Win, Lose, or Winning it All
Do you want your children to be better at winning or losing? That is a trick question! There are lessons to be learned in both cases and you, as the parent, need to prepare your children to accept realistic outcomes. From board games to the boardroom, life is full of winning and losing so it is important to help your children be good at both. According to Pathways.org, a forum for child development information, helping our children learn to cope when things do not turn out as planned begins with teaching them ways to accept winning and losing. The follow questions will start the conversation.
How do you feel when you win?
Like most FreshTake questions, there is no right or wrong answer but listen for ways to encourage graceful winning. When children practice good sportsmanship like telling their opponent, “good game”, they are actually learning leadership skills that will help them obtain a successful future.
How do you feel when you lose?
Wanting to win is actually a good thing and exhibits motivation. Explain that even though they wanted to win, that does not happen all the time and they can learn from the “practice”. Encourage them enough to know they can do better but not too much that they think you are patronizing them. You may consider watching this video together after dinner: Courage of Famous Failures – Inspirational
Do you think I should let you win when we play games together?
All joking aside, this can be a loaded question. The younger your children are, the less focused they may be on winning. The first things they learn when playing games is how to share and take turns. As they get older, learning to follow rules is the next learning milestone. Eventually, children become competitive and losing for the first time at this stage can wound their self-image. As they answer this question, consider which of these stages they are in and discuss the appropriate learning skill.
Knowing when to “let them win” and when to “teach them how to be a good sport” is what is called being the parent. Just remember, your love for them is better than learning these life lessons from someone who doesn’t care about their wellbeing as much as you do. Hard lessons are better taught by a loving parent than the harsh world of preschool, or worse yet – middle school. Helping your children distinguish between winning and losing with graciousness can help them to win it all in the game of life.