Win The Game…Or Else!

Dear Mamas,

A friend of my eight-year-old son was at our house the other day. He told us that before his last soccer tournament, his parents told him that if he didn’t win he’d have to do the dishes for a week. And they were NOT kidding. I almost lost my lunch! My husband and I immediately talked about the fact that it’s not about winning, it’s about trying your best and having fun. That’s all fine and good but how do I explain this “win or be punished” attitude to my son since he has always been told it’s not about winning? He clearly doesn’t understand and was upset. Ick!

Dear Soccer Mama,

I share your sadness and disgust. My heart goes out to that little boy and all the others who have to deal with that kind of pressure. Unfortunately this “winning is everything” attitude that you had front row seats to is rampant these days. It not only puts tremendous pressure on kids to excel at all costs, it also gives them the message that their parents’ love and respect is conditional on what they can achieve.

If they can’t produce an “A” on their test, or a win at the game, they are cooked. It doesn’t seem to matter whether they tried their best, it’s all about the result. I’ve seen these children and typically they they are very anxious and suffer from low self-esteem and a lack of self-confidence. It’s really so sad, and so unnecessary!

It sounds like you, on the other hand, have the right attitude about all of this and have communicated it to your son. Congratulations on that! Your little guy is lucky to have parents who understand that kids who play sports should have parents cheering on the sidelines, not throwing out threats on the way to the game.

It’s probably best to look at this experience as an opportunity to reinforce your own values and to help your child understand that not every family is the same. You can ask him what he thinks about what was said and how he feels about it. And then you can explain that some parents just don’t understand that youth sports should be for fun and that it must be hard for kids who feel they always have to win. Remind him that nobody wins all the time. We all win some and lose some but the key is to do our best and to learn how to feel comfortable with both.




Email This Post Email This Post

Ellen W. Schrier, LCSW, is a family therapist and the mother of three adolescent/young adult kids.

Warning: Illegal string offset 'echo' in /home/mamasonc/public_html/mama/wp-content/themes/hybrid/library/extensions/custom-field-series.php on line 157

Leave a Reply




With One or Both of Us

Go to & for the scoop!

Phone • Internet • Your Home or Group

Listen up

The Five Second Rule: True Or False?

If you pick it up within five seconds, you can eat it, right?

Watch This!

Teach your kids to step in and step up when they see a classmate being teased. Show them how to respond and tell them what to say. Let's try to make our world a little kinder and a little warmer. Please?

What You Said

  • FirstBarry: I have noticed you don’t monetize your website, don’t waste your traffic, you can earn...
  • Rebecca Benham: My son woke up with bumps on his stomach help
  • Chelie Belie: AND up the street there’s a psychotic IT that is awe-struck by me! Walks by my property carrying...
  • Chelie Belie: I live next door to Ned Flanders–how would you like that??
  • Maggie sullivan: I have a neighbor, will holler and wave at me if i am near porch but if i try to sit in the yard, or...
  • Ellen Schrier: Thank you so much! Please come back often!
  • Ellen Schrier: Hi Lisa, Sorry for the very late response. We are sorry to hear about your daughter and are sure that...
  • Lisa jacobs: My daughter was in a car accident and now has a concussion. She is plan to go to Mexico City which is a...
  • RF: Well my baby had her first two bottom theeth at 10 months old and i tought so far so good and then now at 11...
  • ofertas cine: That is a great tip particularly to those fresh to the blogosphere. Brief but very precise info… Thanks...

Just so you know

The Mama ButtonThe information provided by MamasOnCall is not intended as a substitute for professional advice, but is for information purposes only. You assume full responsibility for the health and well-being of your family. Talk with your healthcare provider about any questions you may have regarding a medical or psychiatric condition.