Step Call Your Kid on the First Hint of a Bad Attitude

Any time your kid exhibits a poor loser attitude (for example, he makes an excuse, blames others, can't accept criticism, boos the other team, or criticizes his coach, teacher, sibling, or parent), call him on it and let him know that kind of attitude isn't allowed. If he exhibits the attitude with others, take him aside and tell him what you observed: "I heard you blaming others for your mistake," "You're fighting with the coach," or "You're criticizing others." Then let him know that if he doesn't stop the attitude on the spot or apologize, he leaves the game, field, or play group. Explain that he must be considerate of other people's feelings, and if he is not, he may not participate.And if your kid displays any aggressive or uncivil behavior—such as booing, hitting, or cheating—remove him immediately from the activity. A high school soccer coach once told me that the most effective way poor losers on his team got turned around was when their teammates told them to "get a life" and wouldn't tolerate their bad attitudes.

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