Being a good sport doesn't come naturally. But the sound of a kid whining, "No fair, no fair, no fair" is the bratty child equivalent of nails on a chalkboard. Add in a video game console, and a kid at the next table in the restaurant who doesn't know how to lose gracefully, and all my good humor goes right out the window.
Video games are supposed to be fun. Yeah, yeah, the scientists have found behavior benefits to gaming over the years, and you can get your kids some educational games. But the real point of sitting there smashing on some keys with your fingers is for pleasure, right? So maybe it's time you taught your kid about losing gracefully so they can get back to actually having some fun?
Video games, by and large, take skill, and the hand-eye coordination that gaming can develop throws them a learning curve at the beginning. Not being "good" at something new is frustrating. But if you don't want one of those whining little brats living in your house, maybe you'll give these tips a try:
1. Do it yourself. I know, it's common sense that when they see a parent lose with dignity, they will follow suit. But there seems to be an awful lack of common sense these days. Take the mother or father who is throwing the controller across the room and screaming, "Bull-you-know-what." You don't think the kids are listening, but then, you didn't think they were listening to you when you cursed at that guy who cut you off on the highway either, did you?
2. Practice with the old-fashioned stuff. We are a big-time family game night kind of family, and we used to have a lot of game board flipping in our house before the lessons about losing gracefully really sunk in. But I would much rather rescue plastic game pieces from beneath the couch after a tantrum than have to deal with a broken flat screen after a controller gets thrown at the TV ... how about you?
3. Let them lose. You know what happens when you take the game console out of their hands and finish the level for them every time they whine that it's too hard? They NEVER learn. Stop prolonging the inevitable, people. The sooner they face adversity, the easier they'll learn to work around it.
4. Avoid cheat codes and other gamer tricks. They might be fine for advanced gamers, but these type of work-arounds are only going to convince your kids that everything should come to them easily. That attitude will bite them in the rear end later in life, but you'll see it even sooner ... when they buy a new game that doesn't have any cheats at all.
What are your best tips for raising a good sport?
Image via Delmonti/Flickr