We have all had our children embarrass us at some point or the other. Imagine your little one pouting and declaring that they are the prettiest in their class or the best on the cricket team! While this seems cute occasionally, it can get out of hand if you do not parent your child the right way. Being competitive is a good thing. But pushing oneself over the edge to be the best or even becoming a know-it-all braggart can send your child on a downward spiral if left unchecked. If, as parents, we create the right conditions for our children to succeed in a competitive environment, it can spur on success in general and lead to overall happiness. Winning moments have a long-term effect on children and leave behind a positive experience for them to recall in future.
Not all children are competitive, however. Some children are discouraged by competition, and it reduces the motivation to win. Therefore it is crucial to understand what makes children competitive, how to encourage healthy competition, and how to manage a hyper-competitive child.
Why are Some Kids Competitive?
Competition has become more perilous and scaled up than before. We are pushing our children from a much younger age to be brighter and better to get into the prestigious schools, the sports clubs, or the exchange programs. But on the other hand, we are protecting our children by mollycoddling them with under-disciplining. Society too, over time has put unwarranted pressure on our children. The media is full of stories about overnight stars, athletes cheating to be successful, reality competitions and so on which peddle the idea that winning is everything. This sends out a message to our children that they must be winners all the time. An entire generation is walking around in fear of losing. This fear can threaten the lives of our children by pushing them towards unrealistic perfectionism or drag them down by stopping them from even trying.
Signs Your Child Might be Hyper Competitive
It is not hard to spot a hyper-competitive child. There is always a tell when a child is overly competitive:
- They tend to be negatively critical about themselves.
- You child brags about themselves at every chance they get.
- Cheating to win doesn’t seem like a bad thing.
- Your child doesn’t have any respect for peers or competitors.
- Your child is burning themselves out in trying to be the best.
- They throw tantrums, talk back, or sulk when they do not win.
How to Teach Control to a Super Competitive Child?
It is not an easy task to parent children who have a competitive streak. Raising a competitive child requires intelligent and perceptive parenting skills. Here is how you can teach your child to enter a contest and take part productively rather than be hyper-competitive.
1. Channel Their Passion Correctly
Teach your child to enjoy what they do while highlighting the fact that they can do more than just winning with their talent. They can be part of a team, make friends, and have fun.
2. Cultivate Good Leadership in Your Child
Get your child to teach others. This will help your child feel a sense of accomplishment, and they are motivated to do well to set the right example.
3. Provide Positive Reinforcement and Appreciate Them
Appreciate your child’s strengths. Encourage them to work on their strengths and stimulate them enough to want to be good. Tell them how their efforts are more important than the outcome.
4. Teach them to Lose Gracefully
Show your child unconditional love and support when they lose. This will help them lose gracefully. Teach them that trying is more important than winning. Humility and grace need to be at the top of your child’s priorities.
5. Encourage Children to Widen their Horizon
Get your child to try out new challenges. Often children are afraid to take up new tasks because they risk failure. Help them understand that unless they try, they will never find out what they are naturally good at.
6. Call out Negative Behaviour
If your baby is slapping his iPad in frustration or shouting at his laces because he can’t get them on, then talk to them about it. Remind them that the behaviour is not alright and doesn’t balance out for being good at something else.
7. Help them Prioritize What They Need to Achieve
Make sure your children do not sign up for more than they can handle. They will run themselves ragged in trying to be an over-achiever. Teach your kid to prioritise their tasks appropriately.
8. Do Not Push Your Agenda on Your Child
Remember that your child has their own life. It involves aspirations, likes and dislikes that are separate from yours. Do not push your agenda on your child because you think it is what’s right for them.
It is essential to strike a balance so that your child is not discouraged by competition, but neither do they become self-defeating perfectionists. Set the right standards, be loving, and kind to your child so that they blossom into achievers who respect a healthy competition and know when to walk away gracefully too.