Competition, Competition, Competition: Sibling, or Otherwise

This may be my last regular post for some time. I’m preparing for the arrival of my second son next month and want to enjoy the holidays, Carston’s second birthday, and the end of this pregnancy (as much as that is possible!)– especially before potential sibling rivalry/competition appears in my home!

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In the competitive spirit I want to highlight a few recent writings I have done on competition, particularly as I wrap up my work related to this fall’s release of PLAYING TO WIN.

1) The Wild, Unregulated Business of After-School Programs at The New Republic– I think this is one of the most important pieces I have ever done, and it is about an issue I feel VERY strongly about. Parents often don’t know who is teaching their kids– and at stake are injuries, psychological well-being, and significant investments of familial time and money. Please read and pass it on! Note there is more on this topic in Chapter 5 and the Conclusion of the book.

2) Is Competition for Kids Healthy-Yes! in Brain, Child– I’m the affirmative side of the debate (though I share much in common with the “negative” side, written by the super smart Sarah Buttenwieser). A good summary of what I took away from my research and how it applies to my parenting today.

3) Children and Competitiveness in Oxford Bibliography of Childhood Studies- While this is for students and a a more academic audience, it’s a great resource for those of you interested in learning more about what’s been done on kids and competition. It’s always nice to be recognized as the expert in your field too…

I was also very gratified that Brain, Child’s blog Brain, Mother ran such a nice review of Playing to Win (written by Lauren Apfel). I especially loved her description of the book: “Playing to Win is, at heart, a sociological study. It is a laying bare of a cultural phenomenon—its history and its infrastructure—not a judgment on that phenomenon. “Are these parents crazy?” Levey Friedman asks. “Have they lost their grip?” Her definitive answer to these questions is “no” and she walks the line between showing us why and telling us why with admirable grace. On the one hand, she lets the data and the people involved speak for themselves: interviews with both parents and children are a hallmark of the book. On the other hand, she is a careful, explicit and non-biased interpreter of her fieldwork.”

As I get ready to explore for myself more issues of parental craziness, competition, and family dynamics, I will try to remain a non-biased observer of my own life and decisions. I’ll keep you posted!

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