You may have been taught, at some point in your life, that people naturally love competition. If you have been taught this, though, you should know that it’s not necessarily true. While some people certainly do love the thrill of competition, others are not really interested in being the “best” or even “better” than anyone else.
This same thing goes for kids. Contrary to popular belief, not all kids love competition. All kids DO love to play (though, of course, not all kids love to play sports, but that’s another matter), but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they enjoy competition itself.
So, before you sign your child up for youth hockey or any other competitive activity, consider whether or not your child actually enjoys competition. As hard as it may be to admit, especially if you’ve always dreamed of having little athletes in the family, if your child doesn’t enjoy competing with others, then standard sports teams may not be the way to go for your little one.
If your child is already signed up for sports and complains that he or she doesn’t like it, you don’t have to immediately yank your child off the team, but you should strive to find out what, exactly, he or she doesn’t like.
See, the fact of the matter is that some kids, even those who claim not to like sports, actually just dislike hardcore, high-pressure competition, which, let’s face it, really shouldn’t exist in kids’ sports!
If your child complains about feeling pressured or worried or like he or she can’t just have fun, then it may not be that your child needs to quit sports but, instead, that your child needs to find a new, less rigorous team to play on- one that is about fun and growth, rather than about winning.
At the end of the day, you may find that your child doesn’t like sports, period. Or, you may find that your children enjoy sports but not in a competitive way. You might also find that your child loves sports and loves competing. Any and all of these things are okay. What’s not okay, however, is forcing your child to do or be something he or she is not.
As long as you honor how your child feels about competing, then you can rest assured that you’re doing the right thing when it comes to being a good parent!