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My Child Hates Playing Chess - What Can I Do?

5 September 2023

The struggle of many parents is not being able to get their children to do a certain activity, eat a certain food, like a certain hobby, etc. The reason for this is plain and simple: every child is different. 

Although as parents, you can somehow shape the way your child will grow - you still can’t control everything. This includes telling your child what things they should be interested in. If your child hates playing chess despite your encouragement, then you’ll want to keep reading as we talk about possible solutions to this issue.

Talk To Them About It

Your first reaction to your child that they hate chess should be to understand why that has become the case. There has to be a reason behind that hatred. In other words, there had to be a prior experience that has led your child to feel hostile towards playing chess. Because of this, the very first thing you must do is to find out what it is. You need to spend some time with your child, in an environment where they will be able to express their mind. In order for your child to open up about the issues, they must first feel that you are there not to condemn, but to help and guide. 

Do They Need Help Understanding Chess?

Let’s say you find out your child hates chess due to how difficult of a game it is. That’s no issue at all. It’s your job to then break down the rules, moves, and mechanics of chess to them in a fun and creative way so that your child will no longer feel overwhelmed with the complex world of chess. The beauty of chess is that while it is complex (some adults cannot even wrap their heads around all the concepts and strategies involved), it is also simple enough that a child can understand it and start playing using basic techniques and strategies. 

Let Them Know It’s Okay To Lose

If your child hates chess because they lose often, then you have to sit down and have a heartfelt conversation with them. Let them know the value of losing, and that it is actually helpful that we lose sometimes in order for us to grow as individuals. This will tell your child that they don’t need to feel too bad about the times they lost. It’s just a part of life.

Find More Suitable Opponents

It’s also important to check the quality of opponents your child is going up against. If they are constantly losing, it is likely that they’ll have been going up against high-quality opponents with a very high ranking. If this is the case, then try and find opponents of a similar ranking to your child so they won’t constantly be demotivated. Once they surpass those opponents, then you can start looking for more well-developed chess players for your child to play against.

Whatever the reason may be as to why your child hates playing chess, as the parent, you must make every effort to find out the root causes. In the process of doing this, it also builds your child’s trust and respect towards you. They will see that despite their problems with chess, or that they may not be very good at it, you are there to encourage, guide, and cheer them on. This builds up your child’s confidence seeing that despite the obstacles they face in becoming good at chess, you are there for constant support, encouragement, and love. 

Try Something Else

Of course, there may be the case that your child just doesn’t want to play anymore. Don’t be disheartened. Chess isn’t for everyone, and there are bound to be many other hobbies your child would love to do that don’t include chess. Don’t force them into it and look for alternatives instead.

Photo by Anastasia Shuraeva

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