Nearly everyone loves playing games, especially kids. Whether it's snap, dominos or top trumps you can bet that children are instantly attentive once you start shuffling some cards or break out the snakes and ladders.
Of course dad has to join in as it's just not as much fun otherwise, and in my case it quickly became apparent that I'm an endless butt of almost every cheating and rule-breaking scam known to childkind.
So they can go up ladders and snakes (but I can't); they can give themselves fewer dominos so they always finish first; any card game has an extra rule for children and not dads.
Then there's table football. We've got a home version of those machines you see in college bars and on which I wasted many an hour in my youth. With the twins against dad, there can only be one winner, as my score is routinely reduced to zero by some arbitrary ruling, and the ball positioned at the feet of their centre forward by the 'referee' – because they can.
I don't mind letting them win but I do wonder if I should enforce rules more. What if they grow up thinking they can get away with cheating? Maybe I should fight back and do a bit of crafty rule bending of my own. I recall my father (and my very crafty grandfather, for that matter) doing it to me.
So dads can be too much of a soft touch I reckon. Anyway, the next game will be one where every rule has to be obeyed – chess. It's my chance to explain that the game just isn't, well, chess if one of my pieces mysteriously disappears from the board, or a pawn zooms up the board to become a queen in one move.
Do you let your kids 'cheat'? Or are you a stickler for rules?
Catch up with previous Dedicated Dad columns.
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