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How do you help your kids deal with defeat?
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Haylen_WebMD_Staff posted:
The city swim finals were this weekend. My 7 year old swam the 50 free, 50 butterfly and 50 breast.

She's always finished 1st, 2nd or 3rd since she started competing in swim meets this summer. (I suspect it's not be cause she's such a great swimmer, but she is almost a head and a half taller than all the other girls in the 7 - 9 division!)

This weekend she came in dead last in a heat with 10 girls. She was DEVASTATED. Sobbing as she came out of the pool then we went into the locker room and she started with the "I'm tired, my ear hurts, my tummy hurts, I wanna go home!"

Have any of you experienced this with your kids activities or a result in school or anything? I'm not sure I handled it correctly but she did finally shake it off and finish her 2 other events.

Feedback appreciated!

Haylen
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sarah0323 responded:
I've gotten it several times from Jacob during wrestling season. With Jacob we tell him that he did the best that he could (if he truely did) or we tell him ways he could have improved. He has lost several times. We found the best way to handle it is once he gets off the mat and shakes the coaches hand is if he comes to us we will talk to him about it. If he walks off without us we give him a few minutes to work through it himself. Normally he has another match coming up so he directs that disappoinment to his next opponet. The coaches are really good to about talking to the boys to get them to feel a little better before the leave the mat.

If he says he wants to go home I ask him what it is going to accomplish. Then remind him if he doesn't finish out the meet that he will loose the rest of his matches. I let him know how that will affect his standing for the rest of the year. After he hears that he will lose more matches by not even being there he usually decides to stay on his own.
Me 33, DD - O 13, DS1 -J 8, DS2 - Cr 6, DS3 - Co 5, DD2 - E (11/10)
 
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iocasta responded:
Sorry but we haven't experienced this yet. This is one of the reasons why we are holding off on swim meets. When we are faced with it, we will not allow him quit mid-competition. Failure is as important, and maybe more so,as winning. The earlier a child learns this the better off he is, IMHO. Good that she stuck it out.
 
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UKbluegirl2 responded:
I agree. IMO losing is a much more important lesson than winning. Plus not sure about your daughter, but my Ava is a lot like me. She HATES to be told she 'can't' do something because she's not good enough, etc. Her teacher told me at the beginning of the school year that she'd quickly learned that Ava enjoyed being pushed and thrived with it.

But the tears would have broken my heart. I think the fact that she was able to shake it off and compete shows a lot. Perhaps this will push her.

Or maybe she'll realize swimming is not the activity for her. I think we all have to accept that sometimes as well. I am constantly analyzing that with Ava and her piano.
 
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kc_94920 responded:
In Mady's first year of swim meets (she was 6.5-7.5 years old) she scored well and always got a ribbon so I didn't think she cared too much about winning or losing (3 swimmers--so 1st-2nd or 3rd place), she just liked to race. She learned a lot by watching other kids who were crying, arguing and leaving because they didn't like how they swam/scored and those situations led to great teachable moments. We thought for sure we had raised a great sport...then she started playing tennis competitively.

She was 7.5/8 and lost diring the semi-finals of a big 8 and under meet. She flipped out. Complaining, saying the other kid was making bad line calls, left the court, etc. It. Was. Ugly. DH and I were mortified. After an hour or two, she calmed down enough to discuss the issue (losing and creating drama about why/how), why it was so upsetting and how she could better deal. We went home, sent her to her room to "think" and then made her write a letter of apology to her opponent and his parents. We also made the decision right then and there that she was simply too young to handle the pressure of competition. Fast forward 18-24 months and we now have an awesome competitive tennis player. She began match play again after turing 9 and WOW, I couldn't be more proud. She is fair, honest, encouraging to her opponents and makes effort to learn for her mistakes. She wins more than she loses but has never exhibited anything close to bad sportsmanship again.

She's now just started her first season of ski racing. Fingers crossed.
KC~ Mady (10) Logan (7.5) and Coco (4.5)
 
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Haylen_WebMD_Staff replied to kc_94920's response:
Thanks for all the feedback!

DH and I are keeping an open dialogue going this week about winning, improving and having fun. I love her swimming but I'll have to step back if this isn't the sport for her...but she's so good! Arg...I'll be disappointed. She's starting tennis at the local park in January - 50 bucks for 8 weeks just for fun.

UK - I know one thing for sure - piano ain't for her right now! I wish she was into it but I'll give it a try when she's a little older.

KC - Mady sounds like a great kiddo - and of course, it's because of good parenting

Steph - I can tell facing a loss isn't going to happen very often for your kid!!!! I'm sure he is going to blow everyone out of the water. When do you think you'll start meets? Is he 6 or 7?

H


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