Do you let your kids win at games? Do you allow cheating? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 52 Old 01-23-2011, 10:51 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My ds is almost 6, and he can't stand losing games. He gets furious if he doesn't win. He cheats and fudges his way to victory. Mostly I don't care, but it's boring if he wins every game every single time. We've tried cooperative games (Max), but then he just rigs those games too. Should I explain that he can't win every time? Should I put the games away until he can handle losing? Wwy d?

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#2 of 52 Old 01-23-2011, 11:05 AM
 
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We dont allow cheating.

 

My perspective is that when they play games with other kids that cheating will make it that no one will want to play with them. period. I know our schools uses a lot of games in the math curriculum, I would hate to think that my kids would cheat their way through those (some are cooperative games, some are team games, and some are individual). Their are also the standard playground games that get played.

 

It is an important lesson to lose gracefully- at that age it is hard. But a skill that takes practice and just comes more naturally to some kids and is hard to master for others. ( one of my DD is very competitive and struggles with it at times- if she can not play nicely, she misses a round and we play w/ our other DD or we stop the game if we see cheating).

 

DH and I will let our DDs (age 5.5) win occasionally- but they dont know  (such as with memory or card games) that we are 'letting them' win in any way and only do it if they are getting discouraged, or we have played 1,000 rounds and they have not won. We do not make a habit of it- and certainly some times we 'help' them to learn strategies (such as with connect 4, sequences for kids, etc) and it is more us vs the game. We also point out how someone wins (recalls cards, watches other player place chips, etc) so they can learn. Sometimes we make up our own rules, but once made- you can not change them mid-game to suit yourself.

 

I would not allow cheating- or fudging or temper fits. Really talk it through- that no one can always win, you play games for fun, and that you can play again and someone else will win. Play- if he gets mad, put it away or play with your DH, or someone else and model good 'game' skills.

 

You will do him no favors by putting them away either. At age 6, he is old enough to learn to play games and it is a common social activity for kids that age.

 

Work at it, dont allow cheating,and it will take time- esp. if he is a competitive little guy.

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#3 of 52 Old 01-23-2011, 11:21 AM
 
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We always avoided playing games competitively.  I've let ds make up rules as we go along.  We sometimes reassess the goals.  I've been completely charmed by how he will sometimes "cheat" to help other people, especially if they are lagging behind or if he just wants them to have fun (I noticed this when he was 4 or maybe 3).  Sometimes ds would want to prolong a game, say chess, and he and dh would agree to each take back a certain number of pieces.  Despite all this (or maybe because of it, could just be temperament...), I've noticed he is a much better sport than some of his friends.

 

I feel like he does fine playing by the rules with other kids even if he wants to win when playing with me.  I've told him it's ok to change the rules.  He just needs to discuss it with the other players and everyone has to agree.  I enjoy how flexible ds can be with games and see no problem "cheating" at home when playing with parents.


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#4 of 52 Old 01-23-2011, 12:00 PM
 
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I sometimes let my 5 year old cheat (or agree to a rule change that helps him), but if he always wanted to cheat and couldn't stand to lose, I would probably give up playing games with him until he got older. I don't let my kids win, at least not in a sneaky way where I let them think they really beat me fairly.  When they were younger, I might ask them if they wanted me to go easy on them, or wanted me to let them win, and then I wouldn't try very hard (or would deliberately let them win), but I made it clear that I wasn't playing to win.  They don't get too upset about losing.  DD has played a lot of games of chess with me and DP, and she has never, ever won.  She's fine with that.  She likes the challenge of really playing, and when she does win someday, she'll have the satisfaction of knowing it was a real win.

 

When DS was younger and still had trouble sometimes with losing, I found that War was a good game for us to play.  Each little win or loss was immediately followed by another chance to win, so he didn't have time to get frustrated over losing a round. He didn't focus too much on the part at the end where we compared who got the most cards overall, but for a kid who was going to get upset if he didn't win, I might just skip that part. You could also play Set or a memory game without tallying up at the end.

