Parent of a Gamer--What's Really Going On In There?steemCreated with Sketch.

in gaming •  2 years ago 

What is really going on in there?  
In the computer or in my head?

  
Let's discuss what you think about this:

When my son Carlos was a teenager, he was one of those boys who would stay in his dark room, connected all hours of the night and day to the computer playing his on-line games.  I would slip in to take him a refreshing beverage and a sandwich.  He'd say "Thanks Mom", take a bite from the snack, and continue clicking without a gliche in his flow.

I would enter his room, perhaps even hours later, to find his now dry bread sandwich with only that one single bite missing, his glass of the now less than fresh beverage still filled to the brim, and his red, puffy eyeballs still glued to the glowing screen.


As a parent, these questions haunted me, as I was fearful his passion was turning into an addiction, and I didn't know what to do:

When will he ever sleep?
When will he eat?
When will he hydrate himself?
When will he get some sunlight?
When will he breathe fresh air again?
When will he come out and engage with his family?



My wus-bund finally took the x-box away from him, which I vehemently protested. After all, we didn't buy him that machine, he earned the money and bought it himself!!  And, I felt he needed to make these decisions for himself if he was going to be responsible for his own well-being.  My wus-band gave the machine back with much reluctance, and our son jumped back in to the screen.  It became a bit of a bone of contention between us parents, as my wus-bund was looking at all the physical clues and wanting to push for a healthier approach, and I, although was also concerned for his health and well being, kept feeling that there was greater importance for our son to be delving into his passion.  I could not possibly know what benefits would come from his immersion as I could not see the future--I just felt there was something beyond my understanding I could not yet see.  



These questions swirled around in my mind as I attempted to outwardly stifle my fear:

"How could I as a parent want my child to NOT do the things he is passionate about?"  

"Why would I want to control or manipulate him away from something that may one day prove to have great value to his life, even though I couldn't see it in the moment?"

"How can I feel good about his choices and still instill in him the importance of taking care of himself, which was one of my greatest concerns?"


Our son was unschooled, so basically had a life of his choosing (at least as much as our conditioned parental minds could wrap ourselves around).  He didn't do traditional learning, but followed his inspirations and his excitement to drive his education.  Sometimes he would spout something out that would surprise me.  How in the world does this kid know these things?  His reply "I learned that from a video game, Mom!"  Hmmmm...what is really going on in that game?


I would do my best to leave him uninterrupted to immerse himself, as I really wanted him to do what really moved him.  This on-line reality REALLY moved him and though I was scared, I wanted to support what he wanted for himself.

Carlos was well aware of our fear and frustration and did his best to calm our fears, while still holding his determination to play as much as he wanted.  One day he made this brilliant statement to me:


"Mom, you are only fearful because you don't understand.  This on-line playing is something you have no experience with and have only a limited perspective on.  You have no idea what is going on in there!!  If I was in the living room, playing chess with high level players from all over the world, you would be so ecstatic because it's something you have a clue about, and know of its value.  You would be astounded about how intelligent and capable I am, what a high level of competition I was rising to, and the amazing cultural experience I was creating for myself.  All of those things and more are happening inside my computer. I have access to expand my mind and make on-the-spot decisions about my opponents and their skills and tools.  I am playing with some of the toughest players from all around the world. Not only do we challenge each other, but we are getting to know each other on a deep level -- sometimes I even know about their families, what their bathroom habits are and what is in their sandwich!  You're just afraid of the unknown.  Want to come in and play with me?"



Well!!!!!  That was the confirmation I had been praying for, and enough to shake the worry out of me.  He was right, and I knew it.   realized that it wasn't really about the game at all, it was about MY FEAR.  I was the one that needed to challenge myself to understand more, and to discover why I was so afraid.   I was the one to have faith that his passions would prepare him for whatever was important in his life.  Thank god for new perspective, a child who knew more than I did, and for this opportunity to get myself in check.


My wus-band was still not convinced so remained somewhat fearful, while I took deep breaths when the sun was out and the breeze was blowing, and Carlos was sequestered in his room engaging the unknown.  I felt more secure by remembering that I truly had no idea what the future holds, or how these skills would be applied to his life...indeed I could be wrong about everything I thought I thought I knew!  If I trusted him to design a life of his own, this was a primo opportunity to start right now to walk the walk.


