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Annmaria
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08 Aug 2011, 4:07 am

Wondering if been very competitive and been a sore loser is common with AS or is just a personality. Or is it common with ADHD dx.

My son is very competitive must win at everything he does, and everything turns in a competition, whilst this can seem to be acceptable at times. The problem is that he becomes very angry when he loses can lead to meltdown, or if we are having a family day out what was suppose to a fun day can end very badly because of his behaviour.

I always encourage him to play for fun but this can be futile, he has improved as he has got older but problem is still a big issue. Team games he can accept they have lost but still causes a lot of stress, individual activities different if he is losing he then wont participate fully and becomes upset. At times he can be very aggressive towards the person/persons he is playing with, if using a implement he can smash it or act in a way that can damage it.

I have explained especially if we are in a premises this behaviour can lead him to be banned or worse. Sometimes it works other times not? we will have to leave early which is upsetting for everyone.

whilst I understand most people don't like to lose I don't like to lose, but his behaviour is unacceptable.


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Artros
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08 Aug 2011, 6:46 am

My father is a very sore loser (and I suspect I inherited AS from him, or at least a number of traits) and I have struggled with it myself. Being confronted with the effects of being a sore loser helped me, as did my mother's continuous insistence that it's about the game, not about winning. I'm still highly competitive, but I have taken a different attitude towards sports because of her, and find it easier to let it go.


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TB
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08 Aug 2011, 8:02 am

Social competitiveness i do not have at all. In sports i can be very competitive, i am a good loser so winning and losing doesn't really matter to me, i was always one of the few not bitching when we lost a match. I was having fun right until the end when 80% gave up. But when it comes to video games i can be a sore loser when i get really into the particular game and i want to be one of the best at it. Usually my skill level isn't good enough for this and i just go back to having fun with the game instead of trying to be competitive.



Last edited by TB on 08 Aug 2011, 9:36 am, edited 1 time in total.

liloleme
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08 Aug 2011, 8:19 am

I think its very common and it comes down to either being a perfectionist or to the fact that its hard to loose at a game that you are typically really good at because there are so many other things you have problems with...so it can be a self esteem problem as well. We are working on this a lot with my son. The best thing to do is play A LOT of games with them and teach them as you go to control their anger or frustration with loosing. I knew someone who would let her son win all the time just to avoid the tantrum that would follow if he lost which taught him nothing and just made him worse. We play Mario Cart with my son every night and we try to model for him that its ok to get upset but how to handle it better than yelling, screaming or throwing the controller or the game. We tell him all the time that games are supposed to be fun so if he is playing alone and he is getting upset I tell him that he needs to take a break because the game has become too frustrating and it is supposed to be fun. After he has calmed down then he can go back to his game if he wants to. He broke his DS light a few years ago by bending it backwards because he was angry so we made him keep it....it still worked for awhile for a few years. I just bought him a new DSi Xtra LG and he is being very careful with it, we are proud of him.



MommyJones
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08 Aug 2011, 9:28 am

I have been working on this problem for several years. My son too makes everything a competition. He equates losing with failure, and he is an extreme perfectionist. It's a tough nut to crack, but you have to keep working on it. I try to explain to him that making mistakes is part of the learning process, and that by making mistakes and losing you learn how to be better next time. You cannot get better without failure, and you cannot do everything perfectly the first time. Play games, lots of games. Model good behavior and express as much as you can that winning isn't everything. I just told my son yesterday that I am happier if I do well and lose, than I am if I don't do well and win anyway.

My son is also aggressive. He has no problem taking out the winner, and he does. That's a whole other animal. I have started him in group therapy with a psychologist that specializes in autistic children because I don't know what else to do. I'm hoping this helps, but you are certainly not alone!



twinplets
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08 Aug 2011, 10:04 am

I don't know if it is a have to win attitude or a not always understanding the grey areas of games sometimes and getting overwhlemed sensory wise. My son has always been okay with losing at a board game. We love board games and have played them since he was 2/3. Never once did he get angry if he was the loser. I thought how nice I have taught my kids to be gracious in winning and losing. Ha! When we put him in soccer at 4, he would get very angry and be a complete sore loser. We are talking baby soccer where everyone is a winner and he would get annoyed at someone on the field and pull their clothes and make angry remarks. He can't seem to handle a family game of kickball or wiffleball still. He argues and calls his sibs names he knows bugs them. However, he can lose at Apples to Apples and not care. He was in swim team and never got angry if he lost his heat. But he can't play basketball at recess with the other boys without getting angry. The only answer I have in my son's case is that his senses must get overwhlemed through physical, team sports and he reacts negatively by arguing over everything and becoming a bad sport.



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08 Aug 2011, 11:32 am

I don't know if I'm a sore loser or competitive, but team activities definitely anger me and frustrate me a whole lot. Something about the competing itself in sports and having to play with other members of a team or pair really get to me and I just want to stop.


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08 Aug 2011, 12:07 pm

I usually don't compete much with others, but when I do I often get really over-competitive and really pedantic about the rules and conduct of play. I think this probably annoys people.

And I'm a terribly sore loser too, especially if I've lost to a person that I don't like. I just get so furious at them and myself and get all depressed. When I played pool for a pub team, I used to quite publicly show my resentment at people when I lost, and I must have seemed like a proper spoilt little sod. ( I had to buy them a drink too if I lost, so it was made much worse by this). Good thing for me nowadays is that generally I only play with people I like, so it's not so bad if I lose, because I can feel good that they experienced the fun of winning. I do often have to remind myself of that though.

Still annoyes me though when I lose.


