How to Spot Over-Competitive Behavior in Children

Here's how you can spot over-competitive behavior in children.

People live in a very competitive world now that the world has gone global. The population has grown immensely in the last 50 years. There are more cars on the roads and more two-parent households are now working full time. Colleges are competing for students as more and more online Universities have sprung up in the last 25 years. Jobs are competing for good employees and employees are competing for good jobs. People are afraid of being ousted as they reach their fifties because the younger generation is coming up the ranks and are able to work their job for half the salary a person that has been in the company for 20 years. Sports are competitive and so are politics. Children that come from larger families are also competing for the attention of their parents.

How do you as parents look for that over-competitive behavior in your children?

When your child has this vicious streak to win and becomes downright nasty when he loses, parents have a problem on their hands. If your family is playing a card game and your child displays a variety of emotions because he or she lost, then this is a sign that you have an overly competitive child. This is something you as parents have to squash when you watch them play games with friends, family or are in a sports-related event. The best way to start is by praising them for winning but not making a super big deal about the win. If you are the type of parent who yells when they lose, they are going to develop these competitive emotions. Your child watches how you react when playing games, or overhears your conversations when you talk about winning that job over someone else. This is where they first start to learn that being overly competitive will get everyone’s attention.

Kids are sensitive when it comes to pleasing their parents. Don’t put pressure on your children because they will begin to feel that their parent’s only will love them if they live up to their parent’s standards. In addition, be careful about how you word children’s chores around the house. If you say something like “whoever is done first, gets a treat”, you might be creating that green monster called jealousy. This then causes more competition and tension. Try to praise all your children for everything they do as an individual instead of making it a race. Don’t toot your own horn too much either in front of your kids.

It’s great when your kids have sleepovers or play games in the yard with their friends, but remember you are a parent, not a child. Don’t try and relive your childhood by joining in with your children and their friends. Let your child choose what they want to do and at the level, they are capable of competing at. You don’t have to judge your parenting skills by how well your child is doing with their lives. Everyone is different and while you might have been a social butterfly and struggled with your grades, your child might be more reserved and not have to struggle with their schoolwork. The last thing you want is to create an unhealthy competitive relationship between you and your children.

What to do?

The best thing you can do for your child is to show them unconditional love at all times because they won’t have that fear of losing. Children that are highly competitive have quite a bit of anxiety that plagues them constantly if they are stuck believing that love from their parent only comes when they win. This is when kids tend to say no they are not interested in participating in sports because they feel that they are inadequate and won’t win. They don’t want to suffer the feeling of failure that they feel will come from their parents. Make sure if your child team loses that you tell your child they played a good game. Sometimes kids are mismatched when it comes to other teams and the other team might be a grade ahead of your child’s team. This doesn’t mean they won’t win another time, but it might mean they didn’t have a fair chance.

Television is another culprit when it comes to competition because it’s constantly on the news ranging from political opponents to sports. Everything is about winning and this also includes the entertainment industry when the academy awards and Grammy awards are on. This is the time parents can take advantage of this opportunity of telling them the pitfalls of too much competition. In their world, if they lose, the whole world doesn’t know about it, but in the eyes of the world watching sports, awards for entertainment and other events, including marriage and divorce, the whole world knows who wins and who loses.

Competition never hurts anyone in small doses but it can be very negative and damaging when kids start to see others as a threat. Kids also begin to worry that one failure will ruin them forever and they will never be a success at anything they do. Parents are the ones who set the pace for every life adventure your child tries and participates in. If the parent is the type to disrespect authority, that is the example they set for their children. If they are sore losers and gloat over their constant successes, they are setting this example for their children. Keep everything at a happy medium and remember that unconditional love if the key for all of the successes your children have. These are the kids that are well balanced and know that their parents will always make sure they are in a safe environment. These are the kids that will not be afraid to explore new opportunities in life.

Parents should take note of their own attitudes towards life and the things your child will be exposed to. This way parents can talk about competition with their children when they have a question and the way you as parents handle this conversation will always help to ensure your child’s success.