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Do you let your kids win at games? Do you allow cheating? - Page 3

post #41 of 52

For a while, when she was about 4, my DD wanted to play by whatever means would allow her to win the games.  I simply started asking her before we started the game if we were playing by the official rules or the "Katherine Cheater Pants" rules.  If she choose the Katherine Cheater Pants version, she could spin or roll until she got what she wanted.  Over time she quit choosing the cheater pants version and just played by the regular rules.  shrug.gif  It made her happy and I really didn't care - we were just passing the time, not making every second of the day an important life lesson.


If she never grew out of it, I'd be concerned, but she did.

post #42 of 52

I haven't read all the responses, but I think that a parent playing full-force against a child is kind of like the parent cheating.  It shows the parent as a poor sport who doesn't want to lose against a child, IMO.  My goal in playing games with children is not to teach them to be good losers by creaming them every time we play, but to guide them, teach them strategic points, evaluate every possible move, etc.  I may say "I think there's a better move.  If you look again, you may be able to do xyz."  I don't necessarily outright allow them to win, but I even the playing field, so to speak.  I may not pay close attention when playing memory.  I may chose a different move in Sorry that does not involve sending my child back to start.  Now, there are times when DD says "let's play until I win" and I can only play so many hand of Uno before I go insane, so yeah, I let her win.  And I know for a fact that she lets me win sometimes :)  I cannot legitimately beat her at Mancala, no matter how hard I try, so she lets me win.  I appreciate it love.gif  Even though I know she is letting me win, I love that she cares more about me than about winning.


I will be honest, here, though.  My step-grandmother is a notoriously bad loser, to the point of jumping up and down and throwing a fit, and laughing brutally in a child's face when she does win.  It's really quite disgusting.  My opinions are very heavily colored by my experience with her.  I am sure that there are many people who manage a way to not allow their child to win in a caring and nurturing way.  Sore losers are a very huge pet peeve of mine, as well as poor winners (I hate grandstanding of any kind in professional sports so.much!).  So anyway...feel free to write off my opinions all together LOL!


I absolutely do not allow cheating ever.  Ever.

post #43 of 52

My kids--especially my almost-6-year-old--LOVE to play board games.  I wouldn't allow cheating, although it's not an issue because my son is a stringent rule-enforcer when it comes to games.  Occasionally, I've tried to take back a move when I realize that it's going to cause his early defeat or ruin a big play he was planning, but he'll always stop me and say, "No, that's cheating if you change it now."


If we're playing a game that I have a distinct advantage at--mostly speed-related games (we have one where you have to flip over tiles really quickly, and I can turn then over at about 5 times the rate he can) I might self-impose some limitation on myself, with or without telling him (such as only allowing myself to use one hand to turn the tiles)--but this is as much to make the game fun for me as it is to give him a chance at winning!


I've noticed that my son doesn't get upset when he loses strategy games, but can get a little upset when he loses "luck" games (Chutes and Ladders type games).  Also, we've playing Apples to Apples Jr. with him and a sort of similar(ish) picture-based game called Dixit, and these types of games (where there's no objective right-or-wrong, just someone choosing what they think is the "best" card, or whatever) are the one type that seems to really set him off.  When his card isn't getting picked, he seems to get his feelings hurt or feel like he's being conspired against or something.eyesroll.gif  So we've put those games away for a while and play a lot of Carcassone, Kids of Carcassone, Sleeping Queens, Moose in the House, Tier Auf Tier, and several others (we have quite a few games).  


If I were you, I wouldn't allow cheating, but I might modify the rules to "level the playing field" a little.  If you're playing games like Candyland, I'd try a different type of game--one where you can actually affect the outcome of the game with how you play.  

post #44 of 52

 This is an area where I refuse to give even an inch. You play by the rules or we don't play. And if you are getting angry that you aren't winning and can't handle it with some grace then we shouldn't be playing. My son has loved games since the age of 2 and has gone through many different phases since then when he tried to cheat, change the rules in the middle of the game, or got so angry about losing that it ruined the game. But I have stayed the course, cleaned up many games in the middle (or walked away to let him get his feelings back under control) and it got a lot better after age 4. He is now 7 and will occasionally try to cheat but it is more with a sense of trying to be funny. He does love to try different rules for games and my policy is that if we agree on the new rules at the beginning then it is okay, but no changes after the game starts.  I should add that when we are playing a strategy game and my son is not yet familiar with the strategy I will do 2 things. I will talk out loud about my own strategy and I will help guide him if it looks like he is making a really bad move. My goal is to get him thinking. But he is quite good at strategy games and one time kicked my butt badly in Travel Blokus, to an extent that I didn't even think was possible. We still talk about that game and it was 2 years ago. So once he understands the strategy fully I play my hardest against him.


As to your son rigging the cooperative game, my brain is still puzzling over how (maybe you explained in another post). We have a ton of the Family Pastimes cooperative games (though not Max). They all just require taking turns, and then making a decision as to how to work toward the mutual goal. Noone is collecting anything for themselves. If he is trying to take more turns than he should or save the most exciting moves for himself, then I would put an immediate stop to it.


