Letting your kids win

Meghan - posted on 12/04/2010 ( 38 moms have responded )

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Is it a good idea to let your kids win ALL the time?

Obviously when they are toddlers its nice to build up their confidence and sense of pride. But what about when they are older? Is ok to let them win board games all the time, and going one step further, what about in schools or in organized sports when "everyone is a winner". What age do you start teaching them its ok to lose, not everyone wins all the time, the point is to try hard etc etc etc. Do you think that it creates a false reality if they win all the time and the first time they actually lose, will crush them more so?

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Gina - posted on 12/06/2010

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In general, I don't like to let them win, but if they are losing constantly, I throw them a win from time to time, because it is just not any fun if you lose all the time. But more likely, I will help them win by giving them tips and guidance. Kids need to learn how to win and lose gracefully. They need experience with both.

Stifler's - posted on 12/06/2010

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We had to shake the other teams hand if they won. If we were sour we got in trouble for it. Playing sport is about sportsmanship. When they're like 3 yes let them win at go fish or whatever. But when they're 7 and can play normal stuff, it's may the best man win. Nothing worst than a spoil sport who cries because they have no money left in Monopoly. There's nothing worse than people like my parents giving their child an extra $500 from the bank because everyone else has money and they don't!!

[deleted account]

I hate the everyone is a winner crap, we played sports and there was winners and losers and the losers knew if they wanted to win next time they had to practice. In games it is about chance, and is a good lesson to learn that sometimes you will win and sometimes you will lose it just depends which way the wind is blowing on that particular day.

I think with young children, instead of playing against them, which pretty much the adult is going to win, play with them so mommy and one kid on one team and daddy and the other kid on the second team (just rearrange to suit the no. in your family) so you can teach the child how to play and can be a little more competitive (I am very competitve). I play to win...

Amie - posted on 12/04/2010

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No it's not. That's not a realistic view for any person to have. We all lose at some point in our lives.



I hate this new "everyone is a winner" attitude schools use towards sports and other activities. NO everyone is not a winner. It is not building a child's self confidence.



I won the sports I played because I practiced and trained hard, individually and as a team.



I don't know if it would crush a child but there are some really poor losers out there. I see it on our own block, some kids can not handle losing because they've never been taught how to lose gracefully. It's an as important lesson to learn as winning gracefully is.



Maybe they'd win more though if their heads weren't filled with cotton filled dreams of everyone just does their best and there are no winners and losers, just people who try. Ugh! Everyone already tries, it's the ones who work the hardest who win and deserve to have their moment.



Sure some kids do not excell at sports (as I've used as the example because I liked sports) but there are also academic/creativity competitions - which oddly do not seem affected by this "we are all winners" BS. There are still clear winners and losers on that side. At least here.

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Meghan - posted on 12/06/2010

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I think Tah kinda brought up a good point...in organized sports it may be the parents that want the win over the kids.
J is still so young but if we play "soccer" or "hockey" or have a race, he TELLS me that he is the winner and I am the loser..LOL, he is freakin funny this kid. "No, mom. You're the loser" Gloating and denial may be the only real issue I have (Think Kanye West)

[deleted account]

We didn't Holly, I played in loads of teams and never won any tornaments, we got jack all for our efforts apart from a 'you can try harder next time' from the coaches haha.

For school sports days (Junior school) though, I won a few of the events and for each event we won we got a prize of a 10p bag of pick and mix, it was brill. In seniors we had house competitions and when we won we were given house points, we got nothing except the pride that our house had won, though.

