When our children display any spark of talent from a young age, our instant thought as parents are to sign up our children and make them part of a team where they can learn important life lessons.
But, are your children really ready to face competition and all the things that come with it? After all, competitive sports face our children with tough situations they may not be entirely ready to withstand.
Let us learn a little more about competition, how to promote it healthily, and when is the best time to initiate this path.
Is there really a desire for competition?
Even though playing competitive sports can bring lots of benefits to our children, it is also true that playing competitively can be stressful, and some children may not want to face that struggle.
Sometimes, children do things because they perceive it gives their parents some sort of satisfaction. This can influence their decision to compete or not, so before getting your child involved in a competitive team, have a conversation with them and explore the reasons why they want to be a part of a competitive league.
Team sports or flying solo?
Depending on your child’s personality and preferences, their path can be or the other.
Introverted kids may feel awkward around other children when playing team sports, avoiding them for showing all of their talents or skills.
Individual sports can also be highly competitive and teach the same set of values and life lessons as team sports. It is not like you are supporting your child being away from people, it is simply about providing them a comfortable environment to face competition as it is.
Learning about winning and losing is not as simple as just showing up and facing whatever outcome the game might have, and yet, it is an important part of child development. If our children are in oppressive circumstances, learning about these concepts can be more upsetting than it normally is.
Is it time already?
There is a reason why child development is segmented into different stages or categories where children are supposed to show or display certain abilities.
We are used to hearing stories from famous sportsmen and women about their beginnings and how young they were when they started their journey to greatness. We hear that, and we think that it is normal and our children should follow those examples when competing to be great.
And yet, those stories, inspirational as they are, are really, exceptions to the rule. Those athletes often talk about their mental struggles as well, but for whatever reason, we chose to ignore that part of the interviews.
Children should not play competitively until they are both socially and individually ready to face what it takes to compete. Our children need to be able to take instructions from youth sports coaches, among other requirements for face competition.
But, as parents, it is important not to put too much pressure on our children if they are showing a desire for competition. We must teach them about the significance of competing against ourselves and being better every day because, ultimately, that will be the path to greatness.
And most importantly, let us always remember they are still children, which means they still need to play freely and without pressing, so they can grow healthy and mentally stable.