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to try to teach my son how to lose

(37 Posts)
edd021208 Tue 25-Aug-09 18:36:02

my ds is 4 and likes playing games such as shopping list/lunchbox/bus stop (I think sometimes called 'lotto' games). I usually let him win but as he is starting school next week I thought I'd see what would happen if I 'won' so I did yesterday and he had a screaming fit. Today his dad 'won' and again ds screamed and screamed. I've tried to explain that he won't always be able to be the winner but he can't accept it - not a huge worry I know but I'm concerned about not being around to help him navigate things like this...

WoTmania Tue 25-Aug-09 18:45:21


sweetnitanitro Tue 25-Aug-09 18:47:30

YANBU. Once he starts school he is going to lose games. I think it's best if he learns with you rather than learning he can't always win when you're not around. I'm sure he'll get used to it after a few times

Tombliboobs Tue 25-Aug-09 18:48:58

YANBU, they need to learn to lose and it is important they understand that you can't always win. You are right to show him now before he starts school and realises he probably won't win very often.

edd021208 Tue 25-Aug-09 18:51:17

thanks for those replies....any tips on how to teach him to lose? the screaming is really terrible!

paisleyleaf Tue 25-Aug-09 18:52:25

hehe YANBU
We've been playing 'frustration'
(I don't think my DD's got the emotional capabilities for a game called frustration)!

edd021208 Tue 25-Aug-09 18:56:55

haha paisleyleaf....can now understand those schools that let everyone win - nothing to do with the self-esteem of the children - if i'd to teach children as bad as losing as ds I'd let them all win too....anything to stop the screaming! Although do they behave better when they go to school??

curiositykilled Tue 25-Aug-09 18:57:18

YANBU to try to teach him that he can't always win. My mum always let my brother win, he grew up with a really unrealistic perception of his own abilities which eventually gave him a self esteem issue. He's fine now but really struggled when he was about 14/15.

I'm not sure how to teach him to lose, I was so worried about what happened with my brother that I've never let my DCs win but they don't seem to be very competitive anyway. I've probably avoided competitive games! lol I would've thought you'll just have to stick with it and ride out the screaming.

Morloth Tue 25-Aug-09 19:00:15

Tell him to get over it?

My favourite is "Life is hard, wear a helmet".

Though if you are generally a nicer mummy than me this might come as a bit of a shock to your DS.

IneedacleanerIamalazyslattern Tue 25-Aug-09 19:01:10

YANBU dss is 9 and you should see him if he loses.
It is dire my 3 year old grumpy ds doesn't get in a mood like this.
I also know a 32 year old that I have threatened in the past not to play board games with and when I do if he huffs will show him what he looks like and tip the board over because he is such a bad loser, he has even been known to use the arguement "but i'm older" hmm

I've never really had a huge problem dd is not competative and ds can throw a huff even if he wins smile I generally never let wither of them win either.

edd021208 Tue 25-Aug-09 19:05:15

Yes I've tried to tell him life is hard (a super gentle version) but he can't hear through the screams...I've been so big on praising him he thinks he is practically superman...oops. Poor teacher

Tombliboobs Tue 25-Aug-09 19:05:47

When he wins, show him what a good sport you are Do the whole 'oh well, never mind, I didn't win that time, perhaps I will win next time'

Then you can remind him of your reaction when he doesn't win. It works for my DS who is 2.5, he says all this back to me now when he doesn't win, I have never 'let' him win and I don't agree with pandering to it.

Or... you could try Morloth's good advice, which is what I do with older children. I can't bear moaning when an older child has lost.

edd021208 Tue 25-Aug-09 19:06:53

ineedacleaner...sounds like it can't be taught then! cool, something else that nature will have to look after!

Pitchounette Tue 25-Aug-09 19:07:56

Message withdrawn

lou031205 Tue 25-Aug-09 19:10:13

I think you need to teach it from birth! My Dad always said 'old enough to play, old enough to lose'.

piscesmoon Tue 25-Aug-09 19:10:19

It is hard, but it is very bad for them to always win-I still remember when I was about 9yrs and a friend picked up her game and went home! She was losing! The rest of us were totally bemused.
I had to get my PIL to stop letting DS1 win. Once you have more than one DC they have to lose anyway. I keep making the point that there is no joy if someone has let them win-they get it eventually if you persevere.

edd021208 Tue 25-Aug-09 19:11:00

Tombliboobs - thanks, good tip and I am very very impressed this worked for your 2.5 year old! I suppose I need to figure out whether competitive games are all that good an idea at this age/stage. My brother was such a bad loser he used tear up all the monopoly money (aged 7 or 8) and he was certainly indulged a bit more..I've just now told ds that he isn't ready to play games until he is able to lose..

jybay Tue 25-Aug-09 19:12:02

You are doing the right thing but it's bound to take your son a while to get used to it if he has always won till now - he's only human!

TBH, I think trying to explain or reason with him when he is upset may be counter-productive - you may be inadvertantly reinforcing the behaviour by giving him attention when he is acting up. It might be better to ignore the screams (not easy, I know) and then to reward "sporting" behaviour.

edd021208 Tue 25-Aug-09 19:13:57

pitchounette - thanks. As you suggested the explaining rather than setting an example may not be the best road. ok, tomorrow I'll lose graciously, and make it about me losing rather than him winning....thanks everyone for your comments, I know it sounds trivial but I think it is very important to be able to handle disappointment in life, so we might as well start aged 4!

Morloth Tue 25-Aug-09 19:13:59

Let him scream, he will get over it.

We never "let" DS win stuff either, and sometimes now he can kick my arse. Jenga for instance - the kid could be a friggen' surgeon.

He might be better with other kids in any case.

worriedaboutbuses Tue 25-Aug-09 19:18:13

yes, win with a grin and make it grown up with a handshake afterwards, then give the chance to beat you again, or lose with a smile and say right I'm going to get you back ..and do, every now and then

also through the game be overenthusiastic when winning and over gutted when losing and all with a huge smile

so it gives the impression that winning is not a bad thing and losing can be dealt with using humour and a "try again" approach, this is what pitchouette says and I agree with her

also play silly games that you can't win at because you're an adult eg guessing the roll of the die

you can actually get quite a fun "tension" out of that where you feel the "want to win" thing as well

worriedaboutbuses Tue 25-Aug-09 19:19:53

actually i strongly recommend the handshake and "that was a great game thanks"

it says there was something worth doing there even though he/you lost

Pitchounette Tue 25-Aug-09 19:22:03

Message withdrawn

WoTmania Tue 25-Aug-09 21:10:33

I would just not 'let' him win. At least not all the time.

tethersend Tue 25-Aug-09 22:38:26

I would play the game again (or a different game) straight afterwards as he is on the floor screaming, exaggerating how much fun you are having.

If he wants to play again (and possibly win), he will be forced to stop screaming and calm down in order to join in.
Congratulate him if he does so.

Or you could keep a tally of who wins each game- add up at the end of the week. Teach him that it's not a battle.
It's a war.

Great that you are teaching him stuff like this wink

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