Games, rules and cheating - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 23 Old 03-05-2010, 04:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
laohaire's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 7,115
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
When you play board games or card games or the like with your children, how strictly do you enforce the rules at what ages?

Do you insist from the youngest ages that they can play games, that they must follow the rules?

Do you "let" them win?

How do you deal with disappointment if they lose, especially when they are quite young (3 or 4)?

My 4 year old DD likes playing games but she is absolutely crushed, for example, if she draws a Candy Land card that sends her back. Or if someone else draws the coveted ice cream card.

We generally insist she follow the rules when playing with others (I remind her frequently that if she plays by herself, she can play absolutely however she likes). Sometimes she deals with it ok, but sometimes not.

Also I tried a variation on some games, where everybody draws 2 cards per turn and decides which card to play. This avoids huge disappointments but it also keeps everyone on equal footing (so she's not guaranteed to win).

Anyway, I'm not just sure whether this is just age-appropriate and I can loosen up and feel sure that as she gets older she will appreciate why it's more fun to play a game the real way... or if I need to get it through her head now about how it's just about fun and not winning (which ... well, it ain't fun unless it's winning for her). I do know some people never get the message (DH's father could not stand losing, even as a 40 year old adult ).

Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

laohaire is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
#2 of 23 Old 03-05-2010, 05:04 PM
 
Alyantavid's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Posts: 7,595
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Well I'm 29 and hate losing.

My 3.5 year old does not like losing either. Bingo is a huge favorite right now and if he doesn't win, he usually quits. Which is fine, but we do follow the rules in games and I expect everyone who plays to do the same. I think it's really hard at 3 or 4 to understand that you might lose this game, but you might win next time and at least in my son's case, it just doesn't seem fair!
Alyantavid is offline  
#3 of 23 Old 03-05-2010, 05:14 PM
 
jillmamma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Location: TX
Posts: 3,221
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
DD is 4.5, and we were just playing Go Fish today, and she kept looking at the cards when drawing from the pile to see if she could get the one she wants. I do explain that that is not following the rules of the game, and if we play with others, they may not want to play it anymore if she does it that way. But, I am not really strict about it, as I figure that is part of learning how to play and take turns and follow the rules. My 7 year old is now to the point where he wants to follow the rules to the letter, and it frustrates him if his sister wants to play and not do it "right". So eventually they do get it.

Jill stillheart.gif Chris (7/96), mommy to 3 sweet redheads: jumpers.gif Matthew autismribbon.gif (12/02), Michelle (8/05) and Marissa (1/10). Nursing since 2002.
jillmamma is offline  
#4 of 23 Old 03-05-2010, 07:18 PM
 
anj_rn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2009
Location: Land of Spare Oom
Posts: 1,182
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
We always follow the rules, we do not allow "do-overs" or "mulligans." No one lets anyone win, I think they have to learn it is OK to lose and how to be a gracious loser, and we model that behavior.

Wife to M , Mommy to DS aka Captain Obvious  (06/06) and DD aka Lissalot  (03/09, anoxic brain injury)
anj_rn is offline  
#5 of 23 Old 03-05-2010, 08:47 PM
 
tinuviel_k's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Posts: 3,290
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
In our house we do not change the rules (other than to allow for a handicap if the game is truly too hard for a young child), allow cheating, or put up with tantrums during games. It always drove me absolutely nuts as a kid to have to play with friends who had "game entitlement" issues: insisting on advantages, pouting when they were losing, gloating when they won, and the occasional "this is stupid!" while sweeping all the game pieces off the board mid-game.

We started playing games really early with our daughter, and we did our best to convey that the GAME is fun, not the winning part. We make sure that the act of playing is fun by telling jokes, having a nice snack, giving lots of smiles, and just having a plain good time. We adults don't focus so hard on winning, so our daughter developed a similar viewpoint.
If my husband won a game I would lead us all into a "Yea Papa!" cheer, and then do the same if our daughter won. The would do the same cheer when I won. We started an early habit of everyone saying, "Thanks for the game!" when the game is finished. Smiles and such are fine after winning, but zero gloating is allowed. Likewise, pouting after losing a game is not okay, and if it happens we talk about maybe skipping games next time and doing something else.

