How do you deal with a sore loser?
Tonight we played Snap with Athos, using a regular deck of playing cards instead of his usual Thomas the Tank Engine cards. It took him some getting used to, so initially he lost a few rounds. His unhappiness was evident. Not violent or explosive, but the withdrawing, brooding variety.
Pilgrim Dad and I recognised it and without saying a word, we both began to let him win a few rounds. Of course, it cheered him up. When we feigned horror at having missed obvious snaps, Athos laughed heartily.
But I can’t help wondering if it’s right for us to let him win. The real world won’t treat him so kindly, and he’ll have to lose sometime. At first I tried to teach him the politically correct thing – “Sometimes you’ll lose,” I intoned, “You have to learn to be happy for the winner, and say ‘good game’.”
It didn’t go down well.
And let’s face it. It’s almost like teaching him to lie. Losing is not fun, and managing the disappointment is hard enough without having to smile and cheer for the winner.
And so I’m back to wondering: How DO you deal with a sore loser?