Losing is the Best Thing You Can Teach Your Child

The author of this quote is unknown, but, “I am thankful to all those who said NO to me. It’s because of them I did it myself.” (Many people say it came from Albert Einstein but that isn’t true).

All me to explain… People often discuss that giving your kids everything they want, never saying no to them, teaches them to devalue the things they have and become materialistic. Maybe you’ve heard it so much that you are desensitized to this argument or think it isn’t true. Well, it is true. Let’s look at it logically – If everyone gave you something only because you asked for it, and suddenly one day someone said you couldn’t have something, how would you react? Would you feel like your were being denied something you feel you deserve? Would you through a fit? Would you give up on trying to get it? Is there any chance you might actually grow up and work hard to get what was denied to you? Probably not.

‘No’ is a very powerful word. ‘No’ teaches your children that they cannot, and will not, have everything they want at the drop of a hat. Sure, they’ll pout, scream, cry, kick, if you don’t buy that toy that they discovered for the first time in Walmart today. They will stop throwing a fit once they realize it isn’t working. And don’t feel guilty that your kid is mad at you, because in a few days they won’t even remember that toy. By the end of the week, they’ll want something different. It’s best to counter your child’s wanting with “Why do you want it? Do you need it? How will it make you feel?” A little critical thinking never hurts. Children deserve an explanation, but getting them to explain it to themselves for you; now your kid is both intelligent and humble.

The only thing better than ‘no’, is when your kid loses a board game, a sport, anything really. Some folks think that demoralizes a child. I disagree. I’m exhausted by pre-schools that play games during circle time in which “everyone wins”. There is nothing fair about trying your hardest, winning, and then another kid who never even participated gets to win too. You are teaching these kids that their hard work has no value, and that if they sit there and do nothing they can still get what they want. THAT is demoralizing a child. Even worse are tournaments that give a trophy to every child, including a “participation trophy”. So all those kids had to do, was show up. When I was a kid, I won first place three times at three separate martial arts tournaments because I gave a damn. And the one time I didn’t give a damn, I ended up in fifth place. It took me a long time to understand why that happened, but when I did, it was one of my best lessons in life.


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