Have you ever looked around at other children who are the same age as yours and thought my child is behind? Is there something wrong with them? What am I doing wrong as a parent? What can I do to encourage them to develop faster?
If you answered yes, you are not alone.
Raising a child is almost impossible to do without comparing them to other children or assessing them against developmental milestones and worrying how they measure up.
I know I’ve definitely felt this way.
I felt this way during the first couple of months when Hailey wasn’t sleeping very much and all of the other babies around me seemed to be sleeping at least 3-4 hour stretches.
I’m feeling this way right now as I look around at other babies and hear them speaking 2 syllable words while Hailey is just starting to show an interest in talking.
It’s normal to want our children to be successful.
It’s normal to want our children to fit in and develop at the same rate as their peers.
Nobody wants their child to be the dumb one, the one failing, the slow one to develop, or the one not up to the par.
And more than that, we don’t want to feel like we are failing our children.
Or that we’re failing as parents.
This TED Talk “In Our Baby’s Illness, A Life Lesson“, these parents explain how they were feeling when their newborn had a stroke shortly after birth.
They talk about feeling like failures as parents, about being depressed.
When they looked at their son they saw his problem. They saw the damage of the stroke and the hopelessness of his future.
They explained their ah-ha moment that changed everything.
This moment was the realization that their son was looking at them looking at him as a problem.
I’ll repeat: their son was observing that his parents saw him as a problem.
That changed everything for them.
They realized how important their perspectives were simply because their son was looking at them as a role model and mirroring their behaviour.
What we believe and how we think are entirely within our control.
When we look at our child we can choose whether we see their problem or their potential.
It doesn’t matter whether the problem is seemingly large like a stroke or whether it’s something more minor like they’re behind on a developmental milestone.
The choice is still ours.
This is SO important when it comes to raising a child.
The perspective we chose directly impacts our children.
I know this from my own experience with Hailey’s sleep early on. As soon as I stopped comparing her to others, and accepting her for who she was, and believing that we were on our own path and her sleeping patterns were perfect the way they were, everything changed.
She started sleeping through the night the moment I let go of my attachment and belief that something was wrong and I somehow had to fix her.
The couple in the video discovered a similar relief.
Once their attitude and perspective improved their son improved.
Next time you find yourself getting down about how your child is compared to others or compared to how they “should be” watch this video.
It doesn’t matter whether your child has a major health issue, has a food allergy, or simply isn’t starting to roll over when they should. The same principle applies.
How you view your child impacts how they view themselves and what they are capable of.