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What To Do When Your Kid Is a Loser

I really hate to tell you this, but your kid is a loser.

Maybe it’s not showing today, but it’s bound to become apparent at some point. Maybe it will be when they don’t get the lead in the play that they worked so hard on the audition for. Or when they are not elected class president. Perhaps their loserhood will finally be revealed when they don’t make the elite club soccer team. No matter how hard they worked, or how many stars they wished upon.

This, of course, will break your heart, along with your child’s. But it will roll more easily off of you. You’re already acquainted with losing. We all are. It’s a fact of the universe that you “Can’t win em all!”

This is why there are empires based on the sales of motivational quote posters and inspirational screen savers.

So what’s a wounded parent to do with their child when their dreams are crushed and their hearts are broken? I asked wise friends and family members to lend their perspectives, and best advice to a losing situation. Here are the best tips I came away with. Great thoughts for kids or adults of any age.

Make sure to watch the video linked at the end of the slide show, along with your kids. It’s a really potent celebrity-studded reminder that you can’t be a winner, unless you’ve already been a loser. 


  • Life Lessons on Loserhood 1 of 13
  • It’s OK to Feel Bad 2 of 13

    Go ahead and admit it. You have to acknowledge your disappointment in order to get past it and move on!

  • Dust Off Your Knees 3 of 13

    Winning is getting up and trying again after you have been knocked down. It's just that simple. You cannot experience true success without also experiencing failure.

  • Take Stock 4 of 13

    Losing out on something important can feel like the end of the world, particularly to a child. Now is a great time to take stock of your wins, including the love of friends and family.

  • What Do You REALLY Want? 5 of 13

    Sometimes the pain of losing is greater than the pain of not getting the thing you wanted. It's important to understand your emotions and pinpoint whether you actually feel terrible about losing out on something, or about being branded a loser. If you are trying to win just to wear the badge of winner, you may want to reevaluate your priorities and motives.

  • A Closed Door = Open Window 6 of 13

    When my son lost the student council election, he also "won" back his recess time. Student council members give up one or two recesses a week, something he was not relishing the thought of. We discussed things he would get to try and do during those recesses. There is such a thing as "opportunity cost" and it's great to make kids aware of it, so that they can weigh the cost of winning against the occasional benefit of losing.

  • The Luck of The Draw 7 of 13

    Sometimes losing is beyond your control. This can be especially frustrating, or especially freeing. There's nothing else you could have done. Just like you can't win 'em all, you can't lose 'em all. Try and focus on a new challenge, possibly one that you have more control over the outcome of.

  • Nothing Ventured… 8 of 13

    Taking risks is scary. If it doesn't pan out you want to figure out why. But don't fall into the dangerous trap of comparing yourselves to others. What works for others may not work for you, and ultimately, you are an original. Focus on being the best version of yourself, rather than trying to emulate anyone else.

  • Compete With Yourself 9 of 13

    Success can be defined in many ways. One of those ways is measuring your own progress. Look at the distance you've covered and be proud of the skills you've built. You may not have won the race, but life is a journey, not a race. This makes you successful and you should be proud that you are winning at that.

  • Take Away 10 of 13

    Sometimes we know why we didn't win. We may have done something wrong, or sabotaged ourselves by not being prepared. Take notes. Winners all fall down. And when they get up again, they know what to watch out for next time.

  • No Sour Grapes 11 of 13

    People will remember you more for how you played the game, and less for whether you won or lost or came in second. Real winners are able to congratulate others for their wins, and avoid comparison and bitterness. There's always another game.

  • Free Your Mind 12 of 13

    At some point you must release the disappointment. Hopefully if you have followed the sage advice here, you will be able to. Life is short and other ops abound!

  • Welcome New Member! 13 of 13

    Nobody makes it to adulthood without losing at something. So welcome to the club. You are in some great company here. It sometimes helps to hear stories of other people's "big loss" and how they didn't let it get them down. If you have not watched this inspiring video about winning and losing, you should. Share it with your child.

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