Carlos immersed himself deeply into gaming and then quit when he was done. Gaming didn't become his grown-up life, but it was definitely enhanced by it.  He didn't end up retarding his brain, or end up in the hospital from malnutrition or dehydration.  He had incredible social skills, a greater awareness of the world around him, an understanding of his body and its limits, the enjoyment of truly engaging a passion, and an inspiration to do something new, among many many other benefits that have made him who he is today.  He has become a mechanic and a pilot, and aspires to go deep into the realms of space travel.  I am certain his interest in gaming and the skills he gained from it have and will play a big part in his present and future experience.



I'm going to write soon about another gamer I know who has begun the book called "How a Video Game Changed My Life and Awakened the Genius Within".  @quinneaker has an incredible perspective on the benefits of self-designed life and gaming, as he played solid about 16 hours a day for a solid year.  


For all of those questioning their fear about gaming...I believe we have something to share. 


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Everlove, What a wonderful insight on a teenager hooked to gaming. It is true that common feelings about gaming, especially those of us fearful parents center around the lack of healthy eating/sleep habits, lack of physical exercise, fear of our children engaging with faceless internet rogues etc. There are plus sides to gaming too like sharpening the competitive spirit and sense of achievement. However, not many parents have the patience that you showed to let your son experience his own gaming obsession, grow out of it and then apply what he learnt to his own reality. Kudos on your job as a parent. I love the term 'wus-band' by the way! My wife is going to love that term. LOL. Upvoted and followed

I would be honored if you check my latest blogs when you have time. I have posted the first of my tiger pictures with a story of that encounter. Your comments will be highly appreciated. Thanks.

It really takes daily effort to keep our own fears under control--that is until we really understand the value they may be receiving, and our lack of awareness of what that could possibly be. We never know what is going to happen, so embracing everything is optimal. Just imagine if, god forbid, anything were to happen to our child that caused death, and we had to live with ourselves knowing we tried to keep them from the thing they loved the most. Living for passion is something we can instill in or children which will last them a lifetime and give them the knowing that true immersion in joy is possible. That is a gift that keeps on giving.

Thanks for the acknowledgement, the comment, upvote and follow @vm2904. I'll take a little peek over your way and see what's up in your world.

Wow, @everlove, your trust in your son and ability to let go of your own fears as a parent is super awe-inspiring. Amazing.

You know what's funny? My adolescent video game habit actually turned into a chess habit. And I was highly competitive in both, one of which my mom approved, and the other she didn't. HAH!

I'm not a parent, so I really can't imagine what it would be like to have been in your position, but as a child I too had an intense video game addiction, which ate up the waking timeclock majority percentage of a few of my precious tweenage years. 15 years later, I occasionally have dreams where I'm inside a video game or playing on the net which are invariably suuuper fun in the dream, then kind of depressing when I wake up and reflect.

Whatever feelings I have about it, I wouldn't be the me I am today without having had that very formative experience, and I have no idea what else I could have been, so why worry about it, right? Or is that kind of thinking a convenient rationalization? I dunno, but I do have the feeling that I was lucky to escape my own addiction.

You know, in my case my mom did try to stop me from playing computer games, and all that fighting really hurt our relationship. I was so strong-willed there was just no way any of her persuasion would have gotten through to me. Our relationship only recovered years after she stopped trying to keep me away from that and other behaviors she worried were dangerous or destructive for me. I never could have imagined then that she and I would be where we are now.

Anyway, it sounds like you have a great relationship with your son, he's lucky to have such a supportive mother.

Wow @jaredwood!!! That was an amazing comment!! I'm so grateful to engage you in this conversation as I feel it is a really important topic that we could benefit to look at and talk about.

I feel that trusting my children was in some ways a lot easier than trusting myself. It has been my life's work to face my fears and remember how to stand up for what I believe in. I have been trusting my children since they were small, and in paying attention, I learned to let go of a lot of things.

I'm not surprised about your mom's feelings about chess and video games. It's fun that you experienced both!!! And got to witness your mom seek to find her balance. It is very difficult to go in the complete opposite direction from what you have seen and been told all your life.

Quinn has said that he had never found anything that could challenge him so much, and that life was really nothing next to the intensity and complexity of the game. I can imagine why you might feel the way you do about the dream!

It appears to me that most gamers, who are REALLY gamers, are incredibly passionate about playing. How beautiful it is to feel such passion, as most people never really even know what they like.

If you feel you wasted your precious tweenage years, then you likely did --atleast from one perspective. But I think doing exactly what one wants to do is an incredible way to live a life. When embracing all of the intricacies learned in the journey, I'm certain they are priceless!! The mind can always find the way to rationalize. Maybe the questions is, why do we need to rationalize or make excuses for doing what we really want to do?

