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Should we let our children win?

OK, so winning and losing, it’s a key life lesson, isn’t it? But being a mum of three, I’ve discovered just how tricky it can be to teach.
We are the proud owners of a Nintendo Switch. Matthew challenged me to a MarioKart race and I won. He was absolutely devastated as he is used to winning against his younger siblings. I haven’t been invited to play against him again…

This is in sharp contrast to Portal Nights on the PS4 which I am awful at so he is happy for me to show my ineptitude…!
This week I have played Monopoly Junior with the kids. I beat Anya and she was sobbing. I admit to throwing several games in the past with all the kids by sneakily having less money when setting up.
I frequently ask the older two to let Zach win at games and races because as the youngest he will always have less capacity for winning until he is an adult and the playing field is more even.

My sister and I were never as competitive as my 3. I’m not sure if this is a gender thing or if we had different interests so were not in oppositiion.
I asked my fellow bloggers for their opinions on whether we should let children win and here is what they said:
  • No I think it’s good for them to lose occasionally as it sets them up for life to realise they can’t win / have all that they want. Lianne, www.anklebitersadventures.co.uk
  • I had an older brother who rarely let me win. It taught me that losing is real life, and I’ve got to work to be better. I do let my 4 year old win most of the time. But she has to learn to lose too, so I don’t always let her beat me! Jo, www.arosetintedworld.co.uk
  • I don’t think we should let children win. Losing is part of life. However, if they are really young, it doesn’t hurt to support them to win and let them experience that too. Vicki, www.blossomeducation.co.uk

  • You should let them win occasionally to let them experience the joy of winning but also let them lose to learn to do better. It’s about balance more than anything. Win every time they’ll expect to win, but if they lose once in a while they’ll learn to both laugh at their loss and learn from it. Sarah, www.sarahlouwrites.com
  • I don’t always let my girls win. I think they need to learn that they can’t always have their own way and learning how to deal with defeat is important. My girls are 8. I regularly play games such as draughts and Chinese checkers with them. Sometimes I’ll let them win, sometimes I don’t – I wouldn’t let them win all the time. It’s about balance. Emily, www.twinmummyanddaddy.com
  • I often let my girls win the first couple of times to boost their confidence. I know it’s not realistic to always let them win “in real life” but knowing my children, I know that a quick morale boost here and there means that they become more determined and likely to stick at it. Beth, www.twinderelmo.co.uk

  • My son cries if he loses but I always tell him that in life he isn’t always going to win or get his own way and the earliest he learns that the better he be. Tina, www.thenearydiaries.com
  • My eldest is only four so I ease him in gently by letting him win a couple of times, then BOOM, real life strikes and he’s got to fight to win like the rest of us. Although he doesn’t like losing! Helen, www.twinstantrumsandcoldcoffee.com
  • I have 4 year old twin girls… one of them always has to lose and they have had to learn that from a young age. We have tried to congratulate the winner and joked about with the losers… we have had tears and grumps but it works most of the time. Unfortunately we don’t win everything in life so it’s a good learning curve! Anna, www.twinsandtravels.com
  • No, games should be played fairly then there’s more buzz when they win and they learn how to lose as well as win. I’m all for giving tips though to help them think strategically (My husband doesn’t agree but then he rarely plays games). Emma, https://bubbablueandme.com 
What do you think?


8 comments

  1. I never played to let my child win (excpet maybe in sport games), and then one day helped out at school at a board game day and each group had one adult supervising and 4 kids, that meant 3 losers. Over half the class couldn’t deal with it. I was so surprised but I’m guessing they were always allowed to win at home and this was their first real experience.
    Learning to be a good loser requires losing. Learning to love the game whether you win or lose is also a skill. So let the cards fall as they may, I say. There’s a lesson in there no matter what. #GlobalBlogging

  2. My sister used to say she would only play a game with me if I would let her win! 🙂
    We laugh about it.
    I definitely have gone easy on my kids with games, but I also think it’s good for them to see the “luck of the draw” pan out.
    Of course, now that they are older, they beat me at all the games.

  3. I have 3 boys and they were all extremely competitive. I usually let my grandchildren win at games. Not always (just to keep it interesting), but often.

  4. I agree it’s about balance. If a child plays an adult, or a four-year-old plays a ten-year-old, it’s unlikely for the younger one to ever win, and that gets discouraging. But they do need to learn to lose graciously as well as to win graciously. I don’t think we had a specific plan, but we used to “let” the younger ones win so they’d enjoy the game, but then tighten up a bit over time.

    OTOH, I heard of a dad who never let his son win at a race until the son got old enough and skilled enough to win legitimately–he wanted winning to truly mean something and for the son to have to work hard at it. I think personality comes into play here, too. Some boys would be crushed by that kind of challenge and never try, but others would rise to it. #globalblogging

  5. I’m all for letting kids know that they can win and loose at things. I remember birthday parties with the kids that were bought up to only win and then had a melt down when they were out in a game. #GlobalBlogging

  6. I remember my dad telling me when we were younger that life wasn’t meant to be fair. I’m sure they let us win at times, but it is also important for your kids to be resilient as it is a tough old world out there. #GlobalBlogging

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  8. We always take turns at winning when we play games. My four year old daughter doesn’t like it when her sister wins but they have to learn that sometimes they will lose and that is ok. I think it’s good for them. More than anything though I just want them to enjoy the playing part and not focus too much on the winning. It doesn’t always work out that way though! #globalblogging

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