Monday, December 17, 2012

BOARD GAMES BANNED! Why I banned them.

So I bought my 6 year old a board game for Christmas. I vowed never to bring another one of those things into my house again because every time I bought one (since having kids) the pieces have been lost, or the board broken, or the box destroyed, and some times all three. (Any game or toy with small pieces really) But I just can't fathom a child not experiencing Candy Land, Chuttes and Ladders, Sorry, or Clue at least once. Candy Land is sitting in my closet waiting for Santa to put it under the tree on Christmas eve night. . .and I am waiting for the game to be completely destroyed by New Years.

The Shooter's parents still have board games and toys from when he was a child and when I was young, I would have my games for many years. So that means either my parenting sucks or my kids can't physically put games away for some unknown, probably unscientific reason. Let's explore this a bit further. The shooter and I were taught that when we played a board game we put it away immediately. Plain and simple, if we didn't we were in big trouble. We did what we were taught to do every time.

I thought I had been teaching the same to my kids, but somehow, it didn't turn out the same.  The kids would ask if they could play a game and we would get it out for them with strict words to put it up properly before moving onto their next adventure. While I was busy doing my own thing (cleaning, going potty, writing etc) they would move onto a new activity and when I would check on them, the game would still be scattered all over the table or floor. They would be made to pick it up and punishment would ensue and then. . .just hit repeat about a dozen times.  I tried everything, including holding my need to potty until they were done playing so that I could supervise clean up, and even not letting them have the games unless an adult was playing.  But first of all, with every kid it gets harder and harder to trick the bladder, and second, what kind of fun is it to have to play with your parents when you don't want to.  Actually what kind of fun is that for parent or child. (My children were kinda quirky and didn't like adults during play.)  I also tried grounding and probably just about a dozen other things to no avail. Eventually I would either find the creative little devils using (and losing) the game/toy pieces in ways in which they weren't intended or I would find them sliding through the kitchen using the game board and box as skate boards. Eventually I gave up on having games in our house even though I knew I would really miss the family game nights - the rare occasions when the games were treated properly. Besides, there was no way we could afford to keep buying new games every few months!

I guess I could have watched the kids closer, but that really isn't how I parent and it isn't how they have fun. Yes I think it is very important to engage and interact with your kids a lot, but I can't do it all day, every day. I had things I needed to get done and the kids needed to learn to be independent. You see, my kids are kind of a strange breed in that they have to want me to play a specific role in their game play adventures. If I organize something or they don't specifically invite me to play, they don't want me around.  So what was a mom to do? Keep buying board games over and over or completely ban them?  I chose to ban them. . .until I had three more kids. Unfortunately I didn't ban other toys with small pieces so I soon realized the younger three kids are the same as the older two when it comes to these things.

Fast forward to Thanksgiving night 2012. I figured I could try one last time this year to see if we could keep one bard game intact for more than a week. Do I expect it to happen?  No! We are talking about kids who can't be bothered to put their books back in their backpacks when done studying, toys in the toy box when done playing, or dishes in the sink when done eating. No matter how much I teach them to or punish them, they just don't learn. But then that leaves you to wonder how the kids are turning out so good.  They have learned to be independent, strong, polite and kindhearted at my hands so why can't I teach them to put small toys/game pieces in a box when they are done playing with them!  I don't know.  I think this one is beyond even me, maybe it is just one of those things. (Cue Twilight Zone music)

Until next time. . .hold your loved ones tighter <3

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