At age 6 he should be able to talk about the game before you start. Discuss the rules together. If it is a game of chance, discuss that concept and talk about how sometimes one of you will do better based on the roll of the dice. If it is a cooperative game play up the excitement of accomplishing the goal TOGETHER and that you feel left out when he tries to control the game. If it is a game of skill, I do think it is appropriate to plan a handicap. For example, my son's electronic chess board will start to make worse moves if he starts making really smart moves (when on the beginner setting), but if he makes bad moves the computer will not hold back. Also talk beforehand about how he feels inside when he isn't winning, let him become more aware of his reactions by putting words to them.

post #45 of 52

This is a tricky subject.  My ds5 also feels this way about losing.  I mean, nobody likes to lose, and everyone has to learn how, but it offends my son to his very core.  It makes the game not fun for him to play, because he is so worried that he might lose.  We have some cooperative games that we play as a family (Break the Safe, Castle Panic, and Pandemic-- these are great games for older kids or with help.)  We also play competitive games, like Uno.  It seems like for my son, it is too big of a step for him to take right now to just bite his lip and lose nicely.  One thing that has helped us is playing a competitive game against imaginary players.  We play against our cats.  When the cats lose, sometimes they stomp around meowing and swishing their tails, and sometimes they are very civil about it.  I think this sort of role playing has helped.  Sometimes when we play against each other, and it becomes clear he is losing, he will want to join my team, and the cats will take over for him.  As he gets older, I think the cats will be less willing to take over for him, and I think they will start to make smarter moves.  This is a way of gradually easing him into losing.


When ds plays games with dd7, they often set the rules easier at the start.  For instance, if you are supposed to set the timer for 15 minutes in Break the Safe, they'll set it for 22, as if it was a three player game.  Then they don't have to rush and scurry so much, and they enjoy playing the game even more.  Castle Panic and Pandemic also have rules for how to make it easier to win.  As they get tired of winning every time, they will start to want to make it harder.


I think that when you are the youngest, people are often bigger, smarter, faster, better jumpers, better climbers, able to reach stuff, able to do things you are not allowed to do.  It is a frustrating time.  You might not have a lot of skills that people value.  Sometimes losing a game just proves to them that they are in fact not smart, strong, lucky, or whatever.  Winning, especially against a grown-up, can make a kid feel like even if the grownup is bigger, faster, stronger, and whatever, at least he can sometimes beat them at Uno...  I feel like I can give my son this pleasure while also teaching him to play an honest game, and we are both happy.

post #46 of 52

No cheating allowed, and no poor gamesmanship. When ds was younger, I'd adjust my play to his level if needed. Sometimes we have house rules, so we can be flexible if we all agree. Some of the games we play have rules made up on the fly (for example, ds invented "Chesskers" which is played with both chess pieces and checkers--fun, but still evolving!).


We have a "winner cleans up the game" rule. So if ds loses, Mom or Dad is cleaning up, which takes the sting out of the loss (and we don't mind, 'cause ds cleans up when he wins).

post #47 of 52
We have an odd approach. DS is allowed to cheat, if he asks to do so and the other players agree. Sometimes, if a game has gone on, we are too happy to let him cheat to speed to the end. Mostly, I want him to know that he's changing the rules. Other times, when he asks, we say no, today someone wants to keep playing by the rules.

He hasn't yet seemed to stress about losing.
post #48 of 52
Originally Posted by its_betty View Post

No cheating allowed, and no poor gamesmanship. When ds was younger, I'd adjust my play to his level if needed. Sometimes we have house rules, so we can be flexible if we all agree. Some of the games we play have rules made up on the fly (for example, ds invented "Chesskers" which is played with both chess pieces and checkers--fun, but still evolving!).


We have a "winner cleans up the game" rule. So if ds loses, Mom or Dad is cleaning up, which takes the sting out of the loss (and we don't mind, 'cause ds cleans up when he wins).

I like this idea!

post #49 of 52

I am pretty casual about games. I don't really like board games, but I enjoy spending time with dd, who is almost 7, and she enjoys them now. We have a version of Trouble and one rule is that you have to roll a 6 in order to start a new game piece on the track. It can be very frustrating if, through luck, you just don't get a 6 and everyone else has game pieces on the board. So I recently established a rule that if after a certain number of turns you don't pop a 6, a 5 or a 4 will get you going, too. Also, if I pop a number where I can send one of dd's pieces back to start, I sometimes don't take it. Sometimes dd knows, sometimes she doesn't.  Sometimes she will ask me to "spare" her and sometimes I will offer to.


