Welcome to Week 10 of our Raising Boys series. If you’d like to read previous posts, you can catch up at Raising Boys!
It’s all too easy to get annoyed with boys when they fight and compete and clash, day in and day out. It can turn a home into a war zone. A very loud one! 🙂 While it is natural (for me, anyway) to want to keep the peace, keep everyone competitiveness-free, it’s interesting to pause and take a look at how boys work with regards to competition. It’s actually something inbuilt in them, and a good thing too!
Conserving The Competitive Streak In Your Son
Before we rush in and squash that competitive streak that’s causing noisy havoc in your home, it’s good to step back and watch your son. Inbuilt in every boy is a certain level of it; he’s a natural competitor. In our household, my son challenges my husband (in a competitive way), and they wrestle and ‘fight’ over things, and there’s usually always a WINNER. The trick is to handle it in a way that still caters for it’s existence, without hurting his heart.
Here are a few ideas:
Separate siblings and focus on one a week
If brothers are really bumping heads, splitting up boys for certain activities in a home and having dad focus on them helps them compete with dad for a while, and get out of sibling’s hair. It also gives dad a chance to answer some important heart questions every boy wants to know the answers to, about himself. You can read more about them in our post Hurt Or Whole: How Dads Mould Boys Into Men
Create a culture for each parent-child relationship
Depending on your son’s strengths and interests, develop activities that only you do with him. Things that build him up, that make memories and that build on his sense of purpose and identity. A sweet idea is to get each son to make a flag, that you fly outside the home on his birthday, or on special celebratory occasions. Another is having birthday parties or family birthday meals, where each person at the table honors the birthday boy, saying what they admire, like or respect about him.
Be a great model in sports
So many parents turn ugly when watching their sons play sports. They challenge, yell at or insult the referees, and perform when their sons lose. Keep in mind that although your son may be vaguely flattered that you’re so enthusiastic about his performance, he is also in the process of learning how to be a good or bad winner. One day, would you be proud if you saw him acting on a soccer field the way you do on his now?
Winning isn’t everything
Losing is heart-crushing and bitterly disappointing, especially if it’s something your son is passionate about. One of the greatest things to say, despite how you may feel, is something along the lines ‘It’s okay. You’ll do better next time. Well done for trying, son.’ Winning isn’t everything, but trying is!
I hope these pointers gave you something helpful to think on, regarding your competitive son(s)!
<< Last Week: 5 Areas To Pray Into In Your Son’s Life
Recommended reading as mentioned in the Raising Boys Series.
- Bringing Up Boys
- Raising Boys: Why Boys Are Different – and How to Help Them Become Happy and Well-Balanced Men
- Bringing Up Boys ~ Parent Workbook
- The 5 Love Languages of Children
- Wild at Heart: Discovering the Secret of a Man’s Soul
- Your Brain on Childhood: The Unexpected Side Effects of Classrooms, Ballparks, Family Rooms, and the Minivan
- Boundaries with Kids: How Healthy Choices Grow Healthy Children
- Building Confidence in Your Child
- Parenting Isn’t for Cowards: The ‘You Can Do It’ Guide for Hassled Parents from America’s Best-Loved Family Advocate
- The Power of a Praying® Parent (Power of Praying)