Sausage is getting to an age where games have become more competitive – tea parties and dollies are becoming a thing of the past and SingStar and Kerplunk are far more her cup of tea. I have to say, she’s flippin’ awesome at SingStar; the kid has a serious set of pipes on her, to the point that we’re thinking about taking her for formal singing lessons, but our recent spate of boardgame playing has made me wonder – should we let her win more?
It’s got to be said, I’m a ridiculously competitive person. I relish winning a stupid amount and I’ve been known to
compose victory songs and dances erm, gloat to a rather irritating degree. Husband is one of those people who’s annoyingly good at everything though, especially general knowledge, so I definitely married my match and I rarely beat him at things. The feeling is winning is intoxicating to me; perhaps its a sad reflection of my need for approval, I don’t know.
The thing is, Sausage is very bright and very capable, but she doesn’t win all the time because she’s usually playing against two adults. So, should we let her win at things? For me, someone else letting me win would be a truly hollow victory, but I’m a grown up. My worry is that she’ll become demoralised by losing too often and won’t want to take part in things any more. I remember how frustrating it was as a child when I’d play Trivial Pursuit against a load of adults and never win, but I also remember my Nan, bless her heart, deliberately throwing easy questions that I knew she’d know, because she didn’t want to beat me and feeling cross about her thinking I needed her help to win.
I also worry that if we do let her win things, she’ll never learn to win on her own steam. I may be a gloater, but if I win it’s because I’ve earned it and I feel proud of myself for doing so. But I also feel like a massive bitch when I beat her at things, like I should be being kinder to her.
I’m not a fan of the namby-pamby, ‘everyone wins’ crap that they seem to do at sports day and kids’ events nowadays. The fact of the matter is, the world is a competitive place and our kids will never be successful if we don’t teach them that dog-eat-dog attitude early on. Competition is healthy because as well as teaching them that they have to work and strive if they want to win, it also teaches them to manage disappointment effectively, to pick yourself up and dust yourself off if you aren’t successful. I don’t want my daughter to be part of a generation of kids who are so mollycoddled that they don’t even know how to assert themselves, but I also don’t want her to lose the will to try.
Tricky, isn’t it?!
So, tell me readers, what do you do? Should we be building their confidence by allowing them to win, or is that type of false-affirmation more damaging than losing? I’d love to know how you manage it.