Response to The Double Parent

In the comments section of yesterday’s Uniting the generations through COD The Double Parent asked:

I started writing a response in the comments, and then I realized that it was becoming a blog post. So here’s my response:

Personally, the shoot’em up style FPS games continue to make me uncomfortable. That said, I’m packing less testosterone than a lot of FPS fans. My intent isn’t to reinforce gender stereotypes re: boys are more aggressive than girls (or snakes, snails & puppy dog tails, which, as a little girl I always thought seemed much better than sugar, spice & all things nice!). But generally speaking, boys find violent and physical  play to be more cathartic — even therapeutic — than girls.

I used to be very strict with the no-violent-video-games rule in my house and you know what? At that time, my son was getting into playground fights at school. I allow some violent games now, and he hasn’t been in a playground fight in over two years.

Admittedly, there are a lot of factors that contributed to the playground fights, as well as to his current success in regulating and managing himself when he sees injustices on the playground — his MO has always been “defender of social justice”; fighting for what’s fair for himself and others. But he tells me that after a crappy and/or frustrating day, he finds respite in his violent video games. It’s a zone of total fantasy where he can take a break from civil society and be pure id for a spot of time.  And I don’t have a difficult time getting him to stop playing when I ask him to stop.

I think it’s also important to emphasize that violent video games represent a fraction of Gamer Boy’s collection of video games. He’s also quite outdoorsy and sporty.

The Verdict

Between us, I’m leaning toward a yes and I’ll elaborate on that in an actual review. I plan on keeping this from Gamer Boy though, otherwise I’ll never hear the end of it!


13 thoughts on “Response to The Double Parent

  1. I love the way you carefully consider each game choice, instead of just buying because gamer boy wants it. Obviously, as he gets older the types of games he’s interested in will change compromise will be necessary.

    It’s interesting what you say about the playground fights etc. I feel strongly that sitting in classroom all day, keeping quiet, listening, concentrating, and generally being on your best behaviour is not a natural way for a child to spend 6 plus hours a day and that a physical and emotional outlet for all that pent-up energy is necessary.

    If punching a pillow helps relieve stress and anger, it’s not too far of a leap to think that a video game can offer the same kind of catharsis.

    • Agreed. Also, the current trend of grouping children/desks into “pods” of four or five is also fraught with contradictory messages; i.e. collaborate with your peers, but don’t distract them (or get distracted by them). For kids who are easily distracted — or introverts — these study pods present a real dilemma. I’m an introvert and am easily distracted, so this arrangement would have finished me off in those crucial early years!

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