Part one can be found here and part two can be found here. You can find part three here. Part four can be found here.

This has been a fun series for me to write. I have had a lot of people contact me to tell me how much they agree. I have had some people contact me to tell me how much they disagree. I have enjoyed the conversation. Today I want to talk about what we can do to change this mentality of everyone winning.

  1. Let our kids lose.  It is OK to lose. It’s part of life.  Denying our children this fact sets them up to have to deal with it when we cannot walk through it with them. It is better for them to taste the bitter bite of loss when you and I are standing next to them then it is for them to have to learn how to process it without us. That’s called parenting
  2. Teach honest values. As parents, we need to own our contradictions. We teach that winning doesn’t matter but then we make sure that everyone wins. That doesn’t track as an honest value. That tracks as a lie. Kids recognize that and we need to do the same.
  3. We need to examine the stuff it brings up in ourselves and admit that often it is as much about how we feel when our kids lose as it is about them. When we do things to make ourselves feel better and wrap it up in being about our kids we actually hide from our own emotions. We actually model the exact opposite of what we want to teach our children, which is to be honest about how they are feeling and then to deal with those feelings.
  4. Grab every teaching moment we can. Too often, valuable teaching moments are lost because we fail to allow our children to fail. These are lessons that  will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
  5. Redefine success.  This is one of the areas where I think we miss the greatest of opportunities. We define success one way verbally but define it completely another with out actions.  
  6. Recognize that growth often happens through pain. While this is not a comfortable truth, it is never the less a truth. By trying to insulate our children from the pain of losing we rob them of the opportunity to grow.
  7. Our job is more about preparing our children for the next thing, not necessarily this thing.  Most kids are not going to remember their wins or losses when they are older. They will remember the ability to overcome difficulties (or the lack thereof).

It’s OK if the kids lose. The truth is they will lose. Losing is part of life. Not everyone wins at everything. It simply is not real life.