What games do boys play?
Boys love shooting games, car races and soccer balls but also building, wandering around in a fantasy world and completing assignments.
Children used to play this kind of games outside, but nowadays they do so in games. Alone or in a group with acquaintances or with people from all over the world. Exciting and fun!
Parents worry about their son’s gaming behavior
Parents are justifiably worried when it comes to violence in games and especially when it looks super realistic. The attraction of games on boys is irresistible and the inability to stop gaming is a major concern in many families.
But children learn to think strategically and logically in games, develop motivation and perseverance, often have to work together and it’s good for their English. So there are quite a lot of positive aspects to gaming.
Moreover, some boys find games an outlet for their penchant for danger and violence. For boys who find this difficult in real life, because they are anxious or insecure about it, a game can be a “safe” environment to experience their masculinity.
“This way I can get rid of my aggression,” a client told me. “I’m a guys and guys do this kind of thing. “
Looking at it this way, games can support the development and identity formation of boys. The danger that lurks is that they are drawn too much into the game and cannot stop.
Fortunately, only a small percentage of young people are really addicted to gaming. Parents have an important educational task to protect children from the risks of gaming.
But how do you tackle that? How do you develop expert parental guidance in gaming?
Step 1: Get carried away in his world
For parents it is important to follow the developments in games that their children like. This can be tricky because boys who are working on it all day have more expertise and developments are rapid. Even if you don’t like games, it’s in your child’s interest to know what’s going on.
I often ask boys what they think of the idea of ‘educating’ their parents about their games. Many boys are too enthusiastic about this. It makes a positive appeal to their enormous knowledge of and experience with games.
I ask parents to park their negativism, disinterest or anxiety and let themselves be carried away into their son’s world. Crawl as a father or mother with your son behind his console and follow him in the game. Seduce your adolescent by appealing to his expertise, that’s how he grows.
Try not to be frightened by what you see or to give your opinion about what you hear, because then he immediately drops out. Stay calm and try to discover what he likes about the game, what he does and does not do and why, how he sees his role in the game and the role of others, what his fascination is and why he is so good at it.
Talk to him in his world, be sincerely curious and be positively surprised.
Maybe in the beginning he is suspicious or not very cooperative and you need time and patience to gain his trust. If you show interest more often and he notices that you are really interested, you will be rewarded.
Step 2: Share your concerns with him – he will reassure you
If you manage to level with him, you can discuss any aspects of the game that you don’t like with him and discuss your concerns with him. That’s a different conversation than banning a game or imposing strict rules about game time.
He will explain his vision to you if he feels seen by you, he will understand your concerns or perhaps refute them, he will explain to you that in real life he really makes different choices because this is only a game. You undoubtedly have different perspectives and now you can take up your task as an expert guide.
If your son is of primary school age, you can adjust his insights that are not quite right. If your son is an adolescent you can try to follow his reasoning and ask him good questions that lead to ambivalence in him.
This is also a good time to talk about ways the game industry uses to make you dependent and how to deal with that.
Step 3: Agree on boundaries and sanctions
If you’ve managed to talk about his game, it’s time for the next step.
Make clear agreements about screen time, online purchases, which new games are allowed or not and why. Let him think about those agreements and how he will be able to keep them. In this way he can experience success and you give yourself a good opportunity to positively confirm him.
“They have to warn me twice and on the second time I stop” suggests my client. “And if you forget to stop,” I ask. “Then I’m not allowed to play for a month,” he says. “That’s a harsh punishment, we have to come up with something better for that”, I suggest.
Make sure you can keep your appointments as well. Checking appointments often falls short because parents are busy or forget. Realise that you are a role model for your child if you find reliability with regard to appointments important.
Setting boundaries is an important task for parents. They don’t listen but they hear you’ is the slogan of the NIX18 campaign that also applies to gaming.
Children, especially adolescents, will cross boundaries because that’s part of growing up but they need those boundaries as a benchmark. When you cross a border it usually gives you an uncomfortable feeling and that is exactly the intention. In the end, children always long for the approval of their parents.
A client who knew his parents were worried about the violence in his game agreed the following with them: if he would behave loudly or aggressively if he wouldn’t play the game for a week. He knew for sure that it wouldn’t make him aggressive and that he would never get that punishment.
Will you succeed?
Are you thinking, “I’ll never get my son to do that to me”? Maybe you need a little help to get better at this.
This article was written by Albagora, click here for more info.