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Subject: Cheating: Makes ya not want to play.... rss

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Mr Osterman
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So with the weather we had another snow day yesterday and my kids agreed to a game of The Quacks of Quedlinburg which has been a killer go-to game for me. It's easy to explain, easy to understand, and pretty forgiving given that it's all random.

Only our game yesterday was anything but random.

I'd be looking at my cauldron and really debating if I should press my luck and then glance at my two kids (age 7 and 11). Lo and behold they have had near perfect runs. Somehow, SOMEHOW they are down to their last 5 chips and almost none of the ones that would bust them have been pulled out. It was crazy how perfect their pulls were.

And this happened 3 rounds in a row.

For the last round I asked that we all keep our bags on the table so we can watch each other draw. Neither did quite as well but by now they were perfecting their "peek and draw" move, or were watching to see who I was watching more closely.

So as we're cleaning up the game and my oldest has won by 12 points over his sister and 30 points over me, I have a real moment to say "I'm pretty sure you guys were peeking before you drew and you know you're not supposed. It isn't very fun to play a game when other people aren't playing fairly."

My youngest fesses up to having peeked "a few times" while she was drawing and insisted she wanted to see how many chips she had left and that she didn't MEAN to see what she was about to draw and change it. Now because they're younger we house rule that kids can investigate their bags between draws because as a Math Teacher I'm a huge fan of teaching probabilities. But the oldest, he doesn't admit to anything and when I say "I don't know if this is a game I want to play if people are going cheat" he says "yeah, I can see that".

Which is annoying because I'm the gamer in the house and I like to play with them. And they all had a fun time watching their cauldrons fill and watching their chips combo. But I'm coming around to a certain disappointment that my oldest didn't seem to "get" the problem for everyone with not playing an honest game.

Anyway... just sharing a bummer of a day with some folks I figure can understand.
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Dan Collins
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I had a Drill Sargent in the Army once tell me:

"If you ain't cheatin', you ain't tryin'...and if you get caught cheatin', then you ain't tryin' hard enough"

In all seriousness, I would take it as a learning lesson for them. Integrity is an important concept to teach our children. I would praise your youngest for fessing up - that's a good lesson as well. The oldest is old enough to be embarrassed about cheating, he'll get it.

Happy gaming and parenting!

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Alexandre Santos
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I can totally understand that it feels very disheartening to face that kind of behavior, specially if there is a denial.

Does your son have difficulty losing, or is this exacerbated by sibling rivalry?

I think it's worth explaining that cheating robs everyone of the game, cheater included, that cheating means you are not playing the game but addressing stakes that go beyond the game, usually self-worth insecurities.

Failure/defeat are useful to learn, and statistically, in any >2p game you're expected to lose more than 50% of the time. So learning to deal with defeat is absolutely essential to enjoy multiplayer games.

Anyways, playing with kids is sometimes exasperating, thanks for sharing!
 
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Justin R
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Understood. My twins turn 7 end of February (leap day), and they're not quite diabolical yet, but they do get extremely frustrated when things don't go their way. I've tried to temper this by playing highly volatile games with them, so that they experience crests and troughs multiple times over a session. They won't be allowed to play if they try to go against the rules.

Love the idea of teaching them probabilities while they play. Any layering of probabilities would entail a whole conversation is not something they'd easily grasp now, as they are not practiced in multiplication (only learn it at home so far, so no reinforcement at school). But I like this idea.
 
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Chris Nash
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7 and 11?

Stamp on that now. No way my kids get away with that when they're that old.
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Mr Osterman
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AlexFS wrote:

Does your son have difficulty losing, or is this exacerbated by sibling rivalry?



He is not a good loser. I think that he does a lot of mental "I see me winning" and then struggles when reality does not meet that expectation/ vision. This has been an ongoing thing for years. He is highly competitive but prefers single player video games over board games. He can really get upset too with a video game if he struggles to get past a part; his tenacity is still developing.

