The Issue of Competitive Parenting
We live in a highly competitive world, continually comparing our careers, relationships, houses, etc. with those around us (whether in the real world or social media). More lately, parents, particularly moms worldwide, are engaging in what is known as competitive parenting.
What is Competitive Parenting
Simply put, the term competitive parenting describes our tendency to compare ourselves against other parents’ parenting styles.
A little competition in life does not hurt. In fact, competition in small doses is healthy as it motivates you to perform better, do more, go higher.
However, parents feel responsible for nurturing their kids’ success in various areas. You are expected to foster your child’s academic, athletic, artistic, and social development. It is not a surprise that many parents feel anxious about not doing everything possible to ensure their children’s success.
Still, competitive parenting can cause you a lot of stress, put tremendous pressure on your children, and set a negative model for them.
Why is Competitive Parenting Unhealthy?
As parents, we are role models for our children. They learn and develop by observing us. In other words, our attitude, beliefs, and behavior strongly influence our kids.
Parents who engage in competitive parenting put comparison and competition above everything. Consciously or unconsciously, they convey this attitude to their kids, who become consumed with the idea of winning.
A child who always wants to be the best may begin to cheat or lie to avoid losing. Kids who become too focused on competing may experience self-esteem issues or become depressed because they think they are not good enough if they don’t win.
In short, by engaging in competitive parenting, you are consciously or unconsciously sending your child the message that they need to achieve something to prove that you are a good parent. A child may translate this into,” I need to accomplish this and that to deserve my parents’ love.”
How to Recognize a Trap of Competitive Parenting?
Here are some signs that you may be engaging in a competitive parenting style:
- You set the goals for your child and continuously motivate them to perform better
- You get upset when your child performs below their abilities
- If you never miss your child’s games, school performances, music, recitals, etc.
- You criticize your child for not putting enough effort
- You always record your child’s performance
- If you intervene when your child doesn’t get the role you expected them to
- You always encourage your child to practice more
How to Stay Away from Competitive Parenting?
Avoiding a trap of competitive parenting is challenging but not impossible. The first step in breaking away from competitive parenting is recognizing that you are comparing your children to other kids.
Focus on your child’s individuality and nurture it. Help your child become the best version of themselves, not by comparing them with others but by praising their efforts.
Show empathy and provide reassurance when your kids don’t perform at their best and help them develop their skills. Finally, show your children that you trust in them and their ability to succeed.
Recognizing that one is getting caught up is the first step in making changes. The next is to decide to move into a more conscious parenting mindset. If you would like to speak more about what that looks like, book a time to speak with me to find out if Parent Coaching is right for you!