According to Rabbi Shmuley, competition exploits human insecurity and makes you feel like you have to prove yourself in comparison to others. Some parents mistakenly believe competition makes their children more disciplined and more focused, but Rabbi Shmuley says when they're in a hyper-competitive environment, they feel as though they're always measured and made to feel not good enough.
There are two kinds of ambitious people, Rabbi Shmuley says: the "zeros," who believe, "I'm a nothing," and the "ones," who believe, "I was born with real potential."
Rabbi Shmuley offers these tips to parents who want to raise confident children who aren't over competitive:
Don't be so quick to criticize. "Say your kid makes a drawing and it's not very good—what do you say?" Rabbi Shmuley asks. "You should never lie to your kid, but tell them that it's a beautiful picture even if you don't think it is. The picture is beautiful, you just don't see it."
Teach your children to have real satisfaction and be good, decent, honest people.
Know that you have a choice. "Parents should always choose stability, happiness, joy and purpose over 'winning' or being 'the best,'" Rabbi Shmuley says.
Offer your children unconditional love at all times. "Children should feel unconditionally worthy," he says.
Teach your children about humility and to be humble in victory.
"Excessive competitiveness in children fosters insecurity and teaches a child that only champions are special. What children need to hear is the opposite. He or she is unique based on the gifts they have to offer rather than on their ability to outperform their peers. Their friends are not their competitors but their companions. We dare not ultimately see other people as rivals, but as members of the same team."
Printed from Oprah.com on Friday, December 6, 2013