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Why is my son unable to accept his defeat in any game?

Monday, 26 May 2008
Answered by: Dr. Renu Kishore
Reader, Department of Psychology,
Delhi University,
New Delhi
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Q. My son will soon be 7 years old. He has a sweet tooth and has little liking for routine food with only few vegetables on his list. He often does not listen to us and talks back at home. He is unable to accept his defeat in any game among friends and gets angry and starts crying. His behaviour though is normal in school and we have not received any complaints except for his attention problem. In school, he is busy talking to friends and is unable to finish his class work. He has a little brother who is two years old and he loves him but they have little normal sibling fights as well. After pursuance and proper counselling time to time, he behaves nicely and is understanding. But situations as mentioned above trigger him and he gets angry and starts misbehaving and talking back and throwing things. Please help us deal with this situation. Does his having a sweet tooth have anything to do with his behaviour?

A.  Most of the issues you have listed are quite common in children of this age group. Usually children prefer sweet foods rather than vegetables. You have to try to control the availability of sweet things and serve vegetables in different forms. Regarding his not being able to take defeat is also common at this age. Encourage his achievements and help him learn that everyone cannot win. If he loses, do not be judgmental, but show him how there is always a next time. Model healthy sporting spirit in him. Do not compare him with his sibling or with other children. Explain to him how talking in class is affecting his performance, and how he can improve by paying more attention. If he shows persistent attention deficit in all areas, you should consult the school counsellor or a good psychologist. But his behaviour seems to be normal for his age.

A.  Most of the issues you have listed are quite common in children of this age group. Usually children prefer sweet foods rather than vegetables. You have to try to control the availability of sweet things and serve vegetables in different forms. Regarding his not being able to take defeat is also common at this age. Encourage his achievements and help him learn that everyone cannot win. If he loses, do not be judgmental, but show him how there is always a next time. Model healthy sporting spirit in him. Do not compare him with his sibling or with other children. Explain to him how talking in class is affecting his performance, and how he can improve by paying more attention. If he shows persistent attention deficit in all areas, you should consult the school counsellor or a good psychologist. But his behaviour seems to be normal for his age.

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