2023 Author: Anita Thornton | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-05-22 03:30
Does your child get angry, sulky or cry foul when he loses? When he wins, he tends to make fun of his opponents and exaggeratedly puff out his chest? What if we helped him develop his sportsmanship?
More and more, arenas are adopting a code of conduct for their young hockey players…as well as their parents. These posters recall the rules: It's a GAME; We are here to have FUN; it's a RECREATIONAL league, etc.
Indeed, it seems that many children learn to have (very) heart the fact of winning, of being the best, the fastest and the most talented. So they become very competitive, resent losing, and brag when they win. They can make fun of less talented teammates and envy the better ones.
These observations are made in a sports context, but also in the academic, school, social and recreational context as well. This NEED for performance and being above the fray seems to have become the norm if we are to believe the cases of growing performance anxiety in children and adolescents.
So how can we help our children with this?
Be a good winner
Acting like a good winner can be learned! Encouraging others, congratulating them on their successes and understanding that doing this takes absolutely nothing away from us, quite the contrary. Showing pride for others, being inclusive with underperforming teammates and knowing how to celebrate their successes is the very definition of a good winner. Shaking hands with the losing team, acknowledging their efforts and of course, celebrating their victory are also ways to be a good winner.
Whether through board games, family soccer games, cooperative crafts, we can, as parents, foster a climate of collaboration, mutual aid and team spirit in addition to acting as a model so that our children learn from us and our appropriate ways of doing things.
Be a good loser
To lose with your head held high is to recognize that the winner has earned their victory. It is to admit that we still had fun, that we did our best and to be satisfied. It is having a self-esteem strong enough to understand that experiencing failure does not make US a failure. May this failure allow us to learn and perfect our ways. Once again, this learning can be done in everyday life, through discussions, activities and games played with the family.
Learn to collaborate
Learning to collaborate is a complex social skill that involves:
- Name ideas
- Listening to others
- Following Rules
- Making rules
- Waiting your turn
- Encouraging Others
- Accept Help
- Offer help
Like anything, a skill develops through repetition, effort and contexts to practice.
Why not offer a prosocial role model to your child while offering him various contexts in which to practice? Have fun!