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7 Sins of A Disappointed Father: #4 The Sibling Comparison

July 14, 2012

“You know we never had these issues with your sister.”  “You should be more like your brother.”  “Your sister never got anything lower than a B+.”  “Your brother was the top athlete in his school.”

Fathers, have you ever heard yourself say something like the quotes above?  Comparing siblings is one of the deadliest tricks of the disappointed father.  When we compare our kids to each other, nobody comes out a winner.  The kid on the negative side of the comparison feels shamed, while the kid on the positive side of the comparison now has the wrath of his/her siblings.  As fathers, we look small and not really interested in the uniqueness of our kids.

We certainly can challenge our kids to be great, but not in the context of comparing them to another sibling.  The younger child who follows a star student/athlete in school already intuitively feels the burden of following in the footsteps of their famous sibling.  They do not need us to pile on and suggest that they are lesser if they are not the same as the older sibling.

Instead, let’s focus on the unique giftings and strengths  of each child and build on them. When we lovingly challenge and support the abilities of each of our children, we set them on the path to personal greatness.

Patrick Donohue is a Life Coach in Oak Park, IL.  Contact him at

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