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#5 of 52 Old 01-23-2011, 12:45 PM
 
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Ahhh, I'm going through the same thing with my 6 y.o.!  This morning, I walked away from a dinosaur game because he refused to follow along with the rules and argued when he was supposed to take a penalty.  He fussed and cried because I walked away.  In a calmer moment, I asked him if he'd prefer if we just placed his card piece on the winning spot and didn't bother with the rest of the game.  Then I explained how frustrating it is to play a game with someone who must always win and who complains when he is not winning.  We did play again, and he won - fair and square, by the rules.

 

If we're playing a game like Uno and I've beaten him several times in a row, I may purposely misplay my cards - in a way he doesn't see - to keep the frustration factor down.  Hey, I don't enjoy getting whooped at a game, either. 

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#6 of 52 Old 01-23-2011, 02:48 PM
 
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I let the kids win, not every time, but some of the time. We don't allow cheating though, cheating is just plain wrong. That being said, it can often be frustrating for younger kids. Not just because they loose, or are loosing, but because they are often playing against older and more skilled and/or more aggressive players and almost never, if at all, win.


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#7 of 52 Old 01-23-2011, 03:13 PM
 
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My DD is not old enough to play games yet..But when I was a kid, I played checkers with my grandmother, who was the checkers champion-she played with all of her grandkids and always won...I never beat her, until once when I was about 15. I was incredibly proud of myself, because I had been trying for years to beat her, since I was six, lol..

 

anyway, she was a notorious cheater at cards, specifically UNO, but she always caught me when I was cheating, at least until I got older...But she played UNO for fun, checkers to win.

 

I don't know if this helps you or not, but it is a fond memory for me. I am glad she never let me win, because when I finally beat her, it was a sweet victory.

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#8 of 52 Old 01-23-2011, 05:23 PM
 
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Nope, no cheating. No letting them win. You win some you lose some. That's the way it is.

We try to make the games fun. Instead of playing against our kids, what we do is team up.

We started out by  playing Old Maid, Uno, or something like that where one kid and I will get a hand and DH and the other will too.

It made it fun and funny. This way they didnt have to feel like they were losing alone.

Now we play competitively but with good spirit. They can both beat me at Connect 4 sometimes.

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#9 of 52 Old 01-23-2011, 05:36 PM
 
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We don't "let" DS (4.5) win but since we mostly play adult level games, we give him help as needed which can give him an advantage at times.  So far, he doesn't have a problem with someone else winning.   He's excited when he wins but is often equally or more excited when someone else wins.  We are not super competitive folks...not sure if that influences things.

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#10 of 52 Old 01-23-2011, 06:18 PM
 
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No cheating and whoever wins, wins.

When I win I tell my 4.5 yr old, "That was fun!" and don't gloat (modeling how to win). When she wins I say, "That was fun!" (modeling how to lose) and discourage her gloating. If one of us loses because of a mistake, we'll talk about how we learned something new and hey, we're getting better and better at this game! wink1.gif We keep it positive and light and don't make a big deal about the outcome. While we're playing I will make little comments about how much fun we're having or how interesting it is etc, so the focus is not entirely on the outcome.

I think Chutes & Ladders is a great one, because you're think you're getting ahead and then slide back so you get a lot of practice with wrestling with those emotions.

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Originally Posted by NicaG View Post

My ds is almost 6, and he can't stand losing games. He gets furious if he doesn't win. He cheats and fudges his way to victory. Mostly I don't care, but it's boring if he wins every game every single time. We've tried cooperative games (Max), but then he just rigs those games too. Should I explain that he can't win every time? Should I put the games away until he can handle losing? Wwy d?

Part of the reason kids play games is to learn to follow the rules, take turns, and learn to win or lose gracefully. It's the beginnings of sportsmanship.

If your son is acting like this about losing, there are some questions you may want to ask yourself. Like what are you really teaching him when you play games with him? What is he learning about the value of rules? The importance of winning or losing? Are the lessons he's learning with you about games going to help him play well with his friends? Or are they going to hinder him socially?
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#11 of 52 Old 01-23-2011, 06:34 PM
 
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I've never been able to just "let" someone win, as I had two to consider from the start. However, I heard a really great trick once regarding this. Ask the child 'Do you need me to let you win?'.  This way, everybody recognized that the child is being allowed to win, rather that cheating, or feeling that they really "beat" mom.


