Parenting, Competition, And Your Child

“Remember to smile, honey.” “You are going to win!” “Don’t disappoint your mommy and daddy.”
You may have heard these words spoken to children during sports competitions or, more specifically, beauty pageants. While some may call it friendly competition; others are asking themselves, “Are you pushing your child too far?” This is a parenting question we should all ask ourselves. While we want to encourage our children to do their best, we don't want to push them to a point that can turn into resentment.

Here are some more examples of how putting too much pressure on your can do more harm than good: “Whenever I take Tammy to her dance class, she screams and cries all the way there. I have to struggle just to get her inside the room. She goes off into a tantrum and refuses to participate.” “What happened, Ronny?, why did you drop the ball? It was an easy grounder; what’s wrong with you? From now on, you are going to practice every day after school!” Why are parents putting so much pressure on children?

In Tammy’s case, her mom probably wanted to be a dancer and missed her chance. In Ronny’s case, his dad sees his son’s inability to perform as an embarrassment or an affront against him. Parents who push their children too far do so for their own selfish reasons. Instead of encouraging a child to excel in a sport or recreation they are particularly good at; some parents choose for them, and because the child wants to please – will succumb to the parent’s wishes.
Certainly it may start out as friendly competition; but when a parent refuses to acknowledge the child may not have the skills or acumen to continue to participate, the line is crossed and the pushing and cajoling begins. Who decided that children must accomplish the impossible before they reach the age of maturity? Moreover, why is the obvious damage to the child’s psychological state being overlooked?

Competition, in most cases, can be healthy. It improves a child’s self-esteem and builds . However, when parents push a child to perform that which they are neither capable nor interested; a recipe for disaster ensues. Children must be allowed to play and act as children. It is vital to their emotional and psychological growth. To relegate them to a higher standard of excellence before they are sufficiently prepared is a recipe for disaster.

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Comments on Parenting, Competition, And Your Child Leave a Comment

March 5, 2007

skeet @ 4:25 pm #

You've made some wonderful points, and I'd like to add one more, if you dont' mind. You said "the child may not have the skills or acumen to continue to participate …" Take it one step further parents, please! The child may not have the desire to play baseball or be a violinist! Help them find the confidence-building activities that they can develop their own passion for, instead of trying to get them to conform to yours! Sure, get them to try different things, but remember that their own choices are valid, too. The things that they love are the things they'll put the most effort into. Give them that chance!

Wonderful choice to include in the Carnival of Family Life!

March 6, 2007

Excellent points and some I've felt many a times both as a youth and as a parent. As in all things the reason why defines the how and when and that makes it the most important one to answer.

Holly's Corner
Here via the Carnival of Family Life ;)…again. 😉

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