We made sure to have age appropriate games on hand so that everyone has an equal chance. In total non-strategy games like Mousetrap, Candy Land, Curse of the Ruby Rhino, etc we never allow anyone to have a handicap. In games that might be a little harder we might allow an agreed-upon boost to help the younger child.

So far our strategy has worked great! Our daughter is a board game nut, is always ready to play, wins nicely, loses gracefully, always thanks the players for the game, and always has a super fun time.
tinuviel_k is offline  
#6 of 23 Old 03-06-2010, 12:05 AM
 
TEAK's Mom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Juneau, AK
Posts: 2,231
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We also put a lot of focus on the enjoyment of the game. With my oldest, that was enough. She is happy to play whether or not she wins. My youngest is different. She is, by nature, a fairly competitive person, so we needed some new strategies.

For a long time, when playing games with dd2, we had dolls and stuffed animals play the game and we "helped." This served two purposes. First, we could model and role play some good attitudes about winning and losing. Second, we were able to occasionally switch who we were helping (i.e. teddy is ahead of bunny so, why don't you take a turn helping teddy for a while). This is great in games that do require strategy because no one has to dumb down their playing and the rules can be respected.
TEAK's Mom is offline  
#7 of 23 Old 03-06-2010, 12:44 AM
 
4evermom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: PA
Posts: 8,752
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
We've always been VERY relaxed about following game rules. It's not an issue when ds is playing with dh, grandma, and me because we are all of the same mind. I explained to ds when he was younger that it didn't matter as long as everybody playing agreed to the altered rules. The charming thing that I noticed is that although he will sometimes change the rules to his advantage, he will just as often change them to help out someone falling behind. I love that! Sometimes he is having fun playing a game like chess with dh and wants to prolong it so he'll suggest he and dh each take back three pieces or something. He does fine playing with other kids, too.

We never made a big deal about winning games so I think he has learned to be gracious while losing or winning, not that he doesn't get a little frustrated if he doesn't seem to ever have a chance of winning. If a child is having trouble with the competitive aspects of a game, I'd invest in cooperative ones. Tweaking the Candyland game and drawing two cards and letting dc choosing which one to play sounds great to me.

I think kids get more into following rules at 5 or 6 or 7 regardless of whether you enforce them at 3 or 4.

Mom to unschooling 4everboy since 8/01
4evermom is offline  
#8 of 23 Old 03-06-2010, 02:28 AM
 
One_Girl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Posts: 4,668
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 35 Post(s)
I have my dd follow the rules of the game and we keep the focus on fun. We have had many talks about the point of the games and the fact that there are no prizes involved in board games. My dd is an only child so I feel like I need to help her learn how to be a good sport when she loses and when she wins. We rarely play board games though because they don't excite my dd, so she was able to go through a very long winning streak just by chance where I actually considered cheating, but I decided against it because it felt wrong.
One_Girl is offline  
#9 of 23 Old 03-06-2010, 06:31 AM
 
TEAK's Mom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Juneau, AK
Posts: 2,231
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by 4evermom View Post
Tweaking the Candyland game and drawing two cards and letting dc choosing which one to play sounds great to me.
Heck, that sounds like the only way to survive Candyland.

4evermom really hit on it: if you can play in a collaborative frame of mind and agree on changes, it can be a lot of fun. After all, when I game with my friends and we notice something isn't working, we tweak the rules of our games. We just want everyone to enjoy the evening.
TEAK's Mom is offline  
#10 of 23 Old 03-06-2010, 07:52 AM
 
minkleaf's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2009
Posts: 59
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Although as a rule follower it can drive me crazy, we're pretty relaxed with the rules when the kids are little. Like 4evermom said, DD1 would change the rules to help both of us, she liked us both to reach the end of Candyland or Shutes and Ladders at the same time. Now at 6 she's more of a stickler for the rules, but DD2, age 3, gets to bend them to level the playing field.

