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Early Breakfast with Jenni Falconer 4am - 6am
This week: Everyone hates to be the loser - but should we let our kids win?
When my son Harley, who’s now eleven, and I would play games together when he was much younger I don’t think I enjoyed the sweet smell of victory as much as I should have. In fact, I would go as far as to say that I even let him win on occasion – but that was big mistake as now I’m unable to beat him at anything!
In an attempt to reach out and spend some quality time with him, I mentioned that it would be nice to play together on the X-Box on a game that I once ruled. But he now makes me look like it’s the first time I’ve been on a games console and would rather join his friends online who are of equal ability.
In my childhood, I remember looking up to my father as a man who I believed was better at almost anything I could do. Not that we really ever put it to the test – we didn’t really play games together and he never tried to go higher than me on the swings at the park. But at the time I always believed he could have if he had wanted to.
As parents, we are now more interactive with our kids than perhaps ours were. But are we just making ourselves look stupid – or ‘lame’ as they might put it. Are we looked at with less respect if they outwit us at everything from board games to swingball.
After all, our kids’ reflexes are quicker. While playing shoot ‘em up games I am reminded why people of my age are not sent to war zones.
I have never really been a competitive person and so losing doesn’t reduce me to tears – but I wish now that I had enjoyed those glory days more.
I am a very competitive person, but you probably know that! So it’s important to me that I bring my daughter in the same way.
I love and have always loved playing games with my daughter, right from an early age. I think the first game we played together was picture dominoes. We would spend hours sitting on the floor picking up and placing down oversized dominoes and I would make sure that it was absolutely fair when it came to winning and losing.
I am a great believer in learning how to play games properly and also how to accept that you can’t always win. I have never let my daughter or any other child win because of their age – they have to win by playing well, not simply because I thought I should let them.
I absolutely hate parents who say, ‘oh, go on, let them win this one’, - no way, they have to learn that they can’t win everything in life, sometimes you have to lose.
Luckily for me I’m not at the same stage as Martin who is being beaten at everything by his son – I still manage to win the odd game on the Wii and usually still win at Connect 4. I’m also better than her at swingball too – but then she is still only eight years old and about a quarter of my size so I should be!
I hope that I will always give her a good game at whatever it is we choose to play together; it must be terrible for Harley to have no competition when it comes to games or sports. How bad must Martin look in his son’s eyes if he is always beating his 45-year-old dad at everything? I would imagine he thinks he’s a bit sad and not very talented!
My daughter will never think that about me, because I will always play to the best of my ability and with the need to win!