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how to calm down a competitive child

(12 Posts)
jimblejambles Fri 18-Mar-16 17:08:14

Sorry this is a lot longer than I thought it would be
Ds2 is in year 3 and incredibly competitive. It's not really been an issue up to now but recently he's getting himself more and more worked up over a weekly maths test.

He is going to make himself ill and I don't know how to help him see it's not the end of the world if he doesn't get all the questions right every week.

The school have been fantastic his class teacher, the head of maths and the deputy head have all spoken to him to try to tell him he's doing well so can relax a bit. But all he hears is that someone is better than him so he must beat them.

Really hoping someone has had similar and can give some pointers on calming him down
Thanks

GeorgeTheThird Fri 18-Mar-16 17:14:54

Is it more perfectionism that competitiveness, or does he actually want to do better than the other children?

DonkeyOaty Fri 18-Mar-16 17:15:14

At home, introduce games of chance rather than ability. Like Beetle or board games like ludo/snakes and ladders.

Sallyhasleftthebuilding Fri 18-Mar-16 17:18:06

Agree with the games -

The competitive child in DD class has regular meltdowns over this type of stuff -- you should tell him he's illy competing with himself in the long run .

It's also annoying for the other kids

sunnydayinmay Fri 18-Mar-16 17:21:32

Ha, if you find the answer, let me know. My ds1 is exactly the same - he is 12 years old, in Year 7, and still aims to get 100% (or at least 95%) in every maths test and be top of the whole year!

He is currently signed up for counselling at school, to help him cope if he only achieves 80%. They know that they cannot persuade him to aim lower.

I have channelled his competitiveness into sport, and that is a huge help. I have just found out that music exams are not such a good idea hmm

We have survived this far with lots of sport, as little pressure at home as possible, and a good all rounded secondary which allows him to achieve highly, but doesn't add extra pressure as a rule.

Good luck.

jimblejambles Fri 18-Mar-16 17:24:29

He wants to be the best. If he hears there are 5 children on the same paper as him he won't rest until he has practised and is getting 100% so he is certain he will move into the next paper. The day before the test he asks them how many they've got while practicing at home so he knows he can beat them.

irvine101 Fri 18-Mar-16 17:27:26

My ds is exactly the opposite. I wish he had a bit of competitiveness in him.
He always says, "MRS X said it's good to make mistakes because you can learn from it."

jimblejambles Fri 18-Mar-16 17:28:15

Sunnydayinmay that's exactly what I can see him being like!
We have got him doing martial arts so hopefully that might help.

We play games at home and he's not too bad it's definitely more school work related

sunnydayinmay Fri 18-Mar-16 17:34:57

I would say that he needs to challenge himself, rather than comparing himself to others. The problem then is that there is no end to it.

He needs to learn to improve his own score, and beat his own personal best. Has he thought about a competitive individual sport (athletics, tennis etc)? DS plays tennis and chases ratings now, rather than worrying about who beats him.

jimblejambles Fri 18-Mar-16 17:44:04

Athletics is a good idea he'd like that.

I will try and persuade him to just concentrate on his score. I am speaking to his teacher again next week so will see what happens

Thanks everyone

Questionsagaintoday Fri 18-Mar-16 19:39:48

I was like this as a kid a teen and a university student. It's cost me a fair few friendships except those very outstanding friends who rather weirdly have stuck with me for more than decades. In the short term it's draining and exhausting butt nobody could have talked me out of it. In the long term it has led to a lot of determination dedication and hard work which has paid off really well even when the competitive streak ended and I was left with - well - just a habit of perhaps perfectionism. Sorry don't have an answer but I am sure there is no quick fix.

Ragusa Fri 18-Mar-16 22:42:34

This isn't necessarily a bad trait, but he does need to learn to temper it with learning how to recover from failure.... Perhaps he needs a hobby that he enjoys but that he isn't the best at IYSWIM.

Don't forget, being ultra-competitive is necessary for entry into some jobs/ professions - medicine, law, finance.

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