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Kate Gosselin Asks: Are Parents Too Competitive?

kate in kitchenYou think the moms on Toddlers & Tiaras and Dance Moms are harsh? Just go to an average PTA meeting or school concert, and the real story becomes clear: Pushy, competitive parents are everywhere.

Kate Gosselin discovered this first-hand, as she writes in her blog for The Stir this week. Recently, her daughter Cara (one of her middle-school twins) participated in a school science fair competition. The goal: to create a bridge made of pasta that could bear as much weight as possible.

With the help of a family friend (“I can surely cook a mean pasta dish, but build with it? Not this momma!”), Cara constructed an impressive suspension model for the big night.

While Kate kept watch over her child’s creation to make sure it didn’t get bumped off the display table, she noticed that other parents were scrutinizing the entries carefully for any sign of foul play. “I heard grumblings from other parents – many of which had enthusiastically helped their children build, which was allowed – who felt that some of the bridges were not ‘within guidelines’ and should be ‘disqualified.’ ”

The mood must have been infectious; even Kate began to feel misgivings about the construction of some of the entries. But when she saw Cara laughing and hanging out with her classmates in the hallway, she realized that “it was the parents that took the contest much more seriously than the kids.”

As it turns out, no one was in violation of the contest rules, and the reality-star mom and her fellow parents lightened up and saw how ridiculous a cutthroat attitude can be. After all, the Nobel Prize in engineering wasn’t at stake.

Kate gives props to the moms and dads for caring about their kids’ school performance and showing their support. “It reminded me that we are all in this parenting thing together,” she says.

How about you? Have you ever seen the claws come out at your child’s school events — or felt a little competitive yourself?

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Kate Gosselin Asks: Are Parents Too Competitive?

kate in kitchenReality TV is filled with parents who want their children to be the best at whatever they do – be it beauty pageants, cheerleading or dance – and often push harder than they should to achieve that goal.

But you don’t have to turn on the TV to see moms obsessing over their kids’ projects; just go to an average school PTA meeting…or talent show…or science fair. Famous mom-of-eight Kate Gosselin discovered that lesson recently.

In her latest column for The Stir, Kate writes about a project her daughter Cara (one of her 12-year-old twins) decided to do for a Science Night competition. The object was to build a bridge out of pasta that was both light and could hold a fair amount of weight.

Even though the rules permitted parental help, “I knew I was way out of my league here!” Kate writes. “I can surely cook a mean pasta dish, but build with it? Not this momma!” She and Cara enlisted a handy “longtime family friend” to help with the design and gluing, and came up with an impressive-looking suspension model.

On the big night, Kate witnessed what can happen when parents get too wrapped up in their kids’ work. As she stood next to Cara’s bridge to keep it from getting knocked off the display table, “I heard grumblings from other parents – many of which had enthusiastically helped their children build, which was allowed – who felt that some of the bridges were not ‘within guidelines’ and that some should be ‘disqualified.’”

The kids? They couldn’t have cared less. While the parents griped over regulations, Cara and her friends were chatting in the hallways. “I realized…that it was the parents who took this contest much more seriously than the kids,” says Kate, who had to admit that she was getting a little too competitive herself.

In the end, the grownups settled down and realized what the kids had known all along: It’s the fun, not the result, that counts. Still, Kate praises her fellow parents for caring enough about their children’s school success to become invested in a bunch of pasta creations.

What’s your take? Have you ever felt your competitive side come out at a school event?

[Photo: via img.ly]

Read more of Shana’s writing at Momsperiments.

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