How to Lose Well to Your Children

A few days ago, I had the chance to play A Feast for Odin twice. I played once with my friend, and another time with him and my wife. After a full day of gaming, my daughter came to me with Quadropolis, wanting to play it again. My friend and my oldest daughter joined us as well. Much to our surprise, my middle daughter won. She is 9. Quadropolis has easy-entry rules, but a deeper strategy than you might think. She played a great game. She strategized well and even marked her board to show her future moves. It excited me to see it.

How do you lose to your children? I’ve learned a few things as my winning percentage is shrinking.

Lose with Grace

Even against children, the most competitive among us will still find difficulty losing. It may be frustrating. We might want to take it out on them. We may even become a rules general, trying to find loopholes. However it plays out, parents have to be careful here. Losing with grace to your children will teach them more than when you win.

Highlight Their Great Play

I let her know throughout the game of her good choices. I praised her (as did my friend) for planning her strategy on her player board. She made efficient use of her resources. She played a good game. I hope that by strengthening her good decision making, it will help her beyond the gaming table. One day I won’t be there to pat her back or coach her. This is a great way to build her confidence.

Ask Them What You Did Wrong

Something funny here – she didn’t wait for my prompting! She immediately told me what I might have done to score more. It wasn’t in a bragging way, but in an instructive way, like she’s heard me do with her. Her instruction encouraged me because it was correct and helpful. I lose a lot, so I don’t think I need a pick-me-up, but one day, someone will. I hope she’ll be there to listen, and if appropriate, offer her help.

My children beat me more and more at games. As my loss column grows, I hope their ability to lose well grows as well.

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