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.

Young Parents (Singapore) - - C Ntents -

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.

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