A comment about parents gaming with their children I saw on slashdot and liked.
“Well, I am not primarily my kids’ FRIEND…
I am their parent.
We don’t have to share interests, although it is nice. However my main priority when it comes to my kids is gaming in the real world.
One time I caught my son chasing his sister with a whiffle ball bat — it’s not heavy enough to really hurt somebody, but it certainly can sting like the dickens.
“Here, give me that,” I said. “We’re going to play a game. You are going to take this bat and tap me on the shin. But the rules of the game say I can tap you back on the shin just as hard.”
So, my son takes the bat and gives me a tiny little tap. I take the bat and give him a tiny tap. Then he gives me a slightly harder tap which I return. Then he gives me a look that plainly says he doesn’t believe I’m serious, then gives me a painful whack in the shin. I take the bat and promptly give him an equally painful whack in the shin. He then gives me light tap which I return.
This goes on for a while, and my son is literally whooping with laughter, when my wife walks in to see what’s going on. She snatches the bat out of my son’s hands. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” she yells.
“I’m teaching our son about the Golden Rule,” I reply. “Also, that it hurts to be whacked with a bat.”
One other time, I walked into the room and caught my daughter calling my son a “shithead”, for which I remonstrated with her.
“Do you want me to apologize?” she asked.
“Of course I want you to apologize,” I replied,” although I realize I can’t keep you from insulting each other.”
“You mean its OK to insult each other?” she asked.
“Of course it’s not OK,” I replied. “I simply recognize I can’t stop you from doing it. I insist, however, that we don’t use potty language in this house.”
“What do you mean?”
“Well,” I replied, “let’s play a little game. Try insulting me without using potty language.”
“Er,’You are a stinky idiot.'”
“No, playground language isn’t acceptable either,” I said. “How about, ‘You are a fetid addle-pate.'”
We went back and forth a few times, and were just getting into the swing of things when my wife came into the room. “WHAT ARE YOU DOING?” she cried.
“I am teaching our daughter not to use vulgar language,” I replied. “I am also working on her vocabulary.”
Sometimes I wonder if women understand child-rearing at all.”