My Mini McEnroe – Managing the Hyper-Competitive Kid

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My Mini McEnroe – Managing the Hyper-Competitive Kid

My five year old son, Asher, is competitive. I figured he was like any other super competitive kid, but now after an ongoing, incessant competitive nature, I’ve come to see that it’s really on a different level. He reminds me of a Mini McEnroe.

We’ve all seen the tennis great… at his worst.

McEnroe protesting a call at Wimbledon in 1980. (Photo: Steve Powell/Getty Images)

McEnroe protesting a call at Wimbledon in 1980.
(Photo: Steve Powell/Getty Images)

After an incident in our backyard, I have to admit that I have to figure out how to deal with Asher’s passion and competitiveness without squashing what I have always seen, and truly believe, is a positive trait which will serve him well in life.

Once, when Asher was just 4, we had a relay race during a play date: moms vs. kids. The moms won… and Asher made it known he was not happy. All the other kids moved on, but Asher couldn’t let it go and told one of the moms, respectfully at least, that the moms had cheated. He wanted “a do over,” the moms conceded.

Back to my Mini McEnroe. Let me set the scene. It was a tennis match in our backyard. Jackson and Asher playing “doubles” against me. I know nothing about tennis except that you hit the ball back and forth to each other. I never played it or watched it as a kid. Sidebar- I’m not one of those moms who lets their kids win all the time, I just don’t think it’s the way to go. I believe in teaching sportsmanship and playing for fun. Winning is a bonus! No one can win all of the time. So I figured since tennis wasn’t my thing I would play like it was a fair match up, kinda. Jackson kept me on my toes. But literally, every time I would get a point, Asher would have a fit. He would yell and scream and tell me, “You just want to win, mommy and it’s not fair.” But as soon as they scored a point, Asher would be jumping for joy exclaiming, “You’re going down!” Reminder, the kid is five. The match: the first to 20 wins.

What happened next was shocking. I was close to winning the match, just one point away from victory. There were actually three “takeovers” as both boys decided there was some sort of issue with my points. Finally, I made it to 20. Then the explosion… screaming at the top of his lungs, “It’s not fair!” “You cheated!” Asher’s new tennis racket flung to the ground… it’s not over yet… And then the ball, thrown at his top strength, right at me! YIKES! And there was no calming him down. He just couldn’t take the loss. This is the most extreme reaction he has ever had, but in everything he does, he sees competition and has a must win attitude… at all costs.

Once we were able to finally console him, Jackson offering a re-match, he said he felt okay. But the effort that goes into his angst is tough to watch. I don’t want him to tense up and feel badly. I want him to be happy and to enjoy the process. I gathered some advice from other parents and experts and here’s what I found out. If you have a child who is HYPER-competitive I hope this might help. (This advice is for younger kids.)

Winning Isn’t Everything: Some hyper-competitive kids need reminders that there’s more to games than scoring goals. Parents and their kids can make up a list of other things that are important in their sport of choice – assists, passes, or cheering for your team-mates, for example. When kids compete to engage in positive team behaviors, they’re on the way to becoming more cooperative!

Don’t Worry About Why Your Kid Is So Competitive: You don’t really need to know what makes your child so competitive—you might have a guess, but no analysis of the root of the problem is necessary.

Set Up Contests That Let Your Child Win: The older and more capable a child is, the more of a contest you have to set up with them, but don’t try to be perfectly skilled at a sport. Set up contests that let you show affection. “I’ve got 100 kisses for you” is a good one, where you chase him and catch him and try to land a kiss. It’s fun, loving and no pressure!

Let the games begin!

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Sneaking in More Family Time

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Sneaking in More Family Time

Every parent wishes they had a little extra time to spend with their kiddos. Some way to sneak in special memories or moments beyond holidays, vacations and family celebrations.

So… what if you could?

Check out the video below and see how my boys and I are Karate Kids… Kinda…

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Spoiled Rotten? How to Avoid the Trap of Overindulging Your Child

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Spoiled Rotten? How to Avoid the Trap of Overindulging Your Child

What parent doesn’t want to give their child the world? But giving too much can have long term effects on a child according to Susan Stone. Susan is a parenting coach, licensed family therapist and author of “The Indulgence Trap.” She explains that TOO MUCH help, attention and material items are hurting our children and parents today are falling into the indulgence trap. I’m in the trap too! So I asked Susan to break down how every parent can acquire the skills they need to teach kids how to be self sufficient and learn the life lessons they need.

Check out the video below!

And one last tip from Susan Stone: “No Hotel Service Here!” Susan says kids need chores early on in life. Chores enable kids to learn to take care of themselves and others in the family.

