My four-year old daughter and I are playing Go Fish (or as she says, “goldfish”). I can see her peeking over at my cards and then she asks me for the Queen I just picked up. It’s close to her last card and now she will win the game, by cheating. But if I call her on it we will have hysterics, if I don’t she has won by questionable means.
Playing with young kids always leads parents down a morally questionable road. Do you let them win? Or not? There are arguments on both sides.
If you always win:
But, if you always lose:
- They probably will never learn to play by the rules.
- They will never experience being a graceful loser.
- They will not see what a good winner looks like (because they also don’t win very quietly).
- They will think they are king of the world (or something along those lines).
I have a friend who always lets her son win. I don’t think this is a conscious decision, I think that she just can’t handle beating her son and having him be disappointed. I also have a friend who never lets her daughter win a game, she feels that this is a good life lesson.
I’m kind of in the middle, some days I play strictly by the rules and I never ease up and I win. But some days I allow a little leeway so that the kid has a chance. Lots of days I lose no matter what I do.
No matter how much parents torture themselves over this question they will most likely end up in the position I am now in with my eldest son. I have not beaten him in a game in three years. Not one. Not Uno, Connect Four, Backgammon, Labryinth, Goblett, Chess, Gin or even the luck based War. I would love it if once in a while he would let go of the game a little and let me win one. It would be good for my ego.