Children competing is a sensitive subject. Especially when it is at a high level. Much is at stake at every competition and puts a family down a lot of time and money on the child's activity year after year, it may not be so easy to just end from one day to another - which may not be the whole world about children who do with An activity one hour a week does. How easy is it for a parent to navigate it? When should you push/push (everyone has weaknesses ..) and when should you realize that there is a stop? How do you keep that balance when you invest so much in the child's activity? Is it possible to know what is right and wrong?
Is competition always good?
There is some talk about competitors and some preschools/schools have even Removed the competition and emphasize participation as the important thing. Others believe that competitors are part of life and it is just as good that the children learn it under safe forms - in school and in activities they have chosen themselves. Some children actually feel good about it and can be motivated to continue to fight with something they like.
Former NHL player Johnny Oduya thinks we adults are often the problem:
- It has almost become like a person wins and then loses everyone else. I don't feel that way. I have lost a lot in my life. Hundreds of thousands of times more than I won. This is where the magic is located, and you have to take advantage of that, because it is actually nice. So, how do we teach children to deal with losses? And what happens to you as a parent? I do not think the competition itself is a problem, but that is how we relate to the one that is interesting. It is the parents' job to do and if you as a parent are unable to handle it purely emotionally - like my daughter or son is not allowed to play in a team - then that is the parent's experience that affects that child. While the child itself may feel good about competing. I think we must start having conversations about what happens to all parents when their children end up on the bench.
Should we adults review how we react to the children's results? What do we give them for signals? We who have children who deal with an activity or two a week, think it is fun but not more than that may not ponder so much about this, but there are many children who get completely stuck in something and then it is only for the adults To follow along on the trip (to the best of your ability) I guess.
Children competing at high level
I changed a few words with a mother who partly competed in dance herself as a young man and partly lives in the competition, along with the daughter who walks in her footsteps. Their weekends go about either training or competition (often in another place) and weekdays are spent on dance - that is, all free time means dance. And the game is high - according to the mother it is important to be at the top all the time. Otherwise, it is difficult to get where you want. Other things like friends and other more spontaneous activities may come second.
- How long has your daughter danced and when did you notice that the dance meant more than an ordinary activity?
- She has been dancing since she was four, then of course it was mostly a game - something to do. At the age of 7 when her friend jumped off, I noticed how fun she actually thought it was. At that age, however, it was still at a rather playful level, but it didn't take many years before it got more serious. She cared much more about the dance than about the school, for example. The dance played a different role, it became obvious. Today she is almost 14 and it would surprise me if she quits or lets something else take the place of dance. But of course I hope I am open to if it is so, that I never put any prestige in it. It's her life, not mine. It is important!
- Is it difficult to maintain any kind of balance? Does she have days when she doesn't want to, or say she wants to jump off? How do you relate to that?
- It actually happens quite rarely, but of course it is sometimes! And sometimes I just feel “Now we shit in this! It's not worth it. Yet so many others who do. Including herself. I try to be the safe harbor she can land in .. but it is not easy! I have competed for hers . But yes..balance is important .. and to talk. We actually talk a lot about it, about the emotions around etc! It may help, I think, if she ever wants to jump off - that she dares to trust her own feelings.
- Have you met adults that you think pushes the wrong way? Who puts something on the children's shoulders that might not be there?
- Absolutely! But what I experience is that both dance schools, organizations, associations and competition organizers do a lot to create a good environment for the children. It is, thankfully, much that still protects the children today. And coaches and other adults also talk to the children. In any case, their well -being is usually in focus, in my experience. Then you have met some parent where you think there is a pressure that I probably do not put, but you do not know what is said at home, how the talk goes.
- How do you think about those who question competitors for children?
- I absolutely understand what they say! For example, I have friends who have children at a preschool where they have removed competitors. It feels healthy, at least for the little ones. But in my case I have had no choice .. haha! I have had to come with where the daughter takes me - she clearly shows that this is what she lives for, at least now. So then I think I do best in having a healthy relationship with competitors myself. That I create something good for her in a fairly competition -oriented world.
Just as the mother in the conversation says, we think that the conversations are the foundation of understanding oneself, knowing when it is enough and also be able to put it. Emotional cards can help your conversations on the pile and support the children in becoming just emotionally wise. Read more here.