5-6 YEARS OLD If your preschooler likes to compare you to other parents, do this now.
Don’t feel disappointed when your child compares you to other parents, says DR RICHARD C. WOOLFSON.
Your preschooler will occasionally insist that her friends’ parents allow them to do this or to buy them that, and you are stricter and meaner.
These comparisons drive you to distraction. You are also fed up with her constant questions: “Why can’t you be like my friend’s mum?” “Why do you not love me enough?”
You hate thinking that she feels that others have a better home life, and you feel sad she seems to rate other mothers more highly.
Don’t believe a word of it. Rest assured those supposedly wonderful, permissive, freespending “friend’s mums” who apparently treat their ﬁve-year-olds like royalty are a ﬁgment of your child’s wishful thinking.
This is nothing more than a sign of her creative imagination. She mentions other mums to you for one purpose only – to make you change your mind.
Your child wants to do or have something, but she realises you won’t allow this. She’s tried persuading, pleading and even arguing furiously with you, without any success.
As a last attempt, she plays the tried-and-trusted “but my friends can” card because she has learnt comparisons of that nature can sometimes make you change your mind. Don’t be so gullible.
Tell me more
One way to test this out is to ask your child to give more details. For instance, which friend exactly is allowed to do that? How does your kid know her friend’s mum lets her do those things? When did her mum buy those clothes?
Chances are, your child’s conﬁdence in her earlier assertions starts to fade when you begin to search out the facts. She didn’t deliberately lie to you – her views might have been distorted by her desire to get what she wants.
You can even call the other parent in order to verify your child’s claim, but this carries a potential risk. What she told you might be right, then you’ll be under pressure to concede.
Anyway, it really shouldn’t matter to you if she has a classmate whose parents allow her to watch movies until midnight, or buy her the latest and most expensive designer gear.
As your child’s parent, you decide how to raise her. Have conﬁdence in your own parenting skills and judgement.
You’ve done well so far with her – there is no need to follow the crowd just because of pressure from your kid.
Okay, just this once
You can make room for compromise sometimes, however. You have very sensible reasons why you don’t let her stay up till 10pm at night during the school week.
You know she’ll be tired and irritable the next day; she’ll bicker with her younger brother, and she won’t concentrate on her schoolwork.
But she is growing older and her needs change all the time, so perhaps she doesn’t need to continue going to bed at exactly 9pm each night.
Instead of rejecting her “but my friend stays up till 10 every night” plea, consider giving way a little. Chat with your kid about why she wants to stay up later and explain your concerns about her proposal. Then you can decide to give her an extra quarter or half hour before bedtime.
Compromise teaches your child negotiating skills, demonstrates that you are ﬂexible and listen to reason, and lets her know you recognise she is growing up.
Your child is growing older and her needs change all the time, so she doesn’t need to continue to go to bed at 9pm.