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Is Competition Good for Our Kids?

A new research survey of 2,000 parents and teachers out of the United Kingdom reveals they view competitive activities as key to young peoples' successful development and education, according to the Find a Future, the skills and careers organization that commissioned the research. The results were published in Forbes.

More than 9 in 10 parents and teachers found it important for all children to experience competition during their education, and 85 percent of those questioned believe that children who have no experience of competition will be in for a tough surprise when entering the world of work. Ninety-four percent agree that the experience of winning or losing during their education prepares young people for later in life.

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Then again, there is evidence that shows competition can have harmful effects, including damage to self-esteem and making children feel they are out of control. For example, in sports—where competition is fundamental—those who are more focused on winning tend to drop out early, while kids interested in mastering a skill tend to persist, Forbes reports.

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"This is not to say competition is bad, however. It is a part of life, and it is important that children learn how to succeed and how to cope with failure," the author writes. "But these need to be balanced with other qualities, such as empathy and the ability to communicate."

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