The answer is: It depends! There is nothing intrinsically wrong with competition—it can be fun to compete. The problem comes when a child equates her worth with the outcome of the competition. I’m worthy if I win. I’m worth less if I lose. A child who knows his Inherent Worth (IW) will be OK no matter what the outcome of the competition—his worth is not at stake. Competition will be fun for the competitors when they are secure in their awareness of their IW. Avoid competitions until you are sure of that. If you can’t avoid it here are a few tips:
Teachers and coaches may more interested in the outcome of competitions than the children they are coaching. They may have negative beliefs that are driving them to live vicariously through their students. I’ve witnessed appallingly petty behavior of school principals over speaking contest results when they felt their school’s reputations were at stake.
Similarly, other parents may be too competitive. We’ve all seen clips of over-zealous parents yelling at the five-year-old soccer players on the other team! Make sure they know your feelings about competitions and decide if this is an environment you want your child to participate in. Express your commitment to your child having fun, being a good sport, and not being concerned about the outcome then set about making sure that your child knows who she is—an Inherently Worthy being.
Imagine if sports heroes were all playing for the fun of the game how much joy could be shared with the world!
Was this post helpful? How has competition or competitiveness impacted your life? I’d love to hear from you!
I’m passionate about prevention of substance abuse, depression, bullying, and suicide in teens, and I’ve chosen to spend my time helping parents to raise resilient, bully-proof, addiction-free kids. I know firsthand the emotional and financial costs of having a troubled teenager and I don’t want that to happen to you.