Losing is not fatal
I have always liked to wake up to a tidy home. And as per my routine, I was cleaning up for the night a couple of years ago. While my younger son was already asleep by then, my older son and husband were playing a video game in the living room. Probably on my 20th yawn, I heard a howling coming from the living room. My son was lying face down on the floor, crying. My husband gestured to me that sonny boy had lost the game.
“Why did he have to do that? Why didn’t he let him win? Why did he do this to me at this hour?” My heart was bursting with questions as I knew my boy needed a lot of cajoling for him to go to bed. Finally, peace descended upon my household. Even before I could confront my husband, he held my hands and made me sit next to him.
“I didn’t let him win because that is not how life works. There will be times he will be rejected. He may not win every time. And he has to understand that failures are a part of growth. Rather than us teaching him to always be successful, we should teach him how to deal with rejections and failures.
Let us not go into an ultra-celebratory mode when he succeeds, nor should we show our disappointment when he fails. The path is different for each child and the worst thing we could do is compare his milestones to our benchmarks.”
How did this man agree to get married to me? He is the voice of sanity whenever I flip out. Truer words had never been spoken.
Over the years, my husband I have given this philosophy a lot of thought. And here are a few observations of ours as parents.
- Start Young: It is never too early to teach your child the importance of letting out their feelings. And it is up to us parents to lend a patient ear to their frustrations and disappointments.
- Praise the efforts, not the result: When our child does well, we tend to heap a lot of praises. The message that we send out is that parents are happy only when the child is successful and this, in turn, fuels his/her competitive nature. But when we praise our child’s efforts and hard work, he/she realizes the importance of sportsmanship and respect.
- Earning versus Deserving: When we emphasize one ‘deserved to win’, we downplay the practice and preparation behind the success. But when we say one ‘earned his success’, we applaud the extra effort that was put in.
- Redefine our benchmarks of success: As parents, we often commit the cardinal sin of measuring our child’s performance against our pre-conceived yardsticks. Rather than an all-or-nothing approach to gauge our children, we should teach them the value of consistency; that real success is trying to be better than the previous day, day after day.
- Winning isn’t everything: We have all been there, getting dejected when our child doesn’t get the top prize. And in doing so, we fail to show them to enjoy the process, learn from their peers, and revel in the success of others. It is never about the destination but a beautiful experiential journey!
These were my thoughts as a parent. I would love to know your experience and learning too!
About the author
Shweta is the Strategic Designer & Editor for News Shuttle. Writing has been a passion with her and she hopes that this endeavour will help kids learn and have fun at the same time.
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