So the other day, Jack went to his Dad’s office after school to hang with Dad and his Gruncle (uncle Grant). They are playing boxing on the Xbox and Jack knocks out his Gruncle 2 or 3 times. Then Gruncle knocks Jack out and Jack has a complete meltdown. Crying, stomping his feet, screaming, “it’s not fair!”
My brother knows Jack. Him and his girlfriend have looked after Jack many times during the day and overnight. Without saying a word, Grant gently took Jack by the hand to the bathroom and told him that he could stay in there until he was done crying and was ready to play with him again. Jack could open the door himself and could have left at any point but he chose to stay there and deal with his tantrum. A minute later, Grant popped his head through the bathroom door and asked Jack if he was ready for another boxing match. Jack said no and continued to cry. Grant accepted this and continued playing. A couple of minutes later, the crying stopped and Jack stepped back into the game.
The interesting thing is that we don’t teach our children to lose, we teach them to win. When you have a race against your 2 year old, you don’t gun it to the finish line and then turn around shouting, “you’re the loser!”. So how do we teach our kids to play without the fear of losing? Well, I haven’t got the answer yet but watch this space! I think that dealing with the tantrums is probably the key to teaching them how to deal with losing. What I mean is that Grant did not make any fuss over Jack when he exploded into a tantrum. He took Jack to a quiet place where he could deal with his grief on his own but he was there for him when he was ready to jump back into the game and was happy to welcome him back. I think this is how Jack will learn that losing is not such a big deal.
Keep trying Jack, one day he will struggle to knock you out… game or no game!