Hilary Levey Friedman Talks Competition in Parents Magazine

Playing to WinHilary Levey Friedman, author of Playing to Win: Raising Children in a Competitive Culture, is interviewed in the February issue of Parents magazine on how to teach children a healthy attitude towards competition. Competitive play is a natural part of growing up, says Friedman. “Sibling rivalries are crucial to a child’s development — these interactions are microcosms of how he’ll respond to similar competition in the outside world.” These early lessons may ultimately be benefit a child, she emphasizes. “The ability to bounce back after a loss becomes increasingly important as your child reaches the elementary-school years. … Teaching resilience now sets kids up for success because they learn that failure isn’t the end of the world. It’s just a chance to try again.”

Read the full article in Parents.

Hilary Levey Friedman on the Evolution of Competitive Childhood Sports

Hilary Levey Friedman’s Atlantic article about the increasing prevalence of childhood competitive sports has spurred a discussion at the New York TimesRoom for Debate. The Times assembled a team of experts to debate how competitive youth sports should be, and whether sports overwhelm childhood or enhance it.

Friedman’s article gives historical context to the phenomenon of childhood sports and class, noting that “not until after World War II did these competitive endeavors begin to be dominated by children from the middle and upper-middle classes. The forces that have led to increasing inequality in education, the workplace, and other spheres have come to the world of play.” Read the full article at The Atlantic.

Soccer, Dance, or Chess: How After-School Activities Shape Gender Roles

Playing to WinToday in The Atlantic, Hilary Levey Friedman writes about the gendered notions that influence parents’ choice of after-school activities for their girls. If you’ve ever wondered about how your daughter’s extracurriculars can shape her path later in life, take a look at the study.

The article is adapted from Friedman’s new book, Playing to Win: Raising Children in a Competitive Culture. In offering a behind-the-scenes look at how “Tiger Moms” evolve, Playing to Win introduces concepts like competitive kid capital, the carving up of honor, and pink warrior girls.

Hilary Levey Friedman is about to go on a cross-country tour to discuss the findings of her book. Check the tour schedule at her website, hilaryleveyfriedman.com.


Why the World Needs Benchwarmers

Playing to WinHarvard sociologist Hilary Levey Friedman, author of the forthcoming book Playing to Win: Raising Children in a Competitive Culture, is now a featured blogger at Psychology Today. Her first installment, “Qualities of the B (aka Bench-Warming) Player” talks about why it may be more advantageous for a child to be a benchwarmer than a star player.

“Every team—whether it is athletic, artistic, or academic—needs members who support the others, strengthening the glue that holds the team together and making the group more successful as a whole,” writes Friedman. “In some contexts individuals may excel, and in others they may fall short. Children need to learn how to adapt to both situations.” Read the full post at Psychology Today.