I recently saw a social media post that said, “Real men DON’T play video games.” I understand the sentiment of the post, but the problem is it alienates many men today. What makes you a real man is subjective in our culture. What about a guy who doesn’t play video games but is verbally abusive to his family? “Don’t worry—he doesn’t play video games, so he’s a real man.”
1. Grab a controller.
I played video games growing up, but I am not a big fan of them today. As the parent, you absolutely have the choice to keep video games out of your home. My oldest is actually pretty good at video games and enjoys them. Instead of being frustrated, I choose to grab a controller and play with him. I am terrible and he makes fun of me, but we are spending time together. We laugh, we talk trash, and we connect. I easily could dismiss it because I don’t like games. But instead, I could try to build my relationship with him through games. Playing with your gamer kids lets you investigate what’s really going on in these games and see any red flags that may be hidden. It also lets your gamers know you care.
2. Set boundaries and limits.We need to set boundaries and limits with everything our kids are involved in—especially video games.
We need to set boundaries and limits with everything our kids are involved in—especially video games. In our house, we only play games on the weekends and never on a school night. We also make it clear how long our kids have to play, typically in one-hour blocks. When grades start slipping, they know they’ll lose video game privileges. Set the boundaries that work for you and your home. Without them, anything in our kids’ lives can become consuming and out of control.
3. Keep up with trends.
I recently did some research on my son’s favorite game. There’s a new update coming with some pretty cool features that everybody who plays the game has longed to see. When my son got home from school, I pulled him aside and told him the news. His face lit up with joy—and not because of the video game, but because his dad cares about something he loves. It’s almost impossible to stay ahead of our kids playing video games, but it’s worth investing some time to learn and be on the same page with your gamers. They may talk your ear off about stuff you couldn’t care less about, but they are talking to you and that is key.
Sound off: How do you stay connected with your gamer?
Huddle Up Question
Huddle up with your kids and ask, “What is your favorite video game?”