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Annmaria
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08 Aug 2011, 2:55 pm

My son came home one day from school, very excited said he had a math test and won. I ask him to explain, he said he finished first. Trying to be serious I explained to him that it didn't matter about finishing first but how did he do in the exam. He was having none of it winner on that day! :D


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momsparky
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08 Aug 2011, 7:50 pm

We also struggle with this. With my son, it's a form of rigidity we are attacking very, very slowly in therapy. He doesn't see more than one outcome well, and finding the silver lining in losing is way too much for him.

We're doing board games during therapy, and have just gotten to the point where he can play simple preschool games where the winner isn't clear (e.g. Hungry Hungry Hippos.) He spent a good part of therapy hiding underneath the table - and he isn't that way at all. Wish I had a better answer, but if you're looking for help on the 'net, try googling "rigidity."



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08 Aug 2011, 8:00 pm

focus on playing games with a high element of chance for a while?
might be able to drill it in that losing the game isn't due to failure of the player or failure to grasp the game concept, but is rather a chance of the die (or the cards)?


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momsparky
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08 Aug 2011, 9:50 pm

For DS, it's chance that's the issue really, not just the losing: he doesn't do random. If he loses because he genuinely sucks at something and knows it, it's far easier (though still not easy) for him than when the die comes up snake eyes.

Worst yet are all the games where chance winds you up at the beginning again: Sorry, Chutes & Ladders, etc. He can't stand the going backwards or losing ground. I would say that where much of my son's Aspie-ness is a difference and not a disability, this is something he's disabled by; he simply can't do many of the things his friends can do because he can't deal with not knowing or not agreeing with the outcome.



OhNowIGetIt
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08 Aug 2011, 10:19 pm

This sounds just like my son when he was younger. Many didn't agree with what I did and I guess it was like buying velcro shoes for a child who still dosn't know how to tie their shoes! I did that too, btw.

I went the other way and most often focused on games and activities specificly set up where no one "wins". During these years, yes, years, we stressed that the definition of "winner" is someone who has fun playing. It was a bumpy re-entry to competitive games and evident "loosers". He did make the transition though in time and with help. Now he has the emotional maturity and self control not to toss the board, game and all when he sees he is going to loose. He plays it through, congrats to the winner, and deals. He still doesn't like it, he still has to be drawn out of a "funk" or a "tude" now and then after the fact. Sometimes he needs to talk about it with me. Now he has the ability to recognize things and assert that need. Oh, and despite my enabling his inability with the velcro shoes he can now tie them and has a very particular way of doing so as well! The bow of the laces must be secured under lower laces, lol!~

I don't think it works for everyone, but for my son it was what he needed at the time. He just could not tolerate it nor control himself. He was not having fun and that was clear, so I finally figured what is the point? I just try to ask myself, Is now a critical time for my child to do xyz? Can it wait? Can it be redirected?

Hope all the best for you and your child!



twinplets
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08 Aug 2011, 10:34 pm

My son isn't lacking in self esteem at all. He thinks he is good at most things. Aspie or not, he would struggle in most ball sports due to his eye problems and lack of depth perception. He knows this as he has had vision therapy. And yet, he gets angry at us when he misses the ball if we play wiffle ball as a family. It is always bad pitching and him yelling at us. Last summer, played wiffle ball in the backyard a lot. He even chose it many times for our family home evening activity. Because he could hit the little plastic ball with his Dad lobbing it to him, he was convinced that baseball was "his game". We usually allow him to try anything he wants, but we nixed that one as we knew that even in rec ball, it would be a disaster. I hated to feel like I was killing his dream, but his ability was so far from reality, coupled with his bad sportsmanlike behaviour, I knew it would not be a positive for him.

Annmaria, My son too always want to be the first to turn his work in. His teacher last year had to make the rule that he allow her to look over all his work before turning it in. She didn't grade it, but looked it over for completness. Even then, he still turned in many papers with problems he skipped and never went back to because he saw that as a punishment and would sneak it in wihtout her looking if he could. He tends to like to do the really easy things first that he can get done quick and then go back and finish. The problem is he has skipped around so much, then he doesn't go line by line methodically to finish up, never rechecks his paper and then turns it in. He also has gotten really good at math, but you would never know how good he is because once he knows it well enough to do it in his head, he does that to cut corners and save time, only then he might forget about the one he carried or the zero on the second line of 2 and 3 digit multiplication and gets the answer wrong. He gets the sense of accomplishment from being the first to turn it in, not in the grade. He knows he is making his grade lower, but the urgency of being first seems difficult for him to overcome.



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10 Aug 2011, 11:41 am

I think that i've always just had the expectation of myself that i have to be good at whatever I do and winning came along with that. I do try to always keep it fun though. I try hard but i still don't take it as too seriously, I just treat the whole thing as a game and don't make a big deal on who wins no matter what. I enjoy myself and want other people to enjoy themselves too, if you make it serious the only person who gets fun is the winner. My only real rival is myself. Ha, i am pretty harsh on myself too, so that does kinda fit.

When i was growing up i was never overly competitive but my younger brother was. I'm not bragging but i just seemed to be a natural at a lot of things at school. I'd skive school for a week, come in, catch up and get top marks in some exam everyone had been working hard at. I never revised and got top marks all the time. I did well at sports too, represented my school for althletics every year, got invited to join the schools football team and etc. I never really tried so i never valued anything, to me winning was just natural. Then one day i realised just how much it was ruining my younger brothers life to be second best. I think that ended my will to be even slightly competitive , someone else losing so i can win is too much. Especially when winning means so little to me and so much to them.