Jan 272013
Good Sportsmanship II

Good Sportsmanship II (Photo credit: versageek)


When kids try new things, sometimes it’s a “fit” and sometimes a struggle.

So what’s a parent to do when they find that a child is floundering in a new activity? What if your son is in over his head? Or your daughter is not doing as well as either of you had hoped? What if they even fail outright?

Often, they’re tempted to give up. Just to quit. And with the busy schedule facing most families, supporting that decision can be a real temptation. But what’s the lesson from that? Quitting just makes it easier to quit again later, or, worse still, can stifle the urge to tackle future challenges.

When faced with failure at a new activity, another option is to help your child to take a lesson from the experience. Before they leave a troublesome or difficult activity behind, is there something that they can learn that will help them to do better the next time?

The topic of ‘my child’s failures’ is a tough one for some parents to look at. But here’s a hint: try hard to keep them just that — your   kids’ failures.

[Tweet “Quitting makes it easier to quit again later or to avoid tackling future challenges.”]

If you’re concerned that their performance reflects on you, you’re right. It does. But the performance that most adults care about is the one that has to do with your child’s values and character. The child who picks herself up, dusts herself off and gets back into the game, shows a level of resiliency and confidence that is a credit to both of you.

No teacher, coach or fellow parent ever looked down on a parent whose child gave 100% effort. If your child isn’t talented in sports, but tries and gives his and demonstrated good sportsmanship, you’ll be regarded as a good parent.


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  2 Responses to “Failure: a Great Opportunity!”

  1. This is such an important skill to learn. If all children were allowed to fail, and learn how to move forward to eventual success, they’d transition into the workplace with less angst. Many young adults suffer when they start their career because they either expect to always succeed, or worse, believe they’ve succeeded when they haven’t.

  2. Thanks, that’s a really good point…. it brings to mind that constant “stream of positive feedback” that so many parents fall into. How can any of us ever improve without feedback? Worse still, why would we want to if everything we do is “the best”????

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