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#12 of 52 Old 01-24-2011, 09:15 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Red Pajama View Post

I've never been able to just "let" someone win, as I had two to consider from the start. However, I heard a really great trick once regarding this. Ask the child 'Do you need me to let you win?'.  This way, everybody recognized that the child is being allowed to win, rather that cheating, or feeling that they really "beat" mom.


Yes, "cheating" was never a sneaky thing here.  It was a very overt changing of the goal and the focus was on helping someone else get to the end, not letting them "win".  


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#13 of 52 Old 01-24-2011, 09:17 AM
 
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Absolutely not, to both questions.  I do not let my kids win at games, nor do I allow cheating.

 

The only way to get better at games is by playing better players.  Letting a kid win teaches them absolutely nothing as far as I'm concerned. 

 

And I'm horrified that you would allow cheating.  I can sort of understand parents who on occassion allow their kids to win.  I don't agree, but I can see where they're coming from.  But to allow cheating?  How can you not care?  What's the point of playing a game at all if you allow cheating?

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#14 of 52 Old 01-24-2011, 09:22 AM
 
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I let the kids win, not every time, but some of the time. We don't allow cheating though, cheating is just plain wrong. That being said, it can often be frustrating for younger kids. Not just because they loose, or are loosing, but because they are often playing against older and more skilled and/or more aggressive players and almost never, if at all, win.

That's what we do.  I don't try especially hard to win when I'm playing games with my kids, but sometime I win, sometimes they win.  I think it helps alot to let a kid lose.  They can't win everything every time.  But no cheating, ever. 

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#15 of 52 Old 01-24-2011, 10:46 AM
 
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Please don't allow your kids to cheat.  I have a nephew who was always allowed to cheat at games.  He'd throw a fit, change the rules, cheat etc...and people let him.  And guess what?  He's a teenager now and is a cheater and a poor sport.  Go figure......

 

I never allow cheating.  But, like others, I do sometimes allow them to win.  Especially at games that require skill because as an adult, I have a lot more skill and experience at these games so, I'll always win.  But, in games of luck, I don't usually set it up so they win.  I think loosing teaches way more than winning. 

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#16 of 52 Old 01-24-2011, 11:05 AM
 
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We don't let the children win, and we don't allow cheating.  We just explain that no one likes to play with a sore loser, and if they can't have fun and be a good sport then they can't play.  And we follow through with that, of course.  :)  We don't even let them win at skill games.  We explain that everything takes practice.  No one is born being good at anything.  People who are good at things are good because they practice a lot, and if they (the kids) practice a lot they can be good too! 

 

It's important for them to learn how lose gracefully.  That doesn't mean they can't be competitive though.  We encourage healthy competition and good sportsmanship.  :)

 

ETA:  The kids do win sometimes, and when they do it's extra sweet because they know they did it on their own.  I think that's a HUGE self esteem boost for them.  Like the time DSD, who was 3 then, beat us ALL at Wii Bowling.  She got 7 strikes in a row!  lol


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#17 of 52 Old 01-24-2011, 12:40 PM
 
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I never allow cheating.  But, like others, I do sometimes allow them to win.  Especially at games that require skill because as an adult, I have a lot more skill and experience at these games so, I'll always win.  But, in games of luck, I don't usually set it up so they win.  I think loosing teaches way more than winning. 


I remember my dad never allowed me to win at anything, ever...so I basically stopped playing chess against him.  It just wasn't enjoyable to have my butt handed to me again and again.  So, remembering this, I also will give my kids a frustration-break at games that involve a lot of skill.  Games that involve little skill, I play them straight.  And with games that involve memory, my kids will kick my butt with no assistance from me.  The acts of being pregnant, giving birth and experiencing post-baby sleep deprivation permanently impaired my memory. 
 

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#18 of 52 Old 01-24-2011, 01:15 PM
 
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And I'm horrified that you would allow cheating.  I can sort of understand parents who on occassion allow their kids to win.  I don't agree, but I can see where they're coming from.  But to allow cheating?  How can you not care?  What's the point of playing a game at all if you allow cheating?

