Playing field or battleground: Can competition be healthy for kids?

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  • Gildas LOGAN, UT
    Dec. 11, 2012 12:30 p.m.

    A team spirit can be a good thing, working together to achieve a goal, but in much of sport it's personal glory that is sought and encouraged. It's wasn't so much The Chicago Bulls as Michael Jordan and "those other guys". We want super heroes - "gods".

    It's all a bit intense. Not everything in a child's life should have to be organized by the school or even the parents, and being a good athlete should not get you into a college if you are poor academically and a better student is shut out thereby.

    Seeking vicarious glory from your local team or your child, especially the latter, can be a sad business. Not all children excel at sports, and pressuring a child into local srts stardom or winning glamor contests is all a bit sick. I may be gratified but am not glorified or even improved honestly by the superficial successes of my town or my child.

    I loved to play at sports but it wasn't usually organized for me and I didn't require Mom or Dad to be screaming dishonorably for the family "honor".

  • Rural sport fan DUCHESNE, UT
    Dec. 10, 2012 11:40 p.m.

    As said, the subject is huge. In my experience, it is never the competition that is the problem, it is the coaches and parents putting unrealistic demands and expectations on the kids, and the kids lack of understanding about what success truly is.

    The reality is that competition is a major motivator. The trick is to temper expectations, make them realistic. You can't win every time nor always be the best. But you can always strive to do your best, to help your team do its best, regardless of the score, and that is where success lies. If our culture isn't teaching that, then we are really losing touch with the real world.

    The fact that the article never touches on that is a symptom of that culture, where if competing means losing, then lets not compete, as losing is bad; and teamwork isn't even part of the discussion. Truly a sad situation, that psychologists can't see that.

  • OCoug Ogden, UT
    Dec. 10, 2012 11:00 a.m.

    Healthy competition is important to development for adult life. Not everyone who applies for a job gets it. Not everyone who applies to Universities gets accepted. Not everyone who asks someone on a date is going to be told yes. Learning to deal with disappointment in a safe environment is important in the growing up process.

  • xscribe Colorado Springs, CO
    Dec. 7, 2012 2:25 p.m.

    Raybies: I think "healthy competition" is what's at issue here. Yes, some kids are driven by it from an early age. However, what is being found out is that many kids who are much more athletic later are being passed by for the sake of an 8 or 9 year old who may be aggressive at that age, but is then caught up to and passed by by bigger and stronger kids. Unorganized competition, where kids can experiment and make their own rules, without having adults always telling them how they should play and arguing over plays, will always, in my opinion, be a better option until a child reaches puberty, where hormones then will decide what type of player and how big a player that person might be.

  • raybies Layton, UT
    Dec. 5, 2012 7:35 a.m.

    This is a huge topic.

    There are benefits to healthy competition. I know many who are inspired by it--and push themselves to achieve more as a result. Unforuntately it does have a dark side. By the very fact that one must guage one's success on the defeat of another...

    Sports teams aren't the only ones that teach the destructive nature of competition. Every time a parent brags about his or her child's accomplishments, over all the others, there's the value taught.

    Yet competition is a part of our biology. The survival of the fittest. In politics, many businesses, national defense it absolutely crucial to one's success.