What Is Healthy Competition? Find This Out Before You Teach It To Your Child
Created by Sugandha Tiwari Updated on Sep 14, 2017
"Race you to the kitchen!" Shweta's first born, Karn, 7, yelled. And as he edged past Kabir, who is 5 years old, he pumped his fist in the air and cried "You are a loser!" Kabir was reduced to tears, and Shweta was exasperated and worried all at once. Instantly, she wondered if Karn would grow up to be so competitive that he didn't care who was hurt as long as he won.
7-year-old Karn called his brother a loser, and pumped his fist in victory, not because he wanted to hurt his brother. But because as a child, he has only seen winning and losing being portrayed in this manner. He knows the words – win and lose – but doesn't truly understand what they mean, or think about them much further than getting his task done.
What Is Healthy Competition?
Competition is almost a taboo word in some homes, today. Parents don't want their child to be giddy-headed by wins and upset by losses. But we don't live in an idea world where everyone gets to do what they want at any time. Competition can be a good tool not just to master skills, but to teach your child empathy, humility, respect and team-work. When combined with working as a team, your child can learn to encourage and empathize along with skill-building.
How Can I Teach My Child About Healthy Competition?
Here are some tips to promote a spirit of healthy competition in your child-
- Define competition: Teach your child that competition is about setting goals for himself and working hard to achieve them. For instance, if he had gone through the previous poetry recitation competition fumbling through the verse, tell him to prepare well so he can recite without forgetting this time. When he does, what will matter to him is that he achieved what he set out to
- Focus on skill building:Place importance on learning a skill rather than the outcome of a contest. If your child is learning to play an instrument, get him to practice regularly so that he masters the skill and enjoys himself doing it. Give praise and encouragement, so that he learns to look at his ability in an absolute sense, and not in comparison to another child. Refrain from comments like "Rahul knows how to play so many songs, come on, you'd better pick up quickly." These are damaging to your child's self-worth
- Respect your child's Individuality and needs:Every child has unique ways of performing and preparing to perform. As a parent you must make an effort to know what your child's requirements are. For eg. Some children might be more confident with teams while others prefer individual sports. There are children who need more affirmation and motivation than others. Some might require help with organizing things before competition day. So understand what your child needs and act accordingly
- Winning and losingdo not define self-worth: Focusing too much on the outcome of a competition, rather than the effort that went into the preparation has a negative impact on a child. If your child has worked hard to achieve something, but has missed the victory line by a whisker, focus on the immense effort that went into getting so far. He needs to hear from you that he is not defined by his wins and losses, and that he is the same person regardless
- Encourage your Child to encourage: When you're involved in an activity with your child, encourage regularly. And encourage him to do the same with his friends and siblings. This way, you build a foundation for team-work and cooperation, too. Even when there is a competitive environment, your child will learn the importance of cooperation
- Don't overdo challenges and competition: Understand what is age-appropriate and skill-appropriate for your child. Overloading them with activities and competitions is going to put them under tremendous stress. And when they're stressed, it will take any joy out of the doing what they might actually like to do. Give them time to practice and build skills in something they enjoy doing
- Set an example: How do you react to wins and losses? Do you go overboard celebrating or let loose an angry tirade about that co-worker who let you down? Your child is watching and learning from you every day. What she will pick up from your reaction will be her natural way of response when faced with a similar situation. Be that person you want her to be
Competition is a part of our everyday lives, and does not need to be a bad thing. Talk to your child about the importance of learning and working hard to better themselves each day. Keep communication lines open always so that she can talk to you about her fears and anxieties. And most importantly, encourage your child constantly with positive talk. This way, she will challenge herself and achieve any dream she sets her heart on.
How has competition had an impact on your child? How do you teach her to deal with it? Let us know in the comments section, we'd love to hear from you!
| Sep 14, 2017
healthy competition promotes continuously looking for ways to improve onself and accept ones' defeat gracefully rather than pointing out the flaws in others. I agree with u Sugandha on this we need to set an example for our children by accepting defeat gracefully as we do with success. it's the participation and the efforts that goes in ,which should matter and not the end result.. thanks Sugandha Tiwari for sharing this useful blog with comprehensive list on how to promote healthy competitive spirit in our children.