Why it’s Okay For Your Kids to Lose

Katie Sweeney
PHOTO:

Norman Jean Roy for Vogue

This holiday season, if you end up playing a couple of rounds of Uno with a young child, you might want to think twice before letting them win. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that letting children over the age of four win is a bad idea. When a child is five or six, they become interested in competitive games and can start to judge odds and fair play.

Pediatric psychiatrist Dr. Matthew Biel recommends that parents give their children the skills to recover from failure—and that means they should lose when playing games. He also points out that it’s a fine line when a playing a game: you don’t want to crush the poor kid. “School-age children can tell when you aren’t playing your hardest and could view your capitulation as a loss of faith in them. Nor should you beat them with all your adult efficiency. Not only will the child likely stop playing with you, he or she could learn what psychologists term learned helplessness—the sense that success is impossible no matter the odds.”

The solution is to even up the playing field a little. Help the child or warn them when they may be making a bad move on the chess board. Remember that in order to know how great the win is, you’ve got to lose at some point.

Why not teach your kids how to play Monopoly this winter?

Do you let your kids win when playing a game? Let us know in the comments below!

Explore: Kids, games

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