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Reality Check: Should Kids Always Win?

I let our 5-year-old beat me at Chutes and Ladders, but my husband won't. Who's right?

Honestly, I can't count how many times I rigged tic-tac-toe so Lila could score three X's in a row. It drove my husband nuts, but I couldn't stand the teary-eyed look on her face when she lost. But -- deep breath -- I was wrong. Kids must learn to win fairly and be graceful losers, and this can't happen if we always throw the game. My change of heart was coaxed by another mom, Mari's math tutor. She taught Mari some multiplication games and knew that Mari would be a stronger student if she figured out how to beat her. My daughter didn't like losing, but she was ecstatic the first time she won, because she had followed the rules and used her smarts to triumph. This is the lesson I wanted her to learn -- that it's just as important to follow the rules and try your hardest as it is to win.

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