Difference between comparison and setting a benchmark

Since Childhood, we are taught one thing, to always perform better than our cousins, friends, neighbors, distant relatives or just merely any person existing on this planet. In the process of comparing our children with other children, who may or may not be of the same age and capability, we are somewhere directly or indirectly, discouraging our child.

While, most of the parents feel that comparison is a method of setting benchmark for children, we often tend to ignore that the best benchmark a parent can set for a child is he himself. When we compare our children with others, we  are teaching them to replicate and not to form their own identity. Probably, that explains, why a majority of kids, when they grow up prefer to comfortably settled down in an easy job and not be an entrepreneur. Why ? Because the benchmark still would be the same cousin or friend or distant relative, who would have bagged a good package with an MNC.

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Comparison is also the reason, why we generally do not appreciate art and culture. The scale of measurement for success for us is directly proportional to the number of zeros in one’s pay check. In the same process, we forget to ask the person, is he or she really happy ? No wonder substance abuse and suicides are increasing at an alarming rate in our society, because instead of working on ourselves and our strengths, we are taught to surrender to fit into the stereotypes of the society. Every minute,this same stereotype kills some artist, or a sportsperson, that we all have hidden amongst us.

If you really want your child to progress in life, then set benchmark for him or her but by mapping their own journey of success. Self Appreciation is often misunderstood as pride and therefore, the skilled set lets go of self appreciation, which often encourages, the unskilled lot proud. Instead of comparison, teach your children to identify their strengths and weakness. Every human being has their own set of strength and weaknesses. I still remember, what my Principal at the law college once told us, while preparing for a competition. “You never know, at what moment, your strength will turn into weakness and your weakenss will turn into strength.”


It is important to identify the talent of your child and the same can be done, only if you provide them with an opportunity to be themselves. Children tend to bring out the best in them only when they are least pressurized. If we teach our children to set benchmarks for themselves, we can probably have better adults, less green monster at work and in personal lives, better artist and sports person and the most important happy and least stressed people.

P.C: Athlomerix.com , Parenting.lk, cio.com

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