 

The point of playing a game is to have fun, right?  For an older kid or grownup, part of the fun is the challenge of trying to do as well as possible while staying within the rules of the game.  For a 3 year old, having to follow the rules may just be frustrating, and it can be more fun to make things go the way you want them to.  If the point is to have fun, why not let a young kid play in whatever way makes the game fun?  Insisting on adherence to the official rules at all times seems to me to be giving the wrong message.  It makes the game too important - it's not just something you're having fun with, it's an IMPORTANT CONTEST, and it's vital to make sure no one gets an unfair advantage, because winning (or losing) is a BIG DEAL.  By not caring if my kid takes back a bad move or spins again when he doesn't like what he got the first time, I'm setting a good example.  I'm showing that I don't care all that much about whether or not I win.
 

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#19 of 52 Old 01-24-2011, 01:30 PM
 
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 By not caring if my kid takes back a bad move or spins again when he doesn't like what he got the first time, I'm setting a good example.  I'm showing that I don't care all that much about whether or not I win.
 

 

I don't think this is setting a good example at all.

 

It isn't showing him you don't care about winning, it is showing him you don't care about following the rules of the game. And that to me will set him up for a lot of disappointment down the road. Following the rules hardly removes the fun from the game-what removes the fun is kids who can't handle following the rules and freak out or cheat when they might lose. Being a poor sport and not being able to handle losing gracefully removes the fun from the game for everyone.

 

If a child is so distraught at following the rules of a particular game that the answer is to allow him to cheat, then the game is too hard for him, or he is not tempermentally ready, or doesn't yet get the expectations of the game.

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#20 of 52 Old 01-24-2011, 04:11 PM
 
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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.

 

I don't allow cheating however, and I will call my kids on it, precisely because it'll cause them to be ostracized by others if they don't play by the rules. If we all agree on adjusting the rules, that's fine, but it's got to be overt and agreed upon.

 

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.

 

As our kids get older, I'm less kind when we play board games. And they have beaten me on their own merits occasionally (I suck at checkers, so it's a fair game even if I don't try to let them win). Dh regularly beats ds playing Wii games. I asked him last night if he'd maybe let ds win. "Let him win? Never!" was his response, so I wonder if part of this is personality.


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#21 of 52 Old 01-24-2011, 05:03 PM
 
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Originally Posted by oaktreemama View Post
If a child is so distraught at following the rules of a particular game that the answer is to allow him to cheat, then the game is too hard for him, or he is not tempermentally ready, or doesn't yet get the expectations of the game.

 

Well, yeah.  That's when I would allow cheating - when the kid isn't temperamentally or developmentally ready to play the game according to the rules.  I'm not sure it should even be called cheating if the kid wants to do something that isn't in the rules and I let him.  It's not like he tries to do it secretly and I pretend I didn't see it. 

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#22 of 52 Old 01-24-2011, 05:16 PM
 
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We always have a practice game for newbies-whether they be children or adults. The practice game gives you a chance to have do overs as the rules are learned. The other more experienced players will also give advice so the new learner gets some positive feedback on his moves.

 

But after that you learn from your mistakes-that's how you remember the rules. We like to play lots of card games in this family and enjoy boardgames as well. I think done properly game playing with family and friends is immensely beneficial to children-it helps them develop socially and learn to enjoy thinking things through.

 

Allowing the child to cheat so that he can win or save face is detrimental.

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#23 of 52 Old 01-24-2011, 05:27 PM
 
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Quote:
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If a child is so distraught at following the rules of a particular game that the answer is to allow him to cheat, then the game is too hard for him, or he is not tempermentally ready, or doesn't yet get the expectations of the game.

 

Well, yeah.  That's when I would allow cheating - when the kid isn't temperamentally or developmentally ready to play the game according to the rules.  I'm not sure it should even be called cheating if the kid wants to do something that isn't in the rules and I let him.  It's not like he tries to do it secretly and I pretend I didn't see it. 


I see what you're saying, and I think that's okay...as long as everyone playing the game is on board with the revised rules.  It's not fair to bend the rules for one child and not the others though.

 

As for the child being discouraged by never winning a game, I don't find that to be true for us.  They win their fair share of games.  :)


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#24 of 52 Old 01-24-2011, 05:51 PM
 
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No to both questions.

