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My 6-year-old son is very sensitive. He can’t take criticism, defeat/losing a game, or accept not knowing the most in his studies. How do I make him bold?
Let me tell you a story.
When my now 5-year-old son turned 4, we bought him a Nintendo Wii. He had been playing his 3DS (with the 3D turned off) since Christmas and loved Mario Kart, so I bought the Wii with Mario Kart 7.
He and I would play often, but when he lost, he would get upset and say “Dad! I told you, I wanted to win! I told you to slow down!” and he’d throw a fit.
So, when this happened, I would stop playing with him. He would ask me to play with him, but I said “No. It’s not fun if you get angry when I win. Everyone has a fair chance to win every race.” He begged and pleaded with me to play, and I promised I’d play with him tomorrow.
The next day, the same thing happened. He just wanted to win.
Outside of the Wii, in every single other situation, it was either “I win!” or “I don’t want to play anymore” or some sort of fit.
Some people say he’s “just being 4,” but I started looking at his life besides around me. When he played games with his grandma, she would always let him win. She wouldn’t even try. She wanted to boost his enthusiasm and make him happy.
I told her, “You can’t do that! If you let him win all the time, he’ll think he’s amazing and cannot lose!”
A few weeks later, we were at Grandma’s house and he and I were playing tic tac toe. I would win some, he would win some, and he would get frustrated when I didn’t let him win. So, he walked away and went to play with Grandma.
I watched quietly and she let him win every game on purpose! Ahhh, it was infuriating. Instead of arguing with Grandma, I made a note to talk with him about it when we got home. I told him, “I know you like to win, but games are not fun for everyone when one person wins all the time. No one will want to play with you if you get upset every time you lose. We call that a sore loser.”
He said, “But Grandma always lets me win.”
I said “Yes, that’s because she’s your grandma. She loves you so much that she doesn’t care about losing to you all the time.” to which he said
“Oh … I like playing games with Grandma.”
These days he is very competitive against me, but will still sometimes get upset when he doesn’t win. He knows a bit better now that Grandma lets him win, but not everyone will do the same.
What your son needs is someone in his life to guide him in the right direction, even though there are grandmas who ruin everything behind your back sometimes.
What you can do is let him see you playing games and losing, and being perfectly fine with it, as well as failing at something and keeping on keeping on, until you reach the desired goal.
Because kids learn from example much better than words.
Ty Conner is a writer. Read more from Quora below: