As we saw in the earlier posts, contrary to conventional thought, competitiveness isn’t strategically as advantageous in the present times for both kids and adults. The competitive world that we deem as the strongest reason to raise a competitive child needs to be the strongest reason to raise an uncompetitive child; as the excess competitiveness has become the biggest vulnerability to life nowadays.
I recently read a quote by Frederick Douglass in a book: “It is easier to build strong children than to repair broken men.”
So, what do you think – With the tons of responsibilities do we have lots of time to spend with young children to tackle the issues they face by constant comparison and competition?
If not, isn’t it in our and child’s best interest to give up the habit of comparing completely and try something else.
The most fundamental step to make a progress would be not just to stop comparing one child to another but also to stop comparing ourselves with anyone, as actions speak louder than words. Not even a slightest inkling of comparison or competition should be perceived by the child. Preaching what you don’t practice isn’t child’s play.
The next crucial move would be to take the positive advantage of the inescapable competitions the world offers, by considering each of them as a learning opportunity rather than a fighting chance. Take time to understand and make them understand the right purpose of the competitions they have to face ahead; otherwise the rapidly moving world will definitely make them comprehend the wrong one. However, our words and actions need to be in harmony. For instance, it is quite uncalled-for to assert that childhood competitions help children to accept failure gracefully yet scolding the child when he fails; similarly, claiming that competition teaches discipline and hard work, but giving more weigh to becoming a champion instead of adhering to regulations and morals. If there’s such a disagreement between words and actions, ultimately, no matter what we teach them, such responses preach them that winning is of paramount important. However as Eleanor Roosevelt said “Happiness is not a goal. It’s a by-product of a life well lived.” On similar grounds, “Success should not be a goal; it ought to be a by-product of a game well played.”
Quite regrettably the lack of consensus on the understanding we share with them and the way we respond will reflect hypocrisy to an older child and confusion to a young child, subsequently, weakening the child’s trust accompanied by sense of loss of dignity for the parent. And, unfortunately, there’s a good chance the next time the parent tries to explain something to the child, he or she lands up just being heard instead of being listened, leading to frustration and disappointment in the parent, further ruining the parent-child relationship and sowing the seeds of the blame game.
A way to get around such problems would be to prepare beforehand for every scheduled competition by a brief, honest and most importantly organized pep talk– fixated on why to compete, how to compete and what to learn – followed by a true exchange of words post competition about how was it faced, with the parent mostly being the listener rather than the talker, irrespective of whether it was a victory or not.
Here are few other efforts to be made and situations to watch over to avoid children from falling prey to the adverse consequences of the competitive battleground –
- Encourage them to be cooperative at home and public gatherings
The easiest way to imbibe cooperative skills would be to involve them in household chores by – trusting them with the job to be done, taking things lightly, forgiving them for the mistakes they make with the understanding that they are learning.
- Keep attention while teaching values
To attain the objective of teaching them the values of love and respect without unintentionally drifting towards teaching them the tendency to please people: Firstly, keep an eye on your thoughts and behavior while asking them to acknowledge someone, make sure that the purpose is not to please someone. Secondly, drop the weapon of ‘taking offence or sulking and coaxing’, we are all habituated to. Taking offense could have been your weapon as a youngster but it shouldn’t be a weapon of a parent or a spouse. Thirdly, don’t allow public opinion to shape your interaction with your child – few parents don’t feel like scolding a child for a displeasing act at a social function but still do scold them, so that nobody questions their discipline and mannerisms. Parent’s act of chasing public opinion teaches child that it is always righteous to follow public opinion, a pathetic fallacy which can even lead to bad behavior or immoral conduct as public opinion is not always an ethical criteria to meet.
- Befriend Strong People
Guide them to surround themselves with strong people and not to befriend or disregard someone on the basis of temporary winning or losing. Before that, make sure you don’t put on with people on the basis of their victory and defeat, or model any kind of biased code of conduct.
- Indulge a habit of appreciating efforts and not results
Be very cautious when you appreciate some other child in front of your child; never appreciate to motivate your child or to make him or her feel inferior, try to understand everyone has different capabilities. Appreciate to motivate further only if you find child’s efforts worthy and not to make the child or anyone happy.
- Don’t use external motivation
To limit the children’s increasing desire for a newer product available in the market, it is a trend to use another gadget or toy as a reward for a goal accomplished by a child, and holding off to offer anything for the unattainableness of the expected result. Parents think they are conducting fairly and are hitting right on target by disciplining in such a way as it fulfills the demand of child making him or her happy and also makes the child to work hard and achieve the goal. However, they are unintentionally not only restraining the learning process but also not providing internal motivation enough room to grow.
Last but not the least, Don’t let the fear of tomorrow govern their childhood.
Aforestated measures can help in cutting off the negative effects that the coming generations are bound to face in the future due to ever expanding spirit of competitiveness. Risk is not called a risk but an opportunity to grab when there is creeping darkness along the way and total darkness awaiting ahead.
So, I guess it’s time for you to think over and then share in the comment box below which side of the coin you want to flip your children to but before that please assure that you are sticking around the same side, so that they are not left unattended.
Featured Image from Pixabay