1036540 tn?1252764131

6yr old has to win EVERYTHING

My 6yr old son appears to be suffering from winning/doing everything perfect syndrome...Tonight I took my son and 4 yr old daughter to play putt-putt. They both were excited and we had a great time the first few holes. I noticed my son was becoming eager to play the next hole and began putting really poorly for his usual play (he has been in jr golf, by his decision, for 2 yrs and naturally loves it and wins awards at our golf club). He obviously became frustrated and began dropping the ball right next to the bonus holes (ones you hit into to increase the chance at a hole in one...). Everytime he placed the ball in he became obsessed with getting a so-called "hole in one." Consequently, he missed everytime. At first it was no big deal but then my 4yr old and I later got our own hole in ones. He became more and more obsessed/irritable/frustrated etc. I know this may seam normal, but he was really mad by hole 15. He as kicking his putter, grunting and getting a red face. I have seen this way too many times and have been doing a much better job not reacting to his outbursts/crying and really trying to help him to see its not competition and that we are just trying to have fun as a family. He continued to get angry and when I got another hole in one he kicked his putter which hit his sister in the leg (now two crying kids). I calmly took the putter from him and explained that he had lost his priveledge to play the remaining 2 holes. Now he throws a tantrum like I havent seen since he was 3. Falling on the grown calling himself "stupic" and a "mean" boy. He said his tummy makes him so mad and he doesnt know why he gets so mad when others do well and have fun. This is a constant struggle for us. He has reacted similarly in city league events such as t-ball, flag football as well as family card games etc. He is consistently the only boy I see getting so upset in sports and games. He always has to win or he acts as if he is a failure. He has to hit the home run, score a touchdown or make the play??. He blames others and I worry for him and do not know how to properly handle this. Does he have anxiety/ocd? We try to talk about it but he often replies that he doesn't know why. He appears to love sports and playing them, but the event itself destroys him (this can happen while doing math, reading etc as well...but most consistently in competitive situations.
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Avatar universal
This original posting does not sound like OCD or any anxiety disorder.  Many anxiety issues do have perfectionism as one of the behaviours but the more common "anxiety" behaviours are not present in your description.  Hope this helps ...
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1036540 tn?1252764131
Thanks for the ideas. I would have to say that for the first 6 yrs of his life he has only seen me be successful at work and at our golf club as well. I have noticed recently he seldomly sees me make mistakes (other than with my wife). I have tried to really open up and tell him about my mistakes, bad swings, bad days at work etc and how I try to deal with it in a positive way. However, I have not practiced little mistakes so that he can see it in action. Love the ideas and thank you!
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902589 tn?1268148853
like specialmom said, I would just try to show him at every opportunity that it's not always about winning and competition. Sure it's nice to win, but at his age it should be more for the fun of sports. Next time you guys play any sport(at home or just as a family) make some noticeable mistakes yourself and then just say oops and laugh it off, and that can let your son know that it's ok to not be perfect or the best and it's ok to make mistakes. You can do this with anything, spell a word in a funny way, read a sentence wrong, add up numbers wrong and say oops guess i should try again and just laugh it off. If he sees his whole family being ok with not being the best or perfect, it may ease his need to be perfect as well. And whenever he is being a good sport congratulate him about it.
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973741 tn?1342342773
Yikes!!  He may be a star athlete but suffer a great deal along the way on an off day (which all star athletes have!).  Squelching perfectionist desires is a good idea.  Some people think being a perfectionist means you will try harder (and to a certain extent, one does) but as no one can ever be truly perfect-----  these people are very hard on themselves and unhappy a lot.  Are you or your wife perfectionists?  Usually a parent has the same tendency as well.  I would make a big show of not being perfect at something yourself in front of him.  I sing really bad and I belt it out.  My kids laugh and know that I sing just for fun (I use this example as I have a classically trained friend who sings NEVER for fun----- and takes it very seriously.)  My whole family sings together and none of use are good.  If you play sports with him, point out when it doesn't go right (maybe even make this scenario happen) and handle it out loud in an exagerated manner.  Oh boy, that throw was no good.  Oh well, no big deal.  then say to him, "are you mad at me because I had a bad throw?"  He'll say no.  And just keep the dialogue going to emphasize that it isn't a big deal.   Perhaps before a non competative event, tell him in advance.  This is just for fun and PRACTICE only.  We are all practicing----  not playing against each other.  I'd also look for noncompetative leagues to put him in.  Instructional leagues are great----  sports of all sorts is a common name for these "classes".  He's of the right age for those.  My boys do these classes and love them.  
My son has a mild delay of sensory integration disorder so he goes to occupational therapy once a week.  Teaching him to be a good sport has been something that his ot has worked on.  They play games and his ot does NOT let him win every time.  Then they practice saying good game to each other.  At home, I have two boys 15 months apart in age who both want to win.  Everyone gets a turn winning (as we say----  oh, it was his turn to win maybe it will be mine next time. and we follow with good sportsmanship and say  "great job".)  

Lastly, as your son is passionate about sports-----  keep drilling home the message that good sportsmanship is PART of the game.  If he wants to play----  he can't blow up.  I think too that you must be encouraging of all his efforts and make sure you don't feed into his perfectionist ways.  Try not to be too competative for him (like, he's the best and always wins.)  Good luck!!
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