top of page

Got An Ultra-Competitive Kid? You'll Want to Avoid These 3 Useless Phrases

Updated: Jun 2

A CK & GK Cram Sesh

Don't resort to toxic positivity. Instead, be honest with your child about their struggles and validate their feelings. Show them that their feelings will shift and help them process and learn from their experiences. —Dr. Bethany Cook

Are you a parent of a competitive child? In this episode of the CK & GK Podcast, Caitlin Kindred and Jenny GK share valuable tips on how to support and uplift your competitive kids.

Got An Ultra-Competitive Kid? You'll Want to Avoid These 3 Useless Phrases

Despite your best efforts and pep talks, your child still struggles with their mental game during and after competitions.

Sound familiar?

Watching your ultra-competitive kiddo’s self-esteem suffer after a defeat—or even after what they consider to be a poor personal performance—is brutal at best. The pain of watching your child's confidence dwindle while trying to push them forward is undeniable.

But there *are* some things you can say to validate their feelings and still help them move forward. In this episode, CK & GK reveal what not to say to your competitive kid and unveil the secrets to uplifting and encouraging them while creating an environment that empowers them to reach their full potential.

Supporting Your Competitive Kid

Creating a Nurturing Environment for Child Development

As parents, our role goes beyond the sidelines of the sports field or the classroom. It involves fostering an environment that encourages exploration, learning, and growth. By focusing on each child's unique talents, interests, and strengths, we can cultivate a sense of self-worth and drive that transcends competition, paving the way for future success.

Impact of Undermining Statements on Competitive Children

The language we use with children can have significant impacts on their self-esteem and outlook on competition. Denigrating comments or comparisons to peers can breed resentment and damage confidence, undermining their potential. It's vital to use supportive, constructive language to reinforce their self-worth and propel them toward personal growth. Avoid comments like

“Maybe you’re not cut out for X."

I know, I know. You're thinking "REALLY? THIS ONE?!" But hear me out. It sucks to watch your kids struggle, especially when the struggle is hard to watch. But joining in on the negativity is just mean and it undermines any resilience they've built up. You're trying to foster perseverance, not encourage them to quit.

“I bet you wouldn’t have lost today if…”

Danger. Danger, Will Robinson. Just shhh before any other words come out of your mouth.

These comments usually imply causation where there isn't any. Saying, "I bet you wouldn't have lost if the ref hadn't had his head up his a**" isn't helpful and teaches your kid to place blame where it doesn't belong (or even make sense).

If you must, try "I know you didn't get enough sleep last night... Maybe that impacted your performance."

“You’ll always be a winner in my eyes.”

Not only are these statements the actual worst (serious cringe over here) but also, the toxic positivity thing is SO unhelpful and disingenuous. Say less if this is all that you've got.

You can say things like "Dude, I get that your shots were off today, but I saw the assists you made and those were killer." It is possible to both validate and find something positive. It's honest and kind.

Fostering a Positive Atmosphere for Competitive Children

Nurturing the psychological well-being of young competitors is as critical as praising their achievements. Setting a positive tone encourages children to appreciate the process, not just the outcome, fostering a healthier attitude towards competition. Highlight their resilience, determination, and hard work to ensure they understand these qualities are valued, not just the result.

Y'all are amazing parents. Just keep doing the good that you do. You've got this.



This episode will help you to

  • Discover the secrets to fostering a positive atmosphere for competitive children, leading to their success without resorting to unhealthy comparisons.

  • Recognize the need for balanced feedback in child development, involving a healthy mixture of praise and understanding of negative emotions.

  • Identify the role of parental communication in sculpting children's perception towards competition and help you reshape your words for more empathetic responses

Episode Details:


Caitlin and Jenny emphasize the importance of mindful communication with competitive children. They provide insights on phrases to avoid and offer constructive alternatives that promote self-reflection and growth.

By reframing statements with rational and causation-based explanations, parents can empower their children to process their emotions and learn from their experiences.

The hosts also discuss the drawbacks of toxic positivity and advocate for a balanced approach. They stress the significance of validating negative emotions while providing positive reinforcement, creating a supportive environment for children to develop their competitive skills.

Through relatable anecdotes and personal experiences, Caitlin and Jenny offer practical advice to help all parents of competitive kids.

Key Moments

  • 00:00:01 - Introduction,

  • 00:00:19 - Caitlin's nickname for Jenny,

  • 00:01:25 - Instagram account recommendation,

  • 00:04:08 - Caitlin's experience at Topgolf,

  • 00:07:21 - Kit's shrimp cocktail misunderstanding,

  • 00:14:54 - Avoiding Unhelpful Statements,

  • 00:15:47 - Validating Causation,

  • 00:16:31 - Toxic Positivity,

  • 00:17:21 - Honesty with Positivity,

  • 00:19:31 - TV Recommendation and Final Thoughts

Sources for this episode and Blog post:


bottom of page