On being a good sport

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On being a good sport

Postby StJuniper » 17 Feb 2016, 16:41

How do you help your kids lose gracefully? P is currently in a phase where he likes to race R, but he absolutely freaks out if he loses. He also played a board game with DH and I the other night and came in second and was sobbing "But I wanted to WIN," over and over. I'm not sure how to articulate or practice the concept of good sportsmanship to him.
Mama to two boys, the Scout Kid P, 02/26/12 and the Feral Kid R 12/15/13, and one little Tumbleweed girl, 05/27/16.
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Re: On being a good sport

Postby ChristmasGift » 17 Feb 2016, 18:52

No advice I'm afraid as I was that child ...and still am if I am honest! I am not sure there was anything my parents could tell me that would have made me a better loser!
Sorry I know that's not helpful in the slightest...
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Re: On being a good sport

Postby Treeb » 17 Feb 2016, 19:23

Curious about this too as I think L is headed in this direction. He loves to "race" with me and dh and always wants to be the winner. He also talks about cars racing and such and asks "but what if they lose?" like he can't picture how that could possibly be an ok outcome. I try to tell him it doesn't matter as long as they have fun, but he's definitely focused on winning as being important.

I'm hoping it's just part of the general stage of seeing the world as very black and white, and as he gets older he'll start to understand a more nuanced version of things and discover for himself that you can still have fun even when you "lose".
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Re: On being a good sport

Postby lizandimo » 17 Feb 2016, 19:30

We're also just hitting this stage - DD got Hungry Hippos for her birthday and whenever we play it she gets really upset and sulks if she doesn't get the yellow marble (why they had to add the yellow marble to the game I do not know). We haven't figured out how to curb the 'I want to win' attitude yet either, part of me wonders (like treeb) whether it's just a part of growing up that they all have to go through. My sister was always a terrible loser, I'm not sure what age she started to get better, or if she ever did, I haven't played a game with her in ages!
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Re: On being a good sport

Postby Kitcameron » 17 Feb 2016, 20:36

SM is the same. She races to get dressed every morning saying CM can't win but one day she might and I know all hell will break loose. She also tries racing at eating and I'm constantly having to tell her to slow down, or racing to get downstairs, how long before we end up at A&E I wonder.
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Re: On being a good sport

Postby mamapup » 17 Feb 2016, 20:51

My two love to race too. Tbh we are using it to our advantage! It's far easier to get racing kids dressed or in the bath than kids with no goal or interest in said activity.

The puppy does get upset when he doesn't win but we just remind him he can't win every time and carry on.

However he may have inherited my total disdain for "winning" (unless it's at something academic and then do not dare to beat me, anyone) . If never cared about winning games and still don't. Or maybe we will get distraught over not winning somewhere else that hasn't popped up yet.
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Re: On being a good sport

Postby Lily » 17 Feb 2016, 21:05

Izbiz is just entering this phase too. I think it's natural, as a consequence of him developing the concept of winning and losing. Once you've got the idea that it's possible to win a game, of course you'll want to win every time! I hope and assume that, given enough experience of losing, he'll eventually realise that it can be fun to play even if you lose.

ETA frankly I think it's an attitude we encourage by playing competitive games. Our society is structured largely around competition; if we were all good losers, capitalism would collapse.
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Re: On being a good sport

Postby StJuniper » 17 Feb 2016, 21:37

Maybe I'm overthinking it and it's a part of emotional maturity that comes naturally. I just find myself floundering for the words to explain that you want to work hard and try your best, but also be gracious and accepting when you don't win. I tried that with the board game and just got, "I DID work hard and try my best!" Yeah, well, you can't win 'em all, kid...
Mama to two boys, the Scout Kid P, 02/26/12 and the Feral Kid R 12/15/13, and one little Tumbleweed girl, 05/27/16.
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Re: On being a good sport

Postby ches » 18 Feb 2016, 04:05

I saw your thread title and thought "five year olds are awful." Then I thought P can't be five, can he? Well, that's when this phase hit J and T is 4.5 and not there yet. Five was the WORST, it was impossible to go to the playground. "LOOK AT ME!" "Look what I can do!" "You can't do this!" Urgh. It was the pits. It goes. But it's a long six months.
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Re: On being a good sport

Postby Brigitte » 18 Feb 2016, 04:14

Sorry this is maybe not encouraging, but I've just got to share what my 4-year-old said awhile ago. Maybe you could share the story with your son.

We were watching a replay of an Olympic bobsledding competition. My daughter was excited to find out who was going to win the medals. I decided to try a teaching moment: "You know, there are about 30 teams competing and only 3 teams will win medals. How do you think the other teams will feel?"

"Happy!"

"Why?"

"Because they got to go bobsledding!"

Turns out she didn't need the teaching moment. I plan on retelling this story in the future if I ever feel like she needs the reminder :)
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Re: On being a good sport

Postby beebop » 21 Feb 2016, 20:17

My ds is still in this phase(6 1/2), but now he won't play games or anything else where there is a winner and a loser. This makes birthday parties tricky, especially his own. If a friend suggests an activity he always asks "is it a winner loser game?" Before he decides to play. I have a feeling this isn't going to be something he grows out of for a while. It is kind of fair enough, just makes life a bit more difficult. I hope your case doesn't turn out to be this extreme.
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Re: On being a good sport

Postby Treeb » 21 Feb 2016, 20:53

Wow beebop, at least he is aware of it and able to self-moderate and not put himself in a position where he knows he'll be upset.
Mama to big boy L born Sept. 2012, and baby girl A born June 2015.

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Re: On being a good sport

Postby felizefun » 22 Feb 2016, 09:49

I don't know whether this will work for all kids (or even for mine, not seen results yet!) but when we play games, when I lose, I show that I'm not bothered that I lost but what I really wanted to do was play the game iykwim. Sometimes, I lose deliberately just to show her how I don't really care about losing.
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Re: On being a good sport

Postby Treeb » 22 Feb 2016, 11:56

That's a good point ff, and on the same line we could also model not really caring about winning, so no "yay, I won the game!" but instead something like "I had a lot of fun playing that with you, and it looked like you had fun too!"
Mama to big boy L born Sept. 2012, and baby girl A born June 2015.

http://treemama.wordpress.com/
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Re: On being a good sport

Postby felizefun » 22 Feb 2016, 13:23

Yes, Treeb, I believe that if she sees it often enough that for me and DH, winning isn't as important as playing the game, she will also start feeling the same. A bit like osmosis, I guess..
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