When it comes to parenting styles, there’s an entire spectrum of ideas, opinions and ideals. This blog is not about what’s right and wrong, but about equipping your child with some life skills and values to make ‘life’ a little more manageable.
What do I mean by, ‘Competitive Child?” I am not talking about a child who is obsessed with winning, puts down others or will trample anyone who gets in his/her way.
I am talking about a child who understands that they can’t always win, they won’t always be first, and that the older they get, the less control the adults in their world have over these outcomes. But most importantly, I am talking about a child who can make the connection between their personal efforts and their achievements.
You see, as parents, we want to see our children happy. We want them to experience success. It breaks our hearts to see them upset. So our natural instinct is to ‘let them win’ the family games, deliberately run slow in a backyard race, or to pick them up when they’ve lost something, and try and rectify the situation. This is a perfect example of a short term fix that can have long term ramifications.
When my child loses a family game, we can practise dealing with tantrums and we can talk about managing our feelings, hopefully without a meltdown. As he gets older we can talk about strategy and why he lost. Was it pure chance or could the situation have played out differently? So yes, ultimately I want to avoid the ‘sore loser’ response, but I also want to support a problem solver, with the ability to think ahead and plan for, ‘next time.’
Here are my top 5 reasons to raise a competitive child:
- Life is not always ‘fair’, and you most certainly do not always win
- Our greatest accomplishments come from hardships, we appreciate the good, because of the bad
- To a certain degree, we control our own destiny so work hard, learn from losses and mistakes and improve for next time
- Understanding what it feels like to lose makes us more empathetic to others and their emotions
- When my child does win, he can celebrate his success with humility and an awareness of how it came about, not just because Mum ran slow
I am a very competitive person. This means I work hard for a desired outcome, I reflect on situations and forward plan a different outcome for next time. It is these values in life, that I wish to pass onto my child. I want him to learn these lessons through losing, not only by winning.
We can’t always win, but we can always learn.