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Question: If my four-year-old son doesn't win a game, he gets very upset. Is it OK to let him win every time?

Dr Richard Woolfson's Answer:

That strategy would certainly avoid tears and tantrums during the game, but in the long-term it won't teach your child how to learn to play a game with rules. And not only that, what's going to happen when he plays a game at a friend's house? He'll expect to win and then explode with rage when the game doesn't go his way. So I strongly suggest you help him now to learn how to follow rules, how to take turns, and how to accept that he cannot always be the winner.

Probably the best way to do this is by playing games with him at home. Choose a game that involves turn-taking (for instance, a match-the-picture game or a simple board game). Smile as you play this, encourage your child to relax and wait patiently for his turn, and show him that you can lose a game without becoming upset. He'll learn from your example. Point out to him, also, that his will friends will be happier playing with him if they know he doesn't lose his temper. The more you practice this at home with your four-year-old, the more comfortable he will become at playing games without tears.