My 5-year-old son cries when he loses a game. He gets impatient and throws tantrums and beats me when he loses. The same thing happens when he plays with his friends also.

I have tried to teach him by playing games which I myself and my son lose/win alternately, but to no avail. The moment he loses more than once, he cries badly again.

I even tried losing continuously and throwing tantrums and the following dialogue ensued:

Me: I will not play with you since you always win.

He: It's OK, you should win on your own and don't cry.

The moment he loses a game he quits.

How should I teach him sportsmanship and teach him losing is OK? How should I teach him it's OK to lose and losing graciously?

  • This seems a bit of a duplicate of parenting.stackexchange.com/questions/25106/… At least, I'd give the same answer.
    – MakorDal
    Sep 14, 2016 at 6:54
  • This is something that he will grow out of.
    – Bradman175
    Sep 15, 2016 at 12:22
  • Put your "victory dance" on hold for a while, too. Sep 15, 2016 at 19:00
  • I think it's perfectly normal for a boy to be competitive and a sore looser he should grow out of it. If not it's nothing that is so bad
    – user26023
    Jan 6, 2017 at 2:07

2 Answers 2


It's quite normal. Don't worry about it and concentrate on the process of playing the game, and if he wins point out what he did well and could have improved on (in that order) and exactly the same if he loses. It's an important social skill to learn.

Fixing games I personally found to be counter-productive. My eldest started saying things like "It's my turn to win." thereby completely misunderstanding the point of a game -- and he expected this from his peers too. So we moved to games with a purely random nature so that it's clear that no-one can win by skill, and once he'd got used to losing those games graciously (and winning graciously too) then he started being able to lose games where although still random, there's some skill involved, but the best player can still lose.

Games like Monster Bingo are good for starters, as is snap, then on to memory games, snap, card games like whist and ultimately draughts and chess.

  • The card game "War" is a good random game that requires no skill. Chutes and ladders is also completely random. I remember a pre-k I had where snails race that I played alot: amazon.com/Ravensburger-Snails-Pace-Race-Childrens/dp/…
    – adeady
    Sep 15, 2016 at 15:18
  • With our kid, it's the game of chance to cause the greatest anguish (ie. rolling a die and getting "1" instead of "6", so we focus on the games of skill (e.g. table football) where I can bring my skill level down and then slowly start increasing it, so that he can learn from me and that the matches are not one-sided.
    – DadOfTwo
    Sep 19, 2016 at 7:32

I have two kids with this problem, and one kid with the opposite problem: he doesn't care enough about winning to learn to play better. You don't want that problem either.

For one of the kids who hates losing, letting him play games against a computer seems to work better; he doesn't get upset when he loses to a computer the way he does when he loses to a human being. I'm hoping eventually that will rub off onto play against humans, too. I have not yet tried that technique with the other kid who hates losing.

  • 1
    My older brother used to swear at our intellivision game and accuse the computer/game console of cheating. :D Sep 15, 2016 at 18:59
  • 1
    I also have two kids with the same situation (one hyper competetive, the other with no competitive instincts). The computer game solution is one which never occurred to me, but it makes sense. There's nothing personal about losing to a computer. I was also hyper-competitive as a child, unfortunately I never grew out of it so I have learned to avoid competitive situations as they are no-win for me. That's why I gravitated to role-playing as a teenager - it's one of the few games which is cooperative, not competitive. Sep 15, 2016 at 21:13

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