Competitive parents are everywhere. People like to say it’s only parents of athletes, but…no.
Keeping up with The Jones is a real thing, and competitive parents are everywhere. From soccer fields to art classes and musical recitals, one- upping another has become a way of life for some.
So how can you survive this landmine of social “braggardociousness”?
Turns out there are people who have techniques for how to deal with the competitive people. They’re called psychologists.
And it turns out that Melanie Greenberg wrote an article about how to deal with competitive people in Psychology Today. The more important information is below: But if you’re not the type to read PT on a daily basis, I’ve got the summary for you.
Step 1: Figure out why this person is being competitive.
Have meaningful conversations and get to know the other parent to find out what they want for their child. You may find that you’re both headed in the same direction, you just have two different ways of getting there.
Step 2: Figure out your baggage.
What’s in your head? Sometimes based on your past experiences — with your own parents as a child, or with this particular person — you may take the other persons’ comments to heart. The same comment can come off as a fact or as bragging. Take this example, “He needed a new computer for his design class, so we got a MacBook because they’re awesome.”
This statement can be taken a number of different ways. Perhaps you always wanted a MacBook when you were a kid but your family couldn’t afford it, or maybe your sister went to design school which meant you couldn’t go to summer camp. From the speaker’s perspective, he or she may think that they are just stating a fact – that they needed a new computer for their kid in design school. He may not realize that by mentioning the brand, they are being perceived as competitive.
Step 3:Praise the insecure parent
Yup, praise them. Acknowledge their children’s accomplishments or expensive gifts. An insecure parent is competitive because they are trying to prove their worth. This is about them, and not about you. Be open and friendly and you’ll find that they will become more at ease and (should) tone it down.
Step 4: Blitz the arrogant parent
Stand up for yourself or your child! A competitive, arrogant parent can be tough to be around but they’re all about themselves. So, be confident and be prepared to share the great things about YOUR child. They’ll back off when confronted with confidence. Or, if you’re not that person, find someone else to hang out with.
But what if….
YOU’RE the competitive parent?
Well, acknowledging it is a good first step.
This is a bit tougher.
Check out our post about how not to be THAT PARENT here. While we wrote it with try outs in mind, it’s a great article with useful tips.
If you’re the guilty party, check out this terrific article by Chris Freytag that outlines the symptoms of being too competitive and how you can control them.