All He Thinks About Is Video Games

Updated on September 14, 2009
F.P. asks from Chesterfield, MO
14 answers

My son is 8 and all he thinks about is playing video games. We have stopped allowing him to play during the weekdays because that's all he could think about while doing homework. He would rush through homework so he could go play. Now when he comes home from school he complains that he has nothing to do. There are no kids to play with outside and he sometimes gets bored playing with his 6 y/o sister. He does karate twice a week does his homework every night with no complaints. The problem is when he does get to play on the weekends that's all he wants to do for hours is play video games. I partially plan my husband because he gets him excited about the new games that come out. My son and I are very close but I feel the older he gets the more disconnected I feel from him when it comes to having fun together. I don't know what to do with him to have fun because his father has him interested in video games, star wars or anything war related. I feel like I have to compete with my husband that's weird to me but what do I do? I grew up in a strict home, not a lot of playtime. So I feel like I don't know how to get him interested in any thing else. My girl is some what easy, I can bond naturally with her. My husband is impossible to talk to, he has an answer for EVERYTHING.

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K.G.

answers from St. Louis on

My brother-in-law was eight years old when I got married. He was always playing video games, too. War ones. Like World War II fighting games.

His mother is very smart. She saw that it was a passion of his, so she started getting WWII books, maps, etc. They would go through the tactics that the armies used, plot out the positions on maps, and really just have fun with it. Does she like WWII? Not so much. But she really fueled that passion for her son.

Something like that may work for you, too. Right now, they are incredibly close and love to talk to each other. He is now 17 years old, and I am very proud of him. And his mother!

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A.R.

answers from St. Louis on

Hi Dear Francesca,

You and I have several things in common: I have a 9 year-old kid who LOVES to play video games, and a father who loves them too. My husband also has an answer for everything, and he also likes to play video games with my kid. BUT he and I set limits to our kids for tv and video games or computer games (monitored). On Saturdays, my son plays video games with dad only after they worked out (gym, jogging, push ups, etc) indoor or outdoor weather permitted. Sundays we go to church, and we make everything possible to go to the cinema or just watch some nice familiar movie at home with the two kids. They play video games while the little one take a nap or I take some time off just going to the store or jogging or going to the gym.
My son never is permitted to play video games or tv UNLESS his schoolwork is done. My kid also does karate 4 times a week, he attends a PE class once a week, and swimming on weekends as well.
Francesca, just set the limits, talk to your husband about setting some limits without taking away the time your husband and kid have together, It is a nice thing. If it is really hard to get your husband's attention in this matter, try yourself to find something that you can share with your kid every weekend or twice a week, like going to the movies or play a board game. I do that with my son, and even when he and my husband are getting closer and closer and spending more time together, my son loves to share something he likes with me either a board game or a TV movie or walking...I am sure you will find something else that your kid finds interesting doing with you. There is always something, the problem sometimes is, us, moms. We don't listen and we don't have a the time to find out what other interests our kids have besides the obvious. If they see us always cleaning, doing laundry, taking care of the youngest, busy...the kids will find something easy to be amused. I have a lot of things to do during weekends, and sometimes I just let everything else, I check the movies at the cinema and I invite my kid to see the movie he was interested in. We have a great time together.Make a move , mom. I promise you will find something else than video games....but..do not forget setting limits, there is time for fun and time for chores and school.
Good Luck
A.

PS I also play some video games or computer games with my kid too!

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V.M.

answers from Kansas City on

My son and husband play video games together all the time. I've had to put my foot down and set limits for the both of them! My son is 14 and he likes XBOX360 and plays xbox live which is playing online with friends and they can talk to each other via a headset. I dont mind him playing after school and is good about doing homework. My husband and son also share an interst in karate that they do together a few times a week. It does seem like they have more interests than he and I and it used to both me a little bit, too, but there are other things you can all do as a family. Sunday morning we walk to the park and have a great time talking and catching up on our week. Set some time for yourself and son if you want that one on one time...go to a movie or have lunch. As your son gets older he will naturally want to spend more time with your husband, I think that's when the male bonding starts! but that's ok, it's good that they are close. My son talks to my husband about certain things and that's ok too, my daughter does the same with me. Encourage your son to try something new, for us it's been playing basketball and getting more involved in school. If he hasn't started doing chores around the house, now would be a great time for that too. Let him earn game time, your husband should be agreeable with that. I hope I've helped some!
Take care,
V.

