On Saturday Marin and I were at a birthday party and some moms started talking about how they won't put their kids in organized sports. I overheard just a bit and being the nosy person I am I had to jump in and ask questions. You know me I love to hear reasons behind parenting beliefs or styles (its sort of an obsession). "Why don't you like organized sports" I asked. Both mom's proceeded to tell me that they want their child to experience losing, and not being told they are awesome when they may not be. "We want our kids to live in the real world, you don't get rewarded when you don't win." Basically these moms (and I totally agree with them) want their kids to live in truth. If you lose the soccer game, you are not a winner, you lost. Its okay for kids to lose. In fact its great for kids to lose when they are little. If a child never experienced the devastation of losing when they are six, how do we expect them to EVER handle it in college, or even later, in the work force. If we lie to kids and tell them, "you're all winners" when the truth is, "some of you won, some of you lost" or "some of you are better than others" they will never learn how to work harder to improve themselves. They also will never be able to achieve job satisfaction when others are better than they are, or when the "dream" job is given to another better applicant. Children actually believe they are great at everything if we tell them they are, but one day they realize we were liars when someone excels beyond them.
I loved hearing these moms have such a deep conviction of teaching their children truth, that organized sports have been dumped out of their after school activities. This in no way means that I am against sports (I'm saying this coming out of having paid for extra cable last month to pack in as many Olympic events as possible). And the research showing the positive benefits from being part of a team, learning discipline from a sport, and training is out in abundance. But I think its worth thinking about how those of us who will put our kids in sports how will be teach our kids to be good losers and winners.
Just in case you have not come across this article yet on the Atlantic
I wanted to share it with you.
How to Land Your Kid in Therapy by Lori Gottlieb
This is a really great read, long but good, about our obsession with our children being happy. The fear of our child experiencing any sort of disappointment and how by protecting them from that as a child results in very unhappy adults. I wanted to share it with you all because it is such a great parenting article. I came across it at Thriving Home