Sunday, January 18, 2009

Reader Poll: Games

When we were on our annual trip Up North this year (post Christmas) we hosted a couple that BioMom knows through work (she works with the husband). They happened to be on the North Shore of Lake Superior over the same weekend.

Being an introvert, I did not look forward to this, preferring instead to hoard all the time up there with only those with whom I am extremely close. In retrospect, however, as usual, I very much appreciate her efforts to broaden our world.

This evening was no exception.

The couple, and their two daughters, were lovely.

At one point we were talking about playing board games with the kids. Eight loves Monopoly and Big is really getting into games of all kinds, regardless of his level of understanding.

BioMom and I approach gaming with the kids in the same way that we approach parenting, I suppose. I'm the honest, reality-based adult in the house whereas she's the soft-landing parent.

As an example, once after Eight, then Six or something, had had a piano recital that she effed up entirely, mainly because of nerves rather than not practicing asked "how'd I do?" I responded, "do you want me to be nice or honest?"

So follows the games.

That night with the couple over, we got into a debate about letting kids win at games.

The wife was vehement about not letting them win.

I fell somewhere in the middle, whereas BioMom is a pure softy. The kids will grow up wondering if she CAN win games. In college, the'll look back and wonder if she even comprehends the rules to games like UNO and discuss the probability of never getting doubles in Monopoly to get herself out of jail.

So what do you do? Do you let them win? Do you instill a level of competition? What's your take on gaming with kids?


Anonymous said...

I think this answered depends on the individual child and the age of said child. Letting them win 100% of the time isn't helpful, because then how can they ever get better, learn the rules, strategy, etc. But losing ALL THE TIME isn't fun either -- so there might be some value in letting the child win enough to be encouraging. After all, isn't winning what's fun about playing games?

Jen said...

I agree with thistles it depends on the age and the child. When my son was younger he handled losing poorly so it was not in his best interest to let him win. He handled winning poorly too and that was another lesson that needed teaching. Daughter on the other hand loves to play the game she could care less about winning or losing so we play to have fun. It doesn't hurt either of them that I don't have to fake it too much since I suck at most board games anyway.

giddings said...

BioMom just challenged me to a Suduko speed round (apparently some geek she works with does this with her husband on Friday nights). I gave up without a fight. She moves through those things like a hot knife in butter (even the really tough ones with only 3 numbers in a box of nine! I'm still scratching my head an hour later and she's moved on to other leisurely tasks.). So I agree with you Jen -- It doesn't take much for me to loose a board game to an eight year old!

m said...

When my niece and nephew were about 7 and 9, the games were on! I'd play a game with them to make sure they each understood it - like all cards face up so we can help each other. After they get the hang of it, then we start the 'real' play. They din't win the first or second time. But they beat me when they visited me the next weekend. And we were excited that they worked for it - that was fun for all of us. And they know I don't let kids win.