Competition is an integral element of an adolescent’s development. By competing with
peers and others, one is able to evaluate oneself. At times, though, competition
may prove detrimental to the teen. As competition, pressure and stress often co-exist,
it is crucial for parents as well as teens to be aware of the role of competition
in the life of adolescents.
One of the most pervasive forms of competition is that which takes place in the academic
setting. This type of competition is often individual and emphasizes personal intelligence
and determination. At other times, parents and teachers foster academic competition
among students. And often, competition openly exists between students. For example,
there are usually elections for leadership positions in student groups.
Teens respond in a variety of ways to academic competition. Some thrive on the intensity
and use it as a motivating force while other youth step aside and are wary of the
increasing pressure. Many students perceive more intense competitive feelings during
the college application process. In honors classes, competition may become more intense,
and students often compare grades and standardized test scores. Some students may
become forlorn by performance they perceive to be substandard. Others may become
increasingly motivated to work harder to improve their grades. Reactions to these
events are entirely individual.
In addition to academics, athletic competition presents other opportunities for self-evaluation.
At some schools, athletics are a required part of the high school curriculum. Others
offer participation in athletics as an extracurricular activity. Athletic teams—where
both communal and individual forms of competition take place—are prime arenas for
the teen to be engaged in friendly and healthy competition. In team sports, teens
learn the importance of working as a group to achieve results. Only when all members
are working together may the team perform well. However, the efforts of the individual
are noted and necessary for team success. Even in seemingly individual sports—such
as track or tennis—team scores determine who wins.
At times, competition in sports becomes particularly intense. This intensity is good;
however, when it becomes out of hand, it is unhealthy for the developing adolescent.
It is through this tone that the athlete will learn the importance of being a respectful
player on the field and individual off the field. And since very few players will
become an Olympic swimmer or major league baseball player, this character building
is, by far, the most important result from participation. When such a tone is not
communicated, teens may be turned off by sports and other group activities.
Healthy competition is very important for the overall development of individuals,
communities and nations on a broader perspective. Competition can only give a thrust
to progress. No one can afford to be complacent and sit with fingers crossed. It
will only leave one behind in the race. Competition expects and promotes fresh thinking,
new ideas, better and more hard work. It makes one sit up and take notice of the
world around. As someone aptly said,'there is no business without competition. Competition
in a positive and healthy way is the road to progress. But the moment it is used
in a negative way, it can prove harmful. We see the use of performance enhancing
drugs in sports- athletes being banned and so on. Companies indulge in malpractices
like accounts tampering, publishing false reports to up their stocks.
This is the era of technology. Everyday a new discovery, a new invention is being
made. The world is moving ahead in leaps and bounds. People are striving for success
and satisfaction in life in the face of fierce competition. Competition is ubiquitous-
in every walk, every aspect of life right from childhood to old age. No one escapes
It's very essential to know the effects- both positive and negative- of competition
on society. Competition is the very force that drives individuals to aim for goals,
aim higher. In school, students compete against each other for higher grades. Athletes
compete for more wins, more records. Companies vie against each other for better
sales, bigger markets. Just because there is competition, a person is forced to work
harder, better and efficiently to overcome it, to defeat it. A most apt example to
conclude the discussion- This is a story from the heights of competition for supremacy
in space between Americans and the Soviets. US astronauts faced difficulty to write
with ball point or any other pens in space. NASA spent 12 million dollars and a few
years developing a pen which could write anywhere on any surface without any problems.
When relations became friendlier, soviet cosmonauts were asked what they used. The
answer-a pencil. Competition is ultimately more beneficial than detrimental to society,
only if indulged in a healthy way. Unhealthy competition will only lead to destruction
of faith, goodwill in society.
Other students are involved in musical competitions during their adolescent years.
Musicians often audition for special orchestras, music festivals or summer camps.
At times, as in athletics and academics, music auditions may be connected to lucrative
or prestigious scholarships. This competition may be intense and stressful for the
adolescent. It is important for parents, music teachers and conductors to be supportive
of the young musician who is under stress.
While not all teenagers take part in beauty pageants, it is common for teens to compare
their looks with that of their peers. Adolescents commonly elevate their own beauty
by comparing themselves to their friends. This type of competition may present itself
in many forms. Teens may feel the necessity to buy certain clothes or shoes. Or they
may want to style their hair in a certain way. These attitudes are natural and are
common in adolescent group dynamics.
At its worst, beauty competition may contribute to the development of eating disorders
in both women and men. For women, they are often concerned about weight, while men
are more likely to be concerned about muscle development.
Another form of competition is competition among social groups. Teens often feel
the need to be a member of a peer group or a clique. When these groups compare themselves
to one another, competitive attitudes may emerge. Perhaps one clique is known for
its interest in computers, another for academics and another in athletics. The adolescent
may feel as if he or she is losing himself or herself to the will of the group. At
its worst this could lead to gang membership and participation in teen violence.
Competition in Family
Competition in Family is frequently part of a teen’s life. While these feelings are
more pertinent to a teen with at least one sibling, an only child may perceive competition
with cousins or close family friends. Familial competition results from a teen’s
self-evaluation as compared to his or her evaluation of siblings. Does a sibling
have more friends? Or does he have better grades? Is she a better athlete? Comparisons
can be made in many different ways.