We have been talking more lately about being a gracious winner or sore loser.
minkleaf is offline  
#11 of 23 Old 03-06-2010, 02:49 PM
 
eepster's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: growing in the Garden State ............
Posts: 8,777
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We did pretty similar things to what Tinuviel_K did.

We started playing games with DS pretty young. The first game we played we didn't compete at all. I helped DS with explaining strategies and such the whole time. We would have a few stuffed animals play along as well, so it wasn't just the 2 of us.

DS was interested in chess at 3 1/2 yo, so I took him to the used book store to learn a bit about it from the guy there (he happens to be an avid player.) Though DS wasn't ready to play himself, he enjoyed watching the book store owner play a couple of games with a friend who was there to play. He watched these guys playing quite competitively, but being gracious winners and losers.

We didn't introduce competitive games till DS was nearly 4yo. We started off with games of pure chance, Candyland and Chutes and Ladders, so DS has the same chance of winning as DH and I do. We also let DS finish the game even if one of us had already won, so we all ended up in Candyland together.

We only just started playing games of strategy with 4 yo DS (Blockus is a current favorite ATM.) He handles loosing them well. He enjoys the challenge of it as is picking up how the game works. I do not let him win, and so far he has not actually beaten me. However, I help him with hints about strategy like "it's better to save your one square piece till the end." I do model good strategy and verbally will point out why I chose a certain move, but I'm not trying super hard either. I figure if I teach DS enough strategy he should be able to beat DH honestly pretty soon since DH is not at all visual/spacial, and has had no previous experience playing Blockus. DS is a bit disapointed when he never wins blockus, but I always point out to him how much he's learning and we have a good time.

Timmy's Mommy WARNINGyslexic typing with help of preschooler, beware of typos
eepster is offline  
#12 of 23 Old 03-06-2010, 07:03 PM
 
AllisonR's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2006
Posts: 3,100
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We are casual about rules. Sometimes we make up our own rules as well. For example bingo. DD loves to spin the whatever-that-thing-is-called, and retrieve the balls and call out the numbers. But sometimes those games last pretty long. So we often change the rules to be the first one to get 4 numbers correct, instead of a complete straight line.

DS is 5 and a stickler for rules, unless of course he is losing. For example in Go Fish he might ask for a card he doesn't have, just because he knows you have it. I gently point out he has to ask for cards he actually has, and he says yes, sorry, and goes back to the rules.

Meanwhile, DD is only 3 and needs help with the game, esp. with 6 and 9, so I am often looking at her cards anyway. This gives me an obvious advantage, so I often purposely don't ask for cards I know she has. Or I will hint for her to ask for certain cards. So I wouldn't call it "cheating" as much as "age appropriate."

Also, by being flexible about rules, both DS and DD have been able to create their own games. DS has made a simple "highest card" game and DD plays Yatze by only counting the total of her dice or sets of similar numbers. I don't expect her to remember she has her 6's already, but should be trying for a long straight, kwim? So yea, we "fudge the books."
AllisonR is offline  
#13 of 23 Old 03-06-2010, 08:45 PM
 
newbymom05's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 2,589
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by anj_rn View Post
We always follow the rules, we do not allow "do-overs" or "mulligans." No one lets anyone win, I think they have to learn it is OK to lose and how to be a gracious loser, and we model that behavior.
We do this too...but...I also give the option for what we call "playing the cheating way." Seriously. I started that around 3.5 with games like Candyland and now he's almost 5 and almost always chooses to play by the rules. The "cheating way" would mean he could pick the cards he wanted, or roll again, etc. I found allowing him to choose whether or not to cheat/follow the rules took all the pressure/aggravation off me, and it (the desire to cheat and/or the insistence on winning) fizzled out as he matured.
newbymom05 is offline  
#14 of 23 Old 03-06-2010, 08:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
laohaire's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 7,115
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
OP here again. I'm not above letting my kid win (EDIT: I mean, I'm not above subtly cheating on DD's behalf to let her win, without her knowing it - and mostly, without her expecting or demanding it!!). I also am open to changing the rules by mutual agreement (like the draw 2 cards scenario). But what I really don't like is when DD CHEATS. As in, putting a card back if she doesn't like it, or lifting the deck to find the card she wants, or claiming she drew something she didn't.

