Do you let your children win?


My son is 3 years old and we recently started playing Mario kart on the switch with him.

Sometimes we let him win, sometimes my wife and I battle it out abs he is 12th.

He always asks „did I win?“

And I wonder, what do you guys do?
Not letting him win teaches you need to work hard to win and get better.

I guess.

But letting him win might instill the mindset that he always wins without much effort and manifests that.

Recently with the aimbot sub I noticed this myself. I know I win and things work out and then they do.
But I wonder what’s the best for a young, impressionable mind?

What’s your thoughts on tue topic?
Obviously extrapolated to life success. Not games.



I have no children myself, but I learned about Alexander The Great’s life very deeply. I payed attention to how he was educated and his upbringing. What I learned from it: your child must learn how the life works as soon as possible. Earlier he learns it, more successful he will be. His father, Phillip, was strict and severe to him since he was very young. Something what Phillip probably said was “you are not born being a king. you become a king going through challenges of life”.


balance it out ?


That’s what I generally thought. I’m very strict with myself and anyone else. My wife is the balancing part at home :sweat_smile:

So maybe @IronClaws approach is good with leaning towards strictness.

Just curious how y’all do it :sunglasses:


Thing is, you’re working hard for your skills.
Then your mindset can manifest your win based on the groundwork you’ve built already.

Taking action plus mindset equals success.

If you’re always letting him win, he has the mindset but not the skills.

My guess would be that leading him to a mindset that is based on successfully overcoming obstacles until he can win would be the route to take.

Letting him win now and then can’t hurt though.


I would beat him everyday.

AND simultaneously provide him with encourgement that he will someday be able to beat me as long as he keeps improving.

I’d give him hope when he loses it.

I’d always be giving him a dose of reality if he gets too cocky.

I’ll let him develop his skills in his own way but be ready to guide him if he starts going down the wrong route or stagnates for too long.

Also, I don’t have children. So, take this wid a grain of salt.


I think the difference here is you’ve got skills and cognitive capacity, the belief just helps you get in the zone more to utilize that. Whereas in this situation with your son you have a clear advantage skill wise and experience.

More than winning or losing I would see this as a great opportunity for letting him understand and be comfortable with what’s occuring. This is a situation and pattern that will repeat in life a ton in a variety of ways. By creating an early foundation of understanding this dynamic and how sometimes things in life aren’t fair, you can teach him how to navigate that within himself. Instilling a sense of without much effort echoes a little too closely the plight of gifted children who grow up into adults that expect everything to be easy. I find it a dangerous thing.

I don’t have kids, but I know their internal emotional landscape can be very developed before the higher cognitive processes are refined. So there’s a lot going on internally they don’t understand and look to parents to make sense of it.

That’s my take if I did have kids. Obviously calibrating for emotional upset and how they’re feeling. I’m not gonna stomp the kid in Mario Kart to the point he hates it lol. But this is the challenge of raising kids I guess, you can’t really know how it’ll impact them until down the line.

Oh yeah also I wouldn’t let them win without telling them I’m going easier on them. If they get upset that I’m not going 100% then they understand they’ve asked for the additional challenge.


Great answers and I think you’re all spot on.

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Just show him how he can do better without any pressure or expectation.

Maybe you can slow down to his level and drive in front of him

Guid him he is 3 years old

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I been telling him what he needs to do a lot yeah. But of course at 3 years old he gets bored of it quickly and just looks at my screen :rofl::rofl:



You said he is three years old. At that age, children are mostly ruled by their subconscious. Most things they go through go straight into their subconscious mind. This is when you build their self-esteem. Just let him win so he can build that self-image of being a winner and this assurance that things go his way.

This is a wild limiting belief. We all know people who achieve great things effortlessly. The last 20 years have seen the rise of entrepreneurs who were all about “hustling hard” and “grinding nonstop”. Gary Vee is the poster child of that. Thankfully for all of us, that hard work mindset is going extinct. Teach your your son about how to work smart, and how to use leverage and systems to get things done.
But then again, he is three years old. None of that makes sense to him yet. The only thing he knows is how he feels after a game or a task. Would you prefer him to attach winning to a feeling of hard work or would you prefer him to attach winning to a feeling of “hey this is easy!”. He doesn’t even know you’re letting him win. He just knows he is winning. :joy:
He has all his teenage years and young adult life to understand how much work he has to put into things. That’s also when he will probably understand that the hard work mindset is mostly bullshit. I let my son win all the time, as he grew up I let him win less and less as he was learning to think and strategize. But at three years old, just let the kid win and let him have fun winning, bro!


