Does your child have a hard time playing games fairly? Does he cry, whine or stop the game when he is losing? As a general rule, no kid likes to lose. A certain amount of crying and sulking is normal, especially for little ones. They lack the vocabulary to express their emotions with words. By age ten your child should be able to keep it together.
Children are perceptive. If your child sees you have a difficult time when you can’t find a parking space, he may view this as a coping mechanism, and likewise blow minor events out of proportion, such as losing a game. Older children, especially, who are sore losers often worry about what others think of them if they do not win at something. It is a self-esteem issue. Parents should point out that not winning does not equal “loser.” It is the acting out and cheating that does. A true success knows how to lose with kindness and grace. It is a skill that any parent can teach and nurture.
Do not let your child win all the time. Allowing your child to lose will teach him how to set realistic expectations and master gracious defeat in the outside world.
Do not celebrate his wins big-time. A well-intentioned celebration sends a negative message. If you make a huge deal about his winning it may demonstrate to your child that you value winning over effort.
Do not let your child give up. Make sure you push your child to keep going even if he fails once, twice or more. Your goal here is to teach him perseverance and that the journey is more important than the destination.
Avoid Drama. In a calm voice, tell your child “that is not how we act when we lose. We will put the game away for now and play again another time.”
Model good sportsmanship. Children learn the most from how their parents behave. You can say, “I am a little upset that I lost but I can try again next time.” The message is that it is okay to feel bad, but there are alternative ways to express one’s feelings.
Take the focus off winning. Compliment your child on the way he played the game. When you watch sports together, praise opposing players. For example, “he hit the ball well” or “that was a great pass.”