Baby Galen has always been a perfectionist. I think she gets some of that from me. Lately that perfectionism has turned into competitiveness, and that I do not think she gets from me. I have never been the kind of person who cared about winning. I always wanted to do well. I wanted to make good grades, I wanted to be chosen for a part in the play, I wanted to be good enough to sing in the advanced choir.
I still want my books to perform well. When I have a release, and it doesn’t sell well, I’m disappointed. I shrug it off and write the next book. Sure there’s some professional envy when I see another author doing well or receiving publisher support I don’t have. But then when I’m singled out, I always feel sort of awkward and undeserving.
Not Baby Galen.
If we’re playing a board game and she is on a space behind the other players, she will run off and start crying before the game is even over. She hasn’t even lost yet, but she’s already upset at the idea of losing. If she’s playing tag and is tagged, she cries and won’t play any more. If she’s in gymnastics and can’t do a skill to her satisfaction, she falls on the floor and cries.
I thought this was a phase, but it has been going on for almost a year now. I’ve started Googling “competitive child” and trying to get ideas for addressing it. I’ve tried talking to her about just having fun and not worrying about who wins or loses. I’ve tried pointing out how when Daddy or I lose, we don’t cry. I try telling her to just do the best she can. Nothing seems to work. It’s to the point I don’t even want to play a game with her because they usually end in meltdowns.
The articles I’ve read don’t seem very helpful. They’re mostly for parents of grade school kids, and Baby Galen is barely four. She doesn’t play competitive sports.
Anyone dealt with this? Any suggestions?