Don’t focus on letting your child win.
Teach them that all power is within them. One will ask how do you even do that at 3years of age. Well when they make a mistake encourage them. It’s fine to make mistakes let’s try again.

I’m talking from experiences with a toddler. He cries for a lost toy so I hold his hand and help him find it. Remember at that young age we need to do our best not to create a shadow that will one day haunt them. Make him or her realize that they need to move to make a change. My toy fell, okay good crying will not help me. I need to go fetch it.

Don’t control but guide them.

Edit: Don’t assess their progress in any area of life based on anyone’s ,including your standards.
There is very little for them to learn in life. How to be self Sufficient, how to make money and always know that their always have the Power within them.


I totally get your point.
My question/ fear would only be, that he gets accustomed to winning with ease that the moment winning doesn’t come easy anymore he gets discouraged because the dopamine high missing.
You know, like these teenagers that were super protected during their childhood (when the parents sue teachers because they caused serious ptsd for their child with a bad mark) and suddenly are confronted with reality and everything is to much.

Do you believe in kids getting participation trophies?

I think if you know the answer to this, then you’ll know whether or not to let your son win.

I also agree with @ksub. His mind is still in the impressionable theta state and will be until seven years old. If it were me, I’d want to affirm that my son is a winner no matter what during this short, but impressionable time.


My grandma NEVER let me win when she taught me how to play chess as a young kid. And you have to imagine me at 4 years old moving the pieces and blundering them every single time. But she’d always take them.

I never really played chess apart from with her. I wasn’t a “young chess player” or anything like that.

I discovered it again at age 23, and I had to start from scratch, but I remembered how fondly I looked back on all those games I played, I was really glad she never let me win.

My cousin never let me win at ping pong or video games or sports either. It made me think that all adults were good at video games. So when I played super smash bros melee with my mom and she couldnt beat me, because she had no idea how video games worked, and I had been playing the game a bunch. But i was 7 or something, so i started getting really mad.

“stop letting me win!!!”

Having a childhood where the adults in my life never let me win was EXTREMELY positive. The question is… what came first? The chicken or the egg?

I’m a very competitive person, I thrive off challenge, I would rather lose to the best person than beat the worst person. But I don’t know if that’s just who I am or if that’s who I became because of those experiences - I would guess that I have a competitive nature that was nurtured further over time.

So I would say play to your kid’s nature. If games are just a bonding activity and he gets upset when he loses and overjoyed when he wins, maybe let him win more. If he can take a loss, let him lose more.

I think winning or losing are both the wrong focus, if you want to instill some values in him, don’t instill outcome dependence, focus on the process - win or lose, the important thing is are you practicing, developing skills? I like playing against people who are better than me so I can test out my defense and new ideas. And I like playing people worse than me so I can practice punishing mistakes, or I’ll sandbag for the first 20 moves and then practice winning from worse positions.

That practice is what matters. Sounds like right now he has outcome dependence after every game. Did I win?! Why not show him his own best times, do time trials with him, and then help him get faster and faster times, because he can only beat others by first beating himself


I think this sums it all up best.

Good point, the outcome is less important than the process of getting there. Was a hard lesson for me to learn. So maybe it comes down to just teaching him to have fun getting better :wink:


I’d take this from a flow perspective. Let skill meet challenge evenly
In the extreme
winning without challenge will lead to delusion, narcissism, unhealthy entitlement and expectation
Losing without possibility of winning will lead to disillusionment, defeatism, and pointlessness
The challenge has to be doable for him. I’d say win in a way where he sees he gets better and grows
And every now and then let him win -to build possibility and confidence

hesitatant to contrast human being with the 'operant conditioning approach of behavioralist but crudely said- win/save him and see effort catapult

The SPSRF Newsletter: September 2021.

Balancing between letting your son win and challenging him offers a unique opportunity for some valuable lessons. Consider framing it as a shared exploration of skills and strategies. Acknowledge his efforts, discuss tactics, and celebrate progress together. This approach not only instills the importance of effort and resilience but may also foster a mindset that success emerges from continuous learning and the joy of growing together. It’s about finding that middle ground.

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At 0 to 7 years old there on record mode, they’re minds can’t tell whether its good or bad they just stored it anyway - that also include every emotions he/she gets from the environment.

Once in a while parents should spent a time playing with their kids, their presence should never be confuse with their presents. Quality time is important, spoil them for the fun of the game, doesn’t matter if they win or loss.

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