When I started this blog, I gave it the subtitle “The rewards and pitfalls of raising a child who is addicted to video games.” Since then, a couple of people have sent me messages asking how to “cure” their child’s addiction. It occurs to me that maybe addiction or even obsession isn’t quite the right term. We do not seek to “cure” the child who focuses on a single sport. The kid whose wall is covered in team banners, attends sports camps, and dreams of someday playing professionally. We do not seek to cure the child who focuses on academics. The kid who spends their time conducting experiments, or building, or studying in their room, head buried in a book. These kids may join academic teams, participate in science fairs, spelling bees, etc.
We cheer for those kids, admire their dedication and commitment. So why is it any different for a gamer? I have come to learn that gaming is a culture, a way of life. Gaming takes real skill and dedication to practice the craft.
I am reminded of this every time I try to play anything more advanced than Mario Party. I recently tried to play the much hyped game “Splatoon” with my son and it was just embarrassing! I couldn’t figure out the controls or how to aim and kept pushing the wrong buttons. Where J immediately and innately controls his character, moves around the playing field, and generally kicked my ass.
So if you are the parent of a gamer, take a moment to consider what it really means to your kid and how you want to deal with their “addiction”. Think about what is important to you. What do you “obsess” over? Is there something that you are fanatical about? The real truth is that we all have something . . . it’s just that some addictions are more socially acceptable and easier to blend in with the world at large.
So what to do with your avid child gamer? My answer is not a damn thing! Accept your child for who he/she is; encourage diverse interests and activities with the knowledge that in the end, they will want nothing more than to get home and check their Minecraft build. Appreciate your child’s talent and commitment to the art of game play.
And so I will change the subtitle description of this blog to, "The rewards and pitfalls of parenting an avid gamer."