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by Abigail Van Buren

Compatible Relationships Are Built on Respect, Not Argument

DEAR ABBY: Our 10-year-old son, "Harry," is a sore loser. If we play a sport or a board game with him, he ends up in tears if he doesn't win. Sometimes he will cheat if he thinks it will help him win. He even becomes upset when his favorite NHL hockey team loses a game.

We have told Harry repeatedly that games are supposed to be fun, but he seems unable to grasp the concept. We do not know what else to do. Can you help? -- HAVING NO FUN IN CANADA

DEAR HAVING NO FUN: Learning to handle and channel frustration is part of growing up. Nobody likes to lose, yet winning and losing are a part of every competition. If you catch Harry cheating, there should be a penalty, and you should let him know you are disappointed in him.

Continue to impress upon your son that the most important aspect of sportsmanship (or gamesmanship) is learning not only to be a gracious winner but also to be gracious in defeat. Tiger Woods is a glowing example of sportsmanship at its best. A cheat may win a game, but when the deed is discovered, no one respects the person. It's sad to say, but we have seen examples of that, too, in professional sports in recent years.