(Un)Healthy comparison amongst kids….

Which is the age at which kids learn to compare?At what age do they understand status (social/financial) of their family and their friend’s family?

 

My nephew is 5 year old. He studies in one of the most reputed school in his city. This particular school has kids coming from well off families owning 2 -3 cars and big houses..This is where the problem starts,my bro and bhabhi have two 2 wheelers and a 2bhk flat. As if now they are staying in rented house and would soon be moving to their own flat so they have minimum furniture as of now. Now this is something which really upsets my nephew. When he goes to my 2nd bro’s house there he sees sofa set ,dinning table and all other furniture. Same stuffs he sees at his paternal and maternal grandparents place too. Ofocurse his friends place have many more exotic pieces of furniture.

Hence he thinks his parents do not earn enough money to buy the same things (he is too young to understand that these stuffs are actually not needed now and would be bought once they move to their own house).It makes him sad. He compares his things with other kids in his school and daycare. He goes to Euro kids daycare after his school hours. Again kids there come from wealthy families bringing exotic bag packs , clothes ,shoes etc. Thats where they learn to compare and compete. My nephew had a shirt from Lilliput which he wore to daycare. Another kid of his age cried his heart out to his mum to buy the same shirt for him as he thought his clothes were not as good as my nephew’s. Even my nephew once created a havoc to buy those spider man shoes that his best friend has.

 

This comparison amongst kids is something to worry about. At a tender age of 4-5 years they have learned to compare and feel superior (if they have costly stuffs) or inferior (if their stuff is not as good as their friends).They feel jealous and they get upset to realize that their parents do not earn enough to meet their needs.

 

I once visited bro and bhabhi. I had taken a flight that time though I usually travel by train. And my nephew opened my bag and saw my boarding pass. He immediately asked me if I had come by flight. I knew what was cooking in his mind and I told him that I have as usual come by train and that flight ticket is not mine. I stand guilty here of lying to him but then the need of the hour was to not make him feel sad.

 

Though parents do their best to give their kids best of education and send them in the best schools. But somehow I guess this instead of doing good does harm to their personality as they get more and more involved in comparing and competing. This creates jealousy amongst them. They then make their own group which have kids from similar family background and few kids from not-so-good families are left alone:-(

 

My bhabhi onceย asked my nephew to name his friends in his day care. He named some and then added that his gang does not play with a kid ‘A’ because he does not have many clothes and repeats his dresses quite often. On other occasion he said they don’t speak to another kid as he daily brings same paratha sabzi hence they don’t share their lunch with that kid ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

 

His school has strict uniform and provides lunch to the students hence no comparison there. Thank god for small mercies ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Does it mean that middle level schools are better than these hi-fi schools?But then parents these days definitely don’t want to compromise on school standards and no wonder a good school grooms (enhances) kids personality.

 

But then how to make these kids understand that though healthy competition is good but this comparison based on social status is not acceptable.

Btw I remember when I was a kid it really dint matter to us which of our friend had vehicles,how often they dined in hotels,basically no comparison was done.How come kids these days think so much?So much goes into their tiny brains..no wonder they are GenX or may be GenZ (I really duuno what generation is this,I guess I still live in that old era ๐Ÿ˜‰

Advertisements

12 thoughts on “(Un)Healthy comparison amongst kids….

  1. kids and teens are more prone to peer pressure (we all are, but they are the most vulnerable)….
    there are lots of resources and books for parents to start teaching their pre-schoolers and kids about money, peer pressure….
    I will send you a list of books/resources to forward it your bro and bhabhi…
    PS: I am not saying that your family is not trying but these resources can serve as guidelines…
    please don’t take my suggestion otherwise….

  2. I understand.. this is very difficult to handle Garima… Hope he will realize it soon that materialistic comparison does no good for a honest friendship.. Parents can also try to explain the same whenever they get a chance.. From your post it looks like School is good and the problem is with the daycare setup.. Anyways we cannot control the external forces and choose the friends for our kid but as a parent we can make them realize the true values of life with various incidents..

  3. My brother faced the same problem only he was older in his class 6..we shifted houses and amma appa had to put him in a different school which catered to a higher strata of soc….for one year my bro was the only one in the class whose dad had a luna and didnt own a four wheeler and went to Calcutta for holidays instead of Switzerland and US….he started getting serious complex problems and thankfully he got admission in his old school and he went back there…

    I am actually surprised that five year old kids have this comparison..I always thought it started late!

    I think the right approach would be to make your nephew understand that money is the result of hard work and often not everyone has a lot of money..its a slow process..but I am sure it can be there…also check out this link from the womensweb website…Randomness Returns

  4. First, I’m sorry I just skimmed through your post, so might have missed the details.

    But I’d like to add that the environment kids are brought in, makes a lot of difference to their thought process. A child brought up in a joint family, usually is more social – comfortable in interacting with people, and not cribbing onto parents. Opposite is true for children in nuclear families. Like wise business families (consider Marwari and Gujarati) talk about their work even at home. That’s how the children also pick up the nuances of business in such environment.

    I don’t mean to offend anyone, but in your nephew’s case, if he sees his parents comparing stuff – what car their friends own, where their friends own flat etc., maybe unconsciously they are transferring the same habit. Such discussion are bound to happen between a couple, just that not in front of kids please.

    I again so there’s no offense intended whatsoever, just trying to analyze my way.

    I was brought up in a typical middle class family, and have seen my father grow from an engineer working in shifts to top of the company. My parents never let me know how tight their finances were (they were really tight at times with 2 kids and social expenses). So I had to rather learn the hard way how to balance my finances in college, and when I started working. It like that I think.

  5. OMG a 5 year old with so much comparisions n complexities!! Like u said we did not know about any of this when we were kids… sab ke saath equal masti (Full stop) baap re mere jab bachaa hoga tab aur kya kya dhekna padega..

    On a serious note, frankly this is too much for his age.. Like someone said I guess he needs to be educated abt the importance of money n how hard it is to earn the same..

  6. Goodness! That sounds scary! How is it that children have picked up all this so soon? I have a 5 yr old, but I haven’t hear any such thing from her – so far.. Here she goes to a state school, and they have uniforms, so I am not sure it that helps.. But still for a 5 yr old to feel so bad about these things.. Poor child.. Maybe if your brother and sister in law, sit down and explain to him.. and make him understand that having all those possessions do not actually matter in the long run…

  7. Thank you all for your valubale inputs.Let me just clarify this post is not only about my nephew but all kids in general.Parents do their best to teach kids importance of money but sometimes this complex is driven by external forces like peer pressure,attractive advertisment etc.These factors are so influential that kids tend to get carried away.I guess school uniforms and lunch provided by school/daycare can sort problem to a larger extent as children will not compare.Schools play a vital role in a child’s development and hence they should make an effort to keep equality in school.Also this concept of return gifts on birthday in school should be discouraged.On my nephew’s bday my bhabhi gave all 30 students choclate,pastry and a set of 6 glitter pens.But other parents might not be able to afford the same(on other hand some parents may so much more than this) and this would certianly inculcate inferiority in the kid.

  8. I personally think educating 3-5 year old kids, the importance of money and hardship parents undergo to earn that money may not be the nice idea,they are too young to understand that..secondly some children are sensitive and may take the explanation in a wrong sense.

    Some alternative approach like mandating school uniform,fixing the lunch menu can help solve the problem.Also birthday celebrations should be such that kids enjoy themselves rather than concentrate on what return gift they get.

  9. Hey Garima, I also feel very strongly about these comparisions thing. Im infact thinking of choosing and checking a lot before putting chutku is school. Unfortunately these things are very prominent these dayy. Good post…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s