The Competitive Child

by MJ Fisher

B. Soc. Sc.; GradDip Teaching; Dip. Care and Ed.

Some children are naturally competitive.  These are the children that constantly want to be first, to be the fastest, to win games and take losing to heart.  Competitiveness is by no means a negative attribute.  In fact, it is a trait that will probably serve children well when they become adults because they will always strive to reach the goals they set.  Unfortunately, the time resting between childhood and adulthood is long, meaning adults interacting with these types of children are left to guide and curve their behaviours. 

 

The lower brain

When looking at any child’s behaviour it is vital to understand which part of the brain they are operating from.  Although there are numerous parts of the brain, each with their own vital functions, it is important, in the instance of the competitive child, to understand the lower portion of the brain, otherwise known as the limbic system.  The limbic system consists of many individual processing components, including the parts that control emotion – the very thing that escalates a child’s need to act competitively.  For this reason, it is vital that adults understand the role the limbic system plays in a child’s quest for competitive superiority. 

When the limbic system is firing on all cylinders it becomes the ruler of the child’s universe.  Their thoughts are scattered, they are quick to emote and they fail to see reason.  If children’s limbic systems are ruling their roost, anyone trying to deal with the child or prompt them to see reason will almost always fail.  In fact, the more adults try...