Parents, should we be letting our kids win more?
Did Michael Jordan ever let his kids beat him at basketball?
After watching The Last Dance docuseries I'd say the answer is a resounding no. He'd probably even invent some fake vendetta to get a competitive edge over them.
'What was that? You think Karl Malone could make a better mac'n'cheese than me? Let's see about that!' he'd think to himself as he spectacularly dunked over their heads.
When you're Michael Jordan, and your kids know you're Michael Jordan, is there even any point trying to lose on purpose?
Kids are pretty delusional at the best of times, but surely they're not delusional enough to think they could match it against a full grown adult, let alone the greatest basketball player of all time.
I'm not Michael Jordan but I've been playing a lot of Xbox basketball against my daughter lately. It's become a nightly ritual for us in the hours she'd ordinarily be doing homework. But homework is now the totality of her education experience and Corona has robbed me of my own social life, so nightly Xbox it is.
Now this isn't like challenging your kid at Fortnite, Minecraft, Pokemon or other games hard wired to make absolutely no sense to adults.
I'm reasonably good at Xbox basketball - I've had years of practice beating pimply teenagers online - so I've been wondering if I should be letting her win?
For the first time in history the online parenting community is somewhat united on this topic. Most agree that letting your kids win every time is a bad idea. Whether you're playing Monopoly, noughts and crosses or Xbox basketball, you need to teach them how to lose graciously and also set them up for a life of crushing disappointments.
I can only assume that kids whose parents let them win every time are the reason there are real estate agents and also signs reading, "We will not tolerate umpire abuse", at under-9 footy games.
If you're letting your kid win all the time what are you telling them about the world? That they just have to show up to get what they want? Unless your kid is white and male, life doesn't really work like that.
On the other hand, there's nothing enjoyable about getting 178 runs scored on you in backyard cricket. So while you shouldn't let your kid win every time, you also want them to enjoy the game.
Just as handicaps were invented to make your dad feel better about being terrible at golf, it's OK to let your kids get a couple wins under their belt before you bring the heat on them in game three.
In other words, there's a big difference between letting your kids win in an obviously rigged manner and orchestrating close matches.
Lately I've been letting my daughter get out to big leads, reeling her in quarter by quarter, before setting up a grandstand finish in the dying seconds.
That way she doesn't feel so bad when I'm doing an extremely humble victory dance after draining a buzzer beating three pointer.
Because it's very likely she'll be busting out some triumphant TikTok-inspired dab when she humiliates me with a game winning dunk in the rematch.
Darren Levin is a columnist for RendezView.com.au
Originally published as Parents, should we be letting our kids win more?