Common Board Games For Building A Lifelong Rivalry Between Your Kids
Childcare is important. You’re not really raising children; you’re raising highly productive and valuable adults. If your tots aren’t already on the fast track to Harvard and Wall Street by age nine, you’ve all but handed them a heroin syringe and given them a Pink Floyd record. Playtime is the best time to teach your kids that every interaction has a winner and a loser, and the latter doesn’t get hugs. Here are the best games for teaching your kids that Mommy has a favorite, and it probably isn’t them.
Tic-tac-toe can be played anywhere: the family car, seat 34D on a plane, or at your child’s first-grade cello recital while the inferior kiddies fumble their way through “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” just to name a few. With nothing more than paper and a pencil, you can teach your little ones that the ability to capture the middle rows is symbolic of the wedge you’re driving between them and their siblings. Love is fine, but competition is the stuff that’ll keep them at each other’s necks until the grave.
My own brother and I built a healthy feud over tic-tac-toe, and we meet up every single Thanksgiving to see who can piss the longest stream. I’ll never call him after a family tragedy, but I’ll always keep tabs on exactly how much money he’s making that year.
Ah, Monopoly: The game that takes hours to complete and turns even the closest of friends against each other until they’re frothing at the mouth with jealous rage. A teeny, tiny thimble on Park Place can start a rivalry so intense that one of your kids might just become the next creator of Apple while the other grows to be the one that steals the concept and patents it first. It’s in the name: The more you can extort from the other person with your wits, cunning, and sleaze, the more you get to monopolize Mommy’s attention. There’s no “Get Out Of Jail” cards for losing so much paper money that you’re banned from eating at the table with the rest of the family.
Bunny Ears Exclusive Tip: Give one child more money to start with for no reason. One will melt down after the misplaced favoritism, and the other will buckle under the pressure to succeed with their established privilege.
A loquacious child is a prosperous child. Scrabble exposes your brood to new words as well as the harsh reality that, sometimes, someone will just get a better set of tiles than you, and there’s nothing you can do about it other than use that rage to skyrocket up the corporate ladder. My brother once got a few Zs that just conveniently worked out for him, and I used that fury to take over a Fortune 500 company by the time I was 18.
This is the easiest activity to foster a bitterness that’ll set both of your babies on the road to the Ivy League. Buy a puzzle and tell them both that if they work together and complete it, you’ll take them both out for ice cream and cuddles. Here’s the trick: As they almost finish the 2,000-piece “kittens in a basket” puzzle, kneel down to survey their work. Instead of praising it, steal a middle piece while they’re distracted by this rare moment of parental attention. When they finish and notice the missing piece, accuse them of trying to sabotage one another. They’ll never forgive each other for this grave injustice and will excel in every A.P. class they ever take, provided they don’t turn to smothering you in your sleep before they even learn to drive.