Clothed with Grace: Playing By the Rules

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Playing By the Rules

Grant has always had a lot of friends, but recently he came home from school upset because of a disagreement with friends. One of his best friends from last year, who isn't in his class this year started going to the after school Kids Club and Grant was so excited! His buddy was saving him a seat, then someone else sat there, the boy wouldn't move and Grant didn't know what to do. He walked away feeling like his friends didn't like him and didn't have the tools to know how to navigate the situation. He didn't understand that just because he couldn't end up sitting my him at snack didn't mean he wouldn't get to play with him after snack. This was a little situation but Grant was definitely maximizing it.

We all talked at dinner. We problem solved the situation, and Brian and I decided to do our best at home to model good "friend" behavior. One thing we've specifically been doing is working to play games by the rules. Grant is infamous for trying to rewrite the rules to be in his favor. Sometimes I let him switch the rules in the past, because I want him to have fun, but that's not going to fly with friends-I saw this when he was playing Pokemon with a buddy over break. 

We've talked through the rules and explained why they make sense, and how if someone switched the rules it might not be "fair." We've also worked on winning and losing gracefully. This can be easier said than done, but Grant is doing well. We've talked about how he would feel if someone bragged about winning at school and why he shouldn't brag. We've also talked about not whining and saying "no fair" if you don't win. 

This is encouraging us to make family game times more consistent and I know Grant also loves the time just with us playing games after Hannah is in bed too, so it's definitely win-win.

I think so often we can take for granted the years it took us to navigate what friendship looks like, and honestly, I think we still have to work on it as adults. As parents, Brian and I definitely don't have it all figured out, but we're working on it.


  1. Ah, such tough lessons to learn as a little guy. I remember in 2nd grade being so upset that I wasn't included as one of my friend's "best friends". And my mom and I had a conversation where she explained that I am not to have a best friend because I have lots of friends and the label just hurts those not included more than makes the one with the label feel special. I'm not sure if Grant will remember this specific talk, but I'm sure he'll remember you guys being great parents helping him to navigate tough times. Parenting is tough and sad sometimes.

    1. Just when you think you have it all figured out...