I believe many a parent/child relationship has been greatly stressed by the use of video games and other behaviors parents are afraid of. There are very few examples that show us what a free child, engaging fully in their passion can gain from such intensity. We must ask ourselves -- who am I to keep my beloved from experiencing the fullness of something he is obviously passionate about and inspired by. I personally would hate to be limited by someone else who thinks I draw too much, or dance too much, or volunteer too much.

Looking within to address my own fears is what ultimately became my strength. Being aware of the possibilities I learned to honor my children as human beings on their own divine path. Gratefully it has paid off in our long-term relationship as well. I'm glad your mom found her groove with you. May your shine prove to confirm her true knowing of your ability to design a life worth truly living.

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I am a gamer and my mom has had those questions too.
I love mothers. They care.

Gotta love on our babies!! Being connected to a computer goes against most everything we grew up with. It's a challenge to let go of the things you think you know, and embrace new possibilities. So glad you love your mom!! Thanks for the comment @joeyarnoldvn.

I so can relate...wahaha...good read....lucky I have a supporting mother too....

YAY for moms!!! It seems a bit easier now that technology has become such an important part of our lives. 15 years ago it seemed it could be a passing trend. Hahahah--shows you what we know. I appreciate your reply @luigienius. Give your mom a kiss!

Nice post :)

Thanks @tedbelieve!!! Nice screen name!

Even though I'm a gamer myself, I have really mixed feelings about this.

I've been gaming a lot when I was young, but nowdays it's far less. Still, I know people who still keep on gaming much and they can't even finish their studies because they are so nuts about gaming.

Even though I feel parent should set boundries to children (no matter what age) who are living at home, and they can support even those who have already moved to live on their own, but they should give freedom to their children.

It's good to get some perspective, what if this would be about something else? Would you be worried, if your child was obsessed about fixing cars? Or playing frisbee golf? Is the thing you are worried about gaming or the obsession?

Thanks for the response @apsu. It's good to hear from gamers and their opinions about this topic.

I know there are people who get so involved in games that they cannot really live a responsible life. I think it is also worth a look at the other things they are engaging in the "real" life, to see if those choices are based on true interest or on obligation. It is hard to do things we don't really want to do, and often people look for distractions to avoid getting sucked into things they don't truly find of benefit.

I have a bit of an unusual perspective on parenting anyway, and I believe that schooling is something we need to look at on a deeper level. I can see why gaming would be preferable to studying, especially if the subjects they study are not of interest. I believe in freedom with responsibility, which is a subject for a whole other post.

I notice that many parents are not only worried about gaming as an obsession, but also the lack of fresh air, sunshine, healthy meals, physical activity. Especially worth a mention is the electrical input into their bodies through the computer. Some of the other activities you mentioned don't carry the same risk, and parents (of my generation) are more familiar with those other things. The unknown of what could happen seems to be the scariest for most.

I agree with most of what you write, and I can see very good points :)

I'm can't get a good way of putting up this thought but.. just as long as your child is able to take care of himself, everything should be ok. That's typically an important factor :)

I agree with that. Raising children to be self-sufficient and capable is one of the most important points of being a parent. Of course there are no guarantees, but from the mass amount of gamers I have known, they eventually choose to move on with their lives and create something of themselves. There are some that continue to play into adulthood, and often find spouses and jobs that allow them the time to engage their passion. Not all gamers get to play free of outside control, so often don't get the full-on experience of deep immersion, which dilutes the experience in many ways.

Thanks for the comment @apsu.

I wish you, let this day begin with a warm morning sun, invigorating aromatic coffee, sonorous bird song, tender favorite melody and your happy sincere smile. And let these pleasant moments, emotions and sensations last all day.

Ahhhhhhhhh.......thanks @sokoloffa. What a great way to start my day. Thanks for the joyful words and the serene expression. I appreciate your presence here!

The rewards of TrusTinG - ))
.. and, so much sweeter to transform doubt, into trust - ))
YOU're a very GooD story teller, the 'gate' of it .. rhythm - ))

SO awesome YOUr son .. trusted YOU !! - ))
.. tough sometimes, speaking truth .. to family ???
ha ha ... not that i'm surprised ! - )

.. thankS YOU ! - )

LOVELOVELOVE )))
greb'Z )

ps .. is that 'his' car .. how'd it turn out ?? - ))
... so curious .. love the details ))))

The rewards of trusting each other and trusting ourselves.
Trusting that they are capable of ruling their lives, even though everything we've ever been shown and told is to the contrary. Much trust indeed.