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S.H.

answers from St. Louis on

for this past summer, the rule was "one time around the block....on the bike or walking....before the electronics were used". This rule applied for tv viewing, video games, the DS, & my computer.

& this rule worked! Quite frequently, my son would make it a couple of times around the block before heading to his room.

For the school year, my son cannot play games until after dinner. That way he won't be tempted to rush thru his work. It also gives us time to interact as a family before he chooses isolation in his room. & honestly, between Scouts & religion school & afterschool clubs....there's not much time!

In our extended family, we have quite a few young men in their early 20s. The ones who lived on video games are completely unmotivated, relishing in living a slacker life. It is sooo hard for our generation to accept this. By contrast, the guys who had games limited thru their childhoods....are showing more promise, are attending college, & are making plans. & it's interesting that the girls from this age group are exhibiting the same mores toward life, too. Our generation has discussed this many, many times....& it's fascinating & scary to see this happening.

& there is nothing wrong with games...I too play either solo or with my son....but setting limits & governing their exposure is ALL important! I hope you & your husband can come to an agreement!

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A.S.

answers from Kansas City on

I think you and your husband should sit down and set some firm rules about the game playing. Instead of letting him play as much as he wants over the weekend, how about setting a time limit. After 1 hour, it gets turned off, and that's it. What about getting a game that you can play as a family? I'm not sure what kind of game console he has, but there are lots of games out there that are multi-player and more family oriented. If you want to bond more with him, set aside time for just you and him. You might have to take more interest in the things he's into right now, even though you might not like it. He'll think it's great that you're showing interest in the things he likes to do.

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D.B.

answers from St. Louis on

We had the same problem in our household. Video games are banned during the week and only available on weekends. We play a lot of board games, our boys love Legos too so we encourage them to build and create. We also bought a "Snap kit" from Radio Shack which allows children to create small electronics like radios, alarms, etc. The kit is awesome and it is a fun learning tool teaching them about open and closed circuits, etc. We also require one book a week in our house. Our kids have enjoyed the Alex Ryder series as well as Hardy Boys, Magic Tree House and Box Car children. Once they get started on other activities and find something of interest, they don't seem to miss the games as much. We did get a Wii and bought family oriented games. They enjoy competing with Mom and Dad. We still have issues on occasion but it is getting much easier to deal with. Good luck.

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K.O.

answers from Wichita on

I feel for you! I have four boys, and one of them is literally addicted to video games and another to the TV. Unfortunately, my husband loves them both too and does NOT believe in limiting them. You can just imagine what life is like here! If I try to limit them, I become the "bad cop" and my husband says "they are good boys, let them be."
Best of luck! I know this isn't any advice; however, I just wanted you to know that you are not alone!
K.

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H.H.

answers from Kansas City on

I have a 9 yr old that loves video games too but he is good to do his homework and does chores as well, we have a very busy life so there isn't a lot of time at home to play video games so when we are home he usually plays them. I do like some of the ideas posted on here like not playing until after supper or having him ride his bike for a period of time first. Even though it seems our sons play video games a lot they probably don't play more than 1-2 hours a day because they have other things they have to do especially in the evenings so there isn't a lot of time during the school year for games but during the summer they did play them more. You may want to set an amount of time for his homework so that he won't rush through it and if he gets his homework done early and it's all done right then he could finish his time reading a book. Have at least 30-45 minutes set aside for homework time because at his grade level it shouldn't be longer than that anyway. I think the average is 10 minutes per grade level.
My oldest played a lot of games when he was younger but he also loves to read so if he wasn't playing video games he was reading. He is 17 now and a very hard worker, hardly home to play video games anymore and is very involved in youth, church, playing on the worship teams at church which takes up 2 evenings for practices, works a job, and also mows a few lawns, is involved in helping out at the football games, and helps others when asked, taking 4 college level classes at school so he is very busy. He was always good about doing chores when he was little without complaining and still does some at home when he can. My rule is 2 chores a day from each person and nothing gets too bad but sometimes we are so busy that there isn't always time to get 2 done but when everyone pitches in to do something it doesn't take long to get the house cleaned and don't spend all day on Saturday to clean it.

