My Real Life

March 26, 2013

Don’t Compare

Filed under: Uncategorized — Amy @ 6:00 am

I’m a teacher, and as such, I use a lot of things I’ve learned in my classroom in my parenting and I use a lot of things I’ve learned through parenting in my classroom.

This past week, the phrase, “Don’t compare them,” keeps popping into my head.

I have been in the same district for 9 years and have taught many siblings of students that I taught before.

It can be deceptive, because you may feel like you already know the child because you taught their older brother or sister, but you don’t.

Because every child is different.

Even the many, many pairs of identical twins I have taught.


So many times, I’ve sat in parent conferences where the parent has said, “I just don’t understand.  My older daughter wasn’t like this at all!”

Or, the worst, “I always say ‘Why don’t you act more like your brother?'”

And I get it.

It’s hard not to do.

After all, these kids came from the same parents as the other kids did.

Shouldn’t they behave similarly?

The flip side is that I’ve had teachers say to me, “Oh, he’s no Monkey Girl,” or “Such a shame he isn’t more like Monkey in the Middle.”


Because I think it’s awesome that my four children are so completely different.

They excel at different things and that’s okay.

Monkey Girl has always been all about school, and Baby Monkey could care less.

But Baby Monkey loves to create and build things, while Monkey Girl doesn’t even give those things a second look.

Monkey in the Middle is a star athlete, while his siblings would rather have their fingernails pulled out with pliers than do anything athletic.

We went to Walmart the other day for Monkey Girl to buy something she’s been saving for.

While there, I asked the boys if they wanted me to pick up some shirts for school, as they are responsible for getting themselves dressed and ready for school and…they just keep growing.

They said yes.

Here is what Monkey in the Middle chose:



Here is what Baby Monkey chose (and yes, he will wear these to school, as he chooses to wear stuff like this to school every day):





None of the above.

Just different.

So, I continue to strive hard to quiet the voice in my head that says “Ugh…his sister never behaves like that,” or “Homework was never an issue for his brother,” and remind myself that their differences are what make them special and what make them mine.

I continue to counsel parents to do the same and celebrate the unique gifts that each of their children bring to the table.

Comparison does nothing but breed resentment and that’s something that doesn’t get anyone anywhere.


  1. Thanks for a much needed reminder! It’s one of those things that I know and believe, but every once in a while – like 5 minutes ago – I slip.

    Visiting via the Honest Voices link up.

    Comment by IThoughtIKnewMama (@IThoughtIKnewMa) — March 26, 2013 @ 8:23 am | Reply

    • I slip, too. We all do. It’s hard work!

      Comment by abozza — March 26, 2013 @ 9:18 am | Reply

  2. Great springboard for why standardized tests don’t mean anything….

    Comment by lizziegrigio — March 26, 2013 @ 8:49 am | Reply

    • Absolutely, Liz. Absolutely.

      Comment by abozza — March 26, 2013 @ 9:18 am | Reply

  3. Needed this today, thanks! We only have a son but its hard not to compare him with the other children sometimes. Especially when he struggles with his homework and mentions how it is easy for the other kids. I always tell him every child is different and learns at a different pace. We are all unique!

    Comment by — March 26, 2013 @ 9:09 am | Reply

    • It is hard, believe me, I get it! Love the message you are sending him about everyone learning at a different pace…so true!

      Comment by abozza — March 26, 2013 @ 9:17 am | Reply

  4. My daughter (24) was born lacking oxygen, with umbilical cord wrapped around her neck. As a result, she has always been a little slower, clumsier and sees the world through her own very special filter and was in special ed classes , speech therapy and occupational therapy all her educational life. She is creative, compassionate to a fault and marches to the beat of her own drummer. I always think of her as 24 going on 14. My son, on the other hand, was born an “old man”. He is socially proper and quite the rule follower , but has a wicked sense of humor and strong sense of justice. He’s known what he wants to do with his life since he was 10 years old and is in Advanced Placement classes in school and teahers love him and think he’s hilarious. It would be so easy for someone, as a parent, to say to our daughter, “Why couldn’t you have been more like your brother? Things would go so much easier, life wouldn’t be as difficult.” But she’s not. She’s sweet and special and I wouldn’t trade either of my polar opposite kids for the world. Great blog post, Amy. Thanks. (P.S. I wish either of my kids–or both–could’ve had you as a teacher.)

    Comment by Michelle King — March 26, 2013 @ 9:17 am | Reply

    • I think, at the end of the day, what you say is the heart of it. We may say “I wish you were more like,” or “Why can’t you do this more like,” but really, when we think about it, we would never trade any of our kids, just the way they are, so we need to learn not to say it. Because they only hear what we say…not what we think. 🙁

      Comment by abozza — March 26, 2013 @ 9:20 am | Reply

  5. The hardest part for the kids is when teachers “forget” about the differences and call one by the other’s name–and remember they NEVER even looked alike! We gave them the “go ahead” to politely but firmly remind their teachers who they were. And trust me–over the years it happened a number of times and we taught with these same folks!!!!!

    Comment by Carla — March 26, 2013 @ 5:20 pm | Reply

    • I guess that was one benefit of being an only child. No one with whom to compare me!

      Comment by abozza — March 26, 2013 @ 5:26 pm | Reply

  6. Yeah, my parents (and every teacher we ever had) totally did this to my younger sister. Luckily she was not the jealous type and we are best friends! But it could just have easily gone the other way (and I’ve seen it with friends of mine and their sisters).

    Thanks for coming by Urban Moo Cow!

    Comment by Deb — March 27, 2013 @ 8:26 pm | Reply

    • Glad to hear she was able to deal with it!

      Comment by abozza — March 29, 2013 @ 8:01 am | Reply

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