happens when parents behave in an overeager manner
to urge their children to excel in sports, music,
or other extra-curricular activities? What
does it do to a child when parents demand that their
child be "the best"?
- Every human is born with a desire to become
independent. A child, wishing to develop
independence, will rebel against efforts to make/mold
him into what the parents want instead of what
the child wants to learn or to become.
child will insist either verbally or more likely
through his/her actions that he/she will not be
controlled by a person outside of him/herself.
parents set themselves up as judge and jury and
the parents’ words and actions
appear to be condemning and judgmental to the child. It
leaves the child with the idea that nothing he/she
can do will ever please the parents - SO WHY TRY!
actions will affect the child’s
self-esteem just as much as words - i.e. looks
of exasperation or disgust.
- The child learns only
to compete, not to enjoy the game. It removes
any sense of joy and pleasure from his/her participation.
child may retreat into a mechanical world (video
games/computers) because the mechanical world
does not make demands, judge, or condemn him for
not being good enough.
If you want your child to be susceptible to drugs
(to numb out the pain of never feeling good enough,
of feeling like a failure), then insist that he
be "the best". If you want your
child to do the opposite of everything you want,
then insist that he be "the best”. If
you want your child to avoid you to escape the pressure,
then put on/add to the pressure.
Using words of encouragement is the wisest course
of action, saying something like the following:
- "I’m confident you'll do the best
- "I want you to learn/enjoy the game."
- "By practicing, you'll learn to enjoy the
game more because gradually you will learn
the basic skills that make for a better player.”
- “If you decide you don’t like it,
that’s fine, too. At least you’ve
had experience with it.”
Better is not the same as best. Better
means competition against self, not others. Praise
the better, praise the improvement.
Ruth Fowler, M.Ed., LPC, MCC
For more information, contact:
G. Fowler, M.Ed., LPC
Dairy Ashford, Suite 105