I banned my kids from playing this mean game

I usually stay out of my girls' interpersonal affairs. I'm just not settling who gets to be what princess or whose turn it is to be the doctor. I have Facebook to check I mean coffee to drink I mean, work to do. However, I do always have an ear to the ground. When I walked in on the girls and a few friends playing a game called "monster," I got right in the middle of that biz. The Mom Voice came out. Stern. I looked each kid in their little startled eyes and I said, "we do NOT play that game. Not you, not you, not you." I have no idea who one of those yous were, because this was at a public place, but she ain't playing it either.

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Monster looks innocuous enough if you're not paying close attention. One kid is the "monster" and the other kids run. I guess it's kind of like tag, but the problem is one person stays "it". At first, everyone is having fun until one kid catches on that no one wants to play with her. The the cool kids branch off to sit and talk and the little one walks up to play. Everyone yells "monster" and runs away from her again. It never ends. Every time she walks over to the group: "MONSTER! MONSTER!" They play until the kid cries and then they all laugh at the crying monster. I've heard this game go by the name "witch" and I'm sure iterations of it are all over.

These bitches are five.

ChicagoNow's Walter Michka wrote an interesting piece yesterday calling into question whether we should call our kids assholes. I've been of the camp that the world out there will be tough enough on my kids. I need to stand behind them and be the source of comfort when the world calls them names, not the bully doing it myself. But man, was it tempting when I saw my older daughter joining forces to throw her sister under the bus.

I realized kids are naturally a little mean. Without direction, it seems girls will go after other girls and play these terrible social games. Ask any adult woman and she'll tell you often these games go well into adulthood.

Compassion is learned. After I put the kibosh on Monster, we gathered our boots and coats and I took my girls out for pizza. Trust me, the urge was there to be angry at my older daughter (okay, wring her neck), but she's just a kid - a kid I'm trying to raise as a compassionate adult. I should probably not kill her. So we had a big long talk about how not-cool monster is and why it hurts peoples' feelings. And never, under any circumstance, do you turn on your sister (who happened to be the crying monster).

As my girls get older and we get into these type of life lessons, I start wondering if I'm qualified for this job. I mean, I don't like this monster game at all, but as adults we just call that society.

I've never hugged a homeless person. I don't even open the door for strangers in the rain. Have you?

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Filed under: Raising sisters

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