Kids just wanna have fun.
New toys, new games, and even new information can send a child into a spiral of delight that as adults we often lose sight of.
So what happens when our goal-oriented outlook ends up robbing a child of their fun?
That was the issue facing Redditor and Original Poster (OP) Winter_Brick673 when he came to the “Am I the A**hole” (AITA) subReddit for judgment.
“AITA for not going easy on my cousins when no one told me I was supposed to?”
OP got right to the events at hand.
“The title basically says it all.”
“I (17m) was recently over at my aunt and uncle’s house.”
“They have two kids, my little cousins Willow (9) and Miles (6). My aunt recently bought a switch for the cousins, and they’ve been getting obsessed with Mario Kart.”
“Almost immediately, the cousins challenged me, my parents, and my sister to a race.”
“I had to go help my uncle with his car (I work part-time at an auto shop and had promised to take a look at it) but said that I would be back to race once I was finished.”
“About thirty minutes later, I came back into the house and my cousins met me at the door to get me to race, it was adorable.”
“We sat down and played, and I smoked them.”
“I’m not particularly good at Mario Kart, but I’ve been playing for a while and they just started playing two weeks ago.”
“The cousins demanded a rematch and I obliged, then when I smoked them again, a re-rematch.”
“Several rounds and not a single victory later, Willow was in awe of my “epic skills”, but Miles started crying.”
“My aunt, having heard Miles crying, came in the room and I explained the situation.”
“My aunt comforted Miles while my mom took me aside. Apparently, there had been an unspoken agreement between my mom, aunt, and sister to go easy on my cousins and let them win.”
“My mom called me a jerk for being ‘so mean’ to my cousins.”
“I told her that I didn’t know, and she called me an idiot because apparently it’s common knowledge to go easy on kids.”
“I knew of no such common knowledge, but maybe I’m just a moron like my mom said.”
OP was left to wonder,
Having explained the situation, OP turned to Reddit for judgment.
Redditors weighed in by declaring:
- NTA – Not The A**hole
- YTA – You’re The A**hole
- NAH – No A**holes Here
- ESH – Everyone Sucks Here
Redditors decided: NAH
They are children.
“NAH, but this is sort of a ‘read the room’ thing.”
“Kids don’t need to win every time, and it is good for them to learn to lose gracefully.”
“However if you’re competing against elementary school-age kids there’s a point to notice that the kids are getting frustrated and figure out how to make the game fun again -“
“Instead of seeing who can win the 3rd time say, ‘let’s try to get all the power ups’ or ‘let’s try goofy track X’ or something.”
“It’s not about intentionally throwing the game, it’s about finding ways to meet kids at their level of ability and have fun with them.”
“I was about 15 before I realized that when I was in elementary school playing nickel-ante poker with my uncles and cousins I actually sucked at poker.”
“They kept me in the game by sliding coins to me every time they got up from the table to get a drink or whatever, telling me to play a few rounds for them.”
“I got to hang out with the men and they got to have fun teasing me at the poker table and teaching me swear words.”
“There are ways to include kids without stooping to outright throwing the game or humiliating them because they’re less skilled” ~ RainbowCrane
“You don’t need to let them win, just make sure you’re still having fun. You could teach them a few tricks to get better -“
“My brothers taught me how to improve my mario kart game with jump cornering and other little hidden things like track shortcuts when I was a kid.”
“That helped make it fun even though I could never beat them.”
“You could explain to the kids you’ve been playing a solid 10+ years over them.”
“Start handicapping yourself.”
“Give them headstarts, make a silly rule like you have to pull over and do a bottle flip challenge each lap before you continue or something.”
“Just make sure the kids are having fun.” ~ kingcasperrr
“I’ve played Mario kart with kids before, and I still tried, but I’d also occasionally do something out of pocket, like going for a ultra-risky shortcut, or doing something funny with an item.”
“As long as the kids think they can win, and are laughing the whole time, you’re in the clear.” ~ Shiny_Gyrodos
“This is the way.”
“My kids were obsessed with Smash Bros for a while and made the mistake of asking me to play with them.”
“They got real tired of getting their butts kicked by Kirby so now when we play the rule for me is that I have to do the random character.”
“It gives them a chance against me if I get Jiggly Puff or someone else equally dumb lmao” ~ melissamarieeee
“Lol, my friend is really good at games, he has 2 boys.”
“So whenever I’m over it’s usually me on the kids team to balance out the odds.”
“It’s meant to be 3 vs 1, and handicap against him. However, it sometimes feels like a handicap for me but I can’t break their little hearts. Lol.”
“E.g the little one will get bored or stuck mid game and expect me to play for him….while I’m playing for myself too. He doesn’t want (his character) to die.”
“So then it’s battle to keep his character alive and win the matches, because eldest gets upset if we loose to bad.”
“He often doesn’t want his little bro to play, cause we ‘can’t win if he plays'”.
“KIDS! LOVE THEM, but damn do they test my patience sometimes.” ~ De-railled
Games are supposed to be…fun…?
“Nothing like a video game to get emotions running high in the household lol.” ~ kuavi
“Yes there is. Two things.”
“Wars have been started, families have been fractured…” ~ alicesheadband
“My daughter is the best at drawing in the family and her pictures are so hard to guess because she draws for accuracy instead of identification.”
“For example, if she got ‘building’, she would start drawing the top of the Taj Mahal with shading to convey the curvature and where the light is coming from.”
“And we’d be guessing various sports balls, onion, balloon, planet. And she also doesn’t take wrong guesses as a cue to change what she’s drawing”
“Meanwhile, my son would draw a lopsided rectangle with a smaller rectangle as a door and we’d guess building within 10 attempts.”
“Your bad luck is that your family have art skills and basic common sense about Pictionary mechanics.” ~ MineCraftingMom
“Haha Monopoly is an evil game.”
“I’ve seen family wars over it.”
“One time I started making very bad trades with the kid at the table.”
“I was offering her way more than i should purposefully because the uncle at the table was getting all serious and taking no prisioner. I bankrupted myself and the kid won.”
“I started a new war against me for f*cking with their family game. It was an ex’s family. So i didn’t care.”
“Wizard and Oh hell are the other card games that get overboard. We play cutthroat no even bids.”
“So if there are 5 tricks that round, the last bidder cannot make the bet 5.”
“Their bid would have to be 4 or 6 so at least one person gets screwed. If I go down, I take others with me. 😆” ~ BellEsima
Some placed the judgment on the parents.
“Yeah, regardless of this, the kid’s mom shouldn’t have talked to him that way.”
“I’m a grown man and my dad has continuously sworn every second of everyday since I was born and he would never belittle me or call me an idiot.”
“OP’s mom has no respect for him, and that’s not good.” ~ dreamerkid001
“I genuinely don’t get it:”
‘”So after my earnest mistake, my mom is still calling me all kinds of awful names. Maybe I’m a moron like she called me.”‘
‘”How your mom treated you is totally normal and good, of course, parents should insult their children so much that they think maybe they’re deficient; she’s not an a-hole at all!”‘
“People not reading the mom as an a**hole here are excusing emotional abuse, and that’s not okay.”
“NTA” ~ Wuellig
This is not to say that goals are bad.
Goals lead us in the direction of our dreams. They guide us to where we want to go.
Goals are great.
Just remember that the goal of any game – video game, board game, or tabletop RPG – is fun.