[deleted account]

Just to point out... Everyone getting a trophy isn't a new thing. I played soccer when I was younger and we all got trophies then. I played from the time I was 7 until I was 12 and every single year we got participation trophies (my team never won anything either, in fact we always lost almost all our games...). The teams that did the best got larger trophies (and usually engraved), but everyone got something at least... I'm 24 now, so that was at least some time ago... at least it seems like a long time to me! lol

Hannah - posted on 12/06/2010

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I absolutely never will let my kids win. It is important that they learn you can't always be a winner. It takes practice, dedication and hard work to win and even then there will always be somone better. I freaking HATE that every person gets a trophy now. Not only does it enforce the sore loser behavior, it takes away from the excitement of being a winner. If you don't teach your kids now to lose they aren't going to know how to handle not getting a job, getting fired/laid off, having their heart broke etc...

[deleted account]

Oh! And cheating to win! Don't even get me started on that one! Grrr... short story here... As many of you guys know, my oldest is my stepdaughter who lives with us full time. Her very first long visitation with her bio mom since her bio mom left (5 years ago today) was Christmas break of 2007. The bio mom took our daughter to Chuck-E-Cheese every single day for 2 WEEKS! THEN she had the audactity to teach our daughter how to cheat at skee-ball (where you roll the ball up a ramp and try to get it into a hole for points) by running up the ramp! AND THEN the bio mom thought it was funny and TOOK PICTURES! Then she was stupid enough to send the pictures home with our daughter... I scanned them and sent them to the Chuck-E-Cheese and got the bio mom banned from the location for cheating... Then we had a long talk with our daughter about how that was cheating and it was wrong. She then had to write a letter (with help of course since she was 5 at the time) to the owner of that Chuck-E-Cheese and apologize for cheating. She's never (to my knowledge) cheated on any game since. :) ... Oh, and the bio mom was piised at me, but I don't really care and it was HILARIOUS to hear our daughter give her bio mom a lecture on how cheating is wrong over the phone! ROFL!!!!! :D

[deleted account]

We recently had a hard time with this. Our oldest is 8 and she's been playing dominoes (yes, the correct way with points and everything) since she was 4. She's actually very good and beats all us adults on her own most of the time (we used to let her win sometimes until she was around 5 1/2 or 6ish, but not all the time). When she does lose, however, she is a VERY sore loser. She gets all angry and moody and her attitude explodes. We've talked to her a few times about it and it's really come to the point now where if she gets like that we put the dominoes away for a week (and we usually play every night). That seems to be working for now. She lost a game last night and she was acting fine, so I hope the message has gone through...

I think that 6 or 7 is a good age to teach children the value of being a good looser. Life isn't full of win win win and kids need to be prepared for that, but at the same time I think confidence building is importnat for younger kids (not that I play anything with a defined winner and loser with my 3 year-old, but we may start including her in our domino games when she's 4 like we did with her big sister!).

Sherri - posted on 12/06/2010

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Othello is one of very favorite games. The older two kids are now into playing it too.

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Sharon, my husband taught our son and me how to play Othello last week. (I had never heard of it:P). We now love playing that game. My son is great with it too, he's beat me more than I'd like to admit, but I'm not much for strategy games....

Sharon - posted on 12/06/2010

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No I do not let my kids win... all the time. Or at all now. But when they were toddlers and playing games like go-fish, they needed prompting to ask for other numbers. Otherwise they'd ask for the same card over and over.

But since we mostly play games of chance, War, go-fish, Deal or No Deal, it doesn't really matter.

They love chess and play against each other frequently. I love Othello but have only played against my hubby, the kids aren't interested yet.

Jenn - posted on 12/06/2010

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Exactly Jaime - I do let the kids win some things some of the time - when you never win it dampens your spirit and you may lose the drive to keep trying.

[deleted account]

Huh...I don't know what it would feel like to be a winner and then lose for the first time. I was never really encouraged or allowed to win when I was little. I think it messed up my brain, too.

But I think a medium should be found. Let a kid win or lose, 50/50. I don't know that I'd necessarily let even a toddler win all the time. I'd want him or her to build confidence, yes, but...I'd much rather he or she do so because he or she ACTUALLY won.

Jenn - posted on 12/06/2010

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I don't let them win all the time at any age. I don't like the idea of "everyone is a winner" nowadays - you need to learn to be a good sport and realize that you can't win all the time.

