Your family and other families

Charles Ighele

Parents have different styles and ways of bringing up their children. The styles they adopt, most likely are revised editions of what their own parents used on them.

One of the most commonly used methods of discipline among parents is the use of comparison. It is a great misconception on the part of parents that when they compare their children with others, it will make them behave better.

Nobody likes being unfavourably compared with another. It reduces the self-esteem of the person being compared.

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Parents should not compare their children with others in terms of behaviour, educational performance and other aspects of the child’s life. This is very wrong. Some parents use such words as: “Can’t you see that child? He is very well behaved.” Or “your friend that came first in class, does he have two heads?” “Your mates can cook and you can’t.” All these words discourage children. And this is the exact opposite of what parents want to achieve.

Comparison never brings out the best in anybody. Instead, pick prominent figures and lovingly tell your children to emulate some of the character traits of these great figures. Tell them how these great men and women had to study hard at school, do domestic chores, behave respectfully, etc, before they attained greatness. This is what is called teaching, which makes a child to want to have the courage to improve. But comparison makes a child feel discouraged.

Do not discourage your children with comparisons. Rather, build them up. There is, therefore, great destructiveness in comparing your children amongst themselves, or with other children.

Now, let us talk about the effects of comparing your spouse with another person. Some people measure the success of a fight by who says the most hurtful words or who has the last word. This is a great sign of immaturity and childishness.

In a bid to say hurtful words, some spouses go as far as comparing themselves with others. This is fighting outside the ring and it can scatter a marriage.

Some women will tell their husbands words like, “see, your mate has bought a car, what have you done for us?” Others may compare their husband’s income, level of expenditure, physical assets, etc. with that of other men.

On the other hand, some men may go as far as comparing their wives’ physical appearance with that of other women. A man found himself in trouble, when he shouted at his wife and said to her, “Why can’t you dress well and make yourself as beautiful as Mrs. James (not real name)?” The wife, who felt hurt, concluded that her husband was admiring the woman he compared her with.

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The point I am making is that comparison in any form is wrong. It is fighting outside the ring and hitting below the belt. No man would appreciate being compared with another man; neither would a woman like to be compared with a fellow woman.

Comparing your spouse with another will never encourage him/her to change. Instead, it will discourage him/her.

Scientists have proved that no two people have the same fingerprints. Even if they are identical twins, their fingerprints will be different from each other.

This proves that God made each person different and unique. No two people are the same. Each person is uniquely different and beautifully made.

Understanding this fact will discourage us from comparing our looks and physical appearance with those of others. Let us learn to teach in humility and in love and not to attack with comparison.
Love you.

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In this article:
Charles Ighele
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