How to Teach Your Child Not to Be a Sore Loser

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My daughter just lost her 6th game of Whack-A-Mole in one night.  After every game, she asked, “Can we play one more time?”  Then, she chose to switch to the color of the mole that just won the last round.  As if the secret to winning was playing the color of the mole who won the last round.

Sometimes she simply wants to keep trying to win.  Other times, though, she does what you might expect any 5- or 6-year-old to do: cross her arms, poke out her bottom lip and hang her head in defeat.  And of course, with it comes the inevitable whine of “I want to win.”
My child being a sore loser and how we try to teach her about losing gracefully www.sahmplus.com

Hubby and I feel a little sorry for her.  We try to discuss the strategy of the game – stop whacking whoever she has a vendetta against at the moment.  We’ve explained that the best chances of winning that game are to play smart … whack the person furthest ahead every time you get a chance.  She doesn’t listen (or understand), so she loses a lot.  Eventually, we stop feeling all that bad for her.

Teaching our kids to lose gracefully is pretty difficult.  We can teach strategy and logic, but teaching kids, especially young ones, to control their emotions when things don’t go their way is really difficult.

Still, losing gracefully is an important lesson to teach because we all need to understand we won’t succeed at everything.  To teach our kids about losing with dignity and grace is a lesson that will last a lifetime.  They’ll need to draw on these lessons regularly to keep emotions in check.

Here are a few ideas for helping your children learn to lose gracefully.

Considering the Winner

Help your child recognize when they are in the midst of strong emotions and try to work through them together.

When your child wants to lash out angrily or run away and pout after losing an important game or competition, try to ask them how their reactions might make others feel.  Show them how the atmosphere changes when they react unkindly or angrily.

Do others feel like they need to walk away from them and celebrate quietly?  Or do people feel like they need to tend to their anger instead of focusing on what a good time everyone had?

Remind your child about a time when they won.  Wasn’t it much more enjoyable celebrating together?  They need to give the same consideration to the winner, so that everyone continues having fun.

Considering the Others Who Did Not Win

Help your child to consider all the others who may not have won.

During your child’s next team game, if his team loses, help him to share a healthy perspective with his team.  Losing a game is an opportunity to try harder next time.  Or perhaps he can make a suggestion for how to play better next time.  But, reminding them that they did a great job may also be the voice of encouragement his team needs.

Help him to see the accomplishments they did achieve.  Maybe one of his team members scored their first goal, and that’s something to be proud of!

Working with your child to see some positive in negative situations, as well as encouraging others will go a long way in building his leadership skills.
How to teach your kids to lose gracefully - smile and don't be a sore loser www.sahmplus.com

Learning What You Can

Remind your child that whenever he feels he’s “failed” it’s really a lesson in having the opportunity to improve.  If your child is disappointed by a big loss, help them to put things in perspective with your encouragement.

If your child failed a test or simply didn’t do as well as he expected, he can learn the importance of putting in more effort to study.

There may be times he has to learn lessons about a friend’s character.  You know, your kid spent his allotted time on a group project, but his friend’s lack of effort dragged everyone down.  It’s a lesson, not just on the character of others, but what not to do to others to build his own character.

Or, maybe your child is accustomed to winning and needs to learn a valuable lesson in humility.

There is always valuable knowledge to be gained and lessons to be learned in loss or failures.

I’d love to win your heart…

But I won’t be a sore loser if I didn’t do it this time.  If I did, sign up for emails so you never miss another post.  When you subscribe, you’ll receive instant access to a free resource library for parents, which now includes a FREE report about more lessons our children need to learn.

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Knowing Who You Truly Are

Regardless of the situation, it’s always important to remember who you really are.  To be able to win or lose with dignity and grace, remembering your true self is an important concept.

You can teach your child about this lesson by reminding them their value isn’t in what they do, but who they are as a person.  Remind them that they were created as special individuals from the moment they were born.  Each person is unique with a specific purpose to fulfill on earth.  No one else will fill those purposes quite the way they were intended to.

Building their self-esteem in this way will help them bounce back from disappointments, no matter the size.

Though it’s fun to win, it’s equally important to know how to act when we lose as well.   To lose gracefully and not act like a sore loser is a well-received childhood lesson for everyone involved!  Giving our children the ability to see the opportunity in loss will greatly help them to win and lose gracefully.  And, knowing how to lose gracefully, your child will become a well-rounded individual, trained to succeed or become better, whatever the outcome.

How and why you need to teach your child about losing gracefully. Nobody likes a sore loser, so it's important your child learn to lose gracefully. www.sahmplus.com

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