Do you let your kids win at board games?

I will never forget the day I beat a five-year-old at Chutes and Ladders. I'd been babysitting for a family and the youngest daughter and I were playing the game. We played so many times I wanted to plunge myself out the little girl's second story bedroom window. I kept letting her win, and decided I'd win once so that she really appreciated winning and didn't get suspcious that I was letting her win.

Just then her mother came in and was visibly disturbed that I'd won the game. Later, she told me they let their kids win the games. I can't tell you how ridiculous I felt, I didn't want to beat a five-year-old, I was trying to make the game more realistic for her. But the mother didn't give me a chance to explain and was obviously annoyed with the situation.

When my husband and I play games with our kids we don't generally 'let them win', the games we play are simple games of chance and they get plenty of turns winning simply based on their ability to count and avoid pitfalls. If my son is losing our game over and over I'll sometimes make sure he wins and then other times I just want the pain of the neverending Candyland game end by stacking the deck so the torture will end.

So I've been thinking about this a lot, why don't I just let my kids win everytime? Isn't it good for their self-esteem? First of all, my kids would notice if we let them win everytime and they'd start to realize we were letting them. How is that good for self esteem. Also, learning how to lose as gracefully as you win is an important lesson before they start playing games with their peers who are definitely not going to let them win.

Besides all that, I rule at Uno and there is no way some seven-year-old is going to beat me.

I'm kidding.

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.