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Dealing With a Sore Loser

When your child was little, you couldn’t wait for him or her to be “old” enough to play games with you. Little did you realize that playing games now opened up a whole new world of winners and losers…and sore losers. Surely, you never thought that your kid would turn out to be “that” child” – the sore loser. Of course, it’s good to be competitive and want to win. It’s quite another thing for your child to get upset and lash out at others if he or she doesn’t end up winning. What can you do to foster a healthier response from your child in these types of situations? And no, not allowing him or her to play games any longer is not the answer!

Below, are some tips to help you weather the storm of the sore loser:

1) Let him lose: Don’t always let your child win when you play games together. By letting him experience defeat in a playful environment, he will learn that he will not always win. This will help him understand early on that sometimes he will win and sometimes he will lose.

2) Acknowledge his irrational anger: Although it’s “only” a game to us, the play world makes up a very large part of our child’s existence. It is their very fiber – they don’t have work to deal with or bills to pay. For them, playing is their very world…THEIR oyster.

3) Be empathetic about his desire to win: Once your child has calmed down, let him know that you are proud of him for wanting to do so well. Recognize how admirable this quality is. In so doing, your child will open up to listening to you for the following step.

4) Set limits: While you want to be understanding of his feelings, you also want to let your child know that it is not alright to express his anger in a violent manner.

5) Give him a directive: Help your child express his anger in an acceptable manner. Allow your child to take a break (not to be confused with a punishment), have him draw a picture or write a letter to let you know how he is feeling.

Dealing with a sore loser is not always pleasant. But by incorporating a few of these tactics, your child should begin to learn that playing games is a little like real life – sometimes you may win and sometimes you may lose. But you have to learn to just have to get back in the game and keep on going!

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