Step Emphasize Good Sportsmanship

The only way your kid will learn that winning isn't everything (especially when people remember only that you were a lousy loser) is by your stressing sportsmanship over victory. Some families have a personal motto that represents their attitude, for example,"It doesn't matter if you win or lose, it's how you play the game,""If you can't play nicely, you don't play," "Winning isn't everything," or "What people remember most is how you play the game." You might suggest a few to your kids, choose the family favorite, and then intentionally repeat it again and again until kids can recite it without reminders.

Look for those teachable moments to do so, and then point out both the right and wrong way to handle defeat. It's one way to help him recognize that everyone suffers defeats and setbacks as well as victories, and sensitize him to others' feelings:

• While watching the Oscars, a quiz or reality TV show, the Olympics, or some other sporting event on television, say, "They've worked for years for this.They've just lost. Let's watch to see if we can tell how they feel.They're shaking hands with their opponents."

• Following your kid's band competition, say,"Congratula-tions, your school won! Did you notice how some of the kids acted who lost? They were complaining that the event wasn't fair. It sure didn't seem as if they were being good sports. Better that they kept those thoughts to themselves."

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