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<p>DD (almost 8) has been extra emotional lately, and one thing that's been upsetting her has been comparing herself to other kids. She felt too babyish compared to the other kids in her swim class (who were older and bigger), and she felt like she was worse at everything than they were. And she's been saying that a friend of hers knows more than she does and is better at everything.</p>
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<p>Part of the way I've been responding feels wrong to me, even though it seems to make her feel a bit better. I found myself pointing out things that other kids in the swim class were having trouble with, and mentioning things she seemed to do better than the others. And when she asked me if I could think of anything she was better at than her friend, besides drawing (DD recognizes that she is very good at drawing), I obliged by listing things I thought DD was probably better at. But by doing that, I feel like I'm reinforcing the idea that it really matters who is better, and also showing her that I'm keeping track of how she compares to other kids in everything. I feel like I ought to be giving her some completely different message, somehow convincing her that it doesn't matter who's better at what.</p>
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<p>But it also feels wrong to let her suffer under the misconception that other kids are better at everything, when it's simply not true. If I just tell her it doesn't matter whether she or her friend is better at more things, she'll be left assuming she really is inferior.  And I'm sure it will still matter to her, no matter what I say, so then she'll have another thing to get down on herself for - getting upset over something that isn't supposed to matter. And anyway, I'm not completely sure I believe it doesn't matter.</p>
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<p>Do most kids her age feel inferior when they compare themselves to other kids? (I know I tended to.) How do other parents deal with it? I guess there are two sort of separate issues: How do I make DD feel better when she starts feeling inferior? And what kind of message should I be giving her about comparisons with other people?</p>
 
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