“Why didn’t you get an A like your cousin?

Many of my clients from Middle Eastern, Indian, or Asian cultures have experienced such questions from their parents. The parents think they are stoking healthy competition. Unfortunately, it’s not always seen that way by the children.

It’s often led them to form a belief about themselves that they are not good enough. They find themselves comparing themselves to their peers more often. Even years later, they still find themselves doing that. When you believe you are not good enough, it can manifest in not taking action with what you want to do. You don’t believe you have what it takes.

I always wondered why parents do this because most parents want the best for their kids. I know the Chinese culture has a tendency to point out your weaknesses so that you can improve in these areas. The parents think it will help the children to do better.

Nowadays, it’s more popular to praise where someone has done well to have more of the same behaviour.

As we are all different, both methods may work for some but not for all. It’s not a one size fits all model, so work out for yourself what you need and what those around you need.

I don’t believe comparing help, rather it hinders. What do you think?