My daughter(the 7 year old) is a little better but she's also the one more likely to "obviously cheat" at a game (like openly reach over to the bank to take extra money). She knows better and expects to get caught and thinks its part of the fun of playing: to joke about cheating.

Quote:
Love the idea of teaching them probabilities while they play. Any layering of probabilities would entail a whole conversation is not something they'd easily grasp now, as they are not practiced in multiplication (only learn it at home so far, so no reinforcement at school). But I like this idea.


So in Quacks you've got a bag of tokens you're drawing out of. What I'm aiming for is that the kids can look at their board, think "I can't draw a 2 or 3" and then think "There are 3 chips that will bust me, and 6 chips in my bag. That's 1/2 of the chips." That is probably pushing it for my 7 year old, but my 11 should be right on that.

Quote:
7 and 11?

Stamp on that now. No way my kids get away with that when they're that old.


And that's a hard one. What is the appropriate "punishment"?

For my kids, just playing a game with me is a borderline chore. It's what they do when they're kicked off a screen. Given the chance they'd rather read in their rooms, or play with dolls, usually, than play a board game. Granted, their favorite is TV/ Netflix/ YouTube, which I could ground them from to say "hey, cheating isn't cool". Taking away the games "I won't play with cheaters" is a rough one because they're already hesitant.

I left it with "I'm really disappointed and this makes me not want to play with you guys" and I'm weighing a certain conversation today with the oldest to address it as possible pattern/ habit/ not a small deal.

I really want to address the fact that if he gets accused of cheating at school, this kind of thing suggests he's more likely guilty than not, and that crap's got consequences.
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Chris Nash
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To be clear, I'm not saying you should stamp on HIM.

I don't really believe in punishment, but discipline. It sounds to me like you're going the right way about it, talking about it, being open and honest.

Another thing to think about might be finding other people to play games with; if they really don't want to play board games, find something else you can all do together as family time!
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Y P
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Not that you're asking for advice, but I'm gonna give it anyway because hey... it's the Internet! Hopefully it doesn't come across as preachy.

Perhaps emphasize the social aspect of gaming--that you game to spend time together and have fun together, with emphasis on "together". Everybody works together to have a fun time. When somebody cheats, he's being selfish and saying that other people's enjoyment matters less than his own. He might think that cheating simply increases his enjoyment by helping him win, but put the focus on the fact that cheating in fact ruins the game for everybody else at the same time. He might see it as a victimless crime, so make sure he sees that it's not.

In addition to that, if he's a sports fan he can probably identify with an analogy of what if the opposing team cheated. Would he be ok with that or would he be mad about it? Hopefully he'd be mad about it, but if not then maybe there are more fundamental issues to address here.

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Dan Wendelin
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Gaming is a great opportunity to disciple (the root word for discipline) your kids about all sorts of social behavior, like playing fair, in a safe environment.

Having played with lots of kids at a school gaming club, I will tell you that cheating is not rare in that age group. That doesn't make it acceptable.

I understand your frustration completely. I'll never play another social deduction game with that school group. I think you did a great job addressing it. Gaming is a great way to teach these lessons in a low-stake environment (as opposed to say, cheating on tests, etc.). Being a decent human being doesn't come naturally; it's something we have to instill.

My experience with kids is that you have to address things, but keeping the conversations shorter and simpler is better. They are usually listening and thinking about it more than they appear to be.
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Karl Juhlke
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MentatYP wrote:
Not that you're asking for advice, but I'm gonna give it anyway because hey... it's the Internet! Hopefully it doesn't come across as preachy.

Perhaps emphasize the social aspect of gaming--that you game to spend time together and have fun together, with emphasis on "together". Everybody works together to have a fun time. When somebody cheats, he's being selfish and saying that other people's enjoyment matters less than his own. He might think that cheating simply increases his enjoyment by helping him win, but put the focus on the fact that cheating in fact ruins the game for everybody else at the same time. He might see it as a victimless crime, so make sure he sees that it's not.

