Table of contents:
- Little boy and board games
- Young athlete and the cost of victories
- “I don’t play such games”
- How to teach a child to lose?
Video: A Huge Failure. How Do You Learn To Lose? - Image, Society
Our five-year-old boy does not know how to lose at all. No matter what they play, it is always the same: if he lost, he is hysterical, he can throw everything out, weeps, blames everyone, demands that they admit that he is right. Can I bring him to you for therapy? Can you learn to lose?
Letter of inquiry from parents
Girl, 11 years old, goes in for sports. Each competition is the wildest stress, very often performs with a temperature, sometimes it vomits before going out on the carpet. Parents are very tough, they only demand excellent grades and victories. If not the first place, the girl will be flattened all the way back and disassemble what and where she did wrong. They sent it to me from school, they say, there was a nervous breakdown in class, hysterics. Will you take your parents? I'll work with the girl. Or let’s pair?
Request from a colleague
Hello! My question is not about children, everything is in order there. About work. I can’t participate in any career games, the slightest competition or sparring, I’m just kicked back. Previously, I successfully worked alone, did my part of the work, was in good standing, everything worked out. And now we have changed the staffing table, we have to cooperate, but in fact - compete with colleagues for the budget, for the time. The trouble is, at least quit.
Letter from a man, 45 years old
Note. All names and queries are fictitious, or rather, assembled from pieces of impressions. The author does not describe the stories of real clients and colleagues.
As you can imagine, all these stories are about the same thing - about the inability to withstand defeat and the strong emotions associated with failure. Moreover, as we will see with surprise later, not only our own defeat, in some cases the loss of a comrade can be unbearable.
We have three success / failure stories. More than an actual topic in our world, penetrated to the deepest layers by the requirement to be successful always and in everything
Little boy and board games
The first thing to consider in understanding the problems of babies: their nervous system is still very immature. The processes of excitation / inhibition of voluntary impulses are regulated in the prefrontal cortex, which is almost the last to mature.
What does this mean in practice? That your 3-5 year old child is not yet able to be aware of and control his emotions, if his type of nervous system can be described as “easily excitable”. Usually, such children give the impression of an uncontrollable typhoon: he does not smile, but laughs, does not get upset, but weeps in three streams, does not accept prohibitions and restrictions, it is difficult to put him to sleep.
That is, having arisen in response to some event, the emotional response of such a child will be very high in amplitude and long in time. It is necessary to reckon with this, but it is almost impossible to control or influence, especially with the help of medications (although almost all parents try to do this: “Doctor, give sedative drops, we cannot cope anymore.” The problem is that sedative drops make it worse Amino acids help build nerve fibers a little bit.
All you can do is build a routine and structure your interactions. It seems that the old doctors' advice “to walk more, less toys, no visits to public places with loud noises, bright lights, lights out at 8:30 pm” is much more justified than we think.
In order for the game to bring pleasure and benefit to such a child, very simple principles must be observed:
- Better to play one-on-one, maximum of three.
- The game should be short, 7-10 minutes, one round.
- The rules are clear and non-confusing. Checkers are better than chess. "Drunkard" is better than poker. Ideal - "walkers" with a cube and strict order.
But the most important thing is to train the child with the algorithm of behavior in case of failure. Because we demand "normal behavior" from him, and no one explains what it is.
- To name the feeling: “You are very upset that you lost, you are offended” (wait for a clear “yeah!” Even with tears).
- Suggest a reasonable way of living this emotion: “You want to shout, call names, throw something. But in our family it is not customary to hurt, so you can shout “Aaaaaaa! I am terribly offended! How angry I am!”, But you cannot call names and blame others for your failure. You can throw this pillow / toy into the wall, you cannot throw hard and sharp objects. You can kick the sofa, you can’t kick people.”
- You can offer your hug to comfort you when the storm subsides. You can teach to "talk to water": turn on the water and put your hands up, expressing your resentment.
