Be a Winner!
There's nothing worse than a sore loser. Sore losers are considered whiners and bad sports. The worst kind of sore loser is one who goes around accusing everyone of cheating because he or she can't face the fact that they might not have played the game very well—or that maybe luck was not in the cards for them this time. It's best to accept the loss and try to figure out a better strategy for the next game. Or better yet, accept your loss and applaud the winner.
This is an important lesson to teach your children and it's not an easy one. To teach a child to applaud the winner and accept his or her loss, you are teaching them a form of empathy. It feels good to win and isn't it nice to be congratulated for your efforts? Remind your child that the next time he or she wins, he or she will receive the same praise and that you should treat others the way you would expect to be treated in return. Life is full of tough, competitive situations and if you teach your children to stand tough when the odds are against them, you will be giving them a great gift that will help them throughout their lives—from childhood to adulthood.
Accusing someone of cheating without definitive proof is the poorest kind of sportsmanship. If you can't contain your wounded pride, leave the room, get some air, but never be a sore loser.
While nobody likes a sore loser, the worst kind of game player is a bad winner. The person who wins the game should sit back and smile on the inside. To applaud yourself in front of everyone else and sing your own praises is bad sportsmanship. It's best to be humble about it—you know you won and everyone else knows you won, and therein lies the glory. I've played many a game with a bad winner. They are the ones who can only feel good about their accomplishment if they make everyone else feel lousy about their shortcomings. Those are the kind of people you might not want to play with again. It makes the game much more fun and certainly creates an atmosphere of fair and fun gaming if winners are humble and losers don't let their egos get in the way of an otherwise good game.
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Excerpted from The Complete Idiot's Guide to Family Games © 2002 by BookEnds, LLC. All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. Used by arrangement with Alpha Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.
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