It’s no secret that social media comparison has a massive effect on children today.
Every time they open Instagram, your kids have the opportunity to see someone who is living a life “cooler” than their own. Your child can come home thrilled about an A on his math test, and then feel crushed moments later when he sees on Facebook that someone else got an A+. With their self-worth tied up in how many likes their newest post gets instead of being the best version of themselves, it can be hard to figure out what to say and how to get children to see that comparing their lives to someone else is a sure path to low self-esteem.
So what does that mean for us as parents? How can we best help them navigate through something we never had to experience in our own childhood?
The best way I know how is through storytelling.
In every story, there is a protagonist. This protagonist is going about his adventures, saving worlds or fighting crime, without any thought about what a different protagonist in a different story is doing. My character John in Night Buddies didn’t think about Harry Potter, and how much cooler Harry Potter’s story was than his. He just went about with his best friends living the story he was in as best he could.
Remind your child that he is the protagonist in his own life. There are cool stories happening around him, but none as cool as the one he is living right now. Even when he is going through a tough time, remind him that no story could be complete without conflict—you can even try pointing out the obstacles his favorite protagonist had to face in his favorite story!
Most of all, when your child is feeling down about not living a life as cool as someone they see on social media, remind them of this: They don’t just get to be the protagonist of their own story, they get to be the author too.
How do you handle issues of comparison? Let me know in the comments below!