Sore Losers: Why They Melt Down and What You Can Do [Video]

Playing games with our kids can be a fun way to connect. But what happens when one or more of the children struggles with losing gracefully?

Enjoyable playtime can quickly morph into a frustrating outburst.

Kids are upset, other players are uncomfortable, and everyone may begin to tiptoe around the “sore loser” — or even be tempted to let them win all the time to avoid a meltdown! Parents may even begin to worry about their child’s future life as a “sore loser”. If he can’t lose a simple game of checkers, what will happen when he doesn’t make the basketball team? Or when he doesn’t get the promotion he wants?

It can be scary to watch your child spiral out of control — but there’s a better way, a way that can help you reclaim the fun of family game time while also helping your child learn to lose gracefully.


In the above video, Chad and Lynne share some thoughts on helping “sore losers” to grow into graceful losers. Here is a brief outline of the video:

First — Why does my child get so upset when she loses?

  • It may be that kids get their value from being a “winner”, which is why they explode when they lose.

Second — What can I do?

  • Stop and think about “what’s going on in my child?” (not just “how can I control their behavior?”). What meaning does my child attach to winning or to losing?
  • Communicate value to your child so that they know they are valuable whether they win or lose.
  • Ask kids questions to help them problem-solve and set themselves up for success. (Watch the video for more practical ideas.)

P.S. We’re trying out some new parenting tip ideas, including video tips! If you liked this tip and would like to see more, or if you have suggestions for us, please email us and let us know!

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