It is impossible to protect your child from
competitive situations. Your child can learn some valuable lessons from healthy
Do your best and leave the rest : It is not whether you win or lose, but how you play the
game. A loser can feel good about his efforts since he tried his best. A winner may look
back at the game and realize his victory would have been impossible without that extra
push at the end.
Danger of being overly competitive : Competitive situations can easily get out of control.
When children are too focused on winning, they may start to evaluate themselves based on
how many victories they have achieved. For them winning is more important than playing the
game. If your child is too competitive, he may cheat, lie or change the rules of the game
Sibling Competition : Siblings naturally turn to each other when in search of a playmate
and competitive situations will certainly spring up. Hence, it is necessary to weigh a
balance. The younger child usually learns and picks up things faster. They tend to imitate
their older sibling. The younger sibling usually complains that the older one is more
skilled, in this case, strike a balance and suggest a handicap for the older player.
Ways to cope with Challenging Situations
child : Reassure your child that he is still loved regardless of failure. Go over the
issue to find out the possible reason for failure. Suggest alternative ways that could
prove more successful.
Give him the
opportunity to be independent : Try not to outline in minute details, the method of doing
a job. Sometimes parents are over protective and want to guide their children, giving them
no leeway to do things on their own.
pressurize your child : The rat race these days begins at a very junior level with
children. Young toddlers are expected to be learned, in order to get into a school.
Parents are all the time pushing their children to go for extra curricular activities and
tuitions to meet up the rat race. Children are constantly driven to achieve, they
encounter a test around every corner. Parents should have the ability to guide their
children, so that both their successes as well as their failures are positive learning
experiences. It is important to develop the right attitude towards learning.
praise : Some parents discourage their children's achievements by
being excessively critical, other parents achieve the same effect with excessive praise.
If children get the message that everything they do is "brilliant" or the
"best", it demotivates them. They cease to feel the need to make any effort to
improve their performance. An accurate assessment of children's abilities and constructive
criticism is the best approach. Do not discourage children from setting high standards for
themselves, but be around to encourage them, if they are dissatisfied with their
resiliency : A resilient child develops the resources he needs to cope and even become
strong, while rising to challenge of disadvantages. A resilient child usually comes from a
family that provides a caring and secure environment, a family that has the strength to
cope and recover from severe stress and crisis. A resilient child usually has a very high
self-esteem. He has a zest for life and seeks out new experiences. He is independent and
relies on himself for solutions. He has social competence and a lot of perseverance.
self esteem : Self esteem can be defined as the "combination of feelings of
capability, with the feeling of being loved". Self-esteem can also be defined as the
"collection of beliefs or feelings that we have about ourselves". How we define
ourselves hugely influences our motivation, attitudes and behaviour. Healthy self-esteem
is a child's armour against the challenges of the world. Children who feel good about
themselves, seem to have an easier time handling conflict and resisting negative
Past History :
An adolescent who wanted to be a model told the school counsellor that
he was giving up his plans. When asked the reason, he explained that several friends told
him that he had a persistent twitching of the mouth muscle, when he answered questions in
class or while reading loudly. He had been unaware of this muscle twitch and even after
being told about it, could not tell when it took place. However, he became acutely
self-conscious and was reluctant to answer questions or enter into class discussions. As a
result, his general level of tension increased and so did the frequency of the twitching,
which now become apparent even when he was talking to a friend. Thus a vicious circle had
Past history revealed that he was a shy, withdrawn child in his young days and felt very
competitive in completing his tasks in a classroom. He had a very fast friend in his
classroom whom he was very fond of, but this friend always outbeat him at various
occasions. He always stood first in class, which made the other children become jealous
and angry. The adolescent felt that he could not cope with his agileness.
This made the adolescent very self conscious and tense in social situations. He often hid
his emotions and feelings so well that it was impossible to know what his true reactions
were. This emotional distress could be detected by his tension, restlessness and the tics
and twitching of his mouth muscles.
The counsellor talked at great length to the parents, understanding the nature of the
problem. It was found and stated to the parents that there was a predominant fear of the
child losing his identity. The child felt that he was not himself and he felt imperfect.
He had a high achievement expectancy of himself, but a very poor self-image and
self-esteem. He was asked to use the following techniques :
To talk with other people
about the things he feared.
He could argue with other
people about the reality or unreality of dreaded imaginary situations or fantasized
events, say examinations, competitions, concerts, etc.
Condition himself to believe
that all or some situations may seem demanding to him and that it is natural to feel like
Acceptance of himself at all
The adolescent was also helped by assistance in developing skills e.g. during loud reading
sessions in class, the teacher was asked to make him acquainted gradually with the
situation, asking him to do some deep breathing exercises, stating also auto suggestive
statements like "I am feeling easy and light". Thus the adolescent was taken by
degrees into active contact and participation with the feared situation.
One of the breathing exercises taught to the client was as follows :
knees bent, breathe in to a slow count of 3-4, pushing sideways the hands which rest on
the lower chest. When lungs are full, exhale slowly to a count of 4 - 5. Apply slight
pressure at end of a breath, to complete exhalation.
in through your nose and exhale through your mouth. Repeat each exercise five times.
Unless breathing is rhythmic and slow it is impossible to relax, either physically or