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Social Development In Children: The Impact Of Losing In Sport

When it comes to social development in children, why do we always think that a child should never be allowed to be upset?

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Why do we always have to devalue the achievement of those who win by making the win valueless?

As a parent of 4 children who has all been through the competitive college and as a coach of a number of children who have completed, I am convinced that if children are never given the opportunity to lose they are denied the opportunity to grow. We don't help anybody if we send a message that they can never lose.

Losing is Important To Social Development In Children

I get it, no one like to see a child upset but life is full of upsets. Surely we don't want to teach our children that the best way to never be upset is never to lose. Such an idea is totally unrealistic. No matter how good you are at living life sooner or later you are going to lose. If you have never learned to cope with losing you will never going to cope with life let alone rise above it. Surely losing is just as much an important part of social development in children if not more, than any other lesson.

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As a parent and a coach, it is my job to comfort and encourage. If losing is really such a problem, perhaps it is about time that we started to educate our coaches, who in turn should be encouraged to educate the parents of their Judoka (judo Student), on how to encourage and comfort.

No child of mine nor in any in my club has ever been devalued or discriminated against because they have lost. Win, lose or draw they are all praised and are all helped to learn from the experience. I know that this is the case in most clubs if not all. Yet somehow we are still guilt-ed into the trap of thinking that we will be damaging the social development in children if we don't make sure that every child is given a trophy, win, lose or draw.

Whether you are giving out mementos, certificates or not giving out medals at all (all of which have been tried by the way), you always end up with the same result, confusion on the part of the child about the message they are being sent and often contempt towards the award.

Instead of trying to placate a child in their disappointment how about we praise them up for a good attempt and encourage them to do better next time.

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