Positive Parenting: Winning the Right Way

It is not always about winning, but how you play the game.

You’ve probably heard that from your parents, maybe grandparents and a coach or two at one time or another.

To see if science backs that up, researchers at the University of California Irvine studied two groups of toddlers between the ages of 21 months and 31 months to see if the littlest of us agree.

And it turns out, they do!

Kids in the study watched a puppet show where two puppets bumped into each other.

The toddlers saw one of two scenarios. In the first, one of the puppets bowed down and let the other pass. In the second scenario, one of the puppets pushed the other puppet out of the way to pass him.

After the show, researchers asked the toddlers which of the puppets they preferred.

A majority of the toddlers liked the puppet who got his way when the other puppet bowed down to him. However, in the second scenario the toddlers didn’t prefer the aggressive puppet and instead reached for the puppet that was pushed down.

This suggests that toddlers like winners, but it does matter to them how they won.

On the other hand, a similar study with our close relative, the pygmy chimpanzee, found that the chimps always prefer a winner.

Even when the winner gets there by beating others up.

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