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Boy Loses His Temper After Losing A Game

DEAR ABBY: My 7-year-old son is a great winner when we play games, but he's a terrible loser. When he loses a game, he loses control. He screams, yells, hits and sometimes bites. Is there a way to stop this behavior or am I stuck with a son who hates to lose? -- LOSING THE BATTLE AT HOME

DEAR LOSING THE BATTLE: You have described a child who is unable to handle frustration or control his emotions. When a child is 2 or 3, this kind of behavior is understandable. But by age 7, your son should have learned to manage his frustration more appropriately.

If his poor sportsmanship continues, it will cause problems with his peers. You should discuss this with him while he is rational, BEFORE you play any games with him. Explain that games are supposed to be fun, and "when we lose, we are given the chance to learn from our mistake." The same is true in sports. Athletes use their mistakes to improve their skills.

It might also be helpful to impose consequences when your son acts out. But if that doesn't help him, then you should have him evaluated physically and neurologically to make sure there is nothing medically wrong with him.

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