I also don't like her being a really poor sport about losing or potentially losing.

I didn't create that, though. This is part of the package that makes DD. My challenge is to bring out the best in her, somehow. I just wasn't sure if I should just relax a little and look the other way (at least for a little while longer), or if I should continue to be anal about the rules.

DD is really controlling and everything has to be just so, so this is just one facet of that part of her. I guess what I'm trying to say is that I would naturally do what many of you state, focusing the game on the fun of the game and not winning - which comes naturally to both me and DH. But alas, that's not enough for DD, I will have to either keep pushing it or let it go.

It's not a huge deal, I was just curious to know what folks said.

Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

laohaire is offline  
#15 of 23 Old 03-06-2010, 09:00 PM - Thread Starter
 
laohaire's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 7,115
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by newbymom05 View Post
We do this too...but...I also give the option for what we call "playing the cheating way." Seriously. I started that around 3.5 with games like Candyland and now he's almost 5 and almost always chooses to play by the rules. The "cheating way" would mean he could pick the cards he wanted, or roll again, etc. I found allowing him to choose whether or not to cheat/follow the rules took all the pressure/aggravation off me, and it (the desire to cheat and/or the insistence on winning) fizzled out as he matured.
I was posting when you posted this it seems... this is a good idea and I think it could work for DD. It gives her control over it anyway As long as she understands she's cheating, and that others have to agree to it, and that other kids are very unlikely to agree - and hopefully she'll outgrow it.

Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

laohaire is offline  
#16 of 23 Old 03-06-2010, 11:33 PM
 
newbymom05's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 2,589
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by laohaire View Post
I was posting when you posted this it seems... this is a good idea and I think it could work for DD. It gives her control over it anyway As long as she understands she's cheating, and that others have to agree to it, and that other kids are very unlikely to agree - and hopefully she'll outgrow it.
It makes it soooo much easier! So we'd be playing Candyland and he'd try to sneak a card, and rather than going into my whole spiel about cheating (for the millionth time) I'd just roll my eyes and say "Do you want to play the cheating way?" and then just relax about it. Oh, and it makes the game go quicker too! Try it, I think you'll love it.
newbymom05 is offline  
#17 of 23 Old 03-07-2010, 03:03 AM
 
philomom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Pacific Northwest
Posts: 9,261
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 3 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by anj_rn View Post
We always follow the rules, we do not allow "do-overs" or "mulligans." No one lets anyone win, I think they have to learn it is OK to lose and how to be a gracious loser, and we model that behavior.
Yep, this is how we feel, too. My kids are teens now and they get very excited when they beat us, the parents, at games because they know we didn't "let them win".
philomom is online now  
#18 of 23 Old 03-07-2010, 11:23 AM
 
climbermom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Pennsylvania
Posts: 156
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We follow the rules, or if we change the rules to make it more age-appropriate, we change it for everyone. Like when we play Memory, we each only get one turn, even if we get a match. The kids get too bored if one person gets to keep going and going. I don't just let them win if it's a luck based game and we are all on equal footing. If it's a game where I have an obvious advantage because I'm an adult and they are children, I will purposely slow down a bit. Coming back to Memory, I would win every time if I really tried, so sometimes I choose two random cards even when I know where a match is. It's not so fun if I win by a lot every time.

My daughter (almost 4) doesn't care about winning. She likes to see people she cares about win. My son (5.5) hates losing. We've had to really work on him with this. As a family, we cheer him on when he is doing well and he joins in the cheering when someone else is doing well. We discuss appropriate reactions at the beginning of the game so that he understands what is acceptable for the various outcomes of the game. He still has a hard time with it, but he's getting better at being a more gracious winner and isn't as bothered by losing.

