The Stress in Comparing Your Child With Others...

~ Posted on Thursday, September 06, 2012 at 2:52 PM ~

The other day in Ben's Sunday class, I experienced for the first time how stressful it is to compare my own child with others... FYI, I have shifted Ben to the 3-4 years old children group 3 weeks back and as he is still new in this class, I can still accompany him. Plus, I think he is still too attached with me and insisted I sit next to him everytime.

So anyway, in the first class Ben obviously hated being in a new environment, new teachers, new kids, new everything. Unlike the 1.5-3 years old class group he was previously in, now there are no more taking off shoes in the class, no more sitting on carpeted floors, no more being able to play the toys freely.

During activities time, I realised Ben was a bit advanced then the rest of the kids in his table when it comes to the glue and paste task. This was mainly because I do quite a number of such tasks with him in our learning lessons everyday.

In the recent class, the children were given a printed paper with 3 sections, each section showing a child doing a particular task such as cleaning up toys, throwing rubbish into the dustbin and so on. Each children in the class had to color the printed paper and then glue this colored piece of paper that matches the same image on the printed paper.

Ben went on excitedly and chose his favorite red color pencil and draw - everywhere. I kept reminding him to color within the shapes. I looked on his left, a little girl named Melissa was slowly coloring this little cube on her paper, when I said slowly, she really was very slow in coloring. Another girl on Ben's right was accompanied by her mum was coloring herself while her mother looked on.

After Ben finished his coloring (which he trailed off with his doodling when he lost interest in coloring), he looked at me tiredly and told me he is 'tired and no energy and hungry'. Sigh... Then I checked back at Melissa who is STILL coloring the same cube. Then I looked at the girl on Ben's right, most of the colors were inside the shapes which was pretty neat.

I nudged Ben to color somemore but he wouldn't have it. He leaned on my legs and started whining the tired-no energy-hungry phrase. Then I realised he's telling the truth. He was hungry. Yikes, my bad. So I kept comforting him to wait a little while as after crafts time, the teachers will hand out snacks for the children. Of course I do have some snacks in my bag but I thought better to wait for the rest of the kids.

I glanced around and noticed kids from the other tables are gluing the colored pieces. All except the kids on our table. So I signalled to one of the teacher that we don't have any glue. Then the teacher handed a glue to us and when it was Ben's turn to glue his colored pieces, he immediately got his correctly, matching the colored pieces and gluing them himself.

I checked out Melissa again, she was coloring the shelf on her paper while the girl on Ben's right sits patiently waiting for her mum to put on the glue for her. I looked further and saw a dad telling his daughter where to put the colored pieces.

Then I looked back at Ben who was happily matching the colored pieces and trying to paste the last one... when the teacher came over and snatched his colored piece and tried helping him to glue it onto his paper.

Oh my... Ben look pissed. He immediately crossed his arms and kept real quiet and I quickly told the teacher there is no need for her to help my boy out as he was managing pretty fine. She passed back the colored piece to him but he refused to take it. I just told the teacher is OK, let me handle him and then I had to comfort my boy, telling him that the teacher thought he is having problems matching the item and gluing it and that she's just trying to help.

Ben told me he doesn't want to do anymore, that he can't do anymore. Sigh... I think I understand why he reacted this way. If I were him, I'd be pissed too. I mean, here I am, trying to glue something which I know where it matches to and someone else just swooped in and thinks I can't do anything at all. Of course I am pissed if I was him. It's like I'm being made useless and stupid.

So anyway, after much coaxing, Ben finally took the colored pieces and glued it back onto his printed paper.

Picture above taken after Ben completed pasting the colored pieces that matches the printed paper. You can see the teacher trying to help Melissa on the left in gluing the colored pieces.

Now lessons learned from this:

- I should not compare my child with others. True, he doesn't color within the shapes this time and it's all over the page but he does his matching and gluing by himself. What he is not capable of (at this moment) or slow in (again, at this moment), he does better in other areas. Each child has their own characteristics and abilities.

- That said, I should also not give myself stress over small things like this! I mean, my boy is behaving and does not disturb the class nor run around doing other things (well there is a boy at our table who keeps passing color pencils to us instead of coloring his paper), in fact, I should be happy that my boy is attending the class!

- We as adults should not help our children too much. Guide yes, nudged abit OK, but not to the extent of taking over what the child is trying to do and doing it for them. Sorry teacher in the class, I think what you did (yes, good intention I understand) are not helping my child. It makes him feel he is not capable of doing something. It might also make a child lazy since there will be an adult to help him.

There you go, just another mummy rant of mine...

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