Monday, June 15, 2009


Have you noticed that parents just love to compare notes on their kids. It seems to be a favorite way to pass time in our area. Every milestone from first social smile to high school and college of choice is inquired about, followed by, "Oh, Susie did that at age..." or "We're so proud of Jim, he's headed to..." I'm not sure why we do it, and I suppose it is simply harmless conversation fed by healthy parental pride. It can be quite painful, however, when your child is delayed in some area and another parent insists on drawing attention to the gap. Even before we knew the extent of our daughter's challenges it was frustrating to have other parents emphasize how well their child was doing in a particular skill set.

I am slowly learning that the most important thing, instead of comparing our kids, which most experts agree is fruitless anyway since even normative children do things at different ages, is to look for progress. Noting their own personal achievements is much more satisfying. Our daughter's speech teacher recently did an assessment and was pleased to find that our daughter's language skills had improved in a couple of areas to that of an average five year old. Considering that a year ago she was testing at a three year old level, we were quite pleased with her progress. Only later did it occur to me that in my past life I wouldn't have expected to be excited over my child testing average in any area. This shift in attitude in itself is thrilling. I can rejoice in my daughter's achievement in her frame of reference rather than compare her to some external "standard."


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