For more great information from Susan Stone, head on over to her website! You can also purchase her book there. Susan Stone “The Indulgence Trap”

“The Indulgence Trap” is a practical guide to recognizing how you may be unintentionally spoiling your child – not just materially but in ways that interfere with development and their ability to function in the real world. Then follow the 13 point road map, full of immediate ways you can change your parenting, to raise a responsible, hard-working, caring and likeable child.

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The Story of Stuff Project

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The Story of Stuff Project

I don’t think I’m the only one exhausted by the BLACK FRIDAY madness seeping into our world. We are bombarded by the TV ads, the signage and verbiage… it’s the same old story year after year. Don’t miss out– or what— I’ll miss the deal of the year? What about missing out on precious family time?

After talking to lots of moms and dads about the excessive accumulating of “stuff” over the holiday season, it’s obvious that people are feeling the same way I’m feeling. According to Time.com, ‘…a confusing, contradictory string of consumer polls suggests that “only” 11%, or perhaps as many as 28% of Americans will physically go shopping in stores on the day (Black Friday.) Even if the true figure is at the low end of the spectrum, it’ll still mean millions and millions of people clogging shopping centers across the land.’

Whatever the numbers might be, how about changing the story? That’s where THE STORY OF STUFF PROJECT comes in.

The Story of Stuff Project is leading the charge this season to Buy Less and Live more!

From now through the end of December, the story of stuff project is on a mission to collect pictures and stories from people everywhere doing “all the glorious, delicious, and simple things that make this time of year special; the things you have time to do when you aren’t shopping.”

Check out the video below! What will you do when you aren’t shopping this season?

 

Check out The Story of Stuff Project for more inspiring information!

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Spring Break Survival Guide

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Spring Break Survival Guide

SuperMommyNot.com has come up with your go-to ‘Spring Break Survival Guide!’ This is a compilation of a wide variety of offerings. But as you peruse this list and begin to set up your week/s off, remember, Spring Break should include a break, some down time is necessary. Experts advise parents to let kids just do NOTHING! And it’s okay, really, it is! Check out a great article on Spring Break from ‘Psychology Today’ by Peggy Drexler, Ph.D.

At Home:

Bounce House
This is one of my favorites! Rent a bounce house, split it with some friends and let the bouncing begin. This is perfect because kids are on their own and you may even have time for coffee and some real conversation with your mommy/daddy friends. Bonus- Great exercise!

Dance Party
Pull out the microphones, put on some music and let the kids at it. Who doesn’t want to dance to Pharrell’s ‘Happy!’ Bonus- Great exercise!

Science at Home
ScienceBuddies.org has some great science based projects that won’t leave you confused or frustrated. Each project gives you the difficulty level, time required and supplies needed. We decided this spring break we’re going to try the project ‘Turn Milk Into Plastic’ We’ll let you know how that goes! Bonus- Kids are using their brains in a fun and interesting way. This gives them the choice to pick what they want to learn about!

L.A.’s MommyPoppins “March Go List

MommyPoppins has shared its March Go List with SMN! Thank you for all the great ideas and fun things to see and do around the L.A. area, Mommy Poppins! Check it out!

Animated movies for Spring Break and beyond!

Mr. Peabody & Sherman – release date: March 7th 2014

Island of Lemurs: Madagascar – release date April 4th 2014

Rio 2 – release date April 17th 2014

Extras!

DIY! Let the kids paint their rooms!
I remember loving to decorate my room and painting was a big part of it. Spring Break gives you some time to actually get it done! Bonus- kids can help out and at the end take pride in their work which might even spark keeping their rooms clean. Maybe…

Visit City Hall!
This is FREE and a wonderful way to give kids some insight into local government. Here’s a recap of our visit to City Hall. Bonus- Did I say it’s free?!
Meeting The Mayor… Almost

Introduce ‘The Family Meeting!’
If you’ve ever visited SuperMommyNot.com, you know I am a huge proponent of the Family Meeting. This could be a great time to get started! Here’s all the info you need to get going this Spring Break!

Family Meetings On KCAL 9

Huge Bonus!
Family Meetings provide an opportunity to teach children valuable social and life skills for good character. They will learn:
Listening skills
Brainstorming skills
Problem solving skills
Mutual respect
Cooperation
Concern for others

Family Meetings provide an opportunity for parents to:
Avoid power struggles by respectfully sharing control
Avoid micromanaging children, so children learn self-discipline
Listen in ways that invite children to listen
Create good memories through a family tradition

The Meeting Agenda:
Compliments (might include improvements from last week)
Evaluate last week’s solutions
This week’s issues (if a friendly discussion is not enough, brainstorm for solutions)
Meal Planning
Calendar
Family Fun

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Summer Camp Summary

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Summer Camp Summary

Summer is right around the corner and picking the perfect camp for your kids can be a job within itself. So, where do you start? Here are some tips to get you headed in the right direction!