I think she's pretty good at losing now, though she wasn't for a long time and we did simply stop playing competitive games for a while. I have never liked them anyway, I am cooperative to the core. Now I think there is some evolving healthy competition in the family. I am relaxed about games because, like another pp, they are pastimes. Yes, they hold some life lessons and I want dd to be able to lose; but she's doing a good job and I have never been strict about following rules in games. I think it's good for dd to see me show compassion and that I care how she feels if she's about to lose her third game in a row. I think she's very aware that her friends are not likely to give her a break and I see her playing very well with the other kids.

post #50 of 52

We handicap most games.  This allows for everyone to have fun, and we can include both parents, and an 8 year old and a 5 year old with very different skills and strengths.  My 8 year old DD has extraordinary difficulties in emotional control, so we work hard to make games fun, accessible, but also an environment to practice losing graciously.

We review rules for appropriate behavior every time - no trash talk, gracious winning, gracious losing.  On games that largely involve chance, we consistently remind ourselves through the game of the importance of luck in the game.


Originally Posted by LynnS6 View Post

I have let my kids win -- if we're playing a game of skill and I will wipe up the board with them (let's face it, I will ALWAYS beat my 6 year old at Boggle), I will often not play as hard as I could sometimes. I try to let them win some of the time. Let's face it - it sucks to lose all the time.




The other thing we've done is to give the kids a handicap. I figure if they do it for golf, why not for board games? So if we're playing Boggle, then the grown-ups can't use 3 letter words, but kids can. It evens things out a bit.





Max:  Animals can take the short cuts, Max cannot.

Chess:  I get no queen or rook when playing against DS.  DH gets no queen, neither rook, and neither bishop.

Sorry:  DS can choose to declare at the beginning of the game if pieces can get knocked back to home.

Checkers:  I start with 10 pieces to DS's 12.

Chronology:  DD needs to get 8 cards to everyone else's 10.

Bananagrams:  DD needs to use all tiles but they don't have to be connected.

We also need to fade the handicaps --  I play my best in checkers (cuz I go bonkers if I have to hold back - it just doesn't work for me).  If I win three times in a row, next game I start with one more piece down.  If DS beats me 3 times in a row, then I start the next game up one.  We started this system with 6 pieces vs DS's 12, and I'm up to 10.  I've lost quite a bit graciously in this way, as has he.  We also constantly remind ourselves that DS has gotten so good that he can beat me at an almost fair game when a few months ago he couldn't.


Good cooperative game that's actually fun for everyone with built-in handicapping:  Forbidden Island.  (Sorry Max fans, I find that game mind numbingly dumb)


Originally Posted by NicaG View Post

Okay, I'm starting to feel like everyone thinks I'm raising a sociopath.  Just to clarify, my ds doesn't insist on cheating, mostly he just likes to change the rules of games halfway through, but the rules change for everyone. 


The emotional control required to lose a game graciously is actually a fairly high-level function and 6 years old is still young enough not all kids can do it for a charged game.  Losing is hard.  Just look at how people behave when their local football team loses.  Review expected behavior, but also set it up so that the poor kid can win occasionally.  I certainly would never want to play a game where I lose every time.  Indeed, I quit a soccer team where we lost every game.  I just wasn't having fun.  While it was great exercise, and good for my soul and character building and all that jazz, it just wasn't fun.

post #51 of 52

I haven't read all the responses so at the risk of repeating someone else's ideas...


No we do not let him win, no we do NOT allow cheating, and no we do not permit pouting.


So far DS enjoys it much more when he wins, obviously, but can gracefully congratulate others when he loses.  He will be 6 in March.


That being said, we play age appropriate games with him (focused slightly more on luck than strategy) and probably go easier on the strategizing than we would if it were just DH and I playing.  We also let him make up games and create the rules, but he has to say all the rules before we start the game, no changing in the middle!


His favorite game now is Qwirkle.  He has yet to win a game, but he has come close, and I know that when he does win he is going to really relish it because it will be a real win.  


I will never forget the time I beat my dad at Scrabble for the first time (and possibly the only time)  I was chuffed to bits, and felt so very grown up and confident.


TBH, I think allowing kids to win or looking the other way when they cheat is condescending.  I'd hate it. 


ETA:  I do not think showing a new player all the possible moves and discussing which will A) lead to more points B) provide less opportunities for the next player or C) set themselves up for a winning move, is letting them win.  I would do that for any friend of any age when playing a new game.  Once the child understands though I let them make their own decisions.  Ocassionally, for whatever reason DS chooses to make moves that offer him fewer pointsa, most of all because he wants to be in charge of the move, even if it's not a winning move it;s HIS move, and that is much more important to him, for now.

post #52 of 52
Generally, no. Well, I sometimes don't pay much attention when I play memory games. This is more my being lazy more than anything.

I don't completely kick her ass at Scrabble and Bananagrams--I ramp it down a bit--but I don't make myself lose. However, I help her and congratulate her on awesome moves. I set her up for good moves, too--like I'll leave the triple word score accessible.

If she is getting really bummed, I ask if she wants to play the cheating way so she can win. She used to choose this when she was younger but doesn't anymore.
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