When a Long Island baseball mom made headlines recently for stalking, threatening, and harassing her son's baseball coach, all because the kid failed to make the team's travel squad, many Circle of Moms members, including Megan A., were reminded how important it is to teach your children how to both win and lose.
"When they are toddlers it's nice to build up their confidence and sense of pride," she says. "But what about when they are older? Is it okay to let them win all the time, and going one step further, what about in schools or in organized sports when ‘everyone is a winner?'" She wonders at what age moms should start teaching their kids that it's okay to lose. "Not everyone wins all the time...the point is to try hard."
A number of Circle of Moms members agree, and note that a child's response to failure is influenced by the reactions of the people around him, most significantly, his parents. While we often celebrate and reward their wins, we should also spend time on failures, because they offer important lessons. As Amy T. explains, learning to deal with failure during childhood helps kids become resilient adults. "I hate this new 'everyone is a winner' attitude schools use towards sports and other activities, she says, adding that, "We all lose at some point in our lives."
What Kids Get Out Of Losing
Emma N. takes it a step further, asserting that kids can get a lot of losing. She's one of several Circle of Moms members who say that when parents teach their kids to embrace failure as a normal part of life, they're not afraid to try new pursuits and take risks. She bemoans a shift in adults' attitudes towards winning and losing in the world of kids' sports. "Playing used to be about learning good sportsmanship and the best man winning because they put the most effort in and worked the hardest."
"The idea that a child must always win or else they will wither away in a pool of low self esteem is ridiculous," says Erin H., and Lindsay H, agrees: "I feel that everything in life is a competition and that they need to learn very early on that focus, determination and hard work is what will make them successful...be it on the ball field, in school, or later on in life in the workforce. It's no fun losing, but instead of throwing a fit, they need to use that as fuel to pick themselves up and try harder the next time."
Teaching by Example
Moms (and dads) also shouldn't forget that they are teaching by example, says Arnie T. who points specifically to how the Long Island soccer mom's extreme behavior set a horrible example for her son. "It seems nowadays we simply hear more about rude, overbearing sports parents than we did in years past. And the coaches are just as bad though, they are always push, push, pushing and striving for more. Which is all well but kids can only take so much. Aren't sports supposed to be fun for them as well as a learning experience?"
In then end, if parents don't let their children learn the lessons of failure, they — and everyone else around them — are creating a generation of whiners, suggest some Circle of Moms. "I can't stand it when children are spoiled and don't known how to lose," says Laura G.
Are you okay with letting your kids fail?
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