It's that time of year where parents gather to watch their children play a friendly sport. At least, that's what we hope to see out on the playing field; friendliness. However, sometimes it's not the children playing we have to be concerned about; it's the parents on the sidelines.
The old stereotype of the "soccer mom" has become somewhat of a negative one, depicting this woman who stands on the sidelines not cheering but ranting. If your child plays sports, the chances are great that you will run into one of these competitive moms. Here are some friendly ways to handle a competitive mom whether it's on the soccer field, at school or someone you are meeting for coffee.
What makes a competitive mom?
What do we mean by the term "competitive mom"? Is it a woman who simply wants the best for her child, or does it go deeper than just encouraging and motivating a child?
A competitive mom tends to be one who feels her child has special rights and privileges. She may believe that her child is superior to other children. No one else can compare to the special feats that her child can perform. These women are also very difficult to communicate with, especially if you disagree.
Keep in mind that for many competitive moms, this began long before her child was ever able to play a sport. It usually begins when the child is an infant. Her child never cried, slept better, talked sooner and the list goes on.
Understanding this helps you to realize that changing a competitive mom is virtually an impossible feat. You will not be able to convince this type of mom the error of her ways. She will probably end up having to learn this the hard way.
Don't Take It Out On the Child
If you are dealing with a competitive mom, don't take it out on her child. Most likely, if her child is aware of her behavior, the child probably feels embarrassed but may be too afraid to say so. Try to imagine the pressure that her child must go through on a daily basis to live up to her standards.
Even if the child seems to act as bratty as the mom does, try to understand that the child probably doesn't know any different. If they are raised in a competitive environment, it is all they really know.
Competitive Moms Love Their Children
Competitive moms truly do love their children. It is just that they have a difficult time showing it in a healthy way. Pressuring children and making them feel that they have a leg up on the world probably has the best intentions. It's just that the competitive mom is going about it the wrong way. She more than likely feels very insecure about her role as a mother and this is just how she copes with it.
Of course, every mom feels that her children are special. There is nothing wrong with that. But when it goes to unhealthy extremes, it becomes a problem. For some moms, competition just seems to run through their veins.
We All Have Inadequacies
Remember that we all have inadequacies as moms. It's a difficult role to fulfill, so if we can sympathize with the competitive mom we can better handle her. Instead of taking it personally or as an affront against our own children, we can look at it is as a way to examine our own hearts and uncover what our own inadequacies are. Hers may be just more out there for the world to see.
Being a mom is a difficult and challenging job so by sympathizing with that, we can look past some of the behaviors that a competitive mom might display.
Be the Better Example
It might seem like the best idea is to avoid that competitive mom; just stay away and you won't have to deal with it. However, that may not a realistic solution. This is your time to be a better example.
Don't feed into a competitive mom's behavior and comments; instead, offer something positive in return. If you demonstrate a pleasant attitude and speak only encouraging, kind words, she will probably take note of that. She may notice that you get further along when you are patient and demonstrate integrity.
Keep Things in Perspective
Remember to keep things in perspective. Sure, your friend's child may have potty-trained earlier, but in the grand scheme of things, it really won't make a difference. Many of the things that parents are so focused on in the here-and-now seem so important, but in later life really won't matter.
If you can keep things in perspective, you can keep your wits about you when you are around a competitive mom.
Share Your Feelings
What if the competitive mom is a friend? That can change things a bit. If your friend is competitive and you find the conversations are constantly about how great her kids are, you might share your feelings with your friend. Be honest about the way her behavior and comments make you feel.
Sometimes, competitive moms are not even aware of the way they are acting. They may not realize how they are coming across to others and could end up thanking you for pointing it out.
Take Time for Self-Examination
While we can easily pick out the competitive mom in others, it may be time for a little self-evaluation of our own. Probably all moms are guilty of this at one time or another.
There is nothing wrong with being proud of our children and sharing their accomplishments with others. It is when we start to brag or feel they have special entitlements that we have gone the wrong direction. So make sure that you are not falling into that same competitive mom trap.
Handling Competitive Moms
Competitive moms are just moms who want the best for their children. They may be going about it the wrong way, but their intentions are clearly for the best. With patience, being a good example and sharing your feelings if necessary, you can better handle the next competitive mom who comes your way.