Letting kids win

Do you “let” your kids win when playing games with them?  I usually didn’t.  I did like to keep it fair and we all know that you win and you lose.  Sometimes you win more than others.  If I was playing cards or a game with Jason or Toby, it depended on if it was just luck, or if it was a game that involved a skill to play it.  Something like a game of cards, is to me, a matter of luck.  If I’d won the last 4 games and saw a chance to “let” them win, I did but not always.

I felt that kids needed to know how to lose as well as win.  If you let them win always, how do they know how to handle losing?  Card playing was a big part of our life with our grandparents.  I know that they let us win the same way I let mine win, only if they’d won a lot of games in a row.  Sometimes you can’t let someone win.  It’s all just luck.

I remember when Jason was 8, their baseball team never won a single game and it was hard for those boys but they learned “how” to lose.  One year Toby was on a team and they never lost a game and won state.  I felt I’d almost rathered have had the losing year.  Those kids got so cocky that some of them were hard to be around.  Sure, as parents, it was exciting but I feel kids need to know how to win, and how to lose.

Now when playing games with the grandchildren, I hate to beat them but feel like I used to.  Just for the record, it’s different with the grandchildren.  I don’t know why, but it is.  I just feel you need to win and lose in order to do each well.  Life is about losing as well and if they never lose, how do they ever learn to do it graciously?

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8 Responses to Letting kids win

  1. Tosha says:

    I rarely let mine win. I have on occassion as I feel sometimes its good for them. But mostly not. For many of the reasons you stated.

    My youngest daughter is a very poor sport. She wears her feelings on her sleeve and she needs to learn that you can’t always win. For her this lesson is the hardest. For the 2 others that are old enough to win/lose the lesson was pretty easy.. You win some you lose some. There is always next time. Not that they take it that easily but they do know there is always next time and if they are trying really hard sometimes I’ll let them win.. Sometimes the smile on their face is just worth it..

  2. Jason says:

    I don’t lose anything on purpose to anyone. I’ll maybe not put the “game away” when I have the chance but I will never “Let” someone win. Kids need to lose. If you never lose, you have nothing to play for. How boring.

  3. nikki says:

    I agree with Jason. If you always let them win then when they do lose they don’t know how to handle it. They become sore losers. And no one likes a sore loser. I love playing games but rarely win. When we were younger Jason, Toby, Sue and I used to play monopoly and Jason or Toby always won. Oh it was annoying but I loved playing. Hey Sue we should get together and play a game like old times! 🙂

  4. nikki says:

    Oh yea one time Sue took a property from Toby and he said, “YOU BITCH!” Oh she got soooooo mad. I’ll NEVER forget that it’s was so funny ( sorry Sue love ya). Oh and coloring… all the good memories are coming back. We had so much fun didn’t we?!

  5. SKL says:

    I agree that if the game is something a child “can” win, he shouldn’t be “helped” to win. If it’s just an introduction to a game they don’t know, I’ll usually show them how the game is lost and then how it’s won, and then only give technical help if needed until they get it.

    It can be surprising to see what kids can do if you just give them a clear shot. My sister was playing Pinochle and winning, without help, when she was 6 years old. She didn’t win all the time, but she won often enough that it was fun for all of us. My brothers played chess and I recall my 7-year-old brother beating a very bright 12-year-old.

    Personally, I lost interest in chess when I was in middle school, because it was all or nothing and someone is always killed at the end. Or maybe I didn’t like it because my older brothers were too darn good at it and I hadn’t developed their level of strategy. I am OK at it but I will lose if pitted against someone “really good” so I find something else to do. But, I am still glad nobody “let” me win just to boost my ego. I mean, nobody’s great at everything, and I learned that that’s OK. That’s one nice thing about siblings who are close in age – they do NOT let each other win! Since my girls are only 3 months apart in age, I assume that there will be some true (hopefully healthy) competition between them and I won’t have to worry about making sure they know how to lose. I only hope our chess sets survive, because my brother (the chess whiz) was known to have broken the black queen over my sister’s head after she check-mated him.

  6. spillay says:

    Hi Joy. No, I don’t lose on purpose when playing with my kids. Even then, they usually end up beating me fair and square anyway…. But we do have an issue with my youngest son when it comes to accepting defeat. He’s naturally very competitive (and very proud), so when he loses,… there is usually a BIG tantrum. This is something we are still working on …..

  7. Sue says:

    I do not let my kids win. They have to learn disappointment, too. I think kids are handed too much these days and expect too much. Loosing teaches you how to deal with disappointment and should help push you to do better.

  8. Jane says:

    No, I do not let my son win on purpose. I don’t feel that’s right. I think it’s almost like cheating. They have to learn how to do both like you said Joy. He can and does win on his own and if he were to young to know how to lose then I feel he’s to young to play the game.

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