Disclaimer: I am not a child psychologist or any kind of psychologist for that matter, so the statements below are of my opinion only. I did graduate with a bachelors degree majoring in Psychology if that helps… which I doubt. And, as we are of different personalities and temperaments, the assumptions below may vary from child to child.
As someone in her early adult phase who vividly remembers significant memories that reared her into what she is now, I am appealing to you both parents and soon to be parents to please, no matter how angry you are at your kid/s to avoid comparing them with other “ideal” kids.
Dig deep into your memories and try to remember how it felt like to be compared to your smarter sibling, your responsible friend or your boring reserved cousin… I assume that it’s not a very pleasing memory to look back to.
Your child might be experiencing the same uneasy feeling. But if you can’t help it, might as well do it in the privacy of your home with only the you and your kid/s. It’s embarrassing enough to have other people around who know the children involved, what more if the “ideal kid” is there basking in all the praises you are showering him at the price of your child’s self-esteem. For all you know, you might be throwing the praises at the wrong child.
Now, I don’t think that comparing is not all bad, but there are more negative than positive outcomes in doing so.
As previously mentioned, your child’s self esteem gets lower. And you wonder why he is cooped up inside his room, socialising with his computer than other people.
Comparing your child to someone he is close to may lead to hostility. He might despise the “ideal kid”. Your child might become a little green monster, even. Whatever the relation between these young-ins have before will possibly be on the rocks.
Other than the child perceiving it as a healthy competition, or as a catalyst for positive change, I don’t see any positive outcome from comparing them to their peers.
Also, don’t be too full of yourself because in your skewed point of view, as the child’s parent, you have the bragging rights to be your child’s idol. Did it ever occur to you that, your child might be wishing he had a different parent/pair of parents, that he belongs to another family or that he was never born at all? Yes, children no matter how young they are, are capable of these thoughts.
Anyway, this post was made without the intention of preaching about parenting since I am still the mother of no one. Rather, it is more of a reminder of how it feels like to be compared lest you forgot. After all, negative memories should be buried in the past.