days. A friend and I are brainstorming how to help a child that really wants to win, but doesn’t handle it well when he doesn’t. On top of this the child is hurt by other’s celebrating when they win because he views it as boasting.
I haven’t any magic pill to administer, but I do think the Lord
has helped give us some creative ways to relate to this child.
One example was to pull in the Olympics and how graciously those athletes accepted their losses. Not that they didn’t have emotion, but time after time with a camera in their face and micro phone demanding a comment, they would complement their opponent and accept that it was not their time to win. These athletes have invested much more into their sport than any of us have ever put into a game, so we should be able to follow their example of gracious losing.
Another point to be made was, what this child viewed as boasting
was really celebration. We are to rejoice with those who rejoice. (Rom. 12: 15) Celebration is part of the fun of playing a game. Boasting is when a person brings up a victory later with the intension of belittling others.
His mom reminded this boy that “a fool shows his annoyance at
once,” Proverbs 12: 16a. This boy needs help to realize that when he feels this annoyance feeling he can take action before he says or does something he will regret. I suggested having a term the whole family would recognize and be reminded that they need to allow this child to leave to gain control of his emotions. In our family a funny saying worked better than “I need to go now”,
because” I need to go now” felt like they were quitting in the middle. A phrase like “the oven is hot” or “the sky is blue” would spark helping this child to control their emotions verses pushing them to stay.
Another idea was to play a game as a family. Make a rule that for
the first half an hour there could be no celebration or praise or bragging. Then for the second half an hour encourage, celebrate, cheer for one another. After this hour of play have a family discussion of which was more enjoyable.
Competitive children WILL struggle in this area. As parents we
need to persist in helping them put themselves in the other person’s shoes; to enjoy the process not just the victory; and to remember that people are more important than winning.