Thursday, March 3, 2016

Comparing Children: just don't do it

We have started to take the boys skating. It's become a weekly thing. They both enjoy it and although it does not come easy for them, they are having fun.

Our oldest lacks muscle tone. He could not process protein like a "normal" child and instead, protein consumption sent him into a comatose state; extreme lethargy, sudden high fevers, spontaneous - projectile vomiting... Not fun. BUT... he is out growing it. We are exceptionally fortunate to have a child with metabolic disturbances who grows out of it. We are blessed. Supporting his development to assist him in "catching up" presents numerous situations which test our patience to a level that I never knew existed.

When your child is at the playground or hockey rink, have you ever found yourself admiring the physical abilities of other children there?... Then, you catch yourself --- as you inadvertently are comparing your child. That used to be us. Selfishly, one of the blessings of our son's health adversity is that we have genuinely stopped comparing our child to others.... I highlight this as such a blessing because I think it makes us better parents; we focus and celebrate our child without the distractions comparisons may present.  However; that does not stop others. I listen to them share proudly about their child's accomplishments as they continually offer, well-meaning but non-constructive, suggestions that are so specific within the realm of a child's development, I cringe.

At our last visit to the rink, I  mistakenly asked the age of another child as this child's skills were exceptional and it provided and easy means to begin a conversation... He was 6. My son is 6. This other child was literally skating laps around our son. When our son stands and shuffles, we get excited. The passive tension rapidly rose as this other parent began suggesting everything to teach our son how to play hockey... We listened but stepped aside feeling really awkward and judged.

Our child is having fun in activity that helps him increase his strength, balance, coordination and support muscle growth.... We'll take that and proudly brag via posting a video of his newly acquired skills to You Tube. See for yourself: happy, healthy and determined. There is no need compare him to others.