I was just browsing the web, looking at cooperative board games manufactured for children. (We have several of these at work, and favorites include Princecss, Sleeping Grump, and Max the Cat. Especially Max the Cat. Kids are so attached to that game that they take the pieces and hide them around the classroom so no one else can play! Hmm . . . .)
I started thinking about cooperation versus competition with children. This is especially interesting to me because I wrote my Master's thesis on the impact of personality theory on cooperative learning. I waffle -- sometimes I think cooperative learning and cooperative board games and all that is great and fabulous, and other times I wonder.
See, I truly think we should be pushing our children/the children we care for (in my case) to cooperate. We want children to share and take turns and ultimately be able to empathize with one another, which will lead to feelings of altruism one day. It feels good to cooperate -- no one wants to be the "loser" in a game.
However, I think we need to teach children how to lose. (And how to win, for that matter!) Children need to experience disappointment and frustration from an early age, in a safe environment, surrounded by people who support them. If they don't know what those feelings feel like at age 3, what will they do with them at age 13? 23? 30?
Ask me if you want to know about all of this research I've done into overindulgence theory. It's pretty interesting. It seems like not such a big deal . . . until you look at the lifelong psychological damage that is done.
Children need to win, and lose, and learn how to work together. It's all about the balance.
That's what I think, anyway. What do you think?