While participating in a discussion last week in relation to an article that Manuela posted entitled, “Five Year Olds Are Generous Only When They’re Watched“, a point of competition came up which I found interesting because I have two children, raised 17 years apart from each other, and both enjoy competition. With my first, I nurtured the competition and my second, I have not. So, I asked myself the question, “Is this my doing or are children naturally competitive?”
At the moment, I am learning about the design of children and how we learn so I cannot say with certainty that my children are genetically coded with a system of competition and when learning Psychology were were taught that a child, when born, is essentially a tabula rusa (blank slate). So, what I’m seeing is that I am responsible, as the main caregiver of my child, for everything that is being imprinted on, within, and as my child. There is much to learn about children and though I have been a parent for 23 years, I am just beginning – so, what I will share here is observations, some self-honesty within the observations, my responsibility for the creation of competition within my child, a possible solution, and the reward that I found.
Using my second child as an example, the one that I have not made a direct decision to teach competition to, I found that when he was presented with an opportunity to Win and Beat Mom at a Game he got very excited! I admit, at that moment that I saw this expression of him, I was not pleased and I started going through everyone and everything that has been in his environment and placing blame. What I see now that I missed was bringing this point of blame back to myself – not in a judgmental sort of way but instead investigating myself as a Parent self-honestly. So, this is was something that happened in a moment during participating in a discussion on Forum and it happens often which is something really cool about working with a group of committed individuals that practice their self-honesty daily.
Anyway, back to the point to when I began investigating the point of my child suddenly becoming empowered with the thrill of potentially BEATING MOM. I asked myself, “What would make him want to beat me? We have lots of fun together don’t we? I’m tending to his needs and being here when he wants me, yes? What would have happened between myself and another that would I would react with my ‘You’re Going Down’ Personality where, when I won, would be accompanied by hooting, whooping, and doing a series of I Am The Champion dances?” I mean, we all want to win because it means less for others and more for ourselves – so the question then became, “Why is my 5 year-old child experiencing himself as ‘less’ already?”
This was a completely unexpected moment for me. And since he got excited about beating me, specifically, I saw a problem.
Problem: I have established myself as an Authority figure over my child and often keep him under-control and doing what I tell him to do by Counting-To-5 with the threat of a time-out if I reach 5 and I do not allow many of his behaviors because they do not agree with my own principles – and I have myself on a constant time-crunch so I will do whatever it takes in a moment to make him stop and as quickly as possible so that I can get on with doing what I was doing. I have created and enforced Inequality because I have not stopped, breathed, allowed myself to be present with my child and aware of what’s going on with him, and directed us within a discussion about what’s going on with us or within our environment at that moment. So, it makes sense that when my child is presented with the opportunity to be empowered, he’s going to take it and he’s going to live within this to his utmost potential of the experience because it feels really good.
Solution: Instead of reacting to my child and driving for the moment to be over with whatever method works the quickest to stop a behavior that I see as distracting, and/or unacceptable, I stop, breath, and direct myself to share myself with my child and allow him to share himself with me within a discussion. When I speak, I become aware of my the tone, vibration, and frequency of my voice and clear myself and my expressions of any reactions which show him that I am here with him, that I am stable, and that I want to share myself with him one-on-one as equals. I start the discussion by sharing what I understand about what is happening as I’ve experienced expressing myself as he is and what I was going through at the time. This assists in releasing him from the behavior and/or reaction immediately and from here, he will share with me his perspective. I continue to move and direct the discussion through what I’m seeing as the Problem and what the consequences could be as per my own experiences. When we’re in agreement, the discussion moves onto finding a Solution so as to work on making sure that the Problem does not repeat and then, once in agreement here, we agree on the Reward as how our lives will improve by living our Solution.
For the parents that may be saying to themselves, “That’s going to take way too much time – I don’t have time for that,” I suggest for you to try it – with my child I have found that this moves very quickly and it saves me A LOT of time in the future if I take 5-10 minutes and get it done in that moment.
Reward: Establishing Equality with myself and my child so as to prevent him from experiencing himself as ‘less’ and desiring to be ‘more’. Building trust as I share myself with him and he with me. More time for myself in the future and more time together with my child that is fun and enjoyable.