Yes, that was his car. He loved it and it came out great. I'm working toward getting him to write on Steemit about his passions---one of which is cars!!

SourCE has .. everyone's back .. individually - )))

SO many .. objects .. subjects ??? - )))
SourCE must BE .. VerY CuriouS !! - ))

ha ha)))

LOVELOVELOVE )))
greb'Z )

Parental Guidance .. i can't imagine .. the struggle ?? confusion ??
.. not from a place, of 'not' knowing who i am.
and .. that didn't come .. until recently-ish for me - )))
.. makes me wonder ?? - ))

SO .. many friends with kids .. it doesn't sound easy ? - (
SO .. many paths - ))

Children are actually quite easy, that is unless we squash the divinity out of them. The greatest challenge is to look at ourselves, why we are so fearful, why we think we are "right", and how we can have faith in the process. Most people treat their children as incapable, needing to be learned, when actually the opposite is true--they are incredibly capable and we are the ones with much to learn from them. Can be tough to let go, but so easy the ride when we do!! Thanks for your comment @fun-along-theway.

" ... they are incredibly capable and we are the ones with much to learn from them." .. AgreeD !! - )) WE've (as ? adults ? .. not me .. ha ha .. man-child - )) .. have "L-earn-eD" .. allot of limitations .. and WHO BeTTeR to un-L-earn them .. then FROM .. the one's WE LOVE unCONDITIONaly (( at least at the core .. i trust )) .. i feel, YOUr post YESterDAY .. was a gorgeous RELATABLE piece of BeautY .. that any parent "these days" .. could benefit from - )))
... i did - ))
ThankS YOU .. !! - ))
.. have a LOVE-ly DaY - )) )) ))

Blessed to be sharing something of value. Learning from our children is one of the greatest gifts they give to us, if only we can pause long enough to listen. Thank you so much for the confirmation and for your comments @fun-along-theway. It's great to share with you!

.. wick question .. have you read .. the Anistsia series ?? - ))
i only read the first 3 .. kids (MAGIC) in russia ?? - ))
i found the writing awkward .. but the magical premise ..
BANG ON !!! - ))

.. just wondering - ))

.. i like sharing with YOU .. TOO )))

CO_N_for'M_aT_i_ON .. i agree )))))

.. its a .. (twO( )Way) .. StreeT - ))

Yes I have read Anastasia--but only the first 5 books or so. Transformative series of incredible value. Thanks for the reminder of that book. Incredible wisdom.

Ooh I love this article so much! I know many parents struggle with this. Mine have done so aswell. I think gaming can really teach people a lot of things. We just have to make sure they don't become an easy escape from reality, which happens aswell sometimes.

Resteeming!

Thanks @playfulfoodie. I have too known soooo many parents and kids that struggle with this. There are a lot of reasons people would want to escape from this reality--perhaps the game offers a better option than real life does! Perhaps it's an investment instead of a distraction.

I thank you for responding and for the resteem!!! I hope you'll come visit the next post I do continuing this subject.

I am following you, so as long as it doesn't get lost in my way too long feed, I'll definitely read your next post aswell!

Wowww, thanks for this great post...

I have a friend who's child is a gamer and she is worried about her kid.... All day and all night he is sparing time in front of the PC playing CS ... you know guys love that game.... We are asking ourselves the same questions.... but I believe that soon or later the boy will grow up and realize that this is not for him - when he meet a girl or other passion than playing CS... :)

Thanks for the great comment @kkovleva89.

There are plenty of adults (mostly men I would imagine) that still play lots of video games. I'm going to write another blog on my adult friend who played solid for a year and how that changed his life. There is much to be experienced through a game (so I have witnessed, as I have never played myself). Our ideas about it are much more debilitating than the actual immersion in the game in most cases. It's very hard as a parent to just let them be when everything we have ever thought shows us something else. I believe it is important to support them so they can actually get the most out of the game. If they are constantly worried about getting in trouble or coerced away from it, they will not be able to be fully present with their playing, and hence hindered away from the full experience of it. If they are going to play, may they play fully with presence and passion.

Great read! very insightful :)

@gamersclassified thanks for your reply. According to your screen name it appears you know something about this subject. Glad you came over for a read. I'll post another on this subject soon.

Awesomeness!

Thanks for the awesome comment @billykeed!

Such a lovely post and I'm happy you let your son make his own decision and follow his passion given your own fears! My husband was just the same. He was a game addict until his early twenties and still plays his games once in a while! He turned out just fine!

