Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Winning and losing-Is it Really A Good Idea To Teach Them Everyone Wins and Never Loses??

We have been to the bazillion youth athletic games where after the game everyone walks away with a win. But I wonder what that will do to them when they apply to a school, go to a job interview, do a real race or play real games where either you loose or you win?

I am a parent to 3 kids, and my son is naturally completive like my family where our 2 girls are more like their dad-not so much! I also have coached youth sports for several years where everyone is just playing for fun. As a coach and a parent I want to introduce fundamentals of the game, learn to respect each other, coaches and refs, be a good sport and encourage one another, and good manners  and teach them safety. Now like I said there is not an official win or loose titles, but my girls could tell you every time how many goals each team had and if they won or loose. They do know who wins and who looses, its how they deal with it that counts. Now for the most part when you shake hands after the game everyone says good job, however, there are those few that feel the need to yell that they won and you didn't. When this happens the kids just look at them while the parents get visibly upset. Then they will tell us that wasn't very nice and thought there wasn't any loosing.

My son is older now, but in the late 1990's his school participated in relay races where there was a first, second and third place, along with participant ribbons. They always tried hard and some would win and some would loose. Or no matter if it were a chess tournament or science fair-there would always be a winner. But now they only have team races were there is no winner and loser. I wonder how this generation will hand things down the road?

I always use encouragement and be positive when coaching and parenting. I always try to focus what we are doing and what could we do differently the next time. I would even say after the girls said they were sad they lost, although not technically, I would ask them why that was and what we could learn from it. So is it really better to not prepare the kids for later on in life on dealing with winning and losing? Are we doing the right thing by sheltering them now and hoping they handle it better as they get older? Or did we always have it wrong by not have a winner and loser?

Just something Im thinking of................

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Dealing with Siblings-One more advanced than the other-the time I lied to make one feel better

We have 3 children an older boy a sophomore and two girls on 17 months apart (5 1/2 & 7). All 3 kids are different-they look different, they act different and all their milestones are different. SO when our younger daughter turned 2 we quickly understood just how advanced she is- she already knew her ABC's, counted to 20 and could tell you a word that began with every letter. We also learned she has incredible memory abilities-like when we play memory and there are 30 cards she will remember where they all are-even beating us sometimes on an online one that has a timer. Then there is her older sister that needed more time to retain information and couldn't make connections so easily. When they started pre school the teachers noticed quickly of their differences and tried to celebrate one without hurting the other always giving lots of encouragement and support. When they began independent reading we quickly realized we needed to separate them-the older one would struggle and the younger would just ramble on and on. She was coming home and telling me aha can spell metacognition. So separating them was key to not have them feel competing while giving them each the different support they need-we also had to do this with worksheets-our younger one would be done while the older one was on number 3.

Kids talk about what they do in school and love to share when they learn something new. When the younger one took her kindergartner pre test she got like 97 out of 100 right-most things that she had not even learned she just figured it out. One day we were talking about it, we thought we were alone, but sure enough her older sister asked what she got. IN the moment I just lied telling her they did about the same. It was just one test and they would soon forget about it. I know this may have been wrong, but in that moment she had this look on her face and I could not for the life of me tell her she did not do so well (I think she got more like in the 60's, which was still above average). I just thought that if she thought she did as good it would build her confidence and she wouldn't no any different. She never did but I always remember that moment.

As she gets older she understands more and more her sister is advanced-talk about putting her in the gifted and talented program or bringing home chapter books 6-7 levels ahead. Our kindergartner only goes a half a day so when she brings home her book we read it and I put back in her backpack so the other one doesn't read what level it is-she always wants to know. When our first grader moves up levels she is so excited and talks about it as we praise her for her hard work. The younger one doesn't care much about what level she is on.

They are so different and I like their strengths and their weakness. I love the fact that no matter how different they really are they still love each other and support one another. We will continue to rally behind them helping where it needs and challenging as well. I think its important to show pride when they accomplish something and encourage when they need a little help. I am more worried as they get older and hope this doesn't pout a wedge between them.