Whaaaat? Andy has gone completely mad. Or so it may seem. Perhaps there is some genius here?
Ok stay with me here, the point I hope to make is that knowing and being involved in the interests of the members of our family is key to raising not only happy children who feel like they matter, and routines we create as a family around that knowledge is associated with positive relationships, health and well-being outcomes in our family.
So, my 12 year old, speaks a different language, mostly about computers and yes I get him to programme the TV and well anything else electronic or related to technology. However he had a slow introduction to “gaming”. While his friends from an early age were playing and of course talking about Nintendo hand held games, he wasn’t allowed to have one (it’s a long story) and was very much excluded at school from the banter and social interaction about whatever game was hot at that time.
Fast forward to now. The reality is, is that games are part of his social infrastructure. And now that game is Fortnite. Should he be playing it? Maybe. Maybe not. But that’s not a call anyone, a parent, can make without understanding it, especially from his perspective, and that meant I had to get involved with him. I had him explain it, demonstrate it. And I listened in when he teamed up with his friends and they played together either in game mode or practice mode.
I found out that:
- he quarantined himself from any interactions with people he did not know
- he loves the strategy, the planning, the building, the team work, the navigation
- and most of all, he loved connecting with his friends on the weekend especially friends who are no longer at his school
- and he also enjoyed playing with me, teaching me and teaming up with me
I have to point out, he has limitations on the times and duration he can play it. Because he’s growing up in a dual parenting situation, he only gets to play it every fortnight, no pun intended.
So the point is, regardless of whether it’s Fortnite or not, when kids have a social and learning outlet, if parents can spend positive time with their children, without conflict, this can be a great bonding experience where the game (or the school work or the musical instrument, or the sport) is just a means to an end.
It’s about “time in” with your kids. Getting involved is well worth it.