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The Rules of Parenting, 2nd Edition by Richard Templar

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RULE 30

Show them how to lose

This is the flipside to being measured about the praise you give. When kids do badly at something, they need to recognise the fact. Often, they’re very well aware that they’ve messed up, and if you try to tell them it’s fine, they know it’s a lie. They may want to believe it, but deep down they’ll know. So you just confuse them if you try to big them up with comments like:

  • ‘You had that cold just before the exam, so it’s no wonder you didn’t do so well.’
  • ‘Well, they shouldn’t have let that girl compete in the under 12s. She’s as tall as an adult.’
  • ‘The ref was biased. You should have won.’

That’s not to say that you should tell them what rubbish they are, or how they’ve let you down (I know, of course you wouldn’t ...

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