Nickelodeon Family GPS Recalibration: Kids and Winning

Millennials were brought up to believe they are special. As they become parents themselves, how do they feel about competitive situations in their kids’ lives? And in turn, what are their children’s sentiments about winning and losing?

With more Millennials having children, a recent Nickelodeon Kids and Family GPS project sought to find out more about the experiences of kids today–and to identify any contrasts in Millennial and Gen X parenting approaches.

This study consisted of online interviews of kids ages 8 to 14 and their parents, covering nearly 4,000 households in 19 countries: Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Philippines, Poland, Russia, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, UK and USA. (See here for an overview video.)

Here are key findings from this project on the subject of “winning”:

Kids make a priority of doing their best over being the best.

  • 86% agree that it’s better to try your best and not succeed than not to try at all
  • Nearly 8 in 10 believe nothing matters more to them than doing their best
  • In contrast, just 45% say nothing matters more to them than being the best

Parents want kids to feel special.

  • 84% of parents feel it’s their responsibility to make sure their son/daughter feels special no matter what
  • This sentiment is most prominent in Brazil, Philippines, Russia, UK, and US

When everyone wins, it feels less special to kids—so winning may have its place.

  • Nearly 3 out of 4 kids agree that when there’s a competition, everyone should feel like a winner
  • However, 62% believe it feels less special to receive an award if everyone gets one

Millennial parents want everyone to be a winner.

  • Millennials’ kids are more resistant to the concept of winning and losing
  • 78% of Millennial parents agree that when there’s a competition, everyone should feel like a winner (72% of Gen X parents)

Competitiveness may be on the rise among kids.

  • 51% of kids with Millennial parents say nothing matters more to them than being the best (45% of kids of Gen Xers)
  • 65% of Millennials’ children and 62% of Gen Xers’ kids consider themselves “very competitive”

In the future, will kids become more or less competitive? And will parents support their kids’ need for recognition in the face of achievement?

  • Kids emphasize doing their best over being the best
  • Children don’t want to be seen as losers, and parents want their kids to feel special
  • Millennials’ kids reject competition—but at the same time, awards feel less special when everybody gets one