My middle daughter is the kindest you will meet. She has an amazing, sweet smile that will melt your heart when you see it. She is a rule follower and often celebrated at school for being a good helper, friend and student. She also has a competitive streak like I have never seen. A competitive streak that I can relate to, as I have it, but that drives me and her sister’s crazy with them ‘I always have to win!’ Attitude! I always say she suffers from Competitive Child Syndrome.
Case in point is this morning. Always the first out of bed so she can tell me she woke before her sisters or the alarm, she asked me to help her pick an outfit so she could be dressed before her sisters. I told her to hold on a minute and to start choosing something she liked on her own since I was folding laundry so my little one could have her school program outfit for today.
A few minutes later, the house filled with chatter as her sisters woke up. Megan, my youngest, was so excited about her program that she rushed to get ready. She was dressed in no time at all, heading to the bathroom to brush her teeth and hair.
Passing Sarah, who had her clothes but was reading a book on the living room floor instead of getting dressed, she asked Sarah if she liked her outfit. Sarah burst into tears, so upset that her sister was dressed before her.
When I asked her what was wrong, she blamed ME and said I didn’t help her get ready fast enough. She said she needed help picking out her clothes and getting dressed. She is 7. No she does not. Plus, this is a new thing. For the last few years, she has been happily dressing herself. But now that her competitive nature has kicked into overdrive, she wants help so that she can do it faster!
Well, bad mom or not, I rarely jump at her command and only help when I am done doing what I need to do.
As she sat in tears, clothing surrounding her, book open to the page she had been reading instead of getting dressed, I felt frustration building up. I also understood completely. Which frustrated me more. Raising a kid with qualities you have is always a challenge.
Instead of acknowledging her crying, I asked her if she was happy with the outfit she picked out all by herself, ‘like a big girl’, and she nodded yes. I told her that she had great taste and that some little girls can’t dress themselves as stylishly as she can!
She started to allow a little smile to enter her lips at the compliment and began to get dressed. I helped her put her hair up and brush her teeth. We headed out, all three girls looking good and ready for a great day. I patted myself on the back for resolving the situation with Sarah and walked behind them as they got their scooters and headed to the bus stop.
Which Sarah had to be first to. So she could be first in line to get on the bus. So she could sit in the first seat and be the first one off the bus when she got to school.
I suppose her being like me in this way is not all bad. But it sure is frustrating and going to be a challenge for me. Because I have to resolve this. So I can win.
Do you have an ultra competitive child? How do you deal with it?