I was watching one of those kids YouTube videos where they open toys. My son loves the love them. I noticed in one of the episodes that the kid was talking all kinds of smack when he beat his friends at the game. Now, I have no problem with smack talk and think that it’s quite fun for the most part, but this kid was like 4 years old, and I have to wonder where he’s learning this.
My son has an extreme competitive streak. We were playing “Memory” and we noticed that every time I got a match he would cringe, but at the end of the game I won and he congratulated me. Sometimes we even play till everyone wins.. he likes to give everyone a chance.
Now don’t get me wrong. I am not a fan of participation trophies and feel like it diminishes the accomplishment of the person who really won, but there is something to be said for good sportsmanship. I feel like this is a lost art.
We play board games all the time and this is never an issue, but when he plays video games with his father this goes out the window. His father is one of those crazy people who screams, swears and breaks shit when he loses even a turn. I have to carefully monitor them when they play as to keep it under control. This is not normal behavior as he feels that it is.. I am not finding that my son starts yelling and crying if a damn turtle runs Luigi off the screen. I have to remind him that it’s just a game and he can just restart in a minute. That the whole point of the game is to practice and get better and that he’s not going to beat it the fist time around.
I feel like there’s a disconnect today between healthy competition and angry self esteem issues. I feel like there is no fun to rivalries. Today it is about taking the other person down instead of building oneself up. We need to start teaching kids to play again.. to help and to support and cooperate. No one gets through this life alone. We have to learn to work together… even in competition.