It's no secret that gaming in families can deepen longstanding conflicts. But it's Monopoly that has historically caused even the most sedate auntie to try and send the whole group to jail. Is it the Chance? The Community Chest? The natural grievances brought out by an inflated property market?
Monopoly brings out latent rivalriesShow moreShow less
Sibling rivalries? Daddy issues? Every family has unseen issues that come to the surface in competitive environments.
As we grow up, we realize the many lies we were told as children. Santa isn’t real; sex isn’t just a special handshake; and whether they want to admit it or not, your parents do have a favorite child. Even if these preferences are unconscious, the subtle sibling hierarchy they create manifests itself in various ways, from the seating arrangement at the dinner table to which sibling Mom and Dad help out (or gang up) on during game night. The latter example of favoritism can be seen especially easily in drawn-out, competition-driven games like Monopoly. When children pick up on their parents’ subtle preferences, ensuing feelings of jealousy, resentment, and sadness can spark fights.
In many ways, siblings are already in constant competition for their parents’ attention and affection. Games like Monopoly only worsen this extant struggle by having the family externalize their hidden emotions onto a game board. Thus, the fights that characterize Monopoly games often run deeper than they first appear. Next time you find yourself in a screaming match over the use of the “Get Out of Jail Free” card, ask yourself this: are we really fighting about the rules, or is it some familial conflict more significant than that?
Not all parents have a favorite child, and likewise, many siblings have healthy, non-competitive relationships.