Gamers Becoming Dads
How does an active gamer share a common interest with their child and at the same time help them prioritize what is important? Recently, I’ve run into the problem that my son is excited to play his XBOX, XBOX ONE, PS3 and now PC games (on a PC I made him build himself), but yet he seems to think that gaming is a right and not a privilege. His entire life he’s seen me bring home the latest Halo or BattleFront game and jump in to the fray. “Dad loves to play games” he’s said to my wife, “I want to play too.” Unfortunately, now that he’s the ripe old age of 13, he believes that somewhere in the U.S. Bill of Rights is the “Right to Game.” I believe the “Privilege of Game” should always come after the “Obligation of Work” or stated another way, “work hard, play hard.” Not “Play first, get around to doing better in school eventually.”
For his 13th birthday, his mother and I purchased some new parts and (with some additional spares from computer room) we watched him assemble his own pretty decent PC gaming rig. Every screw that was turned he did, every power cable connected he did. It was clear that his sense of accomplishment pleased him, and now he had the best PC in his group of friends. LAN parties with friends during the summer was very fun for him. Showing his PC to his friends was obviously a very satisfying experience. “wow!”, “cool computer” and “you are so lucky” were some of the comments when I dropped him off to the first LAN party.
Now that school is starting, we let him know that we expected him to work hard at school and that any gaming he would be doing would be only done on the weekend and only done after turning in “Extra Homework Pages.” My solution to teach my son that Gaming is a Privilege and not a Right is to show him that he has to PURCHASE gaming hours with ADDITIONAL homework pages. 1 for 1. And I would supply the homework pages from extra workbooks. Math, Science, and Reading comprehension pages will be the new currency for gaming in our household. Not Dollars, Not PlayStation Cash, Not XBOX points, or even Steam cash.
The idea went over with mixed reviews at the homested, my wife loved it, my son, not so much. He didn’t think it was fair… to which I replied as all Dads do: Feel free to fill in the blank “Life isn’t ______________” (Hint: rhymes with Hair).
Homework: It’s the new DadCoin.
I’ll let everyone know how well the arrangement works after the first 6 months. Let me know your comments below!