Sunday, January 24, 2010

To Win or Not to Win

I'm the oldest of four children and I'm also the only girl. I remember very vividly being holed up with one or all of my brothers growing and and playing marathons of different board games growing up. The sound of the dice hitting the board, the smell of the shared bowl of popcorn, and the shouts of play are all still fresh in my mind. I was the oldest kid, so I always won, that's just the way that it was.

My boys are now just reaching that age where the competitiveness of board games and brothers is thrilling and together we all often play long games of Chutes and Ladders, Guess Who, Battleship, or whatever is found in the stack of games.

It wasn't long ago that I saw my husband, Mike, and Brayden playing a heated game of Uno before Brayden excused himself for a minute to grab a drink. He was losing, bad. It was pretty obvious from his stack of cards and Mike lack there of that the game would not end in the seven year olds favor if it continued on the way it was.

I told Mike that he should let Brayden win.

Now I know that this can be a heated debate among many moms and I know that sometimes you just have to let your child lose to allow him to build up sportsmanship and learn how not to be a sore loser. But isn't winning from time to time just as important to?

For three years now Brayden has no longer been an only child. His toys are shared, his undivided attention from his parents is now divided now between his brother and himself, heck his bedroom isn't even his and his alone anymore. Not only did winning this small game of Uno allow Brayden to have some one on one time with his Dad, but I hope that winning would give him that much needed boost in self pride.

In throwing that game, a seemingly small thing, a huge thing emerges within that child. Confidence.

So Mamas, do you ever throw the game so that your kiddo can win?


  1. I do for half the time, if it is a game that I have the advantage (make better choices, like in Connect 4 and tic-tac-toe). I definitely agree that letting a child win helps builds confidence.

    But when I play Chutes and Ladders or other games of chance, its anyone's game, and more often than not, Gracie and Annelie are the winners.

    I figure, as long as there is a balance, and they learn how to be good winners as well as gracious losers, then I'm doing a-okay!

  2. Oh i love board games ! Have you Played "Things"? Its fantastic and will have you rolling in laughter. :)

  3. I don't, but my husband does :)

    The reason I don't is because my Mom never did, and I don't really remember being disappointed about losing. I remember being so happy she was playing with me, and I remember trying harder.

    It made me a better player, I learned more, and when I did win I knew darn well I had earned it :)

    That doesn't make it Maybe she could have thrown me a bone once in a while! My daughter is 5 now and has won Memory fair and square from time to time. She routinely wins Candyland and Crazy 8's too.

  4. Yes I have thrown the game many times. What fun is it for the child who never wins because he doesn't yet have the experience and expertise? After a while you don't need to let the child win anymore when he can play on an equal basis.


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