Is my child too competitive?

By admin
09 March 2015

All parents want their children to achieve and shine. But what if your child takes the will to win too far and absolutely everything becomes a competition?

We consulted an expert to discover the fine line between healthy achievement and excessive competitiveness.

Unfortunately all of life is one big competition, says CP de Jager, an educational psychologist based in Vanderbijlpark. He gives this advice:

  • Handle failure: “It’s important to handle achievement and failure – especially in primary school children – in the right way. “Children can become emotional and cry if they don’t win or do well on the sports field or academically. It’s important for the parent and teacher to take up a comforting attitude and not criticise the child by saying, ‘You didn’t use the right technique.’ Be sympathetic and understanding; it isn’t pleasant to lose.
  • Aggression: If children get aggressive because they’ve failed, the warning lights should flash. “This is a definite problem and parents should create a loving and comforting environment to defuse the child’s aggression,” he says. He says the three principles parents should use are love, security and discipline to help the child respond better to setbacks. If this doesn’t work professional help should be sought.
  • Unfortunately competition is everywhere: “We must raise children to know that winning isn’t always everything. But they must also realise competition is part of what makes something like sport enjoyable and that there will also be competition when they’re adults.” So children must come to terms with the fact that life is about winners and losers.
  • Set an example: “It’s important that children don’t get horrible when competing and, for example, mock a friend who under-achieves. They must be taught to be sympathetic with their friends. Parents must set an example by handling failures correctly and not overreacting so children will learn one must be able to handle failures.

Find Love!