After sharing the idea that parenting has become the most competitive adult sport, there was plenty of quality discussion that ensued and I noticed a common theme while discussing competitive parents.
Failure is unacceptable.
Parents that engage in the sport of competitive child rearing (coming soon to the X-Games) often expect perfection from their child. When the child fails, which will happen eventually, the parent is there to berate them rather than pat them on the back and offer words of encouragement.
Consider the following scenarios, which you likely have seen or heard about within your circle of friends:
- A child comes home with their report card containing three As, two Bs, and one C (it hasn’t been that long but I don’t even remember how many grades you normally have on a report card). Rather than congratulate the child on their good work, the CCR (Competitive Child Rearing) parent dwells on the lowest grade, likely grounding the child for their “poor” grades.
- It is a sunny Saturday afternoon out at the Little League baseball field. After driving in two runs and making a couple of quality plays in the field, a child drops a fly ball that allows the winning run to score. As the child leaves the field, you can see the parent expressing their displeasure in the failure to make the play with no mention of the success that the child achieved earlier in the game.
Unfortunately, scenarios like these seem to be more the norm lately.
It isn’t that CCR parents are trying to belittle their children either, at least one would hope that is not the case. Instead, many parents want the best for their children and the common thought is that the only way to be the best is to never fail.
You and I know differently.
To be the best, you will fail.
You will fail again and again. It is the man, woman, or child that does not let these failures stop them that will become the best.
Even when a parent understands that failure breeds success in their own life, somehow that doesn’t always translate to their children.
Seeing your child fail hurts.
It tugs at the old heartstrings.
When a child fails, we as parents need to be there for them. Support them. Encourage them. Love them.
Focusing on a child’s failure will teach them to have a fear of failing. The fear of failing can be crippling, preventing people from trying new things or stepping outside of their comfort zone.
While that doesn’t mean we should necessarily embrace failure, as success is much more fun, we as parents need to remember that failure offers a learning opportunity. Failure has a knack for teaching us what doesn’t work, as well as what we need to work harder on and do differently the next time.
Unfortunately, the CCR parent often ignores the fact that failure is an essential ingredient to success; instead teaching their children that failure is unacceptable.
You and I know differently.