To let our kids win or to beat them heartlessly (aka Fair and Square)? That is the question.
Now, mind you- I come from the school of “Not-Everyone-Deserves-A-Trophy-Just-For-Participating”. I want my kids to be competitive, to have drive and to want to be their best. However, my husband refers to our kids’ lack of effort as their “Give-a-crap-o-meter”. When it comes to certain things, my kids just don’t care. When it comes to school and grades- our daughter’s competitive meter runs extremely high. When it comes to emptying the dishwasher- not so much. Our son, on the other hand, has a competitive nature that is unparalleled. For two minutes. Until it’s clear he is not going to win at something. Then he just gives up. Someone must have been cheating. Someone wasn’t playing fair. It couldn’t possibly be that I am the Grand Master and High Priestess of Spoons, or that I can play Crazy 8s like a Boss. Arms are then crossed. Head is then dropped down with the scowl still evident on his wrinkled brow. The boy hates losing.
For a while, when they were smaller, I would get so excited to see their joy in “beating me” at a game like Candyland. Their proud squeals as they slid their little game pieces first into the Sorry “home row” filled me with delight. Sure, I’ve been known to throw a game or two, but mainly in my earnest for the God forsaken game to just end already. Apparently, I let that go on for far too long. Do we help or hurt their self esteem by “playing left handed” or handicapping ourselves in some way? Should I wipe their tears when I buy up all of the property and build hotels in Monopoly? Where is the line?
Kids have to learn how to cope and maintain their positive sense of self when they come in second, or even last!
But here is where that stops. No more taking a dive. No more throwing the game. No more sandbagging.
Will I occasionally question my resolve? Of course?
But a card laid is a card played.