My name is Crissi, and I am the mother of a video game junkie.

It’s true. During the school year I limit it to weekends only. The weekend started on Fridays after we got home from school and work, and ended at 9 pm on Sundays. I always swore I’d give him time limits, but I admit it, I never did. He would wake up at 8 am on the dot to start playing. I would not let him play any earlier in favor of my sleep. If I didn’t limit that, without exaggeration he’d be up at 5 am to start playing. And if I let him, he would happily play all day long, pausing only long enough to take a bathroom break or eat. I would even have to remind my usually healthy eater that he needed to stop and eat something, usually when he’d be reduced to tears over a hard part in the game because his blood sugar was getting low.

Take the video games away from him, and I would suddenly be around the Tasmanian Devil! He became a boy going through serious withdrawal. The first day is always the hardest. His anger is through the roof, and he’ll go through bouts of yelling and crying, and then yelling some more. After that it gets a little easier, but he counts down the days till he can have the games back. I can take away any of his toys and his reaction doesn’t even touch the video game reaction. Even his skateboards, his second most prized possession, only produce a few tears. But the video games, that is the magic item that cuts him straight to the core. I will say, though, that it takes the guesswork out of discipline. The video games are always the very first to go. And if I have to take away several items, he has to earn everything else back before getting the video games back.

Now that it is summertime, the whole week is like the weekend. I’m not putting a whole lot of restraints on it. We are gone during the day, so he doesn’t play all day long. He wakes up in the morning and quickly makes his breakfast and lunch, and then gets ready for day camp. And when he’s all done getting ready, he plays video games for an hour before we leave. I never have to wait on him in the morning because he is the first one in the household to be ready to leave. When we get back, he’s back on the video games. And on the weekends, he has more time to play. I have noticed, though, that since his allotted playing time has increased, he is more apt to put the video games down and play outside with his friends or even just sit and read a book. And if I tell him to turn it off, he is more willing to do so since he knows that he can play again soon.

Any other parents have a video game junkie for a kid? How do you handle it? What kind of limits do you place on their playing?


2 thoughts on “Videogames

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  1. Oh my gosh. I’m glad to have someone admit this. I have the exact same issue. My son is totally addicted. He wakes up at 5am, would play all day if he could and gets totally weird when he plays to long.

    I’ve put limitations on as well and i get the same freak-out scenarios.

    The thing I’ve always struggled with is that yeah…as kids we used to play outside and all that…but these days you can’t just let your kids run wild. He is involved in tons of activities, camps and sports…but the minute he’s done with his homework, enforced reading time and activities, he runs for the games.

    This summer, I sent him to my father-in-law’s farm to work for three weeks and get some fresh air…the only thing I could think of to get him out from under the game spell. Oddly enough he called me last night to check in, and was playing his game. haha.

  2. These posts seem pretty on track in my opinion. I was(wait..still am) a game junkie. Started as far back as I remember(24 now) on my uncles atari2600 and have probably played every major console at some point. One thing I have noticed after reflecting on this a bit is video games get a bad rap for being addictive but I think it really depends on the person, but if I don’t stop now I’ll get off topic.

    First off kudos for having a gamer that makes their own breakfast and lunch. If a skateboard is the 2nd most price possession then that’s another bonus because it means he gets out for physical activity.( helps lower those statistics for Americas overweight children issue.)

    I would however try to cut Sunday from their gaming session. Make it a more activity/family filled day so that you don’t have a big blowup to begin the school/work week.

    Also could play the games with him. Could have a couple different results. Could be another bonding experience or if he is in the independence stage he might feel strange that his mom thinks games are cool and find a different outlet.

    One of my moms rules was if you are getting mad at the game then it’s time to turn it off because a game is suppose to he fun; how can you have fun if you are upset?

    See if he can explain the mechanics of the game; you might have the next great game designer on your hands.

    Anyway these are just thoughts of a gamer/geek at 4;30am. Keep on him about school 😉 I’ve gone to a top rate private university(Art Institute of California San Francisco) studying Visual and Game Programming but I got kicked out because of my bad GPA because I was playing too many games(ironic huh). I’ve always done things the hard way but I’m learning from my mistakes.

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