Christopher Smith MD Author


Resisting the Urge to Compare

Dear Dads,

There is nothing quite like seeing your child grow into being their own person, is there? Watching them develop their own traits, strengths, quirks, and more, is an ongoing process as they age. Really, it’s about them shaping the things that make us all human, and individuals. 

If you have more than one child, there can sometimes be an unpleasant instinct to compare them against each other. “Why can’t you be more athletic/creative/academic like your brother/sister?” is a phrase that should never be spoken aloud to a child. 

It immediately diminishes them, and makes them feel less-than. As fathers we are there to support and build up our children, not to tear them down. We should watch them with clear eyes that see them for who they truly are, and what strengths and qualities they possess. 

President Theodore Roosevelt once spoke an ultimate truth: “Comparison is the thief of joy.” This rings true for fathers as well. Comparing your child to their siblings, their friends, or strangers on the street does nothing but reduce any compassion and limits connection with your child.  

In other words, comparison is not a motivator, it is a detractor.  

I must clarify that I’m not implying we shouldn’t identify areas of improvement, or opportunities, with our children, but that it must be done in a supportive way. In a manner that shows that you believe they can achieve great things, not that they’re disappointing you by not having done so already.

Much like we bring our own interests and skills to the world, so will our children. So if you have a budding artist in a family of athletes, or a quiet soul in a home of extraverts, I encourage you to let them thrive by letting them be true to themselves. 

I look forward to sharing more about what I’ve learned after raising five daughters and encourage you to subscribe to keep the conversation going. 


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