Losing isn't an option for a certain boy in our house. There isn't any activity that can't be turned into a competition.
"Ha ha...I beat you Amaya!" Rio gloats.
"But I still beat you..." He tells Amaya so she knows the end result is the same either way... he wins.
This is the argument after everything Rio does. Everything is a race. Brushing teeth, getting dressed, eating, buckling a seat belt, running to the front door, there isn't any activity that can't be turned into a competition. And if he isn't first...forget it. He will have a full fledged melt down.
It doesn't matter who wins or loses, it's how you play the game, is the usual line used to console upset children after a loss.
But that line means nothing to a child whose sole objective in life is to win. In fact, I'm a little more like Rio than I admit. When I hear parents say this to their children, my first thought is: that's what people who lose say to feel better. I know, I'm terrible, I can't help it.
My second thought is: it is a lie, people play games to win. My third thought is: it matters! to the kid who lost and is upset.
While good sportsmanship is crucial, the truth is there isn't a high like winning, and there isn't a low like losing. And that's okay. I hate losing! I've just developed skills to control my emotions better.
"It's okay to want to win, it's not okay to cry if you lose," Rio is reminded frequently.
This way I don't trivialize his desire to compete. So far it's working beautifully.