SOCIAL – EMOTIONAL DEVELOPMENT IN CHILDREN
Let’s start by taking a short trip to your own childhood as a parent. We have all both won and lost in the most beautiful games of our childhood. From time to time, we had arguments with our friends who broke or lost the game, witnessed them leave the game and get upset, maybe we ourselves were the ones who reacted intensely to defeat. Even when we look at today, we can realize that we are people who cannot tolerate defeat from time to time. We may find ourselves giving intense reactions. Although we know that losing is as natural as winning, we may have experienced and lived situations where our tolerance threshold is low and we overreact. You ask why? Because we may have some mental schemas about failure that we learned in childhood, and we may have learned or experienced that winning causes pride and losing causes feelings of failure and shame. This schema structure may also negatively affect our social relations since childhood. In this situation, you may be confused about how to guide your child.
Let’s take a look at what children experience in games before we move on to the steps on how we, as parents, should act about losing and winning with our children. According to studies, it is known that children with a perfectionist structure have a very low tolerance for losing. Kids always want to win. Because winning is a source of pride and happiness for them. Most children take great pleasure in their own victory and the defeat of others. Defeated children, on the other hand, may get angry at this situation, have crying spells, get offended by their friend, and leave the game. Children can have a hard time accepting defeat and controlling the reactions created by the sense of winning. Parents play an important role in the healthy management of winning and losing in games, which are one of the most important components of social-emotional development.
They need to be taught to accept defeat gracefully. So what can we do?
When playing games with your child, give up giving your child the game so that he will be happy every time. They must win the game themselves by their own efforts. Let your child see that you can be beaten too. At that point, as the loser, model your child with your behaviors and emotions. Because he will observe you. You can emphasize the following in order to create a healthy schema in the mind of how a defeated person behaves and feels. “This time I lost, I’m a little sad, but it’s okay, the important thing was to have fun and have fun. I enjoyed it very much.” You can say, “I’ll try to win next time.” It is important that you follow the rules in the games.
Be careful not to give any privileges just because you have a child. Otherwise, he may have difficulties during the game in his relations with his peers. Setting boundaries and setting rules for your child in the game makes him feel safe. It should be explained to the losing child in a clear and simple language that as much as winning is happy, losing is not a bad situation. Help her cope with her feelings when she loses the game, encourage her to express her feelings. Being able to express their emotions is an important component of social-emotional development. The relationship of the child, who develops control over his emotions, will improve first with himself and then with the people around him. When playing games together, be careful not to approach with a competitive attitude. You can emphasize that the thing to remember is to have fun. When you win, your excessive and competitive reactions can be internalized by your child and make him more ambitious. This can cause him to overreact when he loses. In order not to experience performance anxiety, consider it natural to lose in games, take care not to give unrealistic reactions such as “you won or next time you will definitely win” to calm down. Change is development. Your child develops and changes by modeling your behavior.