Family Battles Over Video Games

Sep 14

The kids' video game "cave"

There are various aspects about video games that irritate me, but the one that frustrates me most is their ability to create friction in our family.  While I have yet to personally experience that addictive tug that attaches one (for hours sometimes) to a video game, the effect is not lost on my three boys.

For anyone following my blog over the past six months, you may remember I implemented a video game ban in our household from Monday to Thursday during the school year.  Although not a popular decision among my kids, it helped prevent the daily battles over gaming and homework – the former always taking precedence with my kids over the latter.

With the school year back in full swing, the rule was freshly implemented.  Our first war over it took place two days ago when my 11-year-old son sparked up the Wii to play with his friend after school.  Um, remember that video game ban, son? My request to turn it off spiralled into mutterings about the “stupid rule” to angry accusations that I’m the meanest, strictest mom that he knew.  (I admit – I wavered between feeling proud and defensive about that title).  However, I did not budge from my decision, even as he berated me in front of his buddy.

The result? His friend was sent home (even though he’d only arrived ten minute earlier), my son was forced to sit in his room, and I was left stewing over the not so fabulous effect that video games have on family bonding.  Perhaps Nintendo or Microsoft might consider paying for family counselling to deal with our video game woes the way the Canadian government covers gambling addiction problems created by their casinos?

My story does, however, have a happy ending.  That very evening, my three boys asked to go to the local library.  By 8:30 pm, we’d returned home with a collection of 34 books that the kids had picked out.  Me thinks the trip to a library would never have transpired had the boys been playing Wii Wipe Out after dinner.


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