I have a competitive streak in me. You can ask anyone that I work with, or play beer league softball with, and my wife this and they will all agree. We set a goal for fund-raising at work, not only do I want to meet that goal but I want to blow it out of the water. If we are up by one with only one at-bat left in the softball game, I am the one who wants to be in the circle staring down the batter to strike out. Where I have a problem keeping my competitive nature away is in parenting. I want the Kid to be the best at everything he does. I want him to put other kids to shame.
It seems that parenting brings out the competitiveness out in all of us. How many times have you heard this conversation…
“My son starting walking at a year!”
Well my son started walking at nine months!” (my son may or may not have started walking at nine months… and was potty trained at two)
See there I go again, just trying to prove to the world that the Kid is better than most.
So many parents compete to see when their children learn the alphabet, count to ten, or can read a book. It’s instinctive to be competitive but at what cost when it comes to the development of our children. Is that drive to be smarter than Johnny sitting next to your child at daycare really helping you sleep at night?
I catch myself doing this with other parents of children who are the Kids age. I can’t help it! I love to brag about him.
It doesn’t seem to stop at just seeing who’s child is better than the other. There is the question of parents of multiples also thinking they are better parents than parents with one child. This is something that I don’t quite understand. Just because you have three children qualifies you to be a better parent than me? It might make you a better schedule keeper, making sure all three of your children are where they need to be on time. A parent who only has one child is just as much a parent as the parent with three.
There is also the parents who “hand-out” advice to other parents as if they are an expert. Or the parent who says, “well my son doesn’t act that way.” in a very snobbish tone. Parenting isn’t a competition; our children will grow up to excel at the things they want to excel at. It is our job to steer them down the path that will lead them to excelling at what they want to excel at.
The thing that I struggle with the most is that the Kid doesn’t have to be the best in the eyes of others as long as he is the best in the eyes of my wife and me. That is really what matters the most. There is no reason to get jealous over some other kid who can hit a baseball further than the Kid. If that is the case, that is OK, the Kid will be the one throwing a 90 MPH fastball past your son in the big leagues someday.
See what I mean, it is very difficult for us to stop competing as parents. Not only that, but it is equally as easy for parents to compete amongst being better than the other parents down the block.
I say this and at the same time I’m dreaming of the college basketball scholarship he will be getting to the University of Kansas.