When Does Competition Stop Being Healthy?

Teaching kids about competition is always tricky. In some respects, the school life is geared towards competition. Sports days, for instance, are about beating your opponents. Equally, there’s often a ‘best in class’ award or pop-quizzes which reward those with the most points. So, to ignore this issue altogether would be near enough impossible. On top of which, introducing competition to kids does have plus points.

That said, it can also be unhealthy if you approach the issue in the wrong way. We’ve all seen and shaken our heads at those parents who push their kids to WIN WIN WIN! After all, that amount of pressure on a youngster can’t be a good thing. But, this divide can leave many of us uncertain of how to proceed in this area. To help you get your footing, we’re going to look at some of the healthy, and unhealthy competitive lessons.

Healthy: Fighting spirit

One healthy aspect of competition is that can create a fighting spirit. If a child’s never taught the competitive concept, they won’t have any motivation to fight for the win. And, in many ways, that winning goal is what ensures excellent performance. Why do your best if there’s no one else to prove yourself against? Hence why sports are so fantastic. As well as teaching team spirit, they teach about healthy competition. Baseball is an excellent choice here. It involves putting themselves in the limelight within a team. If you want to teach your kids competition in the right way, it may be worth doing some research to find a wood fungo bat and other practice equipment. Once you’ve stocked up, get into a regular routine to bring the point home.


Unhealthy: Comparisons

Sometimes when teaching competition, we slide too far into comparisons. In truth, comparison is at the core of competition. But, your child also needs to know that comparing themselves to others at every turn isn’t necessary. During your teachings, let them know that everyone has different skills. Highlight things they’re better at than others. Don’t dwell on the person who wins, or what they can do that your child can’t. This is especially crucial when it comes to siblings. Draw comparisons between them, and it’s sure to lead to quarrelling. Any family home could do without that.

Unhealthy: Losing isn’t an option

Another mistake would be to make your child believe that winning is the only way. This is where pressure comes into it. So, make sure not to pile it on. Let your child know that winning is an option, without making them feel they HAVE to win to please you.

Healthy: It’s the taking part that counts

Instead, make sure your child knows that it’s the taking part that counts. It’s a cliche, but it’s a valuable lesson for them to learn. This shows them that, as long as they show up and do their best, they’re winning in a way. It’ll certainly help to keep their competitive spirit on a positive note.

This post as a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.


My name is Richie and I am a 38 year old father of two, a daughter and son. I am married to a beautiful woman named Destiny. She is the foundation of our family, and without her, none of this would be possible. During the day I work as a network security administrator for a local school district. At night I can be found illustrating books, working on websites, or creating music, but more than likely though I am spending time with my kids.

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