Is Antagonism Advantageous For Children? - Babyish Chick

Is Antagonism Advantageous For Children?

ParentingUpdated October 22, 2021

by Rachel Tomlinson

Registered Psychologist


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Do you anticipate antagonism is advantageous for children? In contempo years, antagonism in adolescence has become a bit of a bedraggled word. I bethink arena canyon the bindle at parties as a child. There were no presents in the alien layers of wrapping, alone one big “prize” in the average (cue some actual bad-humored and aghast kids who aloof absent out on the present). Now canyon the bindle is infrequently played at parties my own adolescent attends. Or if it is, there are prizes in anniversary band and no big “win” for the final layer.

I additionally anamnesis academy carnivals with First, Second, and Third abode ribbons. There were no accord stickers or “I ran in a race” badges. If you didn’t abode on the podium, there was no recognition. I’m not adage this is acceptable or bad, but we accept confused worlds abroad from this attitude in our accepted amusing climate. It seems the apple wants to do abroad with competition. Is this bad for our children?

Is Antagonism Advantageous or Unhealthy?

There are two schools of anticipation as to whether antagonism is advantageous or ailing for kids.

Competition is Unhealthy

Some accept that antagonism and the drive to win can abode disproportionate burden on children. It can aftereffect in accent and abashment or disappointment if a adolescent doesn’t win article or feels that they don’t admeasurement up. This can appulse self-esteem and self-efficacy (the acceptance that a being can accomplish or accommodated goals). As such, we see careful to assure accouchement from adverse experiences, and the abstraction of “winning” is abolished. Or in assertive situations, there can be an abstention of antagonism altogether.

Children advance at altered rates, accept altered interests and skills, and not all accouchement accomplish back affianced in formalized testing or aggressive situations. By labeling someone, the “winner” of a game infers there is a “loser.” We can again accomplish added assumptions or judgments about this being based on their baronial or achievement in an activity/task. Kids may be atrocious at times, and their accustomed affection to win (biological drive to aggregate assets or be the strongest/fastest/best is autogenetic for abounding children) can beggarly they will actively taunt or analyze others who didn’t win or accomplish actual well.

Many parents accept to actively advise their accouchement how to be adroit winners. I apperceive that my babe absolutely brand to rub it in my face back she wins a bold of snakes and ladders adjoin me (we’re alive on it!!). However, the appulse on the being who loses can be detrimental. They can advance abrogating centralized labels or behavior about themselves (I’m not acceptable at spelling, I cannot run fast, etc.), which can be amaranthine (they alive up to their own expectations). It can additionally abnormally appulse their aplomb and faculty of self-esteem.

Even for accouchement who are acknowledged and “win” these competitions, there can be abrogating impacts. Sometimes a adolescent will be pushed or approach appear article they are accomplished at to the damage of added (well-rounded) activities. By absorption a lot of concrete or brainy absorption on one action it can aftereffect in things like:

  • Burnout – accident absorption or affection in an activity. They can feel annoyed or overwhelmed, abnormally impacting their achievement in their accustomed breadth of interest.
  • Overuse or abrasion – this is accompanying to concrete abilities or antic competitions.
  • Well-being – accouchement cannot win all the time or every time. If their faculty of self-esteem is alone captivated up in acceptable or one activity, it can be crushing for their well-being.

Competition is Healthy

Child development experts point out that some antagonism can be acceptable for children. It helps set them up for after in activity back they don’t get that pay acceleration they were acquisitive for or don’t win a big arrangement at work. The abilities developed in antagonism can be fundamental. Abilities such as turn-taking (for aggregation sports), development of empathy (understanding what it feels like to be on the accepting end of “not winning”), and additionally resilience. Aggressive activities can additionally serve as opportunities for accouchement to apprentice about critical amusing interactions (like turn-taking, cooperation, and advice skills). Also, they can accomplish a aerial faculty of admire from alive appear a ambition and accomplishing it.

Despite best efforts to abolish baronial like First, Second, and Third Place, accouchement will still apperceive if they succeeded at an action or game. And while abounding sports clubs abolish scoring in the aboriginal years, about anybody on and off the acreage knows who performed the best. The way antagonism is beheld and advised by the bodies surrounding the adolescent affairs in whether antagonism is “healthy” or not. If acceptable is the alone time a adolescent receives a acclaim or positive feedback about themselves, antagonism can become unhealthy. However, from a added adaptive or advantageous perspective, antagonism can advice accouchement apprentice the amount of adamantine work. It is not consistently the best gifted or brightest who succeed. It’s those who practice, assignment hard, animation aback from affliction (or loss) and accumulate at it!

For antagonism to be advantageous or adaptive, we additionally charge to abutment our accouchement to advance animation and the internalized bulletin that “winning isn’t everything.” Parents can advice ascertain ability and success as not aloof acceptable but convalescent or perfecting the abilities required.

We additionally charge to set our kids up to accept that we will not consistently win. Allowance them hone the affecting adjustment abilities that will advice them cope with accident is an important activity lesson. We can additionally do this by commending and complementing their efforts (rather than complimenting the win). Additionally, focus on learnings or takeaway letters afterwards a accident rather than on the accident itself. We can additionally archetypal adapted behaviors like accepting and absolute responses afterwards a accident (focusing on what we can assignment on abutting time and what did go well).

So is antagonism advantageous or not?

The board is out on whether antagonism is advantageous for accouchement or not. But it is important to admit that in life, accouchement will not consistently appear out on top. They ability not consistently win or get their way. They will be apparent to situations that crave adroit accepting and animation to move accomplished such contest throughout their lives. While antagonism itself may absolutely about-face negative, there are additionally abounding means that it can be healthy. We as parents charge abutment our accouchement and anatomy their acumen and acknowledgment to antagonism to set them up for success in after life.

Eime, R. M., Young, J. A., Harvey, J. T., Charity, M. J., & Payne, W. R. (2013). A analytical analysis of the cerebral and amusing allowances of accord in action for accouchement and adolescents: allegorical the development of a conceptual archetypal of bloom through sport. International Account of Behavioural Diet and Concrete Activity, 10(98). doi: 10.1186/1479-5868-10-98
Hansen, D. M., Larson, R. W., & Dworkin, J. B. (2003). What adolescents apprentice in organized adolescence activities: A analysis of self-reported adorning experiences. Account of Analysis on Adolescence, 13(1), 25-55. Doi: 10.1111/1532-7795.1301006


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