Feet

A Game of Equals

This is the second installment of an eight-part series.


I see family life as a game. There are rules. There’s also an objective: having as nice a time as possible while making sure everyone’s needs get met. For this to work, the game requires seeing your teammates, your kids in particular, as equals.

Equal doesn’t mean “identical privileges” or “same decision-making power.” Equal means these aren’t your underlings, or a separate class of pseudo-human that you get to treat however you want.

They’re your housemates.

Not metaphorically … literally. This housemates thing is a useful filter because, while most adults would probably agree that children are people, it’s really easy to end up treating them as something completely different.

Like any housemate, kids are going to do things that annoy you. They’re going to have their own interests and preferences. They’re going to demand a certain amount of personal autonomy.

And, also like a housemate, they don’t get to trample your rights and interests and preferences either. These are the first, fundamental rules of the game.

(To be continued next week.)