Stop letting your kids win. You are literally raising a loser. Let me explain. Not to sound like Kevin Hart but let me Explain. Kids Don’t know how to play games, either it be Chess, Checkers or Hide n’ Seek. They learn the art of playing these games from you just as much as they learn the art of dancing in the rain. It’s all curiosity driven. Kids function purely on curiosity. Their hunger to learn is inssentiable. Their curiosity overpowers the need to feel demoralised 9 outta 10 times they face anything.
I recently witnessed one of my nephews who is a few months old pull a rabbit by it’s ears and drag it like it was a rug doll. The boy can not say a word yet he saw the rabbit which was about half his own weight yet he crawled to it and grabbed it by both its ears in one hand. THAT’S RIGHT. HE GRABBED BOTH EARS IN HIS ONE TINY RIGHT HAND. And when they tried to pry the poor bunny from his hand, he held on for dear life and dragged the bunny on the tiled floor. The bunny was not hurt. Chill. It wasn’t even trying to run from him. Completely unbothered.
His curiosity overpowered his fear for what this strange animal could do to him. Yet somehow, this kid is afraid of strangers who come to his parents house. I’m one of the strangers he doesn’t want near him. He cries when I pick him up. Then there is my 6year old granddaughter who nearly every week develops a new interest in some game she picked up from friends at school or a game we introduce her to. Yes, I’m old enough that I have a granddaughter at 30-ish.
Recently, she witnessed a Checkers (Draft for Zambians; PS: It’s actually called Draughts), game at her friends place. She came home and demanded I make her a Checkers board. So I obliged to avoid dealing with Tantrums. Little did I know I had signed up for being woken up early on weekends to play the game with her. Not to mention every other minute she feels like playing a game I no longer have interest in.
Anyway, I noticed that every time I let her win, she would copy my moves in hopes of winning again and in the process she would lose even when I gave her the advantage. So I decided to apply the NO PARTICIPATION TROPHIES POLICY. And slowly I noticed that, she was now picking up my very whitewashing victory moves and using them against me to the point to beating me at my own game every one game out of the too many to count victories I had over her.
This was a lightbulb moment for me. Because over the years I have noticed this same attribute in myself and in those around me. People end up applying this to their lives. We all learn from experiences we have had but most importantly, we build our character on childhood experiences. A Development Biologist named Dr Bruce Lipton argues that a Person’s character is defined by the things their brain downloads from the observation of the people and events around them during the first 7 years of their life. He further estimates that 95 percent of a person’s life will be whatever is programmed in that person’s brain during these years.
For this reason and based on my observations, I say people don’t just become losers. They are programmed to lose by those around them in the early stages of life. This includes every time you let a child win instead of showing them how to win. They end up growing up with a Self-Sabotage Mentality like adults who are so pessimistic, they can’t see positive outcomes without suspicion of a backhanded component at play; or perhaps constantly making choices that are detrimental to their own wellbeing even in the most straightforward of situations.
So STOP LETTING YOUR KIDS WIN. Teach Them How to Win Instead. Don’t worry about crushing their spirit. You can’t crush a Child’s spirit unless you intend on doing so. Their curiosity overpowers their fear of losing or harm because they don’t know any better. To them, the world around them is just a huge endless play ground to be explored until adulthood kicks in. They will keep going. Only when they start seeming like giving up, that’s when you let them win by making moves that give them the advantage in order to build their morale back up.
That said, when I have kids of my own, the No Participation Trophies Policy will be in full effect. 🤷🏾♂️ Oh how I pity them unborn thumbsuckers.