I would say after homework and chores are done, maybe a little exercise around the block either walking with him or riding bikes, then set some time for his games.

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M.B.

answers from Wichita on

I have a boy, who just turned 9, that has the same problem. His playstation is his life every nite. He got to where he wouldn't even hear us when we talked to him. Finally, this past weekend, it went into "hibernation" and I don't know that he will ever get it back. We live in the country and he states he has nothing to do or friends to play with either, but there is plenty. I feel that if it is out of sight, it won't be such a problem compared to if its laying there on the desk, he's going to want to play it. I know this isn't much advice, but this is what I have had to do.

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S.R.

answers from Kansas City on

On the video games - we are instituting an 'x-box allowance'. You have x hours per week to use whenever, but within the after a, b, c, are done. You can earn extra time with good behavior (or extra help, or participating in a non-videogame activity) and lose time as a punishment. It teaches him to budget his time and gives you a built-in motivator/reward.
With the relating/bonding thing - two of my kids are teens and they have figured out that dad and I make a good team because we are good at/interested in complementary things. Dad is artistic and knows music. I am organized and efficient and know baking and computers. They know which parent to go to for their needs. As for something to do with him, plan stuff for just you guys - a trip for ice cream, or 'coffee' or whatever. That will open opportunities to talk and you can find other things that interest him. Additionally, Liberty Memorial is WWI museum and has interactive stuff you can do. That can also branch into other museums such as the Nelson or the Nerman (at JCCC). He may drag his feet initially, but if he's anything like mine, soon he'll forget about being a pain and enjoy himself.

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R.N.

answers from Kansas City on

Don't know what to tell you about the video game obsession. I have the same problem. I imagine it's very common. But for your other issue of bonding with your son, I recommend this book: Raising Cain by Dan Kindlon
http://www.amazon.com/Raising-Cain-Protecting-Emotional-L...

Boys pull away from their mothers at a certain age and if you push him to respond to you the way you want/need...he will pull away even more and possibly become angry with you. They operate differently than we do. Read the book. Good luck.

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A.R.

answers from Kansas City on

My son love to play video games and be on the computer. He would be on all day if we let him. I think that maybe you should set a time limit on the weekends for him. Also have you tried to play any of his games with him? He might really enjoy that and you guys might bond. I would try to just limit his time and eventually he will find something else to keep him busy.

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S.V.

answers from Kansas City on

I don't have personal experience with this, as my mom sat and played super mario brothers with my brother and I after homework (I'm 31)... But, I will tell you that there are several psychological studies out associating violent/war video games with male-aggression, later in life. I would discuss this with your husband, research the info out there and come to a consensus. Personally, I think that being outside, playing in the mud, reading, riding bikes, building stuff is healthy for the imagination.
What about a happy medium like a WII? Don't they have karate, dance, stuff like that on it...and limit it weekly (as the other responder suggested). I (granted, I have a 9 month old, so I say this now, ask me in 10 years) refuse to allow video games in the house. They provide no educational value. Entertainment should be driven by imagination...just my opinion. You and your husband need to unite on this, whether he likes it or not.

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S.D.

answers from St. Louis on

Maybe on the weekend you could do some family activities together? Our son is only two but we don't allow him to watch much tv. We go out together as a family during the week and make special events part of nearly every weekend. Not only are we bonding...we're also promoting a healthy lifestyle in his future. Finding a local park to walk or hike at costs nothing but it allows us quality time. Just a thought for you guys too.

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