Does your kid hate to lose? Are they almost inconsolable after a loss or throw a tantrum, complaining all the way home that they were robbed?

Unfortunately, this attitude in children is all too common. There’s been such an emphasis on winning that young athletes have lost focus on the philosophies of sportsmanship and fun that victories have become all they care about. In some cases, these kids adopt this behavior from their parents who don’t deal well losing either.

And then there are some children who are just naturally overly competitive and take winning far too seriously. This can happen when their peers are just as competitive.

However, not all kids react this way after losing a tough game. Some children, instead of getting angry or throwing a fit, fall into depression. They were so emotionally invested in the outcome of the game that losing has caused them to retreat in frustration and sadness.

This reaction can be just as harmful to the emotional well-being of a child as a tantrum. And this is why it is crucial for parents to communicate with their kids after a tough loss. Here are some tips on how to approach your child after losing a game they were emotionally invested in:

Listen

The angry child needs to let off steam. Allow them to do that to an extent. Be an attentive listener. Don’t interrupt. They may simply want to get things off their chest.

However, if it starts to turn violet such as name-calling the opposing team or even their own teammates who they felt didn’t perform well and led to their loss, it’s time to intervene. It’s also time to step in when your child starts to act violently such as breaking or hitting things out of anger.

Tell Them You Are Proud

Win or lose; you should always tell your kid that you are proud of their performance. They need to know that you don’t care about the outcome. All you care about is that they’re still having fun playing the game they love.

Don’t Criticize

Don’t add fuel to the flame by agreeing with them if they blame someone else for the loss. In fact, you may want to remind them not to feel this way. Remind them that no one on their team would intentionally make them lose and that player was probably doing the best they could. If your child blames themselves for the loss, don’t make things worse by trying to pass the blame on others such as coaches or game official who you feel made the wrong call.

Ask Them What They’ve Learned

When you change the narrative by not emphasizing the loss but on the lessons they’ve learned, you kids will focus less on the negativity but the valuable takeaways from the loss. Instead of listing what they should have done, list what they will do the next time. This allows them not to fear defeat that may lead them to quit, but instead look forward to applying what they’ve learned in the upcoming games.