In addition to that, if he's a sports fan he can probably identify with an analogy of what if the opposing team cheated. Would he be ok with that or would he be mad about it? Hopefully he'd be mad about it, but if not then maybe there are more fundamental issues to address here.



I've been going through a similar thing with my 4 year old. He loves playing "Sorry!", but got really upset when he lost. When someone bumped him back to start, he would cry and complain. Now, I do go a little easier with him, but not much since I want him to know that there are going to be times when he loses. One day after he threw a tantrum over a lost game, I asked him if he liked playing, and he said he did. I told him that if he kept crying when he lost, people wouldn't want to play with him anymore. That hit home almost immediately since the next time we played and he got bumped back to start he said, "That's ok that you bump me!" Now the issue we have to work on is not being a sore winner
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Try playing Cheating Moth, or a cooperative game

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Mr Osterman
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MentatYP wrote:
He might see it as a victimless crime, so make sure he sees that it's not.



Yep. And a game like Quacks can really hide the victims to "I'll sneak a peak and make sure I'm not getting a bad chip" during the draw phase because you're all busy drawing and counting and placing your chips. It'd be a lot harder to cheat if it were a deck builder over a bag builder, but even then it would seem (to an 11 year old) harmless to peak to see if the next card is a bust card.

That's an interesting angle we'll go down today while his sister is in piano lessons. Good time to knock this out. I'll spare him the lecture at Tae Kwon Do. I bring those guns in for the REALLY big stuff.

Curious too, and tangent if I might, ever notice that more and more studios are doing "bonus scenes" after the credits? Am I the only one who thinks that could be a way to make people sit and see how many people were involved in making the movie and thus subtly push the idea that video/ movie piracy isn't a victim-less crime itself?
 
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Karl Juhlke
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MentatYP wrote:
He might see it as a victimless crime, so make sure he sees that it's not.


Truth be told, I found cheating really hollow when I won. It wasn't my skills or my luck that won the day. It sucks; you have hollow victories and
other people stop playing games with you. There's no long term benefit.
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A Balley
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This is one of the reasons I am really glad that I started playing games with my kids when they were super young. I think it has helped to be proactive about teaching why cheating is a problem that ruins games for everyone (cheaters included). They learned the importance of not cheating at the same time they were learning how to play games. It seems to have worked so far.
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Adam Perry
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MrOsterman wrote:
So with the weather we had another snow day yesterday and my kids agreed to a game of The Quacks of Quedlinburg which has been a killer go-to game for me. It's easy to explain, easy to understand, and pretty forgiving given that it's all random.

Only our game yesterday was anything but random.

I'd be looking at my cauldron and really debating if I should press my luck and then glance at my two kids (age 7 and 11). Lo and behold they have had near perfect runs. Somehow, SOMEHOW they are down to their last 5 chips and almost none of the ones that would bust them have been pulled out. It was crazy how perfect their pulls were.

And this happened 3 rounds in a row.

For the last round I asked that we all keep our bags on the table so we can watch each other draw. Neither did quite as well but by now they were perfecting their "peek and draw" move, or were watching to see who I was watching more closely.

So as we're cleaning up the game and my oldest has won by 12 points over his sister and 30 points over me, I have a real moment to say "I'm pretty sure you guys were peeking before you drew and you know you're not supposed. It isn't very fun to play a game when other people aren't playing fairly."

My youngest fesses up to having peeked "a few times" while she was drawing and insisted she wanted to see how many chips she had left and that she didn't MEAN to see what she was about to draw and change it. Now because they're younger we house rule that kids can investigate their bags between draws because as a Math Teacher I'm a huge fan of teaching probabilities. But the oldest, he doesn't admit to anything and when I say "I don't know if this is a game I want to play if people are going cheat" he says "yeah, I can see that".

