Kids and Competition – Not Really Child’s Play

| October 22, 2009 | 0 Comments


It’s a familiar scene – you are in front of your child’s school, waiting for the afternoon bell to ring and the flood of kids rushing from the doors searching for their parents. While you wait to spot your little one in the crowd you get to chatting with the other parents waiting with you. As you make small talk of school activities and children’s achievements, you notice the other parent speaking in a way that makes them sound as if their child is the best child in the world. That they can do no wrong and somehow without their child, the earth would not spin. And you wonder to yourself, why does this conversation feel like a competition? And what can I do about it?

In a society that pushes the “me” mentality onto kids starting at an early age, comparing children to each other and placing them in competitive arenas seems normal, even acceptable. Yet what kind of a disservice are we doing to our kids if we teach them early, through our actions and words, that they are the best and that nothing less than the best will be tolerated? Are we allowing them to fail and learn from their mistakes? What sort of an example of community responsibility are we showing them? What are we teaching them about accepting differences in others? How can children learn a sense of social responsibility, acceptance of differences, and tolerance of others if we do not live the example for them?

Children are amazing gifts. They teach us how to have open minds, remain in wonder at the simplest things, and teach us about what really matters in life. Each child has their own individual combination of qualities that is unique to them, qualities that can only be expressed by that particular child. This expression is something to treasure, appreciate, give thanks for, and most importantly, have its place to shine among all the other children.

So when you find yourself in that awkward place of competition with other parents, take a moment to look around the school yard and observe the other children. Strive to look past the competitive spirit and see the good in another child as they contribute their own unique light to the world. Recognize that every parent out there thinks that their kid is the best, yet take it a step further and recognize for yourself and your family how each child has a unique contribution to make to the whole. When fostering this sense of acceptance and living the example, we all win.

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About the Author ()

Marlena Gray - CCP, CPC, ELI-MP, is a Intimacy and Relationship Life Coach. Marlena offers personal relationship coaching to individuals who want to be completely authentic in all of their relationships. Learn more by visiting

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