I get it: We live in a world where if we’re not careful, video games will suck our kids right in.
I get that our kids need to get outside and play.
I get that our teens need to think for themselves and not just be online all the time.
At the same time, I’m going to go out on a limb and say that I think my kids are pretty kind and smart people. Yeah, they play too many video games. But they are also the first ones to say ‘please’, ‘thank you’ and laugh their butts off while they do the nightly dinner dishes. They volunteer every other week at church to hang out with the little kids. (My son is a favorite leader. Why? He leads a pretty mean Super Mario Brothers Smash session before worship. Jesus meets A Crazy Plumber on Warp Speed. It works.)
With everything happening in the world politically, it can be a fine line for this mama in terms of keeping them in the know but also letting them be kids and escape a bit with their games. What’s the balance?
For me, it starts with staying away from fear. I am not sure about you, but my fears look like this:
BIG FAT UGLY FEAR
“My kid is never going to go to college because instead of learning French and playing Piano like a champ he’s hanging out with other teenage cave boys, diddling joysticks and stuffing down Cheetos like Pro Wrestlers!”
Luckily I’ve learned to “Pause When Agitated.” This P.W.A. technique allows a little bit of light to come in. Some call it grace, I call it sanity. It’s the reminder of what’s important.
Note #1: Screaming, nagging and being a buzz kill about them “not getting more important things done!” when I consistently forget to sign them up for important school trips, order yearbooks, turn in high school registration forms and order them much needed sneakers is not helpful.
Note #2: Keeping things light and airy with my kids and always letting them know they are loved is far more important than being a perfectionistic dictator.
With that in mind, here is where reality lives!
- Are they keeping up with homework?
- Are they exercising?
- Are they happy?
- Are they kind?
If so, I can look at this video game thing with more rationality. And for me, it looks like this.
VIDEO GAME RULES
I am okay with letting them play a bit after school. I’m okay with them playing some extra on weekends. But I do have a few new rules:
- No electronics in the car unless I say so. It’s my only time to interact with them. I’m tired of dragging around zombies with ear buds. (I’ll let you know how this works out when I give them the sad news.)
- They can have extra time on weekends, but they need to read something educational.
As I type this, they are holed up in Stink’s room with Miss L who is spending the night. (Fear: “They are going to gain 100 pounds and never leave my house and I will go down as the worst mother in the history of time because I’m avoiding them rather than interacting with their stinky teenage selves!” Reality: “We spent the day at the beach. My 70-year-old friend Weird Joie joined us. In the process of getting lost we found a new beach spot, watched Joie blow bubbles – causing a hoard of four year olds to surround us more than sea gulls on a bag of chips- ate packed lunches and cracked up while the girls got buried alive in the sand. (And guess what – no electronics!)
Get Educated for Extra Video Game Time!
Keeping balance in mind, here’s here’s a text I sent them all:
“Electronic time is over at 8:30. Read this, tell me what you think, and you can play until 930. Thanks. Mom” https://midcenturymodernmag.com/these-magic-kids-1aefbbeb81cd
Am I being controlling? Maybe a little. But I look at those Parkland kids who are taking the future into their own hands. They are organizing rallies and forcing us to look at long held beliefs about who their generation is. They aren’t doing it by playing video games. They are using social media to spread awareness. Sadly, it took a shooter to rampage their classroom to do so. And while I’m far from an active shooter, I aim to be an active mama for the last few years they have in my home. It’s not easy, and I’m a little nervous to try this new regime, but it’s not my job to be loved. It’s my job to raise kids with character and insight and I won’t have those computers stealing their soul.
I’d love to know what you think about electronics and kids. Where is your balance?
Until next time,
May God grant you the serenity to accept the things you cannot change (about teenagers) change the things you can (about teenagers) and have the wisdom to know the difference.
My book is available on Amazon. Follow me on Twitter@AndreaFrazerWrites or on FB.