Dealing With Losing and Failure
No parent or coach likes to lose a game or to see their little star make a mistake on the field or on the court. Especially if that mistake costs the team a goal or the score is pretty one sided. It’s hard enough for us to stomach let alone help our kids process it. So here are some tips that will help your kids actually grow and learn from a loss or mistake.
The most important thing you can do is not attach the player’s self-worth and self-identity to the loss or mistake. In other words – you lost the game but that doesn’t make you a loser. You were the same person going into the game as you were after the game. The only thing that happened was you lost a game and that doesn’t change who you are. You’re the same person who won the game last week as you are now after you’ve lost a game.
Now, your son might come back and say, “Well, Bobby said that I sucked when I missed that shot”. That’s when you have the golden opportunity to say, “Well Bobby might think that, but do you think he’s right? Do you think that everything everyone says is right?” What a great opportunity to teach a life skill: discernment. What other people think of us is often not true because they are judging us based on our performance rather than who we are.
The most important thing you can say and show to your kids after a loss or mistake, is that you love them and accept them exactly as they are and no game result will ever change that. Help them put it into perspective by separating the loss/mistake from their self-identity and self-worth.