Children grow, learn, and develop according to their own internal clocks and external environments. Right now, I have eleven grandchildren, eight of whom are three and under. When the three and under group gets together, it is delightfully chaotic and fascinating. One three-year-old already knows his alphabet and can write his name while another three-year-old can ride his own horse. Two of the children will celebrate their first birthday this month and are crawling everywhere, while the ten-month-old is already walking. They are all progressing at their rate, their speed, and according to their personalities and surroundings.
While it is helpful to observe other children, resist the temptation to compare your children with others. When parents compare, several things may happen:
- Some get fearful and spend a lot of money on music lessons, sports camps, or other professionals to make sure that their child is the best.
- Others become overwhelmed with feelings of inadequacy, get depressed, and withdraw from social circles.
- Still others can become snarky and point out flaws in other children, in an effort to make theirs look better.
That being said, there is nothing wrong with noticing other families and implementing practices that will improve our children’s behavior or character. Years ago, I observed a family in our church that really impressed me. During the service, the five children, ages 4 to 15, would sit quietly and take notes or draw on paper. I invited her over for coffee and asked her what her secret was. She shared some great parenting tips that helped me with my three busy boys and still help me today with my grandchildren.
Vicki and her husband Terry are the parents of eight children and were named Colorado Parents of the Year and Family of the Year, 2001. Vicki is the author of two books, many articles, former talk show host, and has appeared on numerous television and radio programs. To get your parenting questions answered, write to Vicki at email@example.com.