It’s no secret, I’ve been a huge gamer most of my life, and you’d know that if you saw my series on how to Build an Arcade Machine. In fact, gaming is what brought the two of us here at DaddyMindTricks together in that I invited Pete over my house to play The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past and the rest is history. That said, I’m not afraid to challenge things in my life in order to discover if something is unhealthy or not, and video games are no different. I’ve weighed the pros and cons (which to be honest there were too few of) and I’ve determined, in my professional opinion, that games, in moderation and in conjunction with other activities, are not only safe for me but they have the ability to make me a better parent, and here’s how:
Teaches Life Lessons
Video games have the ability to teach both the parent and child to be a good sport or, at the very least, it points out if you’re a poor sport so that it can be addressed and corrected. On top of that, the general nature of video games has a trial and error process that also teaches the important lesson of practice pays off. And if none of that is important for you to teach your children, one of the most important lessons, that is never too early to begin learning is that of patience. With most games, because it becomes a turn based competition, kids are actually eager to take their turn and playing together will help them understand that they have to wait their turn. Tell me, you couldn’t work on honing this skill yourself in life.
People act like video games are a waste of time but if you have family game night it’s no different than if you sat around playing board games together. Except that there’s a higher chance that your kids will actually look forward to this activity more so over board games sadly enough. Don’t believe me or think I’m just making excuses? Well video games have been around long enough that kids, who played video games with their parents, are old enough now to tell you that those times are some of their fondest. I even have a buddy who told me that playing Madden with his father in the 90’s were some of his fondest memories that he has with his dad.
Way to Blow off Steam
For the parent it’s a great, and safe, way to blow off some steam while temporarily escaping from the real world. You may judge that statement as a negative but it’s a whole lot better than some other vices that could be had…like, say, reading social media posts in order to judge others. And make sure to never choose it over sex…unless of course it’s Fallout 4, then I can’t help you there.
Socializing (for Parents)
I don’t believe in online video games being a good way to teach social behaviors to children, but for parents (who should have by now learned how to be normal, functioning, social beings) online video games give them a way to socialize with their friends who also have to be at home at night because their kids are sleeping. And this allows for less spiteful night when you wish you could be having a drink with the guys.
Takes a Proactive Role
Games nowadays are a billion dollar industry and one reason for that is that they’ve figured out that, with great writing, games can be a more proactive form of storytelling opposed to books and movies that force the participant in more of a passive, observing role. There’s nothing better for the imagination than being a part of the story rather than being told the story. Sure, books force you to imagine what you’re reading in your head but games allow you to wonder and guess what’s going to happen to you next, which can sometimes be more fantastical than just imagining what something looks like. On top of that, nothing makes you feel more like the character of a story than that of video games. Trust me, play a horror game and tell me that shit isn’t scarier than any book you’ve read or movie you’ve seen.
Healthier for Parents and Kids (Daughters Specifically)
Believe it or not, if done correctly, video games can be healthy for you. Not only is it stimulating for your brain, and teaches hand-eye motor skills (which the Nintendo Wii era proved to senior citizens in retirement homes), but a study at Brigham Young University concluded that, “Adolescent girls who play age-appropriate video games with their fathers are happier, healthier and have better family connections than those who don’t,” according to livescience.com.
On top of that the Xbox One has a intensive library of workouts that, in tandem with the Kinect 2.0, acts like a personal trainer in that it can see how hard you’re using your specific muscles and can tell you when you aren’t doing the exercise correctly and that you can push harder during those times you think you can cheat a bit without getting caught.
So if none of this is evidence that video games can make you a better parent then maybe you need to take a long hard look at yourself, and your biases, and chill the hell out.
To the rest of you, get your game on!!!
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