The scene: Karate Kumite Tournament, Jan 2013 The players: My 8 year old green belt son and a tall lanky 9 or 10 year old green belt boy from Bangalore The action: Kick, kick, block, box, kick, kick, block, box ( you get the drift, d on’t you?) Closing scene: My son loses after a tough fight and is in tears A scene which has been enacted in practically every child’s life a billion times over and one which has left every parent searching for the right tools to handle!
From the usual aphorism “It’s ok to lose, it’s the participation that matters” to teachings from Bhagavad Gita, we tried everything, but in vain. He was quite inconsolable and suddenly decided to take the easy way out. Much to my surprise and chagrin, my son resolved not to take part in tournaments again!
So, how do you handle such situations: 1. How do you teach your child to channelise the bitter disappointment into a grit and determination to succeed? 2. How do you equip your child with the mental strength to accept that someone else may be better at something he/she thought he/she was good at? 3. How do you give your child a balanced exposure to wins and losses?
How do you teach your child to lose?
Of course, I’m not looking for answers here; different methods would suit different parenting styles and different kinds of children. But, the key here is to ensure that ultimately, your child has the perseverance to work hard, the mental toughness to lose at times and a healthy competitive attitude.
And, by the way, after a lot of discussion, my son has now agreed to sticking on to Karate till he attains Black Belt and taking part in tournaments occasionally, as he sees fit!