How to Teach Your Child to Be a Gracious Loser
Mighty Mommy shares five tips to consider the next time your child doesn’t come up with a win.
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There are dozens of lessons we as parents want to teach our children before they leave the nest, and in light of the recent Presidential Election, one big one that comes to mind is how to be a gracious loser. I’m not referring to the Democratic nominee, Hillary Clinton, I’m referring to the people in this country who didn't have the result they'd hoped for.
You’ve heard it before: winning isn’t everything, but something equally as important is teaching the lesson that we don’t have to be sore losers, no matter what. As our country tries to repair the many painful rifts that have resulted over the outcome of this election, now is a great reminder on how we can teach our children how to be gracious losers. Mighty Mommy shares five tips to consider the next time your child doesn’t come up with a win.
Tip #1: Be a Winning Role Model
I know I’ve touted this tip over and over again, but the reason I am so adamant about stressing the importance of being a good role model for your kids is because they truly do watch every move we make. Millions of people were very disappointed in the outcome of this election, but there were also millions who were happy. Regardless of whether your candidate won or lost, how you choose to share your feelings in front of your kids can make a huge difference in how they will react when something similar happens in their lives. Maintain your self control and learn to hold your tongue if things don’t go your way. Sure it’s ok to express your disappointment if your choice for President didn’t play out as you had hoped, but screaming at the TV, stomping around the house in a fury, and spouting off that you can’t believe how many morons voted for the opposite candidate only signals to your child that this behavior is perfectly acceptable.
Instead, model how to take the high road when someone or something you believe in doesn’t play out as you had hoped. “I’m so disappointed that Hillary Clinton didn’t get elected to become our next President because I really believe she would’ve done an outstanding job for our country. We’ll have to see what our new President has in store for America. The United States is such a great place to live—we’re lucky we have the right to vote.” (Then sneak off and cry or gloat in private!)
Tip #2: Always Congratulate the Winner
Though it’s truly not easy, whenever a loss occurs the first step in the right direction is to offer your congratulations to the winner. Many school and organized sports teams have the losing team offer a high-five of congrats to the winning team. This is great practice for other areas of winning and losing in life. By initiating a genuine (or as close as we can muster) token of congratulations to the winner, we acknowledge that someone else was able to complete the game or task a bit better than we could (this time!) and it shows maturity on our part and respect for the other person as well as honoring their accomplishment. See Also: 5 Ways to Speak Positively to Children
Tip #3 Learn to Accept We Don’t Always Win
You win some, you lose some—that truly is just part of life.
Accepting losing isn’t going to be easy, and can be more difficult for others, but when you look at legendary Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s take on the subject he puts it all into perspective. He said “You can’t win unless you learn how to lose.”
It’s up to you how you deal with it. So how about making it into something positive? See Also: 5 Tips to Help Kids Handle Disappointment