When-winning-is-everything-Aug2009-iStockThere is just so much to learn as a child!  And one of the most important lessons is winning and the other is losing.  These are certainly hard lessons to learn.  A lot of this learning takes place in childhood games.  Learning to win is usually fairly easy, most kids don’t have a problem with this one, but losing.... this is a much harder lesson to learn.  Some kids pick it up quickly and others take  a while longer to learn.

As a child my parents, put a strong emphasis on winning well and losing gracefully.  Nobody likes a winner that brags, is full of hot air and thinks that they are just SO GREAT!!  So kids need to be taught how to win well.   The adults in their lives need to show them how.  Winning well isn’t cheering with bucket loads of enthasiusm when the other person loses.  It isn’t going up to the loser and making smart comments with a grin.  Winning well is congratulating the other for a game well played, a great challenge and being  pleased with your own success and performance but modest.  Winning well is cheering on a goal well scored by the other team as well as your own.

Now for losing.  Losing well is coping well emotionally with a loss.  Holding your head high and congratulating the other player or team for a “good game” not throwing things about and mouthing off to the winners!  Both these lessons in life are learnt through childhood games,  competitive games where there are winners and losers.  Playing games teaches kids about rules, what is fair, learning about self-control and getting on well with others.  So  as a parent don’t be too quick to let your child ‘win’ in all the games.  They have to lose and experience losing to gain control of their feelings in order to lose well.

Some signs that your child isn’t able to lose well and needs a bit more practice?

Do they stop the game or refuse to play?  Do they mess up the game for others?  Do they get angry and sulk?  Do they blame the ball, or  the bowler for losing?  If so,  its time to set up a few games in the backyard, or pull out those board games or join a team and learn the hard but necessary lessons on winning and losing well.  Computer games are games for one person and are a great place to practice skills without the competition of others and are also good for emotional control. However you can’t beat the ball games in the backyard on the weekend to teach these necessary and essential life skills.


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