Which is annoying because I'm the gamer in the house and I like to play with them. And they all had a fun time watching their cauldrons fill and watching their chips combo. But I'm coming around to a certain disappointment that my oldest didn't seem to "get" the problem for everyone with not playing an honest game.

Anyway... just sharing a bummer of a day with some folks I figure can understand.


I clicked on this thread to share my experience with my 9-year-old cheating in Quacks of Quedlinburg, and, lo and behold...

The first time he played the game, he peeked and grabbed, like you're describing. Wife called him on it. We had a talk.

The second time, he upped his game. He played with his bag on the table, and when it came down to the wire, he'd pull out his chips to check what was left in the bag (technically forbidden by the rules, but we house-allow it). When he put his chips back in his back, he did so in a way that let him grab the ones he wanted, which is easy when your bag is resting on the table. We didn't catch him in the act, but when he pulled three consecutive yellow 4s two rounds in a row, we ran the numbers in our heads. Had another talk.

In his most recent play, he didn't manipulate his draws as far as we could tell, and he still managed to win... only to discover that his bag had been missing a white 2 since the start. I don't know if that was intentional; after all, he's the one who pointed it out.

The struggle is real. We'll make an honest gamer of him yet.
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Kathryn D
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The distrust element is one way to address it. Talk about trust being like a currency he has with people. Discussing cheating at school but also other things like letting him buy something at a store on his own and future actions like driving a car or going to parties and that there are going to be times he wants to do things but you and your partner are going to have to figure out if he is ready or not give some relevant now examples too. That trust is a big factor in that. If you still feel like he needs to learn from the event some more also talk about needing to rebuild trust and when you damage it you need to show the person your sorry and figure out a way to make it up to them and have him come up with a consequence. You can help him if he gets stuck maybe suggest showing that he’s learned from it, spending quality time with the person/persons he hurt or writing something heartfelt and meaningful. Instead of choosing a punishment guide him on how to problem solve through all the consequences it will help him build empathy for others.
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Jesse Miller
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MrOsterman wrote:

For my kids, just playing a game with me is a borderline chore. It's what they do when they're kicked off a screen. Given the chance they'd rather read in their rooms, or play with dolls, usually, than play a board game. Granted, their favorite is TV/ Netflix/ YouTube, which I could ground them from to say "hey, cheating isn't cool". Taking away the games "I won't play with cheaters" is a rough one because they're already hesitant.

I left it with "I'm really disappointed and this makes me not want to play with you guys" and I'm weighing a certain conversation today with the oldest to address it as possible pattern/ habit/ not a small deal.

I really want to address the fact that if he gets accused of cheating at school, this kind of thing suggests he's more likely guilty than not, and that crap's got consequences.


This is part of the problem. If your children feel forced to play they aren't going to be open to play fairly or learn any real lessons from the play. I don't mean to sound harsh, but I'd say that perhaps you need to find another activity that they want to partake in. It's the same thing I say to people who are trying to get their significant others to play board games when there is a bit of hesitance there - forcing the game is going to make it worse.

I'd say your son is likely cheating because winning is what makes the activity "worth it" to him. Playing something that you don't really want to play and then losing is no fun - so cheating becomes a viable option. I'd wager that if they were truly invested in playing they would be less prone to cheat.

In either event, good luck!

EDIT: I'd also add that if they feel like playing is a chore there are no real repercussions for cheating, since they likely wouldn't care if you stopped playing. With school and other more important activities there are more serious repercussions, so I wouldn't equate cheating at a board game with dad to cheating on a test at school.
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id10tsavant wrote:
MrOsterman wrote:

For my kids, just playing a game with me is a borderline chore. It's what they do when they're kicked off a screen. Given the chance they'd rather read in their rooms, or play with dolls, usually, than play a board game. Granted, their favorite is TV/ Netflix/ YouTube, which I could ground them from to say "hey, cheating isn't cool". Taking away the games "I won't play with cheaters" is a rough one because they're already hesitant.

