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Aunty Aidan: On Race Running and Responsibility
Aunty Aidan: On Race Running and Responsibility

Dear Aunty Aidan,

My child always has to be first - first in the car, first to get juice - or she totally loses it. What's this all about?

Race Steward

Dear RS,

Your child is running a marathon to learn how to manage her triumphs and disappointments in a responsible manner. If she is four years old or younger, don't worry - it's age appropriate for her to want to show her superiority. If she is older, stop using a timer and catch yourself if you are inadvertently "racing" her in order to get her to do something.

Un-prize the being first: remind her that not every task is a race to win and that she can still be a leader without leading the line. Let her open the car door if she gets there first or tell her that first one gets to pour the juice today. She needs to know she's #1 with you so acknowledge her feelings without dismissing them as childish; she is a child after all. Let her choose 2-3 times a week when she can legitimately be the leader and make sure she experiences opportunities to collaborate and take turns. Put down that checkered flag: having a competitive spirit will serve her well in any future adversity.

Aunty Aidan