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          Competitive Parents: Are You Stepping Over the Line?

          September 17, 2003

          Are you nurturing a healthy, competitive spirit in your child or are you going too far?

          Parents Step Over the Line When …

          1. The events become more important than the kids.

          Whether it’s a sporting game, theater production or music recital, the focus should be on your child having the ability to learn, build self-esteem and have fun. If winning is more important than your child receiving those benefits from the activity, you should reevaluate your motivation.

          2. The events become a source of embarrassment for the child instead of a challenge and self-esteem builder.
          If you are yelling at your child at his/her events, getting into confrontations with teachers/coaches/other parents, or engaging in any other behavior that is causing your child justified embarrassment or humiliation, you need to either control your behavior or remove yourself from the events.

          3. The negative consequences of doing something exceed the positive benefits for the child.
          Ask yourself if the pros outweigh the cons. Aside from embarrassment and humiliation, examples of negative consequences could include: pushing a child beyond his/her physical limits, causing injury; forcing a child into an activity he/she is uncomfortable with or unsuited for — which takes him/her away from necessary studies or other activities which could build self-esteem.

          4. The parent becomes the authority of the event instead of the professionals.
          Teachers and coaches are there for a reason. If you constantly feel the need to take control away from the professionals at your child’s events, no matter who the authority figure is, you are crossing the line. Either control your behavior or don’t attend the events.

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