Awesome @amy-goodrich. It's so great to see people engage their passion. Good for your husband--still getting to do what he wants to do. Thanks for the great comment!!

I'm a mom of a gamer, too. My son is 14 and I feel he spends way too much time in front of the screen, but he's on the honor roll, does have a good group of neighborhood kids that he stays active with sometimes, and is pretty good kid overall, so guess there are worst things than gaming. Definitely going to follow you!

There are definitely worse things than gaming, and in fact, it is possible that gaming is one of the important things for them to be doing. Since we don't really know what the future holds or how these skills will enhance their lives, I remind myself that they have this passion with this technology for a reason, and just because I don't like it, have fears about it, and don't understand it doesn't mean it isn't valuable. I appreciate your comment and am grateful for your follow.

I've enjoyed myself reading this article. I used to be one of those teenagers wanting nothing else but to play my videogames. It took my mother a long time to make me realize that there's more than just videogames. I didn't want to take a shower sometimes, as it was a waste of time, or I wanted to have dinner in front of my computer, because socializing in the dining room was a waste of time.

Locking myself up playing videogames ALL day is a waste of time. It took me a long time to realize it. And after I did, I tried my best not to fall back into my old rhythm. I constantly asked my friends to go out to all sorts of things. I kept looking for new hobbies to practice.
And during that all I still played videogames, just not as much as I used to. Maybe 3-4 hours on a day maximum.

With your hands off approach, and an intelligent son, you allowed him to grow himself, to positive effect. This doesn't apply to every teenager, sadly. I'd like to think myself as a smart lad (as did some of my teachers, friends and relatives), but I was (and still am a little bit) very lazy. Laziness is dangerous for oneself. Laziness leads to lack hygiene, social skills and other matters, which stagnates the growth of someone as an individual.

Thank you for telling this story. It shows that a 'strict parent policy' isn't necessarily the best option, but it's certainly NOT the only option.

This is a really great comment @cleverleazoid. Thanks for sharing some of your story, it helps to see more than one perspective.

My son and @quinneaker were both unschooled, so they had already built a foundation of directing their own lives. Most children who go to school (or often times in a homeschooling situation as well) are told what to do and how to do it basically since the time they were born.. They have to learn things they don't care about and dedicate time to things they don't find of value.

When you don't get to do what you want, you find whatever opportunities you can to rule your own world. Many times that comes out as an addition--to games, food, alcohol, drugs, sex, shopping....or whatever you can find to have some control over. Sometimes when not having the experience of self governance, children rely on someone else to make them quit, as they can't seem to regulate their own affairs as well. Most school kids also can't wait to do something they want, and unschoolers do what they want all day. There are definitely some fundamental differences, which of course are not always the case, but often seems to have a big affect on the way they run their own lives. I found that when I put the responsibility in my children's laps, their choices were much wiser, more powerful, and generally safer They weren't lazy as they knew their well-being depended upon themselves, no body else was going to do it for them.

Incredible observations. A strick parent policy is indeed NOT the only option. I have been experiencing a life to quite the contrary--evolutionary indeed. Thanks for engaging this post!!

I love how you told this story. So good to hear he was able to profit from your openness to his intuition. This is Graham, by the way. Thanks for introducing me to Steemit!

Greetings Graham!!!! So glad to see you here. I hope your experience here on Steemit brings great value to your life. Thanks for your comment @tidnull. Where did you come up with that screen name?

I came up with it at age 15, sitting in English class right before I quit school. I don't know what it means, just came to me. Its like a tidbit of nothing. It's my youtube channel too.

I didn't now you quit school. You're even smarter than I thought!! Hahaha! Probably one of the best moves you've ever made! So glad you made it here to Steemit, and hope you make your way back to the garden. Thanks for your comments and presence here @tidnull.

Thanks haha. I just finished a summer course so I might have some time to help out with things.

Here we are!!!! Would love to have you.

This is such a awesome perspective @everlove ! To be expected from Shellie moma!!

Thanks dear @apollomission!! I've done a lot of introspection about this topic. Being stuck in fear and knowing that the well-being of my child depended on my moment-to-moment choices, I knew I had to get my shit together. So grateful for new perspective. Soooo much freedom. So glad to have you here with me.

Are you sure your post has anything to do about the post you are commenting on, or are you just spamming your post to get views and upvotes?

I'm sorry, it's last the one.

You really shouldn't do that, you might get flagged hard and it'll harm your posts and comments.

Thanks for your advice!