What I learned from beating my kid at Candyland.

It’s a pleasant Saturday morning. The sandwich maker made me some bomb ass breakfast, then she took the girls to the farmer’s market while Hot Rod and I are holding down the fort. He has been as rambunctious as ever lately. He doesn’t like to be held and must explore at every possibility. I am drinking some Black Rifle Coffee and listening to R.E.M. This is one of those topics I began to write about and then put away for later. I had another topic I was going to use, but it may take me a while to put it together. Anyway, what brought me back to my unpublished ramblings folder was a post I saw from a good friend of mine.  It was about how he didn’t let his three-year-old beat him in a play sword fight.  While my example is a lot less rough and tumble, it still has the same message and point behind it. Kids need to learn how to earn it, so they can succeed later.

My sister came over the other night (time is relative) for dinner and brought the game candy land with her. Kash was excited, she enjoyed playing this game at her Maw-Maw’s. After dinner, we broke out the board and began to draw cards.  We played a few games and each came away with a win. Since that night, Candy Land was the flavor of the week. It’s simple enough game for her, just colors and pictures. She has fun and attempted to be sneaky, but I don’t let her get away any of it. I also didn’t let her win; she has earned it the few times she has beat me (which isn’t often). She also enjoys the challenge of a race. Kash loves to run, and she is always the first one to throw down a race challenge and doesn’t back down from one. When we are on walks around the neighborhood or park, she always asks where she can run to. I will race her at every opportunity I can. Whether it’s on a walk or from the truck to the front door of the house, it’s always on. I also don’t let her win, unless she is crafty enough too. Like when she says ready, set, go without warning and the distance is short.  Most of the time, I smoke her or win at the last second (playfully). She gets a little frustrated and tells me it isn’t fair, and she is right. It isn’t fair. She is a tiny human who is still growing.  But just because it isn’t fair doesn’t mean I am going to let her win to ensure she feels good about herself. If she wants to beat me, she must earn it. And sometimes she does, as I stated before.  But her craftiness only gets so far. The way I see it, if I let her win all the time, she will expect to win. But if she loses, she will learn how to bounce back.

Don’t let your kids beat you until they can, and they will be better off for it.  Just watch the movie Hot Rod.  Spoiler Alert. Rod’s step-dad (Frank) didn’t let him win, and look at what he achieved. He raised enough money to buy Frank a new heart. The drive and determination led him to attempt one of the most daring acts in movie history, jumping 15 buses. After that he got him a new heart and finally won a wrestling match. It was at that moment Rod earned his respect from Frank. Who knows how the story would have turned out if Frank let him win. He most likely would have died and the movie would have never been disaster. That would have been travesty.

I have learned it’s never too early to explain things to a child. They may not understand it right away, but if you explain it enough they will catch on. There are ways to simplify explanations, but it’s not always easy.  Same goes with winning and losing. Letting her win just to win teaches her nothing.  It’s simple enough, if it is earned, she will have a sense of accomplishment. Otherwise she will become used to it and think she deserves it without earning it. I am sure this is how bratty, rude, and disrespectful kids are created (along with never hearing the word “no” and always getting what they want). Kids are smart, and sometimes we don’t give them enough credit.  They can handle what lessons you throw at them, just tailor them to their age. It’s not always easy, but you’ll figure it out.


Do work, be rad


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