Do you let your children win at games?
My son, Liam, is very competitive. In everything – “I got my food first, I got dressed first, I’m out the door first.” So my husband and I worked on developing a “team mentality” in our home, and we talked with him about letting his sister win. We told him, “We let you win because we know how important it is to you. What if you let her win because it’s important for her? Because we’re a team; if she wins, you win.”
We really shaped it so that he saw how her winning meant he won. And we pointed out when her losing made him a loser. If he gloated about beating her, we would show him that it hurt her feelings and remind him that her losing meant he just lost. We made it in his best interests to let her win.
And when he DID honestly win, we reminded her that his winning meant she
won, too – and Liam would tell her this. “Shona, I won and we’re a team so you
We never made him lose, but rather tried to talk about how we all win, and
encouraged him to make choices to help his sister feel good and strong (the way
he likes to feel too).
But, when it comes to games – board games, card games, etc. – we have some cooperative games and we play other games with more of a team mindset. We also see who comes in first, second, third, etc. We practice gracious winning and losing. I don’t let my children win board games. At the same time, I come from a home with a mother who played cut-throat Candyland and I don’t see any need in taking an attitude that my children will beat me when they can play as maturely and viciously as I do. (My brothers and I all had horrible manners when it came to winning and losing – my youngest brother would throw the game across the room if he was losing – and to this day it’s a joke when we go to
play a game about who will blow up first.) I’ve worked very hard to develop
good sportsmanship and manners in game playing and am passing that on to my
The competitive thing, though, isn’t about games. It’s about EVERYTHING!
So I don’t get involved in those sorts of races – the races to the car, or who can get dressed fastest – and I let Liam win in the sense that I don’t make a big deal
about not letting him win. But I also worked to teach him how to let others win