Parents will often find themselves in contests with their children. Today was no exception. My daughter Kat and I put on these silly plastic discs with velcro padding and threw a tennis ball back and forth–the object being you catch the ball with the plastic disc, w/velcro padding. Ok….so the stage was set for some sort of competition. Kat, age 6, threw the ball to me and I caught it. Grandma said, one point for daddy. I threw the ball to Kat, she caught it…you get the idea. The “game” turned into a contest to see who could catch the most balls. The Mayans would be proud.
We played to ten. The score was Daddy 8, Kat 3, before I realized I needed to suddenly become completely inept at catching things. Why? Because kids need to win. I know, I know, life is a bitch and kids need to learn we can’t always come out ahead. I don’t care. In a situation like this, you need to let your kid win. They need to feel victorious and they need to feel the satisfaction of beating the person who can ground them if they talk back. More than that, they need feel like they can have something to build on. “Maybe I CAN throw and catch better than my dad. The next time I’ll kick his ass even more.”
The final score–Kat 10, Daddy 9. When the final catch was made, my daughter jumped up and down like she had just won the Stanley Cup. It was a memory I will never forget. Kids love little victories because they aren’t little–they are huge. Parents need to remember that. Kids need victories to know they are capable. Just like Santa Claus is engrained in our minds and passed down from generation to generation, “throwing” games like I did today is a ritual every parent is faced with. And I say, “God bless the ritual.”
I will trade a loss to my child for anything in the world, because I got to see the look on her face when she realized she beat her dad. The next time we “lace up the skates”, she will be that much stronger and confident. For those of us lucky enough to have kids, it doesn’t get any better than that.
Let your kids win when the opportunity is appropriate. It’s a time-honored tradition that has been passed on from generation to generation. And it’s a good thing.
Eating chips for breakfast is another story….that is one contest Daddy will always win. And that’s good too.