The Art of Losing
|   Aug 23, 2015
The Art of Losing
 It is very important to discuss why not to foster the psychological need to win all the time. We need to understand that it is not a matter of concern if our children do not win medals like the neighbor’s kids. There is nothing wrong with never coming first in any exam. Winning is good but it is more important to learn how to lose with dignity. Children should be taught to focus more on participation and growth rather than just winning.

Reality Check

Life is a long battle where no one wins every day. However hard we try, failure is inevitable. True victory comes to those who learn to take failures gracefully. As parents and teachers, it is our responsibility to educate our children that real success lies in trying to improve with every chance we get. No test in school is the last test or no drawing competition is the last competition to showcase one’s talent. School is part of one’s formative years. What children need to learn is that participation is important. They are not participating in an event to win and prove themselves to the world. They should participate to enjoy the competition, give their best and appreciate other participants.

How child psychology works

Children like to be appreciated and feel happy to know they are talented. If used to praise, they get demoralized even at slightest of challenges. They begin to shy away from things they feel they may fail at and they may eventually give up or adopt unfair means to win. Children who never make mistakes in schools are not necessarily the most successful people as adults. If they never see failure as kids, they are more at risk of becoming depressed if they can’t cope up with the pressure of professional and personal lives. On the contrary a child who works hard for good grades after several not so good grades knows that success or failure is not permanent. They may do better in life than those who fear failure. It is not to say that children should not be encouraged to come first or to win, what is required is to help them let go if they cannot do so.

The obsession of winning has so tightly clutched our minds that many of us forget to appreciate little progress made by our children every day. For instance, there are parents who get upset if their children make two mistakes in a song while failing to acknowledge the child’s efforts at singing the rest of the song beautifully. We must point out the mistakes to the children otherwise how they will improve, however it should not be so harsh that it breaks their heart. Sometimes children do not say they are hurt even if they are bruised inside. Thank God if your child comes to you to say he does not like your remark but be very careful if your child never shows his feelings. Never be sure that if your child does not complain it means he is not hurt. You may be at a risk of distancing yourself from the kid in ignorance of believing that he is a tough kid. Appreciate your child first and then go on to guide him how to improve. Nothing works better than letting your child know that his efforts are appreciated and you think he can do better. It is just that you want him to be more careful next time.

Role of parents

Trophies are great but they are nowhere the reflection of your success as a parent or the potential of your child. Every child has a different level of cognitive and emotional development. Your child may not win at a certain competition but that does not mean he is not good. It simply means that someone else was better at that particular thing. Children should know they are no less worthy if they fail.  Congratulate your child when he wins but never forget to take pride in his participation even if he loses. Events are not organized to label children as winners or losers. They are organized to celebrate a certain activity like sports, music or painting, to have fun and to learn the art of appreciation. As parents we must create faith in our children that a competition is a way of seeing where we are and not a means to judge or compare us with others. They should try to do their best and must not take a failure to their heart. Learning to congratulate the winners is another life lesson to be learnt.

Our role is to teach our children to grow without getting them stressed with an expectation to win always. We should prepare them for later years of life where a lot of setbacks are awaiting them. Progress every day is more important than a particular win or loss. We must not stress their lives with the compulsion to win all the time. It might make life look ugly to them. Let them enjoy. Let them be. Let them let go.

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