Competition is not only a part of the human experience, it’s also part of life itself. Survival of the Fittest, Darwin’s theory that states that most fit animals are the ones that reproduce and carry on their species is itself a product of competition. Exposing your children to competition can be a great way to prepare them for the many years ahead in which they’ll face all sorts of competition, but there are some simply dos and don’ts that you’ll want to keep in mind before you do:
DON’T try to recreate your childhood. So many parents try to live out their own failed dreams via their children and that is unfair to both parent and child. Remember that what you enjoyed doing thirty or forty years ago may not necessarily be what your child loves today as times and society change, so don’t force your children to do what you used to do or wanted to do.
DO talk to your children about their goals. The ability to set and met goals is a crucial one for living a rewarding and fulfilling life. If you want your children to partake in competitions talk to them about what they hope to achieve and how they think the best way to do that is.
DON’T get angry if they don’t win. ‘Winning isn’t everything’ is a phrase one hears in conjunction with loss in some sort of a competition. Cliché though it may be—and some find it a very cold comfort indeed—it is a truth that children need to understand. There’s nothing wrong with losing and that’s an important lesson for children to learn. Remind them (and yourself) that a lost competition is an opportunity to for improvement.
DO provide positive encouragement to keep them going. We can all fall into moments of despondency, especially after loss or rejection, and the temptation is especially strong in children. Remember to provide them with positive feedback and strong encouragement that will motivate them to keep at their hobbies.