I’ve been meaning to write about competition for ages as it is a really touchy subject. Should there be competition at schools? Why do some mums compete with each other about their children? But I’m particularly writing today because I was talking to a lovely Mum the other day who was feeling bad about suddenly feeling competitive with a work associate, even though it had given her a jolly good kick up the bottom and improved her business no end.
Lots of people are against competitive parents, but those parents would say that they are just trying to get their children the best opportunities. Then there is competition in school, and that it makes some kids feel bad because they don’t win. But, what about when they get out into the real life when you can’t win all the time some people would say? This tends to create an environment where being competitive is seen as a bad thing.
But my argument is that competition isn’t bad. It just Is. There is no point in trying to remove competition from schools or life, because it will always be there. It is part of human nature, which has probably been one of our big reasons for success as a species. The kids will add their own competition if it isn’t there naturally. I know for sure that I would never have been so successful at school if I hadn’t been competing with the other brainy kids.
But. The time that it goes wrong is when because we are so blinkered for and against competition, we let us rule us. So we become ‘too’ pushy as parents, not realising when it’s not appropriate for our children. Or we try to protect our children too much from competition, thus making it difficult to survive in the real world.
We are ALL competitive. Now don’t say you’re not, because I know you are, even if you are competitive about how uncompetitive you are! It’s just that we like to compete in different things. So the ‘non-pushy’ parents are competitive elsewhere; maybe in how rich the experiences of real life are that they want to provide for their children? The competitive parents are also not competitive in the places that they have no interest in. It’s just a case of us all having different priorities in life.
Personally, if competition boosted my friends belief in herself, and her business success, then I think it’s great and she shouldn’t feel guilty. I noticed the change in her massage last week; even though she has always been fabulous, there was a difference to it. The only problem is that she might not always have a slot for me now as she has so much more business!
At school those of who who follow this blog regularly will know that Curly Headed Boy struggled with the degree of competition in his reception class. But having changed some things and improved his confidence, it’s not bothering him at all. I was worried, I must admit. But I know see that he is gaining life skills that will keep him safe as he grows, and thats a great thing. Check out my blog post ‘7 tips for improving your child’s confidence’ for more hints on this if you are struggling with it.
What do you think?