How to teach your child to accept defeat


Winning and losing are part and parcel of life. But, how does one teach your child to face defeats? What strategies can parents adopt that can help their children face adversities? Read on to learn the right parenting techniques to follow.

Each morning I step onto my balcony and lean against the railing. The cold metal sends shock waves up my bare arms, tingling at my senses, making me feel a little more awake and more aware of my surroundings. I bask in the newness of the morning; inhale the fresh morning air and let the cool breeze bathe me. It is an invigorating stimulus, enough to kick-start my day.

Soon early morning walkers and runners hit the road and people carrying yoga mats start trotting towards the amphitheatre, but it is still quiet and serene until the shrill whistle of a robin breaks the silence. A robin pair perches on the clubhouse roof, each morning and fill the air with their loud whistling sounds. The sun's not fully up yet and I can barely make them out, but the whistling is music to the ears.

And soon they are gone, I don't see them anymore. But, shortly after, a pair of Rufous Treepie arrives, almost at the same spot. They are beautiful birds but their call is jarring – like a dead car's engine is being cranked. Nonetheless, my mornings are made beautiful by these birds and all the other birds which stop by on the lampposts and trees below. There is a whole bevvy of them - bulbuls, mynahs, pigeons, terns, drongos and sunbirds and more.



Every morning, a crow and a blackbird get into a 'dogfight' in an almost ritualistic routine. They put up an extraordinary show displaying adroitness and precision, dodging trees, branches and lampposts, chasing each other. Their fluid motion is in sync, turn for turn, and lift for lift, much like a show finale, making it appear as if the whole act is rehearsed.

Their arrival signals that it's time for me to step indoors, and put milk for my morning coffee to boil. But, today I stayed on the balcony a bit longer. I watched a father and daughter duo, on the badminton court. The man is a friend and he was playing a friendly match with his 6-year-old. Human behaviour interests me (it disgusts me too, but that's another story) and what unfolded on the court, fascinated me.

P kept missing shots and losing points. And each time he fumbled, his daughter let out a loud shout of glee. She hopped and clapped in delight – she was defeating her father and her excitement was palpable. Their little play took me back in time, as I reminisced all the times my dad lost to my brother and me, in a game chess or the times I let my daughter beat me in the swimming pool.

Good parenting defined


The rules of parenting are not defined, but everyone follows a parenting pattern. Good parenting is when adults provide their children with a stimulus other than just food, shelter, education and values.

It is important that parents engage with their children in activities that help build their confidence. A little victory (even a fake one) can boost a child's morale, manifold. It instils confidence in the child and makes them believe in their abilities. That is what most of us believe. But, is letting your child win, at all times, good for them?

Winning and losing a part of life


Winning or losing is part of life, haven't we all heard that. Yet, there is so much importance placed on winning that we neglect to teach our children valuable lessons about losing. We face wins and defeats throughout life, so it's important that our children learn not just how to participate, but also how to deal with the result.

Taking part is what counts, is what we tell children whenever they face defeat, but we fail to prepare them for that failure. A lot of how adults handle the victories and blows that life throws at them is fostered in them in their younger days. So, how does a parent prepare a child to face the punches? Every parent wants their child to succeed and it's tempting to allow the child to win every board game or race, but such rigged victories have repercussions.

A parent's role is not confined to seeing that the child always wins, but in raising the child to be a balanced adult. And for that, they need to be prepared to graciously accept the defeats. It is not always good to let the child win when they don't deserve the win, especially when the performance is dismal. In the long run, it does more harm than good.

Control & angst


The innocuous wins that you allow your child set a negative example. It can have damaging repercussions that affect not just the child, but adversely impacts the relationship you share with them.

A child needs parents who are in control, who are the best at everything they do. Children observe and learn from your actions. And they cannot always be fooled into believing that they won fair and square. It is better to teach the child how to win, rather than fake a victory. It is more gratifying when the wins are legitimate. You'll not always be around to let the wins happen – have you ever thought of that? By letting the child win at everything, you do not enable the child to cope with defeats. Imagine how damaging that can be.

All these false victories have an adverse accumulative effect. They can lead to the child becoming overtly anxious because the winning precedence pressurises him to win in all situations. Children need to know that their parents are strong and that they will step in when things begin to fall apart. Small defeats are big events for a child, and it teaches them to cope and be strong. A child who always wins will not have the defence mechanism to face defeat.

I don't advocate being critical of every attempt a child makes at doing something. That is not the point. The child doesn't need to be criticised but needs to be guided. That is the way forward.

Teach your child to handle defeat


Have you heard the term 'sore loser'? There is something offensive about people who cannot handle defeat with the same refinement as they handle success. It is important that your child is taught strategies that can help the child cope with failure. And the first step for that is that you let them lose at things. A child who is always allowed to win will never be able to cope with difficult situations.

Changing parenting styles


Parenting styles have seen a paradigm shift from what they were thirty-forty years ago. Earlier parents were more authoritarian and inculcated strict discipline in their children. Today's parents are more laid-back and though the shift has been in a positive direction, many parents go to the other extreme. Allowing the child to experience just wins is often part of this extreme pattern.

