Reality Check: Inspiring Curiosity in your Video Game-Addicted Child
“My child shows absolutely no curiosity in life, unless it has to do with video games; I feel like he’s stubborn for the sake of being stubborn.”
This question from a parent was about a specific video game called Minecraft. I had to go online and look up what this game was all about!
Let’s look at Priority #4: Set High Expectations and Let Go of Outcomes. It doesn’t make any difference what the reason for the lack of curiosity (or the lack of responsibility, respect, truthfulness) is, you’re the parent and you need to raise a well-rounded individual who is curious about life, the world, themselves, and others.
Start with how you model curiosity. Are you a curious person, interested in learning new things and learning about yourself? If that’s in place, then ask your child, “Where do you see me being curious?” If he/she cannot answer the question, have a conversation about what curiosity means to you, and what you expect of him or her.
Ask them what they think they’d like to be doing at the age of 30; what vision do they have for themselves after their schooling is done? What do they dream about doing in life? They may not be able to answer any of these in any depth, but at least you will have planted the idea of thinking in this direction.
Limit the time they spend playing this game. Require that they read a certain amount of time each day, and that they engage in some kind of physical activity – a sport or work-out – even if it’s just a walk.
There are 5 categories that individuals – both parents and kids – need to assess on a regular basis. These 5 form the acronym IPSES and stand for:
I – Intellectual
P – Physical
S – Spiritual
E – Emotional
S – Social
You might want to create a chart and have everyone in the family assess themselves on how they are doing in each of these categories:
IPSES, and where everyone is on their chart, is a great topic for family meetings.
The bottom line is that it may be difficult to bring your child around to this way of thinking and being. But if it’s important to you as a parent, don’t give up; make it a priority that gaming is only for a small amount of time each day, or maybe not at all, if the other expectations are not met.
Don’t set it up as “…and if you don’t do this, there will be no Minecraft for a week!” (That’s what I used to do… threaten.) Save the accountability and present it as a surprise; or decide on it if and when the expectation for being curious about other things isn’t met. This approach helps you let go of the outcome…
As always, let me know if you have more questions; I’d love to hear how it goes!