with Britt Reints
Forget the 9 to 5; the demands of a working mom aren’t limited by a time clock. Full Time, All the Time is a blog about balancing the many roles of a modern woman - and maintaining your wellbeing while doing it. I am a writer, mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend and sometimes volunteer living in Pittsburgh. Oh, and I think you look pretty today.
You can also find Britt on Twitter and at InPursuitOfHappiness.net.
For most of my son’s life, I’ve let him choose which extra curricular activities he will participate in. I haven’t prodded or forced him to sign up for sports his parents used to play. Recently, however, I’ve decided that a little more pushing is in order, and he’s been instructed to find a competitive team at school to join this spring. He’s not pleased, but I’m convinced I have good reasons for this parental interference and that the benefits to him are worth his teenage wrath.
Benefits of Competition for Kids
Learning to lose. Losing in sports is a lot like failing in life: it’s a lot worse in your head than it is in reality. The only way to learn that is to experience it. Without that experience, a fear of losing/failure can become a life-long aversion to risk taking.
Learning to improve. I’ve noticed my son has a tendency to do things he’s good at - and only things he’s good at. I get that, but I also know he’ll be a lot happier as an adult if he can develop the ability to practice and improve. Not being the best builds character and important life skills, like resilience.
Learning to handle pressure. Competition, whether academic or athletic, can cause stress. A little bit of stress is good for kids as they get older, I think, because it gives them the chance to learn how to cope with it. I want my son to learn how to put a game or goal into perspective, and how to let stress motivate without crushing him.
Learning to win. Of course, let’s not forget the thrill of victory is also a part of competition. There are few things better than working hard to achieve a goal and succeeding. I want my son to be able to carry that sense of accomplishment and confidence into the future.
As he is quick to point out, my son has played sports before. He’s spent a couple seasons on a community soccer league, which he’s content to stick with. But that experience has lacked something I think every kid needs: real competition.
Real competition isn’t always fun, and that’s the point.
Would you make your kids compete?
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