As the school year gets started, some parents are feeling anxious – not just about how their child will do this year – but also about ultra-competitive parents and maybe even some shaming if they don’t live up to other parent’s expectations.

A lot of this competitive attitude comes from normal concerns for our children. We want the best for them. We want them to have a happy and successful future. We don’t want them to suffer or lose out on opportunities.

Today’s culture emphasizes competition over cooperation, is hyper focused on sensational doom-and-gloom messaging and shames parents who aren’t focusing on their children 24/7. This climate taps into our fears and anxiety for our children, so we may feel compelled to push and mold them based on a list of activities promoted by other parents we admire or relate to. Some parents feel left behind, overwhelmed and out-resourced.

While this tactic sometimes returns the results wished for, it often backfires. Instead of independent, self-reliant and resilient children, it more often produces anxious, overwhelmed, over-dependent youth and young adults filled with self-doubt, practicing avoidant behavior.

The good news is that parents don’t have to get sucked into this competitive parenting approach. With some self-monitoring and “adulting” skills, it’s possible to raise healthy, successful children.

A few tips from Pine Rest’s Gordon Greer, LMSW:

  • Stay in your lane.
  • Focus on process versus the outcome.
  • Don’t compare your insides (what you feel) to another parent’s outsides (what they portray).

Visit Pine Rest’s website for more tips on parenting: www.pinerest.org/parenting.  

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