This post is a sponsored post.
While concepts like self-esteem and having confidence in yourself have become the buzzwords of recent times, it’s still vitally important that we embrace humility – and that couldn’t be truer than in the case of sports. A truly great coach, leader or top athlete acknowledges that their successes stem only from what they have been taught along the way by others and that none of it would be possible without this valuable input.
The same is true when you find yourself facing a loss. There are few things worse than a sore loser, perhaps because we understand that if you’re allowing yourself to be put out by defeat, you’re not using the opportunity to learn from your mistakes and make progress. Win or lose, humility is a virtue that’s especially important to teach to our kids – so let’s see how you can go about instilling this quality in your children.
Lead by example
Whether we like it or not, the way we behave at home is going to be your child’s first point of reference for how they should react to different situations. When you become a parent, you become a role model too – so make sure to remain conscious of what lessons your child could be picking up from you without you even realizing it. If you’re constantly complaining about unfair decisions from a referee while you’re watching a sports match, be aware that your child could be picking this attitude up, and it might even carry over into their sporting ventures at school.
Rather than just groaning or swearing when the other team scores, make sure your child also hears you admit that they played that point better and take a lesson from what your team did wrong. This will teach them that even when we make mistakes or get beaten by a better player or team, there is always an opportunity to learn and improve.
Modest in victory, gracious in defeat:
It’s common practice in many sports for the winning and losing party to shake hands after a game and congratulate each other. Take this opportunity to ask your child why they think it’s traditional or important to do so – it will give you a good idea of where their maturity level sits at the time.
Many sports have practices designed to ensure a fair game for all. In paintballing, for example, it’s considered a good practice to allow a player who finds themselves cornered or in an indefensible position the opportunity to surrender, rather than simply blasting them from all directions! Sports and games offer so many opportunities to teach your children valuable lessons, you just need to keep your eyes open for them.
What to do when your child loses:
For every winning side, there’s a losing one – and it’s inevitable that your child is going to find themselves disappointed from time to time. Don’t try and discuss big life lessons while they are still upset, but give them a chance to cool down first. When they’re a bit calmer, tell them that you’re really proud of how they handled the loss (even if they could have done better! and that it takes a big person to remain gracious in defeat. Even if it’s not strictly true this time, it will give them a big hint as to how they could do better and get your praise next time!
If they seem up for it, take the opportunity to discuss what they learned from the experience. If the loss is clearly still stinging though, then let it go and don’t try and force a lesson. Just be available to act as a sounding board when they’re ready to talk.
Sometimes there may be one or two players who your child feels let the entire side down – and unfortunately, kids can be very cruel to these children before they learn better! If this is the case, then use the opportunity to offer to help the weaker players improve. This could be in the form of having them come around for a casual game or practice at your house. Teaching your child how to teach can be one of the greatest lessons of all.
What to do when your child wins:
After you’ve heaped praise and celebrated, make sure you have your child congratulate the losing side on a good performance too. Let them see you point out areas where the other team did well – and then tell them again in private how proud you are of theirs! Acting like a good sport yourself, after all, is the very best way to instill humility in your kids.