Let the wookiee win

My son is starting to get older (granted, he’s still only 3) but we’ve begun to play more structured games, which got me thinking.

If/when we start playing competitive board/video/etc games, should I let him win from time to time?

The obvious answer is yes, you should!  But, I’m not so sure that it’s that clear-cut.  Like most parents, I think my kid is pretty smart.  Won’t he figure out that I’m not trying very hard?  Will that teach him that I don’t think he’s an opponent worth putting my full energy into?  Alternatively, will winning all the time teach him to dislike a hobby that I really would like him to enjoy with me?

I think ultimately, it will depend on him and the game.  Some games make it easier to hide that you’re making bad choices, and there are plenty of games that have enough randomness that I probably don’t have to do anything to help things along.

Ultimately, I know that I should be teaching that having fun with me is more important than the outcome, but show me a person that doesn’t like to win time to time.  Absolutely, having fun is the #1 goal, but I remember myself as a young kid – I wanted to win.  I expect nothing different from my kids.

I think this is one of those tricky spots in parenting, or, maybe I’m just reading too much into things.