Does your child throw a fit, whine, or cry when they don’t win? Do they yell that they never want to play again and dramatically stomp out of the room after they’ve just lost? Does your child expect to win every time?
Watching your kid be a sore loser can be disappointing, and many parents blame themselves for not raising a more gracious child. However, children become sore losers for many reasons.
Some are naturally more competitive and are hard on themselves when they don’t win. And some kids hate losing out of fear of disappointing others, particularly their parents or peers.
Whatever the cause, being a sore loser is reversible and you can guide your child towards being a good sport. Here’s how:
Praise them for the right reasons
Don’t praise them for the number of points they’ve scored or for being the fastest on the team. Instead, praise them for their efforts regardless of the fact that your child may be their team’s star player. Commend them for their performance regardless of game’s outcome. Praise them when they display good sportsmanship like cheering for their teammates or being genuine when they shake the opposing team’s’ hands.
This teaches your child that win or lose; you’re proud of them for more than their ability or skill to win a game.
Don’t let your child win
You’re not doing your child any favors if you always let them win. They start to get the taste for victory, and when they lose in the real world, they cannot stand to swallow the bitterness. While it may be tempting to let them win to avoid a meltdown, teaching them that losing happens and how to deal with it at a very young age is the best foundation for them to grow up to accept defeat gracefully.
Show them how to win and lose gracefully
You may not even know it, but your child may be learning this behavior from you. How do you conduct yourself during family game night? Do you break into a victory dance and brag about your win while the loss clearly saddens others? How do you react when you don’t get your way?
Every day there are ways for you to model good behavior and sportsmanship to your child.
Show them how to say “good game” and mean it. And when they do win, teach them not to be boastful or rub it in their opponent’s faces.
When your kids are raised in a loving and grateful environment, they’re not likely to throw a fit if things don’t go their way. Instead, they are simply thankful for the opportunity to have been involved. Not only will they not become sore losers but they will be gracious and humble winners.