I thought I was being creative. You know, like mommies are when they need to get something done. Like many moms, I have children who sometimes are slower than molasses when I really need them to get moving for one reason or another.
I decided that a good motivator for them to do things would be to see who could get something done first. As in, “Ok guys, who can get up the stairs to go brush teeth first?” “Who can climb into their seats and start getting buckled in first?” “Who can put their shoes on first?”
Yeah. Apparently both the wee ones have inherited just a teensy weensy bit of my competitive gene. They both want to win. And they don’t lose well (granted, over time I’ve learned how to lose gracefully but that’s not an easy skill for any child).
They have now turned absolutely everything into a competition. And there are constant meltdowns and whining about it. Whoops.
I’ve been trying to counteract this now for weeks with the admonition that “this isn’t a competition.” It’s seems to work a little bit in that the losing wee one shouts to the other “that wasn’t a race” or “that wasn’t a competition.” That makes it slightly better, but I don’t know how much the frustration level has eased.
I’m debating my next move in this one. We talk about how it’s ok to be second or third or how we can’t always win everything and that’s fine. Suddenly losing board games have become much more frustrating for Mister Man, too. In a way, I hope it’s the age and not just me messing him up, but the timing is a bit coincidental.
Mister Man has started asking me regularly if something he’s doing or working on or whatever is better than Little Miss. My standard response is that I’m not comparing the two of them, which he fortunately accepts.
He’s asking this question a little less often, so maybe continuing to reiterate that not everything is a competition and that it’s ok to lose, coupled with playing lots of board games where sometimes he wins and sometimes he loses will help.
I can’t decide if having playdates where they play board games will help or not. If he sees that friends won’t want to play with him when he has a meltdown over losing — or even falling behind sometimes — then maybe he’ll adjust his attitude and be more ok with it. On the other hand, I don’t want him to lose friends or decrease his self-esteem by pushing this issue on him too early.
Yet another situation where I won’t know the right approach until it’s too late, but here I go forging ahead anyway. What other choice do I have?