My children love playing games. Board games, card games, rhyming games...it really doesn't matter to them, as long as it's not too complicated.
I hate playing games with my children.
First it was the turn taking. The girls eventually sorted it out, but the boy continued to have troubles. For a while we would only play games if he was napping, because he'd just grab things and play the game HIS way.
Then it was rules. My children, who love rules, who thrive best when their lives have structure and purpose, were totally defeated by the basic rules of a simple board game. The fighting, the crying, the tantrums, and (if I was lucky) the quitting marked each game and began to take its toll. For awhile I hid them all and we concentrated on crafts.
Parenting seems to be all about doing something until you can't do it any more, because I got tired of crafts and the board games have reappeared.
They play better now, but there are still meltdowns and upsets. Generally, they each get out their own game and play it alone and then trade, but they do occasionally play together*. They prefer it if I DON'T play with them, because then they can adjust the rules as they go so that they all stay happy (and win together). I'm not a naturally competitive person, so it warms my heart to see them creatively playing and getting along. Who cares about rules?
What works in our home does not translate well to the real world though.
Yesterday in Primary I was in charge of Sharing Time (this is the 20 minutes when all the children are together for a lesson). We were playing a game of "baseball" where they drew out a ball with a principle on it and then rolled a die to determine how well they obeyed the principle (how far they hit the ball). Since it was purely a game of chance, we divided the teams along Junior vs. Senior. This puts all of MY kids on the same team.
The Juniors went first and everyone was having lots of fun. Then the Seniors went and started getting "hits" and the Juniors watched in dismay. My kids faces drooped more and more. Every cry of "Yes!" from the Seniors brought an answering cry of "NO!" and lots of pouting and distress from my kids. No, not the entire team, just my 3
The Juniors get to go again and there is happiness and cheering (and a shout out to our Seniors who cheered on the little kids with almost as much enthusiasm as they cheered themselves on). Then it's the Senior's turn, and we're running out of time, so this is for the win....
There were a series of small base hits. Every SINGLE one of which was celebrated by the Seniors. Every SINGLE one of which hit my kids harder and harder. The Princess cried NO and pouted. The Boy jerked in his seat as if each "hit" was a physical blow and groaned and pouted. My poor little Sweetpea dissolved into tears and wept all over the Secretary, sobbing more with each point.
The other adults in the room? Killed themselves laughing. (I might have too if I could have gotten away with it).
Then it happened. With the bases loaded, one of the Seniors hit (rolled) a home run.
There was weeping, there was wailing, and, yes, I believe there was gnashing of teeth.
The Seniors had won, and my kids were done for. The pain! The sorrow! The unfairness of it all!
The grownups laughed themselves silly. It may be cruel, but the DRAMA! My kids really react in completely over the top ways.
It seems we may have a few nights of gaming in our future, just so we can learn how to be good losers. I really hate to see us have to have winners and losers though.
*I just realized that, even though there are multiple board games out each and every day in our house, I have no photos of the kids playing. I'll be getting right on that and may update this post afterwards.