and he has a learning delay and was a slow talker. Each year of school has been a struggle and I can’t help but notice that even though he puts in twice as much effort as some of his peers he just doesn’t catch on like they do. My daughter who has just finished her first term of Prep can almost spell the same number of words as him – it’s scary to compare them!

    But through comparison I can also see areas that he excels in so that brings me lots of joy too. I often chat with other mothers and compare notes with them but they are all supportive and some are in the same boat as us anyway. Every child or family has their own issues to deal with – for me it is a son with a learning delay, but for others it might be an illness, poor social skills or something else.

    Sometimes when we compare we realise that things are often worse for others and to be grateful for the hand we have been dealt.

    If I had my time over again I would have taken my slow talking son to a speech therapist much earlier but I think I was in a bit of denial because everyone always said ‘He’ll get there one day, don’t worry’.

    Good luck with Tom and I agree with you…go with your gut! 🙂

    • Beautifully said Michelle. Thank you. It’s taken me a while to realise that going with my gut is what almost always works best!

  • It’s probably nothing but then again it’s probably something. With everything early intervention is key. He might hit 2 years old and start saying words making you think where did you hear that and how did you know what that is.

    Just as long as you are explaining things in simple terms to him eg ‘Here is your Cup” which i’m sure you are doing then you are doing the right thing in aiding his development.

    • Well said Salz. And so true. Still plenty of time up our sleeve, but if we can get it checked out, I don’t think it will hurt at all.

      Yes, we’re doing plenty of that! He doesn’t want to stop most of the time, just wants to take the cup and run haha. Hope you get to meet him one day.

  • I think we all do. It’s natural and very human. It’s only when it gets out of balance or obsessive it’s a problem. I’m sure Tom will be chattering non stop soon and that you will give him all the right support and action to help get him there:)

    • Agree Caz. I think sometimes people jump to the wrong conclusion when people are ‘comparing’…if they’re doing it for the right reasons and keeping things in perspective we should give them a bit more compassion I think.

      I’m sure he’ll be right too 🙂

  • Reading this felt like I was hearing my own thoughts!

    Whilst everyone says not to compare – I do! I’m the first one to admit it. Like you, I’m not doing it because I want to brag or anything of that nature – but rather because I’m also curious. I’ve also found that it’s a good way to actually realise any concerns. I’m with my baby 24/7 – so whilst I notice everything, I can sometimes skim over little things as they are the “norm” for me.
    My baby is my world – and if I’m not looking out for her, guiding and helping her along the way, then I’m not doing my job as her mother.

    At age 16 months our doctor referred us to a speech pathologist as my daughter wasn’t saying anywhere near enough words (well, that’s what the MCHN said anyway). Needless to say after spending 1 hour with the speech pathologist (this week), we were reassured that everything is fine and that MANY (and she used that word strongly) leave talking until very close to the 2 year old age. There are far too many other things to be doing – hehe.

    Our speech pathologist pointed out all the positives and why she wasn’t concerned. For us, hearing was checked and fine, she was verbalising (babble etc), using a few words (mum-mum (or is it yum-yum??), dad-dad, very occasionally there and sometimes hello), but most importantly she was understanding what we were saying, was interacting with us and maintaining eye contact etc.
    We were asked questions about the birth, ear infections and several other things which can impact upon their speech also.

    Our one hour session with the speech pathologist certainly put my mind at ease. I was constantly told that our daughter was still VERY young, which was great to hear, and I relaxed a little. Plus as a bonus, I learnt a few things which I could do with our daughter to guide her along the way.

    Some examples the speech pathologist gave us (you may already be doing them)
    – Use one-two word sentences. Keep it as simple as possible. “Your cup, cup”,
    – Choose one word to repeat over and over again in one activity (until you feel like you can’t say it anymore). Focus on that item and the word.
    – show them how to say the word, mantaining strong eye contact – “b b b book”
    – imitation – drive a car around the floor using “mmmmmmmm” as the engine sound.
    and there are so many more…. repetition of course is the key.

    I left feeling that I’d done the right thing for my daughter, and myself. Yep – I was a great mum!
    We’re heading back in a months time to check any development in her speech.

    If in doubt – have him checked and find out. It certainly doesn’t hurt. :o)

    • Wow sounds like you are nearly in the EXACT situation as my own! It’s always good to find someone you can relate to completely! We are still grappling with trying to get an appointment with a speech therapist. I live in a rural town so it gets tricky! I’m sure that’s what we will get told too, but I’m not sure enough that I will just ‘let it go’. Like you, I’m looking for the assurance just in case.

      Our little man is excellent at understanding but very busy – much like your daughter it seems! He does babble and he says dad a lot and sometimes attempts other words. He’s had a couple of ear infections also and there’s a family history there so it’s worth checking out.

      There’s NOTHING wrong with comparing if it helps you work these things out is there? You just have to make sure you’re doing it for the right reasons!

      Thanks so much for reading and taking the time to comment. I really appreciate it 🙂


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