Krista - posted on 12/06/2010

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I think that it's definitely not good for kids to always be allowed to win. I could see myself doing it once in awhile, if my kid was getting really discouraged from always losing, though.

Funny, speaking of birthday parties, I remember one very distinctly. I was 5, and there were games at this party, and by the time all of the games were over, every other kid there had won some prize or another...except for me. I was the only one without a prize. And there were no treat bags for everybody to take home -- just the prizes. So yeah, I bawled my little eyes out. I think that we have to not give kids an unrealistic expectation of winning all the time, but we also have to keep in mind that their little world is much smaller, and that they take disappointments a LOT harder than we do.

So, like in all things, it's to find that balance.

Tah - posted on 12/06/2010

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do you know that when the kids in karate practice fighting, when a child loses the parents have a slam fit because their baby didn't win..what ever happened to "good effort baby, next time block and kick more"..no they scream that their kid was robbed and the other kid was too big, or too fast..yeah cause every real life situation the aggressor will be the same size and slow..get a grip...i'm glad sinsai doesn't play into that crap..if you don't learn the techniques, cotas etc..he will not advance you, as far as he;s concerned you can stay a white belt forever while everyone else advances, he started one class giving the kids their first black strip(you have to earn 2 on whatever color belt you are before advances to the next belt). he told them that if they stepped on the floor and didn't do what they needed to do, he would take it back..he had to do that to one kid, the parent was upset, the kid came back the next week and worked extra hard to get his stripe back...

Kerry - posted on 12/06/2010

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oh yeah!! And all the prizes must be of equal monetary value too. Can't have someone with a lolly pop when the next kid gets the latest Transformer!!! Sheesh

Stifler's - posted on 12/06/2010

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Bahaha, yes I've heard about the new version of musical chairs where everyone gets a chair. Apparently now if you don't put a prize in every layer of the pass the parcel everyone hates you too.

Kerry - posted on 12/06/2010

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Grrr Annoys the heck outta me!! At my sons last birthday we played a few games. My intention was not to have "everyone win" but gee did i get the message when a few parents were like "oh, he hasn't one yet...better stop the music for him"
Everone gets a lolly bag to go home with for goodness sake!!

[deleted account]

My kid is too young for games but I STILL remember playing Scrabble with my mum and uncle when I was like 7 and they NEVER let me win. In fact they seemed to take joy in beating me and I am ridiculously competitive now. So I'm conflicted. I don't like this 'everybody wins' bullshit but I do think its best to play games with kids that they might actually have a chance of winning. or at least being competitive. Otherwise your kid might turn into a pencil throwing, screaming vindictive little shit like me LOL

Sherri - posted on 12/04/2010

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Kids need to learn to lose it is a part of life. Around 3 is when they start learning to be a good sports about losing. If you let your child win all the time they are going to be so ill prepared for the real world you are setting them up to fail straight out of the gate.

Sarah - posted on 12/04/2010

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I'll be the odd one out then and say that I HAVE let my daughter win sometimes! Not ALL the time, but I have done it.
While I agree that they need to learn how to deal with not winning, and that they need to realise that they won't always win, I also think that in some games, I would ALWAYS win, because I'm older and wiser (allegedly!) so it seems a bit mean to not even give her a chance of winning sometimes!!
Now she's 6, I don't have to let her win so much (if at all) because she can hold her own in a game, but before that, yes, I did let her win some of the time.

Bonnie - posted on 12/04/2010

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I think children need to learn at a young age that they can't always win and they have to play fair and square. If they win naturally fine, but no cheating and don't take a fit if you don't win. ~Winners never quit and quitters never win

Lindsay - posted on 12/04/2010

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I don't let my kids win. They earn it and with have two so close in age, they could never win at everything all of the time. I am very competitive and they seem to be following in those footsteps. I feel that everything in life is a competition and that they need to learn very early on that focus, determination and hard work is what will make them successful...be it on the ball field, in school, or later on in life in the workforce. I'm also big on the idea that they need to learn to lose gracefully. It's no fun losing, but instead of throwing a fit, they need to use that as fuel to pick themselves up and try harder the next time.