Young athlete and the cost of victories
Next, we will talk about the misbehavior of parents using the example of a young athlete.
I rarely see parents of triumphant children in their office: they are used to solving their internal problems (self-esteem, self-realization, existential anxiety) through actions, in particular, through rather serious violence. “There is no victory without pain” is their motto. The trouble is that the child is in pain, and the victory is attributed to both, the child and the parent. "We won the championship." Instagram photo with a bunch of medals and the caption: “We did it! I am the mother of the winner!"
Of course, in such a context, the child will be motivated to achieve by the most severe methods, and complete, total rejection in case of failure is one of the favorite tools. It is not surprising that the girl in the example above looks like an aggressive hysterical, but who cares about relationships with peers if the price of victory is mother's love. When the stake is “whether my family will accept me or not,” there is no time for sentimentality, you will do everything, including any tricks and tricks.
There is very little I can recommend here, mainly because there is no request. The girl was sent by the school (a very competent school psychologist), but neither she nor her parents make any request, they "do not hurt." Perhaps, many years later, when the girl's sports career ends, she will find a frightening void inside, then …
“I don’t play such games”
But the case of an adult man who deliberately (or rather unconsciously) refused to take part in the competitive struggle looks very interesting. And it is directly related to the first case, a five-year-old brawler.
On closer inspection, it turned out that our hero, Alexander, is practically the older brother of this crying, demanding, uncontrollable baby. Conventionally, of course, but now you yourself will understand everything.
The eldest of three sons, Sasha was forced to grow up too early: with his second brother, Igor, he had only a year difference, with the third, Kesha, three. During that period of development, when the boy must, firstly, with tears and rage, separate from his mother, and secondly, compete with his father, he lost his family altogether. He was sent first to his grandmother, then to the garden for five days. And they were taken back only at the age of five, having been charged with the obligation to "watch out for the brothers."
That is, instead of the message “I will withstand your anger and I will love you even the naughty one”, he received the message “You do not suit us”. And a little later - "you are accepted only if you are useful."
So, to the topic of competition and unbearable losses. Alexander is afraid to win, not to lose at all.
“Losing is bullshit, there’s nothing to talk about. Well, I fell, so what? He got up, dusted himself off and walked on. But when I won - oh, that's when the show begins. Igor immediately went to fight or demanded that we immediately outplay, already according to his rules. And he cheated terribly, eyes could not be taken away from the playing field. And Keshka just fell to the ground, squealed and rolled until his mother or grandmother came running, and then I received a scolding for the child being upset. And all this is “give in to him, he's small!”. And the shame of me that I am such a big goof, I cannot give in, which means I do not love anyone."
According to the law “what is inside - so is outside”, for his first job, Alexander chose a company that almost mirrored the dynamics in his family: sole reign of the owner, extremely opaque rules, a system of favorites and outcasts. What was considered a success on Friday was declared worthless on Monday. Employees became close to the sovereign-emperor or were exiled to distant provinces due to an unformulated whim.
And, of course, the story repeated with "give in to him, he's small": when Alexander won a huge order, the reward for which was to compensate for the plowing for 16 hours seven days a week, and the lack of personal life, and (frankly) shaken health, the owner silently entered his then favorite in the list of beneficiaries.
Alexander freaked out, left, slamming the door, lay at home for a month, looking at the wall. Then I got myself together, found another place, and for the first couple of years everything went well. And then the situation repeated itself: during the distribution of annual bonuses and promotions, it turned out again that there are “those who are more in need”.
And this is a good reason for psychotherapy.
How to teach a child to lose?
- First. Decide on your feelings and attitudes: what does losing mean to you?
- Second. Offer children a smart, sustainable way to express their frustration.
- The third and most important thing. Be fair! Do not change the rules of the game for the one who looks weaker, it is better to organize for him the game according to his strength. But if the kid got into the fun of the "big guys", do not interfere, let him feel defeat. Otherwise, how does he know his real abilities?