Posts

Amy Steele, LCSW, RPT – Nov. 29, 2019

In any sport, there are a number of skills that one must learn to be successful. The skill of being a good loser will take kids far in life, whether they play sports for one season or make it as a professional athlete. It is a skill that is used throughout all of life when disappointing things happen.

 A good loser accepts the loss in a way that shows respect for one’s self, both teams, the coaches and all of the other people involved. The seven tips below will help you improve your child’s ability to be a good loser and a good winner.

  • Start young.  Play board games with kids when they are little. Teach them that everyone wins and loses sometimes. End games by having everyone shake hands or do “Good Game” high fives to practice positive outcomes. 
  • When your child is upset about losing (at any age,) acknowledge that you understand it is disappointing to lose. You may have a child that is such a sore loser that you avoid games or anything competitive with them at all. While this may make it easier at the moment and avoid a tantrum, avoiding it would take away a great learning opportunity. Teaching your child to persevere through what they may see as a failure shows them they can get through hard things and that you will be with them as they do. You are building character, and each time you do this it will become easier for the child to handle it the next time.
  • Observe your own behavior to see if you and other adults in your child’s life are modeling good sportsmanship. The adults closest to a child (in particular the same-sex parent) are the people they look to the most as a model for their behavior. Do you make excuses for your own difficulties or when things don’t go your way?  Blame your boss when something goes wrong?  Yell at the coach or referees? Criticize your kid’s teacher in front of them?  How do you react when your team loses or your child doesn’t make a team? Decide what you can do to be a better example of a good loser for your child.
  • Expect your child to be responsible for their own actions and remind them that everyone has bad days and everyone makes mistakes – even coaches, referees, and teammates. Make your child accountable every time they have a bad attitude such as making excuses, blaming others, booing, or criticizing someone.
  • Encourage your child to watch how others act when they lose and use it as a teachable moment.
  • Teach your child to encourage their teammates and look for the positives.  Good sports and good teammates support and encourage each other.
  • Help your child bounce back from disappointments in games and sports, as this is good preparation for real life. 

As your child grows they will have the skills in place to help them handle many different kinds of loss, such as the loss of a job or a relationship.   It is likely they will turn to those who helped them handle a loss previously when they need help again. Be that person for them when they are young.

By Brandy Terrell, LCSW – June 18, 2019

It is the strength and originality in a person’s nature that defines their character, according to Google Dictionary. Character is also made up of the mental or moral qualities that are distinctive to each of us.

I often wonder how my role as a mother contributes to the character development of my children.  Most days I feel like I’m still trying to build my own character. There may be no real end to such an endeavor.

To me, character building is about understanding the “why” in every teachable moment and creating the ability to think critically about the “why” in every situation. It’s more than the “Do as I say, not as I do” adage.

Maybe it’s about turning the “why” around and looking inward in hopes of figuring out what type of person we all want to be; maybe it’s leading by example. It’s most likely leading without the realization that you are the example and your behaviors are being absorbed by others.

As parents, we get wrapped up in the everyday struggle to meet the material demands of raising children. We worry about providing a safe home, the latest technology or gaming system, joining sports teams, the drama club or any other social activity.

Sometimes we get lost in the rush of it all. We should strive to give our children as many opportunities as possible, within reason of course. Sometimes we equate “things,” activities and the latest trends as our way of developing character.

Maybe we expect our children to “act right” simply because they had a stable outward foundation and have “no real problems to worry about.”  When our children fall short in behavior, pick on another child, disrespect an adult or act entitled, we are left wondering what went wrong. Why did my child not “know better?”  

While we continue to provide on a material level, we also need to provide on an emotional level with the same or more gusto. We need to teach our children that all the material things we have are sort of like “extras” and what makes the character of a person is how we treat other people, not all the material things that we have.

We must teach a child that our outward behavior is a representation of the type of person that we really are deep inside. Each of us needs to decide what type of person we want to become. Character building starts with parent/child emotional interactions and conversations from a very young age. Perhaps we should also talk about privilege/entitlement each time we bestow some form of material object or privilege on our children.

So, what have I learned 25 years and three children later? Often I can see my explanations of the “why” and the character talks come to life in my children.

Each moment of kindness, humility and respect they display to others is a small emotional win for me. Each time another adult tells me how thoughtful and well-mannered my children are I’m filled with pride. (I’m usually also thinking that at least they have enough sense to act right in public!)  So my advice to parents or others trying to build character in a child is, “Hang in there and don’t give up!” Most importantly, take time to focus on the “why” as much as possible, because kids are watching, listening and absorbing.

By Jordan Beach, MSW, Courier & Press, December 27, 2016 –

Now, more than ever, we live in a world where global interaction is normal, and even expected, in many fields of work. This trend will continue to grow, so it is important to raise children to be accepting and tolerant of cultures and norms different than their own.

Children are taught about other cultures in school, but as far as molding a child into a tolerant human being, most of the responsibility falls on the parents or caregivers.

The primary way for a parent to teach this is by example. Your children are going to model your behavior. If you show respect for people of all races, genders and religions, your child will learn to do that too.

It is very difficult to teach your child to respect others if you are not doing it yourself. The way you speak to (and about) a person from another culture does not go unnoticed by your child. Make sure you always treat others with respect and dignity so your children learn to do the same.

Don’t be afraid to talk about differences with your children. At times it seems as though people get embarrassed when their children point out different physical characteristics, races or ethnicities. The truth is, there are a lot of races, cultures and ethnicities in the world. Your child is simply learning through observation and pointing this out.

It is a positive thing to have conversations with your child about these differences and encourage them to be accepting of everyone — no matter what they look like. Diversity makes our world a great place, and introducing this to your child will help them become a better-rounded individual.

Helping your child build their own confidence is also a tremendous help. People who are comfortable in their own skin and confident about their own lives are more likely to be tolerant of the lives others choose to live.

 This is true of children too. If you celebrate your child’s uniqueness and happiness, they will radiate joy to those around them. They will be less consumed with the differences of others because they are comfortable being themselves.

Allow your child to have experiences in diverse settings. Sign them up for camps or clubs that will support your goal of raising a tolerant child. When possible, travel together. Seeing different ways people live will help your child be more aware that everyone’s lives don’t look like theirs.

Children grow up so fast. As parents, it is our job to prepare them for their futures to the best of our abilities. Raising your child to be tolerant of others is a huge step in raising a successful child.

Besides preparing them for success in an ever-changing global economy, having this strength will allow your child to build positive relationships throughout life.