How Competitions Can Be Toxic For Kids?

One part of every childhood are competitions that kids partake in while growing up. Now, obviously, these are crucial in framing a child’s personality for a reason. When young kids participate in extra-curricular, academic and light competitions, they learn how to solve problems and enhance their existing skills. They develop and discover new interests, skills and hobbies, learn to build and maintain teams and work congenially with peers. Now as much as these competitions have a role in honing a personality, they may even end up affecting the kid adversely. Competitions can be healthy, yes but they can also prove to be hazardous.

When competitions are held amongst young people, the intention behind them is to motivate them, build their confidence, inter-personal skills and of course, their own personality. However, the same competitions may trigger negative and toxic traits in kids. Now, when does that happen?

Primarily, competitions may negatively affect young minds when the whole purpose behind them changes and undertakes a toxic one. Secondarily, that can happen when the audience and the participants start pursuing and perceieving them with a truly competitive fashion. It happens when there is a sense of desperation amongst kids to win, spite for those who take over and contempt for the ones who rank below them. If a parent or a guardian is under the impression that this negative perception of games and competitions will only be confined to them, then they might be wrong. This sense of competitiveness may later go beyond these games and extend onto their long term life, in their professional and personal life. That is, if this is not changed or corrected. Now, how do kids develop such negative perceptions of competitions?

It is natural for a child’s mind to be born with and develop such an outlook on tournaments and contests. However, it is the parents’ duty to alter that thinking. What often happens is that parents start to participate in these competitions themselves. When these contests are confined to only kids, leisure, education and personality development, parents tend to take it beyond these. They look at them as a way to compete with other parents through their children. Now, how do these competitions affect kids negatively?

When taken in a jolly spirit, competitions bring about positive changes in a child as mentioned. On the other hand, if taken with a sense of contention, they may develop low self-esteem, low confidence and feelings of incompetency. A child’s focus may turn towards winning the competition instead of honing his/her skill, which should essentially be the goal. Toxic competitions may also impair friendships, create unnecessary stress, impact academic performance and most of all and submerge the joys and the essence of childhood.

You see? Competitions are extremely crucial to kids but they can also be very damaging if they begin looking at them as a race and not as an opportunity to try out new hobbies and develop existing ones. It is the parents’ duty to help them retire out of these wrong perceptions and redefine competitions as they really are.

Written and Edited by - Akshi Ranka

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