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#25 of 52 Old 01-24-2011, 08:35 PM
 
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Quote:; If the point is to have fun, why not let a young kid play in whatever way makes the game fun?  Insisting on adherence to the official rules at all times seems to me to be giving the wrong message.  It makes the game too important - it's not just something you're having fun with, it's an IMPORTANT CONTEST, and it's vital to make sure no one gets an unfair advantage, because winning (or losing) is a BIG DEAL.  By not caring if my kid takes back a bad move or spins again when he doesn't like what he got the first time, I'm setting a good example.  I'm showing that I don't care all that much about whether or not I win.
 

See, I think that isn't showing him that you don't care who wins. I think that is showing him that is is ok to change the rules so you can win. And if winning is important enough to change Rules for, then it must be a pretty big deal, right? You don't change other Rules at home or school, but you change them in the name of winning.

And the point of playing games is NOT just to have fun. From the kid's perspective, yes it is. But as adults we know it's much more.

It's better to enjoy the moment, the process of playing together, instead of the results. To me, allowing cheating or rule changing mid-game (unless it's a new rule everyone wants to follow for fun) is placing the focus on who is going to win.
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#26 of 52 Old 01-25-2011, 03:42 AM
 
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We do sometimes make allowances for children being younger, for example giving them more time to complete a move, or suggestion why a move is a good/not so good choice and giving them an opportunity to change their mind. As a PP mentioned I don't think both kids are ready for the same games so this means we can play as a family without frustration. Pairing up the adults and children also happens and helps the kids learn strategies.

 

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#27 of 52 Old 01-25-2011, 04:26 AM
 
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this thread reminds me of how much i dislike games lol.gif

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#28 of 52 Old 01-25-2011, 04:38 AM
 
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I don't allow cheating or made-up rules (unless all the players agree on the rules).  Sometimes I don't give it 100% just so DS has a chance to win more often, but I don't "let" him win, not blatantly.  He just turned 6 and he also gets upset sometimes when he loses but we're working on it.  I just explain that not everyone can win all of the time and with practice he'll win more.

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#29 of 52 Old 01-25-2011, 04:50 AM
 
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No to both questions.  From the time we've been playing games, we've always made sure we mix up the games so that different people have different advantages and no single person wins all the time or loses all the time.  For example, we have one game called Huggermugger that we really enjoy, but it's an English language game.  Dh is not American, and he's at a distinct disadvantage to dd and me even though he has the Ph.D in computer science.  Games that require logic and strategy, he has a serious advantage, though.  Trivia, I have the advantage, and memory & drawing, dd has the advantage.  We also play games of pure dumb luck and those that use a bit of strategy with a bit of luck (card games, for example) where anybody can win.  Everyone gets a chance to win... fairly.  If rules have to be bent to accommodate a younger player, then they are probably too young to play the game.  If everyone playing agrees to a fun twist, then that's different.  I would never raise a child to think that cheating (even with adult family members) is okay or that they are entitled for ANY reason to unfair advantages.

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#30 of 52 Old 01-25-2011, 10:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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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. 

 

I think all this has clarified a couple things for me:

-ds is very much a rule-follower at school, and he is happy to play board games at playdates or with our babysitter, and he follows the rules and doesn't get upset when others win.  I think part of what is going on is that he feels competitive with dh and me, and winning games (by whatever means necessary) is a way for him to assert dominance sometimes in a low-stakes way

 

-I think we started games ( like Candyland) when ds was a little too young to follow rules and play a whole game, so we didn't focus much on the rules, we just played for fun and stopped when we got tired of playing, even if we hadn't finished.  Now that ds is old enough to follow game rules, we're having trouble adjusting to the idea that we don't just play fast and loose like we used to.

 

-I think ds finds a lot of games boring, and changing rules makes the games more interesting for him.  He has recently started learning chess, and he has no interest in changing the rules and has no problem with other people winning--he seems much more interested in seeing how strategy works on both sides of the game.

 

-Playing most board games is not something I enjoy, so I tend to tune out a little while we're playing, and I don't much care what ds does while we're playing.  Maybe I should care more. Maybe I need to either change my attitude or stop playing games with ds.

 

Thanks, all.


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