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“Give Me 10!”

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“Give Me 10!”

As a parent, especially a new parent, it is very difficult to find time for yourself or work on goals you want to achieve. Whether it’s finding a new job in 2013, working on some creative aspect in your life or just organizing a room in your home, finding time just for you can seem daunting.

So what can you do? Laura Brady-Saade, a Wharton MBA with a career in management consulting and on the job training as a parent, introduces: “Give Me 10.” It’s a program developed by Brady-Saade to give moms and dads a way to start a task and see it through. Ten minute increments set the pace for a successful outcome.

Take a look at the video and for more information about “Give Me 10,” log onto:
http://www.giveme10.info/

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Shoe Box Giving

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Shoe Box Giving

Cultivating giving in your child needs to be personal and spark passion according to experts. Suzie Nava, a preschool teacher, is doing just that. As a young child, Nava’s parents made giving a part of their family culture. Now Nava is passing on her love of giving to her students. She asks the children to fill shoe boxes with essential items and small toys for Mexican orphans. Suzie then travels from Southern California, for many hours, to deliver the boxes. This year she is headed to El Provenir. Suzie explains how her passion evolved, the way her passion is realized and why she’s inviting her students along for the ride. Watch the video.

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Promoting An Adventurous Spirit in Your Child

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Promoting An Adventurous Spirit in Your Child

How and when does an adventurous spirit develop? Can we, as parents, actually promote an adventurous spirit in our children?

Here’s a story about a young boy who climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro when he was only seven years old. His dad explains how he was able to get behind his son.

Dr. Sheri Meyers has some advice for parents who want to successfully promote an adventurous spirit in their children.

It doesn’t matter if a child wants to be the best surfer or pianist or mathematician, parents need to figure out a way to support their child. What’s tricky is when a parent doesn’t necessarily think his/her child is headed in the right direction. It’s about taking a leap of faith and just going with it!

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Soccer Coach, Baseball Coach…Family Coach?

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Soccer Coach, Baseball Coach…Family Coach?

When people think about coaches, they usually think about their kids’ soccer coach or baseball coach. But what if you had a family coach? Someone who could help you tackle everyday challenges. The UCLA Family Commons offers this unique approach which focuses on practical solutions for a more united and healthy family unit. Coaches work with you to address common issues that may not require therapy, but have real impacts on children’s well-being. And now there is coaching at your convenience! Family coaching is available via Skype.

The Commons is a “new kind of wellness center offering accessible, science-based tools to build healthy families.” All of this is achieved through expert research, new learning tools and fun activities.

I recently visited The Commons and saw coaching in action. Take a look at the video. My son, Jackson, asked if he could help me report this story, as he is now convinced that he and I will be parenting reporters “together forever.”

For more information about The Commons visit:
http://www.uclacommons.com/

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Are You Raising a Bully?

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Are You Raising a Bully?

Did you see the video? I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. As I watched I was so sad for this 68 year old woman, a bus monitor for middle school students in New York, being bullied relentlessly.

The kids taunted Karen Klein using profanity, insults, jeers and physical ridicule. Some of the bullies demanded to know her address, saying they wanted to go to her house to perform sexual acts and steal from her. Another one of them said, “You’re so fat.”

One comment from a boy aboard the bus appeared to be especially painful. He told her that she didn’t have a family because “they all killed themselves because they didn’t want to be near you.” According to reports, Klein’s oldest son committed suicide ten years ago.

The bullying went on for about 10 minutes in the video. The video was recorded by a student with a cell phone camera and now the brazen example of bullying has gone viral.

Why does bullying continue to be so pervasive in our society? What can we do? What can parents do? Watch the video for some answers.

How should these bullies be disciplined? I’d love to know your thoughts.

According to USC Sociologist, Karen Sternheimer, all parents need to take a close look at their own actions.

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When Perfection is not an Option

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When Perfection is not an Option

I love hearing from moms who have been on the “Mom Beat” for several years as well as moms who have lots of children. I asked Jennifer McGee, a mother of FIVE BOYS, ages seven to seventeen, how do you bounce back from an imperfect parenting situation? Her answer… say you’re sorry. Take a listen.

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