December 06 2011

When is it Okay to Let Kids Win?

So anyway, I’ve been playing Words with Friends with my nephew, right? (Words with Friends is like Scrabble and we play over iphone app). My nephew is 13 and he’s a very smart kid. However, when it comes to most things with children in general– I am still smarter. Way.

First off, I have alot more experience with stuff AND I went to college. And graduated! I’ve read tons more books (although we’re reading the same one now–Hunger Games) and granted, I may not have been the smartest kid in the history of all college– but I definitely know I know more stuff. And I’ve been playing scrabble games for years.

Anyway, we’ve been playing a few games and I can totally see that I’m better at it. He’s good and all but he’s 13– so there’s some gaps there in strategy and wordage-ing. He makes smart moves though. And I get the feeling he’s better than all his friends at this game– and feels good about that. He probably wins alot with them too.

I haven’t let him win a game yet (we’ve only played a few). I don’t play my hardest and I try to lead him into ‘good moves’. And we also chat over the app and I give him tips or whatever. But for some reason I feel differently throwing word games. Taking a loss. I almost feel like it would be lying in a way. But at some point, is he bound to get discouraged losing all the time and be less interested in playing?

If I was good at basketball– I’d let him win Horse sometimes (he’s now better than me at basketball). Or when he was younger I’d sometimes let him win a video game (he’s better than me at video games now too). So I know there’s something good in letting a win slide now and then. (Frankly, he could let me win a video game now and then to keep me motivated– so there but)…

Anyway, with word games it’s more tricky. There’s no way he’s going to be legitimately better than me for a while– but does throwing a game send the wrong message? Will he think he’s dramatically improved even if he hasn’t if he wins one? I guess it all depends on the kid and the particular game and the attitude. But to be honest, I kind of feel like a dick when I place a ‘good word’. I feel like I’m rubbing it in that I’m an adult who knows extra stuff and went to college– and he’s just a kid…

ok bye!


PS. pls no extra requests to play because I’m way overbooked already with the Words with Friends games :-(.


Jeff says:

Kids have to get a win every now and again…think of this like you do basketball and give him a break

Amy says:

Does your nephew read this website?

Brandon says:

yeah im his nephew and now im pissed

Angry Man says:

Kids win WAY too much these days. I never won shit when I was a kid!! I say let him earn it aftre a lot of lost matches

Miguel A. Almanza (FB) says:

I play with my daughter, a 10-year-old. I told her that these words are difficult and she should ask for help if she wants, but not from me, and that she can also ask for strategies from me. I told her that she should play the ‘local game’ with a friend and find word strategies, like how the Q usually has a U next to it, etc. I told her I know too many adult words for her to beat me, and she’s cool with that. She plays with her friends, and I play with mine, and mine beat me sometimes just like she beats her friends. As far as you vs. your nephew, this is YOUR game because you’re better, just like he is at basketball. You’ve already started playing with him, so it’s too late for me to say “Don’t play with him, you’ll beat him all the time”… like I now think I should have done. He will beat you at basketball, you will beat him at WWF, just like I would beat you at “Palabras Con Amigos” since I’m Mexican and speak perfect Spanish, SeΓ±or Todd. Cheers.



Anonamouse says:


Brown Town says:

You’re new here. It’s the Weeze. You’ll get used to him.

Concerned Parent says:

I ABSOLUTELY DISAGREE. It is an ADULT game to be played with ADULTS or a CHIlds game to be played with other CHILDS!! Let the nephew get his ego boost FROM his friends HIS AGE!! You better BELIEVE, THE CHINESE MOM would NOT throw a game for HER CHILD!

Concerned Pervert says:

Somehow the idea of playing “Adult Games” with Concerned Parent gets me all hot and hard. Especially if she brings her underaged daughter along.

Brandon says:

lol, hot and hard

newb says:

My pa used to kick my ass in ping pong Every Single Game. He would even give me 10 points handicap to start off with. I never stopped wanting to play ping pong, and I eventually got good enough to beat him every once in a while. Kick ‘is ass, seabass!

Expert says:

Go easy on him, but don’t let him win. He should look to you as a role model, so he can set his sights high. You are right, if you let him win he will think he is better than he is and will have no incentive to get better.

S says:

Seems like the key here is that your nephew is actually better than you are at some stuff (basketball, video games), so it’s probably fair to give him your best at Scrabble. My guess is he doesn’t expect anything less; otherwise he wouldn’t be playing.

zombie boy says:

You worry too much Todd.

Antiweeze says:


zombie boy says:

I’m not the Weeze, idiot.

Anonymous says:

Kick his ass! Hard! Run ‘im off the road and leave him covered in dust in a ditch somewhere! He’ll get over it! Or not! I don’t know! Who am I, Dr. Fucking Spock here?

inner monologue says:

if you want to be the best, you have to beat the best.

I take most of my insights from the great santini.

he will win when the time is right, then it will mean something. the only way he will be motivated to beat you is if you mock him every time you win.

Krankor says:

Split the games 50/50 with him. Makes him feel good but still gives him something to shoot for.

Hansdown says:

Let him win the 5th game

My Butt Here says:

Don’t let them win ever. Teaching is ok but losing is how we learn ways that don’t work. You will just develop in them that equal opportunity affirmative action attitude. That is in this culture too much. It’s just filled with retards that screw things up and think they are smart.

yuri says:

Haven’t you screwed up in your life? Do you consider yourself smart ‘My Butt Here’?

me says:

If he’s 13 I’m betting he knows about your site and may even check it out once in awhile. Just sayin’

Adam says:

My brother-in-law David started playing chess with my 7-year-old. David won 7 games in a row, but my son kept coming back for more. David tries to give him tips, but he doesn’t go easy on him either. In the meantime, my son’s getting way better very fast. In summary, I think the kid will let you know if enough is enough. No need to dumb it down. In fact, I think a lot of kids really appreciate when adults don’t dumb it down because they like being treated like an adult once in awhile.

Brandon says:

you barely graduated dufus

Odd Todd says:

Lol ‘barely graduated’… Sry bran πŸ™‚

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