Crises, anger, crying, games sometimes turn into disaster with your child. Rachida Raynaud, psychologist, gives us her advice on how best to support children and teach them how to play...and how to lose.
' A child who is a bad player is a child who does not accept the reality of the game, namely the possibility of losing and not always winning. ,
explains the psychologist. This reality is difficult for him to live with, to the point of provoking a very strong and systematic emotional reaction: nervousness, impulsive gestures, crying . This intense disappointment is very little channeled by the child who is overwhelmed by his emotions.
Rachida Raynaud wants to qualify this label that we sometimes stick to some children: there is no inherently bad child. ' All children go through this stage, before 4 or 5 years old it is quite common. At this age they still have a feeling of omnipotence, learn from frustration. The play situation generates something very strong and some children have not quite passed this stage of development ', explains the psychologist. ' Playing times are a support for learning how to manage emotions. This competitiveness, this management of disappointment, it must be accompanied ', she adds. The child needs time to understand and emotionally accept losing, not having control over the outcome of the game.
There are obviously individual variations among the children. The game can be a too intense moment because it mobilizes a lot of things at the same time: skills to apply, reasoning, concentration, sometimes the motor skills fine, being in touch with others . The pleasure is increased tenfold, but so is the frustration. ' This can be particularly difficult for some children to manage, including hypersensitive children, those who lack self-confidence, children with behavioral difficulties, who have difficulty managing limits, frustration “, details Rachida Raynaud.
The latter recalls, however, that beyond a certain age, it is more a matter of individual traits of the child. ' There is what is related to the stage of development, but also what is environmental. For example, the way games are played within the family, the reaction of adults themselves when they lose. All this also has an impact on the reactions and behavior of the child in the game situation. “, says the psychologist. Because if it is disproportionate to enter into a black anger after a defeat, one should not adopt the opposite attitude either and completely minimize the fact of losing.
Here's a question every parent asks! When the child is small, in the learning stage of the game, when he discovers the rules, it is possible to let him win a little at the beginning . ' We can also favor them a little, slightly simplify the rules ', recommends the psychologist. This allows to anchor positive play experiences for the child. Then gradually, with the introduction of new games, based on other modalities (cooperation, chance, logic) it is necessary to bring the child to confront this reality of the game (losing, winning, not mastering everything), adapting to his age, his skills, his maturity. ' Let the child win, it can be done, but it should not be systematic. The idea is to be able to change this, by putting in place compliance with the rules. The child must have positive experiences, the memory of having won. But he must not be all-powerful and must therefore also lose “, explains Rachida Raynaud. “It is helpful to do this learning as a family, and useful for future social life,” she adds.
The first thing to do is to choose games adapted to the child, his age, his skills so as not to put him in difficulty . The psychologist even recommends alternating with games at a younger age, so that the child has the ability to win and gain self-confidence. ' You have to be tolerant and kindness towards the little ones; adapt the rules, let a little win. If there are siblings, the adult can go with the youngest or the one who is most easily involved in their strong reactions in order to help them manage their emotions. “, she advises. Then, little by little, we reinforce respect for the rules of the game.
' When you introduce a new game, you really have to take the time to explain the rules, repeat clearly what you have to do to win, that there will be one or more losers. We will also try to bring into these rules, behaviors that are not acceptable, for example throwing, hitting. ', explains Rachida Raynaud. It can also be interesting to alternate the types of game: strategy games, games of chance and cooperative games.
And with friends?
If you parents have the patience to bear his tantrums and the thoughtfulness to let him win, the buddies won't have as much trouble. empathy to take care of your child. And he will quickly pass for the bad loser of service, with whom no one will want to play... Also, in order not to be banned by his peers, it is better to make him aware that his behavior could be detrimental to him... And yes ! Even benevolence has its limits!
Finally, here are some examples of games that promote cooperation and can make games go as smoothly as possible.