They’ll go on the shelf alongside Battleship, Sorry!, Connect 4, and other fun little distractions we can gather around the table on a Sunday night to get away from electronics and have a few competitive laughs as a family.
Yes, I said competitive. I beat my kids at board games, and you should too.
You should beat your kids at video games. You should beat your kids at races.
Life doesn’t work that way. So I teach my kids about competition.
My kids like to race my car home from the park when I come home at the end of the day. I may coast for half a block and stay even with them, but I always beat my kids to the driveway. When it comes to playing air hockey at the movie theatre, or pinball at the hot dog shop, I show them who’s boss.
Baseball in the driveway? I swing for the fences and make them run all day long.
Even in board games on Sunday nights after dinner – I want to win.
This competitive level started because my oldest used to whine and pout when he didn’t win. He was so used to Mommy and Daddy flaking off at games, that when it didn’t go his way, he’d cross his arms and pout. It got to a point where he needed an occupational therapist to help him control his emotional reactions at school for something as simple as taking turns.
“Everyone remembers the kid in the playground who kicked the ball into the woods when he lost the game,” Matthew Biel, a paediatric psychiatrist at Georgetown University Medical Center, told The Wall Street Journal. “That kid wasn’t given the skills to recover from failure. You don’t want to be that kid.”
My son was becoming that kid. He needed a few good beatings to help him understand his place in the universe was not the centre.
So the whole “playing hard” thing evolved as a tactic to show him that life doesn’t always goes his way. He needed to recognize he’s not the only one that wins, and had to be taught to understand the rules about taking turns and being cooperative.
While I’ve been playing hard with him, I’ve stopped the selfishness from creeping in with our 3-year-old.
And you know what? Beating my son has worked.
We now have a much more patient and empathetic child who understands that not everything goes his way.