The great man is he who does not lose his child's heart. (Mencius, Chinese philosopher 372-289 BC)

Friday, 1 June 2012

Competitive Kids

The signs of spring before it all kicked off

I had a great idea this morning. My lovely wife is out all day with W and a mate at Thorpe Park. So, it's my turn to pick up the "signs of spring" from school.

"The weather is beautiful so why not collect them by bike" I thought. "It's a beautiful route across Surrey countryside from school to home - we could stop for a snack on the way home, roll peacefully down the hills, do a bit of nature, laugh and joke all the way home."

Well that's what I thought.

That's without reckoning in the phenomenon that hits kids in our family at the age of around 5-7 - COMPETITIVENESS!

What could have been a lovely ride in the sunshine turned into a test of my diplomacy, negotiation and law enforcement skills.

E, the younger of the 2, was determined to be at the front the whole way. For most of the time, M - who was wearing a maxi dress as she forgot to take tracksuit trousers to school today for our cycle journey home - was more concerned about not getting her new dress covered in oil than grabbing pole position in the race for the yellow jersey and so was happy to let her younger sister disappear into the distance.

But, by the time we had reached familiar ground and the scent of victory was in M's nostrils the etiquette of maxi dresses was forgotten and the prize of first girl home was too much for both of them.

Result - M sails ahead (her bike has gears, E's only has wheels (E's words)) - E's legs pump faster than her feet with the result that her feet leave the pedals, her bike wobbles precariously into the direction of an approaching car, her Dad shouts (how else do you react in a situation like that?), the car brakes and ... E scrapes her ankle and cries all the way home.

M's reaction?

A victory skid in the front garden.

How do you cope with competitiveness in the family? Do you just accept it as the natural way of things? Or do you try to suppress it?

I guess kids need to learn how to lose as well as how to win. That has to be one of the most important lessons parents can teach their children.

But it's painful to go through.

Talk soon.
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