Friday, September 28, 2012

Let the Wookie win

I took the Bratii down to the riverside a couple of weekends ago (before the deluge) and we ended up on one of the crazy golf courses. I won as usual, but they drew with each other and more importantly were only 2 points behind me - damn close. Why bother to mention this? Well they were both quite chuffed at getting that close and I think some might consider this a bit odd; surely they'd only be happy if they'd won?

I look around at the other adult/child relationships with games and I watch children's strokes ignored, I watch the adults 'accidentally' fluff easy shots and I see the kids winning a lot more than they should and I just don't understand it. I don't do that - with board games, cards and the fairground type things I play to win.

But doesn't that just mean I'm a sore loser? I have no problem with losing in fact I've to both Bratii at board and card games occasionally and in every instance their reaction has been one of almost stupefied awe. Minor has run off to find his parents to tell them he won - that he beat me; and his parents have paid attention and congratulated him because it's an actual accomplishment and I've backed him up no "He must of cheated" or "Just got lucky" occasionally yes I've had a really bad hand of cards and they've had really good ones; but that means nothing if you don't play them well too and they've learned how to do that because I've never let them get away with mistakes. They play the wrong card or make the wrong move and I'll jump on it pointing out exactly why it was a mistake. The result being that although they may make the same mistake a second time I've not known them to make it a third.

But doesn't losing all the time just make them not want to play? I've not found that, quite the opposite; when they lose they're the ones who want a rematch. They judge it by how close they get to beating me (or their brother) and they're constantly trying to close the gap. Sure I encourage this. I've never made a big deal out of them losing, never made a big deal out of me winning. They're the ones who want to play games; even typical-teen Major only puts up a token protest at being dragged out a game magazine/phone game/book

As a contrast Devil Child seems to get a little more spoiled with games (though not with me) she's a sweetie in that she doesn't mind losing (with the random luck games), but I can tell she's used to winning at the 'skill' games. The difference is that she just can't seem to settle with a game. She'll play a game and lose to me and then we have to play a different game; she'll play that game with someone else and win and stick to that game.

This attitude crops up in other areas too. We were at her local playground and I walked across a balance log and asked her if she could do it? She tried fell off and gave up. I pushed at her to try again and she did; got further fell off and went into a sulk that she couldn't do it. I pointed out that she'd got further this time; she still sulked then came back. Got further, fell off, sulked. Came back and managed to get all the way across which thrilled her. I showed her different ways of crossing and from that point on she was happy to both get on and fall off, because she knew she'd managed it once.

I think it just gives them something to strive for and stops them from getting bored; winning all the time gets dull - hell I used to get bored of it; but now they're getting better and the games are actually becoming competitive - I can no longer assume I'm going to be the winner and that makes it more fun for me too.

I just don't get the 'let the kid' win attitude; sure it's initially just a bit of fun and even I don't play to the best of my abilities in the less competitive hide and seek/tag type games (I'll overlook mistakes, but not repeatedly); but hit the age of 4 and they can't expect an easy ride in games of skill. They have to work at it, learn how to play and then when they do win they've done it fair and square and they know it.