I left it with "I'm really disappointed and this makes me not want to play with you guys" and I'm weighing a certain conversation today with the oldest to address it as possible pattern/ habit/ not a small deal.

I really want to address the fact that if he gets accused of cheating at school, this kind of thing suggests he's more likely guilty than not, and that crap's got consequences.


This is part of the problem. If your children feel forced to play they aren't going to be open to play fairly or learn any real lessons from the play. I don't mean to sound harsh, but I'd say that perhaps you need to find another activity that they want to partake in. It's the same thing I say to people who are trying to get their significant others to play board games when there is a bit of hesitance there - forcing the game is going to make it worse.

I'd say your son is likely cheating because winning is what makes the activity "worth it" to him. Playing something that you don't really want to play and then losing is no fun - so cheating becomes a viable option. I'd wager that if they were truly invested in playing they would be less prone to cheat.

In either event, good luck!


The two may also have been aware of each other's cheating. An unspoken "see if we can fool dad" may have been more interesting than the actual game.
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id10tsavant wrote:
MrOsterman wrote:

For my kids, just playing a game with me is a borderline chore. It's what they do when they're kicked off a screen. Given the chance they'd rather read in their rooms, or play with dolls, usually, than play a board game. Granted, their favorite is TV/ Netflix/ YouTube, which I could ground them from to say "hey, cheating isn't cool". Taking away the games "I won't play with cheaters" is a rough one because they're already hesitant.

I left it with "I'm really disappointed and this makes me not want to play with you guys" and I'm weighing a certain conversation today with the oldest to address it as possible pattern/ habit/ not a small deal.

I really want to address the fact that if he gets accused of cheating at school, this kind of thing suggests he's more likely guilty than not, and that crap's got consequences.


This is part of the problem. If your children feel forced to play they aren't going to be open to play fairly or learn any real lessons from the play. I don't mean to sound harsh, but I'd say that perhaps you need to find another activity that they want to partake in. It's the same thing I say to people who are trying to get their significant others to play board games when there is a bit of hesitance there - forcing the game is going to make it worse.

I'd say your son is likely cheating because winning is what makes the activity "worth it" to him. Playing something that you don't really want to play and then losing is no fun - so cheating becomes a viable option. I'd wager that if they were truly invested in playing they would be less prone to cheat.

In either event, good luck!

EDIT: I'd also add that if they feel like playing is a chore there are no real repercussions for cheating, since they likely wouldn't care if you stopped playing. With school and other more important activities there are more serious repercussions, so I wouldn't equate cheating at a board game with dad to cheating on a test at school.


I beg to differ. cheating is cheating. Kids may also get confused and manipulative if the rules kerp changing. Consistency is important. So a parent has to be consistent; correct kindly; and (esp. with games and other parent/kid activities) let the kids pick sometimes.
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Geoffrey Burrell
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You can get your revenge by playing a game called Monopoly Cheaters Edition where cheating is all about how sneaky you can be and is condoned in most situations.
 
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Gregg Saruwatari
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MrOsterman wrote:
What is the appropriate "punishment"?

For my kids, just playing a game with me is a borderline chore. It's what they do when they're kicked off a screen. Given the chance they'd rather read in their rooms, or play with dolls, usually, than play a board game. Granted, their favorite is TV/ Netflix/ YouTube, which I could ground them from to say "hey, cheating isn't cool". Taking away the games "I won't play with cheaters" is a rough one because they're already hesitant.

I left it with "I'm really disappointed and this makes me not want to play with you guys" and I'm weighing a certain conversation today with the oldest to address it as possible pattern/ habit/ not a small deal.

I really want to address the fact that if he gets accused of cheating at school, this kind of thing suggests he's more likely guilty than not, and that crap's got consequences.


I would give them a clear warning when they start cheating that I did not enjoy playing with cheaters. If they did it again, I would get up and leave. If they would rather do something by themselves than with other people all the time, I don't think cheating at games is the biggest problem that needs to be addressed.

