Modern mums regularly let their children win at board games – while dads stand by the ‘it’s the winning, not the taking part that counts’ mantra, a study found.
Researchers who studied ‘board game politics’ found mums will happily allow their kids to enjoy the thrill of winning if it makes life easier, whereas dads prefer a more competitive approach.
Dads enjoy a ‘school of hard-knocks’ type approach - partly because they themselves can’t stand losing, whilst also trying to teach their child how to handle defeat.
It also emerged that one in three parents have argued with their other half because they don’t let their kids get the better of them, especially as two thirds of youngsters regularly storm off, throw a tantrum, or even refuse to play board games if they don’t win.
Welsh parents were the most competitive when it came to their kids, with the least competitive being Northern Irish parents. Additionally, one in four parents said they ‘feel guilty’ if they don’t let their children win, the poll by LEGO Games found.
Jo Merton, spokesperson for LEGO Games’ Creationary, said: “Parents can be accused of mollycoddling their kids when it comes to playing games. With younger children especially, it’s understandable that you don’t want to hinder their confidence but instead encourage them to take part in family games.
“To add to the pressure, sometimes losing can lead to tearful tantrums - which many parents would rather avoid at all costs.”
The study of 2,000 parents revealed that 71 per cent of parents do let their kids win whenever they play games with them, and almost three quarters admitted to making out they are rubbish at board games to prolong their family time and make it more fun for the kids.
One in five believe it’s more important that their child has fun - which they do if they win every time - than learn that you can’t come top in everything.
But the study found that not all parents are as sympathetic, with one in five admitting to being so competitive they will never let their kids win when playing games with them.
More than a third thinks it is character building to not come top in everything, while a hard-nosed 22 per cent claim they refuse to succumb to their kid’s tantrums.
Jo added: “Even the simplest of games can bring out the competitive streak in us. We therefore weren’t surprised to see examples of tactful parenting being put into practice.
“We need to remember that playing games is all part of the fun at Christmas time and it’s about spending time together and having fun, not having arguments.”
The study also revealed that it’s not just games where families are competitive as almost a quarter compare exam results with a touch of friendly rivalry.
Sporting achievements, success in education and even how many times it takes to pass a driving test are among the other things that leave siblings and parents battling each other.
Furthermore, the results revealed that despite all the high-tech toys and gadgets on offer this year, the popularity and demand for traditional gifts remains with 40 per cent of board games happening in December.
Jo said: “We understand the challenges parents face and that losing a game is always a touchy subject even more so when children are involved.
“This way LEGO Games are a great solution for families with children who just can’t bear to lose as there are various ways to play. You can make your own rules to suit the players and situations. The great thing about LEGO Games is that there are different modes of play offered and children and parents actually work together to build the game.
”For instance, with a game like Creationary, you can choose to play individually or in teams - great fun, competitive and keeps tantrums to a minimum.”