Why does my child compare himself to his friends?

magyoungparents@sph.com.sg

“Matt has an iPad. Can I have one too?” Sounds familiar? Making social comparisons is a natural part of life and it is how we build our self-identity, starting from a young age.

However, Desiree Wee, a clinical psychologist at the Institute of Mental Health, says children have a hard time distinguishing between needs and wants. “They may think they absolutely have to have what their friends have or they will not be valued in society,” she explains. “They may feel sad, angry or even lonely when they do not seem to live up to society’s standards.”

What can you do?
Desiree suggests acknowledging your child’s feelings. For example, say something like: “I know you would love to have that too” or “iPads are fun and it’s sad when your friend has…

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