I love the cooperative games. This is one we really like in our house:
http://www.amazon.com/Can-Do-That-Ga.../dp/B002V3RCE6
climbermom is offline  
#19 of 23 Old 03-07-2010, 01:55 PM
 
lonegirl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
Location: Toronto and Sault Ste Marie
Posts: 1,602
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
My son is totally used to losing....he plays video games all the time.
That being said....the most important thing with board games is that we all have fun. If it is a very difficult game then we may tweak the rules a bit.....just for ease of play for him....not so he will automatically win.
We do not allow quitting....this is a pet peeve of both myself and DH. If you start the game you do not quit because yoiu are losing, or bored.
My husband always creates games (since highschool) so he and DS will very creatively make up their own games to play.

PAT- photosmile2.gif Mommy to a super little boy kid.gif Tyr -Nov 17, 2006 Married to joy.gif Sky -August 28, 1993 
Sadly, Jan 21, 2011  m/c 6w5d  angel.gif
lonegirl is offline  
#20 of 23 Old 03-07-2010, 09:33 PM
 
Think of Winter's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: By the Shore
Posts: 2,339
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We play our games in whatever way makes it fun for everyone. Better to bend the rules than have a game result in crying, or to let it sit on the shelf. My dh freely admits that he didn't play Monopoly by the rules until he was well into highschool, and he certainly has no problems with playing by the rules, or losing, now
Think of Winter is offline  
#21 of 23 Old 03-08-2010, 12:08 PM - Thread Starter
 
laohaire's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Posts: 7,115
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I had another thought - maybe I could allow mutual agreement of cheating. But then it's mutual cheating So instead of her getting to win because she's cheating and I'm playing the game, we both cheat. And I don't know how she'll feel about it but I'm quite sure that would get old very fast. I mean, that means every game will be over in a few moves at most (and probably just one after we catch on to cheating) and that's no fun at all. Hence, cheating is no fun.

DD is annoyingly competitive overall, even with cooperative games. DH and I like cooperative games the best, so it's pretty well modelled around here. But we'll be doing a family activity like putting a puzzle together and when the last few pieces are going in DD will announce "I want to win, I want to win!!!" And we'll both be like "It's not about winning, we all work together to do the puzzle!" (FTR we do usually let her put in the last few pieces - they ARE satisfying to do).

Homeschooling mama to 6 year old DD.

laohaire is offline  
#22 of 23 Old 03-08-2010, 02:36 PM
 
Jessy1019's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2006
Location: Flemington, NJ
Posts: 3,222
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We won't play if they won't follow the rules.

My son is 4, and while he doesn't LIKE losing (who does?), he accepts it. If he didn't, we wouldn't play those sorts of games for awhile.

My daughter is 7 . . . if I caught her cheating, I'd end the game and probably not want to play for the rest of the day. She's competitive -- she likes to win and gets excited when she does -- but she also just enjoys playing.

Proud Anti-Adoption, Atheist, Reproductive-Freedom Fighter Mama
Rylie is 7, Ronin is 3.5
Jessy1019 is offline  
#23 of 23 Old 03-08-2010, 02:42 PM
 
claras_mom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2006
Location: California Central Coast
Posts: 2,733
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 2 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by laohaire View Post
DD is annoyingly competitive overall, even with cooperative games. DH and I like cooperative games the best, so it's pretty well modelled around here. But we'll be doing a family activity like putting a puzzle together and when the last few pieces are going in DD will announce "I want to win, I want to win!!!" And we'll both be like "It's not about winning, we all work together to do the puzzle!" (FTR we do usually let her put in the last few pieces - they ARE satisfying to do).
Dd is competitive but she comes by it honestly; dh and I are both the same way. For example, the only way we can play scrabble is to not keep score. S/he who uses all the tiles wins. We both win if we manage to get every single tile placed.

We don't do a lot of board games. For other games--some nature dominos, quirkle (which is basically a variation of dominos), and stuff like that, she's more interested in making up her own rules, which usually means she has some aesthetic in mind, and I'm ok with that.

It's not cheating if you're upfront about making up the new rules.

My best guess is that as dd gets a little older she'll be more interested in learning and following the rules to whatever game we play.

Mom of two girls.
claras_mom is offline  
Reply

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off