By Karen Best Wright, B.S. Holistic Health & Wellness Educator
I recently read an article about children being poor losers and how their behavior shows it. It got me thinking about what I have personally learned after raising 8 children and 3 grandchildren for a number of years about how children respond to losing.
One thing to remember if your child is a poor loser, is that part of that is age. It seems that all my children went through stages of being horrid losers. I remember when one daughter was about 6 and she cried forever about losing when the family played Old Maid, and she was stuck with the Old Maid at the end of the game. Her carrying on was quite annoying to everyone. She grew up to be very competitive (which I am not). She thrives on it, where I avoid it if possible. She still gets emotional over losing, but not so severely that I would view her as having a problem, and she is amazing at how hard she works to accomplish her goals.
We as parents or grandparents can help children when losing by keeping our senses about us and staying calm. Of course we want our children to strive to do their best, but the real test is did they do their best and did they improve in their efforts. If you have ever watched a parent yell at their child for not hitting the ball, you know how sick you feel in your stomach. So how we respond will have a big impact on the children.
Children do need to be taught that sometimes we win and sometimes we do not, but learning to be gracious winners is as important as decent "losers" as well. Gee, I don't like the word "loser," but you know what I mean. When my own children were little and we played games together, we had the first winner, the second winner, the third winner, etc. We had lots of winners with 8 kids. But they eventually caught on and didn't quite see it that way.
I believe my children and grandchildren are relatively well adjusted when it comes to not winning at everything they do, but I think it has a lot to do with what we as the parents focus on. If they happen to be lousy "losers" focusing on the less than pleasant attribute does not help them change. As parents and grandparents if we focus on the most positive things about our grandchildren, we can help them, as much as they will let us. If we see they are overly obsessed with winning and overly devestated when not winning, perhaps we might need to seek professional help if what they need outreaches our own abilities to help them.
Karen Best Wright
Holistic Health & Wellness Educator