The holidays are almost here and it is a time of family gatherings for many Americans. A time when we learn a great deal about our family. It is also a time to think about finding answers to some of the problems we have in our family.
Perhaps more than ever, parents are looking for answers in dealing with their children and the issue of be a sore loser. With statistics indicating children living at home much longer and taking much longer to mature, parents are at their wits end trying to figure out how to help their kids grow up to be normal well adjusted adults who can compete in the real world without being a sore loser.
So what do you do? What do you do when Bobby’s team beats little Henry’s team and a little fellow on Henry’s team starts throwing a fit and throwing everything he can find at Bobby’s team?
Well, it is a little late to resolve the little fellow’s problem immediately. A could pop on the behind and telling him you will talk to him later may be the best you can do. Maturity takes longer for some than others.
But later, when everyone is gone, look for opportunities to do the following:
1. Praise effort. After playing a game, I would reinforce what you know is true about your son, and reward him for TRYING, not just for accomplishing. In your house, keep the language of trying more positive than the language of winning. So say “congratulations for putting in such an effort”. We do that in our home school, too. If they try at math, but don’t do well, they get praised much more than if it was an easy lesson they breezed through.
2. Keep talking about how God sees your child. Just keep talking about how God sees us. I wouldn’t lecture him at 7 on the psychology of winning, because I don’t think kids that age get it. I would, however, surround him with truth. Tell your children that God made them for a purpose. Tell them that they are the way they are for a reason. Tell them that God put them together in exactly that way because they are perfectly made for what He has planned.
3. Teach your child to handle disappointment. Many children have really violent emotions. It hits them so hard they scream, or pick up the board and fling it across the room. It’s not that they’re bad; it’s that the feeling is so overwhelming they don’t know what to do with that. They’re born with anger issues.
So when Henry’s team loses next time, Robert’s Mommy should already have praised him for the way he colors and the way he makes his bed and other daily things. So when the team loses, Robert is full of self esteem and Mommy can compliment him on his efforts. If Robert acts out again, spank him and go back to teaching him the same lessons when in a less competitive environment.
Remember the problem with Robert is he is immature and it may take time for him to grow up and become independent enough to deal with things like the rest of us, but with much love he can get there. And enjoy the holidays!