Nelly - posted on 12/04/2010

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We have 16, 14, 12 and a 10 yr olds. When they play games amongst themselves its all about having fun of course sometimes feelings get hurt when we play as a family my husband and I let the kids win

[deleted account]

I've never let the kids win, but I have lost on purpose before to make my portion of the game end. ;) Since there's always been at least 2 of them and you can't have more than one winner..... They've always had to practice losing.

Stifler's - posted on 12/04/2010

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Hell no. They need to learn how to lose. Playing used to be about learning good sportsmanship and the best man winning because they put the most effort in and worked the hardest. What's the point of playing if everyone wins???

Becky - posted on 12/04/2010

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Cole's still pretty young for games where there is a winner and a loser. If we're racing, I do usually let him win, or I let him catch me if we're playing chase. But otherwise, once he is old enough for more competitive games, no, he won't get to win all the time. For one thing, we have 2 kids, and it's not fair if we let one of them win all the time! For another, I don't think it prepares them for reality. When he's little and just learning the ropes of games, we'll go easy and help him with them, but as he gets the hang of it, it'll be whoever plays the game the best, wins!

Erin - posted on 12/04/2010

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I don't buy into the 'everyone is a winner' BS. I come from a very competitive family (try playing Pictionary with my mum! lol) and I don't expect things will be any different with my daughter. Obviously there's no point in going flat out against a young child who is still learning, but the idea that a child must always win or else they will wither away in a pool of low self esteem is ridiculous.

[deleted account]

We do not let J win in games that are pure luck--Candy Land, Chutes & Ladders, and such like that. We do play a "soft" game for more strategic games, like Chess, Backgammon, or Mancala. Even then, we don't always let him win, but if we played our best, he wouldn't have had a chance back when he was just learning those games.

He started Taekwondo when he was 4.5, and they do not play "everyone is a winner." When he competes, if he looses, he doesn't get a trophy. It has never crushed him; It makes him work harder, and respect the competitors that won.
His Little League does not keep score, they are basically just learning sportsmanship and rules at this point. I don't think it is hurting him that they are not keeping score, but I don't think it would hurt if they did

. I will say, he now has 2 trophies, a Gold Metal, and a Bronze Metal from Taekwondo that he guards with his life--NO ONE touches them (but everyone sees them lol!) And he has 2 tropnies from Little League that he could care less about, because he didn't really have to work to earn them. They are just a reminder that he played, where the taekwondo awards are a symbol of all the hard work he put in.

Charlie - posted on 12/04/2010

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Nope I play to win hahaha , when I was teaching at school I had intense games of Jenga with the kids LMAO.

Laura - posted on 12/04/2010

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When I play with my sons I don't let them win but grandma (MIL) does and often overlooks cheating so he can win. This pisses me off to no end. Now whenever he loses at a game my 4 year old will cry and throw a fit and won't quit playing until he finally wins. Now MIL is finally getting it but the damage has been done and he's kinda spoiled with games.

Tah - posted on 12/04/2010

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heck no i play for keeps..."WHO WANT SOME!!!"....thats what i yell..you know..after i win...lol

Isobel - posted on 12/04/2010

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and I HATE that they give trophies to all the players regardless of who wins.

Isobel - posted on 12/04/2010

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I never let them win either (unless the game is taking way too long and I need to start making dinner or something)

I can't stand it when children are spoiled and don't known how to lose

Jenny - posted on 12/04/2010

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Actually, I've never let them win. My daughter kicks my butt in board games of her own accord. I don't really play anything with the 2 year old that would have a winner or loser. I like the idea of building self confidence through acheivement and not through faking it.

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