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Experts Offer Tips for Helping Kids Manage Their Competitiveness

Kids become increasingly competitive with age, and experts say it's the job of adults to help them manage the behavior in a healthy way.

The urge to compete is perfectly natural, said Tovah Klein, author of How Toddlers Thrive. It kicks in around 4 or 5 years old, when kids get really good at one thing: categorizing.

And once kids start comparing categories, Klein told nprEd, "they say, 'Hey, wait a minute. There are people in the world faster than me. I want to be the fastest.' Or, 'I want to be the biggest.' "

Developmental psychologist Susan Harter explained that by age 7 or 8, kids take competitiveness to a whole new level. Many start carving what she calls "totem poles of social comparison" in their minds.

"If you're at the bottom of the totem pole," she told nprEd, "you're going to lose self-confidence and you're going to begin to experience failure as very devastating to the self."

Yet competition is not a dirty word, the article said. Managing failure and learning from our mistakes are vital skills in adulthood that we have to be taught as kids.

Adults just have to help young people find the balance between striving to win and striving to improve.

Read the full story.

Article by Celine Provini, EducationWorld Editor

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