Are Sibling Rivalries Healthy in Gymnastics?
Being a sibling comes with many advantages and disadvantages…
One large part of having a sibling is the constant competition. Whatever each sibling does, typically they will end up competing with each for their parents’ praise.
If both are involved in gymnastics, this can increase sibling rivalry. Some siblings will be supportive and help each other through skills and levels, but others may see gymnastics as a chance to outshine the other.
No matter how kids are raised, there will most likely be some level of sibling rivalry.
This can be positive. It can teach them how to cooperate, manage emotions, be emphatic, and most importantly how to handle conflict.
Siblings may learn how to handle conflict on their own, but parents should make sure they know that aggression is not a correct way to handle conflicts.
How can you as a parent, encourage healthy levels of rivalry?
- Reward effort. You can show your child how much you take pride in them no matter how well they perform. In gymnastics, make sure to let them know you are proud of the effort they are putting in to learn a certain skill or routine. Knowing that their effort is worth something will make them want to try harder and push them to put effort into many different areas of their life.
- Make sure that they are not trying to compare each other’s scores, levels. or skills. Allow them to talk about their challenges and successes in gymnastics, but make sure that it is not to beat the other sibling. Make sure their conversations about gymnastics are about encouraging and supporting each other, not about competing or bringing each other down.
- Make sure you don’t play favorites. Unknowingly, you may support or encourage one child more than the other. Make sure to pay attention to this and give each child equal attention and praise. Do not compare their performance either; this will cause one to lose self-esteem.
- Don’t over praise one child and not the other. If one of your gymnasts does very well at a competition, make sure to praise them for their hard work, but also make sure to praise the other for their effort. If you only praise and encourage one, it will cause the other child to lose self-confidence and feel as though they need to be better to receive praise and attention.
- Allow your children to have non-gymnastics interests as well. One may not be as talented as the other in gymnastics and would like to pursue something else. If they feel like all the family cares or talks about is gymnastics, they may never say they want to try something else. They may also feel pressure from their sibling to be involved in the same activities, like gymnastics.
Although sibling rivalry is something you as a parent will probably always deal with, you can help your children to use it to their advantage in gymnastics.
Help them learn to encourage and work with each other through gymnastics.
For more helpful information on mental skills check out our The Confident Gymnast workbook and CD program.