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Nurturing Your Competitive Child

Do you have a competitive child? (Or are you competitive yourself ? 😉 We think having a competitive child in the family is pretty great. So many positive traits can come from a drive to be the best, including ambition, courage, daring, boldness, commitment.

We’ve got some positive tips today for those who notice a competitive streak in their child, and want help nurturing it in a productive, positive way.

Affirm their gifts and strengths. Not every child is going to be a soccer prodigy or a math whiz. Trying to turn them into one when they’re not could cause undue psychological and emotional stress. Instead, target your child’s strengths and interests and affirm how important they are. If a child is feeling encouraged around an experience or skill that makes them feel happy, they’ll be more motivated to pursue it.

For example, your child may not have scored the winning goal or point in the game. That’s okay! Amplify what they did well. After the game, point out specific examples where they assisted their team in scoring, contributed to an impressive play, or showed kindness to another player. 

Encourage them to be a leader. Embolden your child to lead by example and actions. Help them brainstorm ways they can lead their peers while participating in hobbies, at school, or socially within their friend group. Sometimes real-world examples make it easier. Encourage them to identify trusted leaders such as coaches, teachers, and other parents they look up to. What are the qualities your child admires, and how can they exhibit those qualities in their own life?  

Give them perspective. Losing a game or getting “B” on a test is not the end of the world. If you find your child becoming discouraged by less-than-perfect performance, give them a little perspective. What is motivating them to feel this way? What do they feel they’ve lost as a result of their circumstances? What do they think this experience says about them as a person? Understanding their fears and anxieties will allow you to connect with them on a deeper level, and help them embrace a more positive perspective. 

A little competition never hurt anyone! Through compassionate parenting, you can help them nurture the more positive traits of this mindset without getting too hard on themselves. There’s a win in every situation. Sometimes it just doesn’t look how we anticipated.