We all know what it is, and we often try not to do it or to get involved. Some of us even revel in it. But if you don’t and you are a natural born worrier, competitive mum syndrome can be a soul destroyer, and create developmental paranoia that ruins the joy of bringing up your little baby.
What to do then? Other than resorting to techniques that Frank Bruno would be proud of, which clearly won’t help anyone…
As a mum to two very different children, a boy who never stops moving, and a girl who never stops talking, I have encountered competitive mum syndrome, both in myself and in others.
So here are my top five things to remember so you can ignore it and overcome those feelings of inadequacy when faced with the inevitable: “My daughter was quoting Shakespeare in the womb.”
We are all unique
We all know this, but for some reason we forget when it comes to child development. My daughter has brown hair, and walked at 12 months, and spoke in longer sentences at just over three. Little man is blonder, walked at 12 months too, but wasn’t talking well until over three. Why is development any different to any other qualities our children have, whether its hair colour, height, or how grumpy they get after a nap?
We all have particular talents
I can chat for England. So can my daughter. She spoke well a good year before my son. My son can run faster than her and is over 18 months younger. He’s physical it appears. She is cerebral. Sometimes a child will be focused on one area so that another is slower to develop. My own personal example show how this stark contrast is even in siblings.
We all get there in the end
The example above shows the difference in my children’s abilities, however they both speak clearly, walk well and run far too fast away from me. They both got it together when they were ready, and that’s something that we need to focus on. Everyone’s timing is different and that should be respected.
Competitiveness may mask insecurity
My experience tells me that the competitive parent may be projecting. Competitive parents can be worried and insecure about something and are trying to make up for it by reassuring themselves. Perhaps they actually need a listening ear about their child’s development rather than a competitive response; you never know until you try, eh?
It doesn’t really matter
Unless there is a real concern because development is severely delayed, it doesn’t really matter. If you do have a concern, do talk to a health visitor though. That’s what they are there for, and they are best placed to explain what your child should really be able to achieve at their age.
Simple but effective I assure you.
However, if all else fails, just give your baby a cuddle and you’ll soon realise that they are wonderful the way they are anyway.
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Note: this article first appeared on the Yahoo Contribution Network, authored by Helen Neale. It has been reproduced by permission of the site, where it is no longer available.