By Carole Brown
I was a 1½ older than my brother so being “the boss” came natural . . . or maybe I was just the “pushy” type. Whatever the case, we were constantly striving to better the other.
One of our craziest competitions was The Eating Contest. No, we didn’t pig out at the table and no, we didn’t hog down all the candy we could find. Our contests were much healthier for the body, if not the spirit.
We had cabbage, banana and other veggie-eating contests but our favorite was the iceberg lettuce contest. At the given signal, we’d see who could wolf down the most lettuce. Since it’s largely water and we both liked it, it wasn’t a hard task. I dare say Mama and Daddy rolled their eyes a few times, sighed and wondered how they’d spawned such creatures, but it was fun and good for us. Innocent competitive fun that taught us a few things:
- Fun can be had in the simple things of life. Parents should watch for activities all enjoy doing and encourage their participation together. Especially push (casually) for educational and simple activities like puzzles, building, exploring nearby and vacation places, walks, community activities, etc. Join in if possible and let them set the pace but be ready to negotiate compromises between especially competitive siblings.
- Competition is a healthy activity as long as it’s done in fun and fairness. Though it may sound like a drag to a child or teenager, rules and boundaries are important. Make sure all understands the rules and that it’s for their benefit and happiness.
- Sometimes you lose and sometimes you win. No one wins all the time and no one loses all the time. One thing is important for children to learn early in life, is that not everyone is good at everything. Take note of what each of your children does well–in play or chores–and encourage them through praise. Those who are more daring might want challenges in new opportunities. Allow this within reason. Others feel safer and happier in their routine activities and fun exercises. Don’t discourage them if they hold back from participating in activities with which they’re uncomfortable. Learn to discern whether it’s from genuine interest or a lack of confidence and be prepared to boost them if needed.
Most of all laugh, love and guard your children with vigilance. Stand firm with your wisely chosen rules but be flexible when it comes to healthy choices for fun. You won’t regret it and your children will be mentally healthier.
About Carole Brown
Besides being a member and active participant of many writing groups, Carole Brown enjoys mentoring beginning writers. She loves to weave suspense and tough topics into her books, including The Denton and Alex Davis Mystery series and With Music in Their Hearts, along with a touch of romance and whimsy, and is always on the lookout for outstanding titles and catchy ideas. She and her husband reside in SE Ohio but have ministered and counseled nationally and internationally. Together, they enjoy their grandsons, traveling, gardening, good food, the simple life, and did she mention their grandsons? Connect with her at http://sunnebnkwrtr.blogspot.com/.
You may check out her books at http://www.amazon.com/Carole-Brown/e/B00EZV4RFY/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1431659899&sr=8-1