Teach through example


It is important for parents to be role models. But, taking that role a little too seriously and presenting a perfect world (albeit falsely), to the children is not the way to go about it. The thing is a 'perfect world' doesn't exist. There will always be imperfections. Parents are too concerned about shielding their children and falter, in doing so. It is fine to shift from a disciplinarian style of parenting to a chummy relationship, but don't let that prevent you from preparing your child for the world outside. A world where rules exist, rules that don't allow you to win through nefarious ways. By imparting society's rules on your child, you'll be doing them a favour. Victories and defeats are part of the rules.

Now comes the big question – how do you help your child learn to be gracious about victories and take defeats in their stride.

Be selective, make wise choices


  • Start the lessons early, when the child is really young. Pick games and activities where they stand a chance of winning. Choose board games that will keep them engaged and enhance development. Keep it simple
  • Children lose interest if they see that they aren't winning. Let them win a few times, to build their interest, but don't let them maintain that winning spree. Allow them to lose too, fair and square
  • Remember to be gracious when you lose. Don't get agitated or show anger. Instead say something like, "better luck next time" or "I'll play better in the next game". Your aim is to set an example and in taking defeat sportingly, you let them know that the loss isn't the end of the world and there is another chance. Let them learn from you, how to play a game, with its wins and losses
  • If a child is being a poor loser, then you need to stop the game and explain the rules about winning and losing
  • Older children can be made to watch sports on television or at the stadium, so they see the camaraderie that exists between opposing teams – when the shake hands and greet each other before and after the game. They watch and learn from the reaction of the losing team. They also see how players who break the rules are punished
  • Lastly, always guide your child, elucidating the fact that winning and losing are part of the game and that they have to be gracious in both




Parenting is challenging and every parent wants what is best for their child. But, don't be guided by emotions. Study the pros and cons of your parenting style and do what is best for the child, not for that moment, but in the long run. It is your duty to prepare them to face the world, with its pleasantries and unpleasant surprises. So, take positive steps and change your parenting style today.

Share this article if you found it helpful, so it can be helpful to other parents as well.


Article by Juana
Juana is a freelance writer, with years of experience, creating content for varied online portals. She holds a degree in English Literature and has worked as a teacher and as a soft skill trainer. An avid reader, she writes on a variety of topics ranging from health, travel, education and personality development.

Follow Juana or read 483 articles authored by Juana

Related Articles

How to prevent acne scars?

This article explains various measures which keep acne under control. This decreases inflammation and consequently chances of formation of acne scars too decreases. Actions like not picking at skin, proper hydration, using sunscreen lotions, proper skin care regime etc prevent formation of acne scars.

How To Control Anger?

Have you ever been angry and later on felt sad for being angry on some one or something? Do you want to control your anger ? Is anger good or not ? The following article will discuss about anger and measures through which we can control our anger.

How to remove blood stains from delicate fabrics and specific surfaces?

This article explains various tips and methods to get rid of blood stains from delicate fabrics like silk, satin, woolen, linen etc and from specific surfaces like concrete, hardwood floors, mattress, quilt, leather, carpets etc. These methods used can make them free from blood stains.

Top 9 tips and exercises to sharpen the mind and boost brainpower

The brain needs constant stimulation to remain alert and active. Practice good habits that can sharpen your memory and help you stay alert and on top of your game at all times. Simple lifestyle changes that involve the number of you sleep or what you eat or how you relax can play a great role in how your brain functions. Find out what you need to do right, to get the best out of your grey cells.

How to become a pathologist with top hospitals in India

Are you looking for a career in medicine as a clinical pathologist? Need to know how to start a pathology lab? This article provides complete information on the different specializations in pathology and a career guide on starting a career as a pathologist. You will also get a general idea on the approximate costs of setting up your own path lab.

More articles: How to

Comments

Author: umesh02 Mar 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 4

Parenting a child in a proper and guiding way is not that easy. It requires great skills which a very few parents possess. The child may do many mistakes time and again though a few times he may be excelling in his performance. In any case, parents have to be very selective in appreciating or banging the child as per the occasion.

Those children who are pampered and facilitated for everything in the house later miserably fail in their life and can not withstand the turmoils of life in the practical world.

So it is advisable to make them rough and tough from the beginning so that when they leave the comforts of house and start their struggle in the competitive world, they do not feel discouraged or demotivated.

Teaching them to sometimes accept their defeat is a part of this process.

Author: Venkiteswaran24 May 2018 Member Level: Diamond   Points : 4

A child should be exposed to contests and competitions from very early stage. Initially as the contests will be with friends or familiar people only, negative emotions will not be there in losing also. Each time of losing,the child should be taught that failure is only temporary and it is a part of the game. It is one's proper performance and sportsman spirit that is the priority.
The child should be taught that failure does not mean end of the world.But failure should inspire us for more focused and sincere training and practice and making things better.



  • Do not include your name, "with regards" etc in the comment. Write detailed comment, relevant to the topic.
  • No HTML formatting and links to other web sites are allowed.
  • This is a strictly moderated site. Absolutely no spam allowed.
  • Name:
    Email: