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My Child Hates Losing!

by on 11/03/2014 5062

Before we start pointing fingers at our kids and wonder why they hate to lose, let us look at ourselves. Where did that “kiasu” behavior come from? For those of you who are not familiar with the slang, “kiasu” literally means “afraid to lose” and it refers to people or individuals who feels insecure and need constant reassurance that what they have is the best. So if we are to be totally honest, as parents, we love to win and we often foster the love of winning in our children. A child will pick up on what their parents want and therefore realize that whenever they win or succeed in something, they are rewarded. We are proud of them. We praise them, give them Hi5s, and cheer loudly for their teams to encourage winning. Of course many of us say things like “Winning does not matter it’s better to play fair”, “There are winners and losers”, “The important thing is that we play our best” etc. however, our actions tend to speak louder than our words. Kids sense that parents are disappointed when they do not win or succeed in something.

Developmental Stage

After looking at our own behavior there are also other factors to look at such as the developmental stage that the child is currently in. Some developmental stages are more competitive than others. For example when your child first learn how to play “chutes and ladders” and he or she is 6 years old, all they can think of is winning the game, they cannot comprehend why they should sit there and play something unless it is to win. It is to be expected that when your child loses a game for the very first time, he or she will likely be pouting or may even cry and get upset.

Especially six year olds, they really hate to lose. Let’s face it even with us adults we find it hard to be a good sport and smile when we are losing, right? Therefore let’s us try to be a little more patient with our six year old when he or she cries and throws a tantrum whenever they lose a game. At this age, most kids are very passionate about winning and being number One. This is also a stage where children will learn to cheat so that they can win or even accuse his friend of cheating because they have won.

So is competition good for children?

In a society where our children are always stressed, is competition and putting more stress on them a good thing? There are basically two kinds of stress: -

  • Distress– which is the bad type of stress when a person has to deal with too many negative things all at once. For example, your child just had an argument with their best friend, and they forgot to complete their assignment that is due today and later on he or she has a karate competition. Your child tries to focus and concentrate to do well for the competition but he or she is overloaded with stress. They struggle and their energy level and drive drops hence performing badly in the competition.

  • Eustress – is a type of good stress that comes from the challenge of taking part in something that you enjoy and work hard for. Eustress pumps your child up and it provides a healthy push and spark for any thing that your child participates in.

Do NOT lecture your child

Now that we know that it is normal for a child to get upset when they lose, how can you help your child?

Be sympathetic when he cries and have a melt down. Show him that you understand; ask them if they would like to do something else that might make them feel better. By showing him that you understand his disappointments, you child will learn that although he cannot count on winning all the time, he can always count on you to be there with love and support.

Finally, you can teach your child self-talk strategies to help him handle things. Perhaps when he tells himself that “This is only a game” or “Even though I lost, I have become a much better player” it will help him keep his perspective.