You want your child to be the best she can be -- of course! There’s no denying that. And just about every single mom and dad we know wants the same for his/her kids. However, have you started to worry that maybe this need might be a bit much? If you can relate to these signs below, then it might be time to take a step back and chill out.
1. You find yourself constantly comparing your child to other children.
You’re at a children’s party and you notice that a toddler who is about as big as your baby is walking around without help. You ask the mom or yaya how old he is and can’t help but feel a grip of panic that he’s the same age as your son and your son is only cruising! You start to ask about all the other milestones and mentally tick off the ones you need to work on the minute you get home.
2. You love showing off your child’s skills. You practice songs, letters, and numbers with your small one every single day. So of course, you glow with pride when he recites them all and can sing all the nursery rhymes with their corresponding actions. But you are in seventh heaven when there are other kids present who can only look on and the moms around you say in awe, “Wow, he’s so smart!” It’s more gratifying when you can see that he’s way more advanced than the other kids.
3. You guard secrets very well, especially when they come to your child’s costume at the talent competition.
You can’t let the other parents find out what your child will be wearing or they might steal the idea! So you find out in your best stealthy way what the other kids are wearing (you don’t want any duplicates), but when they ask what yours is, you just smile and say, “secret!” Besides, they aren’t as invested in this as you are. No one is.
4. Awards are a very big deal to you. When your little one’s classmate gets a medal in school, you ask your daughter what it's for and why the other girl got it and not her. You try your best not to show your displeasure, but somehow, you can’t help it. If you aren’t happy with your daughter’s answers, you ask the teacher about it and make a list of how you can help your child win it next time.
5. Your child has to have the best (or the worst!) experiences.
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When you’re comparing notes with another parent, you can’t help but trump their stories with one of your own. Why not? They’re true anyway. Especially when it comes to horror stories. A mommy friend is complaining her baby kept her up since four AM? Well, yours didn’t let you get a wink of sleep all night! Does she think her allergies are bad? You whip out your phone to show her what bad allergies really look like!
6. Winning is the goal. Yes, you teach your child that it’s important to be a good sport and to enjoy the game. But you also know that it’s important to do whatever it takes (within reasonable limits of course) to win. If you can put in a little bit more practice time or maybe get the coach to follow your game plan so your son's basketball team can finally win a game, you will do it.
7. Grades are proof of intelligence so you make sure your child proves herself. You make sure to check each and every quiz, test, and seatwork score. And if your child makes a mistake, you drill her on it till you are assured she will never make that mistake again. When the report card arrives, you go over it once, twice, and finally with your child and analyze each mark. You discuss how to do better or how to maintain good grades. It’s important to drill into her just how valuable great scores are. And if she complains? It’s easy to motivate her by saying she won’t be number one anymore and so-and-so (who is currently number two) will take her place.
8. Every single milestone and achievement has to be posted on social media.
You’re proud and you want everyone to be proud of your child as well. So her perfect grades, her skill at playing the piano, her ballet recital photos, and her medals from her spelling bee are all documented and uploaded on all your social media accounts with long explanations of how they came about and just how proud everyone is. Then you check every few minutes to see how many likes your posts get as compared to the similar post of your daughter’s classmate.
Recognize yourself? Don’t stress. There’s nothing wrong with friendly competition. It makes things more exciting and can even be a great learning experience. But when you begin to notice that it’s becoming more about your need to win and less about your child, it’s time to pause and rethink your motivations. If your child’s success is what gives you your boost of self-worth, maybe it’s time to take up a sport or a hobby where you can channel all your competitive energy productively.
Ines Bautista-Yao is a wife and mom of two girls, a seven-year-old and a two-year-old. Former editor-in-chief of Candy and K-Zone magazines, she is the author of young adult and new adult books entitled One Crazy Summer, What’s in your Heart, and Only a Kiss. She also blogs about the many challenges and joys of motherhood at theeverydayprojectblog.com.