The desire to want the best for your child can easily lead to a parent doing the most ridiculous (and expensive) things to make sure their child is a part of the “cool kids factor”.
Related article: Less Is More: The Perils of Over-Parenting
Parents always tend to brag about their children’s’ achievements amongst each other and this in-avertedly creates a competitive spirit in parents leading them to pushing their children to always being the best. Competitive parenting has been an existing and dominant factor in parenting since way back in the day.
This phenomenon is understood to be the competition amongst parents to be the “ultimate best parent”, who is able to provide his/her child with the best toys, gadgets, education, fashionable and expensive clothing.
In South Africa and the rest of the world, competitive parenting is all too visible. We see it in the media (stylish celebrity kids), we see it in our communities where parents throw lavish Disney themed birthday parties and we hear it every day from overheard conversations of a parent proudly bragging about her child’s school achievements.
Can everyone afford this?
The worry in South Africa is parents who are living beyond their means to keep up with other parents who can afford to treat their children with expensive materials. We hear of parents who use money they do not have to throw huge bashes for one year-olds who will have no recollection of the day.
It is not wrong for parents to want the best for their children, but there should be a limit.
Children under pressure
Children are put under pressure to achieve at school socially and academically, they are taught to compete with other children at a young age and this might make them miserable and miss out on the simple life of childhood.
Parents, in their bid to provide the best for their children, should be careful of not overdoing it and be mindful of their child’s happiness and well-being.
You have to be the one who your child is able to come and speak to if he/she feels that your expectations of them are too high. An unhappy child constantly fears disappointing his/her parents and this will create feelings of inadequacy.
Trying to “keep up with the Jones’” is just setting yourself up for failure because we all have different bank accounts. This will only lead to your child’s misery. As a parent, you should be proud of your child regardless of whether they come in 1st, 2nd or last.
Written by: Thembakazi Mbobela