Are we raising our kids to be happy?

The other day I was speaking with a friend and she said very vehemently, “I want my son to win. Its such a competitive place out there and I want to make sure my kid has the competitive edge.”

I was wondering for a few days after that conversation if it was really all that important for us to make our kids have a ‘competitive edge’. I do believe that the kids need to be taught how to face competition and more importantly how to deal with failure. However that day my friend was very clear that there is no scope of failure and she would make sure he ‘always’ wins. But what when he fails? And he falls? Would she bother to teach him to deal with that? She clearly wasn’t ready to hear any of that during our conversation.

All she wanted was for her kid to learn to conquer and win and that too at the cost of changing his personality. He is a good kid with a lot of potential but I am not sure which direction would the constant pressure from the parents to ‘win’ would take him. They want him to excel in all spheres and at this tender age encourage him to perform in public only to garner praise.  I wonder if this would be a foundation for the never-ending hunger for glory.

I have seen parents of children in Kindergarten sharing their children’s grades with other parents and drawing a competitive analysis. For God’s sake!!! They are in Kindergarten. If the pressure to perform well in school starts at 3 then how would the child cope up until later age? I am aware that schools aren’t helping either. They pressurize the parents of younger children and children themselves when they are older to out-perform themselves. I would like to clarify when I say pressure I mean pressure and do not confuse that with encouragement.

Encouragement is what our children require to give their best at what they can. I believe in raising a happy kid. The children would realize their potential eventually if guided correctly. They would succeed in what they can and be happy about it. If all you teach the child is to compete then no matter the number of competitions s/he wins they may not really be happy from within.

The world is definitely turning into a very challenging place with genuinely intelligent and deceivingly entitled occupying the same space. It is for us to inculcate in the children to fight the way through and reach their destination, however, not at the cost of their peace of mind. I would rather raise a happy person than an extremely successful unhappy one.

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