If they say that cheating is fun to them, I would respond with, "Changing the wi-fi password is fun to me." "What costs 4 green mana during your upkeep or he smacks you for 8?"
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This would probably be a more effective suggestion if your kids enjoyed board gaming. My little cousins like playing some of my games, but I had to teach them not to cheat.
When I would watch them, if they asked to play a board game, I would tell them that it isn’t fun for all of us if they cheat. We would still do something together, just not play a board game.

That and positive encouragement got them to play fair
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Here's a thought: the next time you pull out that game to play, ask the kids whether they want to play with cheating allowed, or not. If they play with cheating allowed, then you get to cheat too. I would imagine that the game will be a lot less fun, since the mechanics will be completely broken. After the game, discuss it, and ask if it was fun playing that way? Was there any challenge? Did the "winner" feel good about winning? If not, then offer to play the game again without cheating, and ask the same questions afterward.
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GaelSami wrote:
id10tsavant wrote:
MrOsterman wrote:

For my kids, just playing a game with me is a borderline chore. It's what they do when they're kicked off a screen. Given the chance they'd rather read in their rooms, or play with dolls, usually, than play a board game. Granted, their favorite is TV/ Netflix/ YouTube, which I could ground them from to say "hey, cheating isn't cool". Taking away the games "I won't play with cheaters" is a rough one because they're already hesitant.

I left it with "I'm really disappointed and this makes me not want to play with you guys" and I'm weighing a certain conversation today with the oldest to address it as possible pattern/ habit/ not a small deal.

I really want to address the fact that if he gets accused of cheating at school, this kind of thing suggests he's more likely guilty than not, and that crap's got consequences.


This is part of the problem. If your children feel forced to play they aren't going to be open to play fairly or learn any real lessons from the play. I don't mean to sound harsh, but I'd say that perhaps you need to find another activity that they want to partake in. It's the same thing I say to people who are trying to get their significant others to play board games when there is a bit of hesitance there - forcing the game is going to make it worse.

I'd say your son is likely cheating because winning is what makes the activity "worth it" to him. Playing something that you don't really want to play and then losing is no fun - so cheating becomes a viable option. I'd wager that if they were truly invested in playing they would be less prone to cheat.

In either event, good luck!

EDIT: I'd also add that if they feel like playing is a chore there are no real repercussions for cheating, since they likely wouldn't care if you stopped playing. With school and other more important activities there are more serious repercussions, so I wouldn't equate cheating at a board game with dad to cheating on a test at school.


I beg to differ. cheating is cheating. Kids may also get confused and manipulative if the rules kerp changing. Consistency is important. So a parent has to be consistent; correct kindly; and (esp. with games and other parent/kid activities) let the kids pick sometimes.


I don't disagree with your point that "cheating is cheating" and didn't say that cheating was okay in any way. I only offered a potential reason as to why a child that doesn't really want to play board games in the first place may cheat, and that correcting this behavior would be difficult since a traditional punishment (like taking away said board games) would be ineffectual since the kids don't really want to play anyways.

My main point is that perhaps the OP shouldn't force his kids to play games in the first place. If the child wants to play, then cool, but that's not the way his post reads as he describes it as "For my kids, just playing a game with me is a borderline chore." It could be that the 11 year old specifically views playing as a form of punishment and cheating is his way of getting back at the OP.

And I would consider it overboard to ground or take away another activity for cheating in an unnecessary activity that only the OP seems to want to do. This isn't like a child refusing to do homework or chores. This is a different matter entirely. Cheating isn't good, but teach them this lesson with an activity they enjoy and then apply the lessons learned there across all activities - even the ones they don't like.
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Kirk Roberts
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Jonesborough (will trade by mail)
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To the OP: yep, that sucks.
The hardest part about being a parent (for me) is not believing I have to change that behavior RIGHT NOW for the good of everybody.
It's a long road.
Keep them playing, if you can.
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