Xbox is Ruining My Life and How I’m Changing That

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I can pretty much feel your judgement as you silently read the title to my article. Yes, we’re the a**hole parents that bought our son an Xbox One for Christmas. We saved for a few months prior (those things are expensive!), bought it, had it shipped, and as it sat in our closet for about three weeks prior to Christmas, my husband and I could feel our excitement grow with each passing day. Now, a half a year later, I am despising my decision and starting to question all of the decisions I’ve ever made.

I guess in my mind I thought that it would be this fun little addition to his life, not the center of it. He would only want to play kid-friendly games and abide by the time limits we set for him, and everything would be peachy keen. Instead, he only wants to play war games, has gotten emotionally attached to the games, and I’ve been introduced to his angry side. I get it. When I was six I didn’t want to do six-year-old “things” either, but this has gotten out of control.

xbox-is-ruining-my-life

At first, we really wanted him to enjoy his new toy and the couple of hours he spent playing with it were fine because it was intertwined with other activities. But as time passed, I noticed a shift. Our walks to and from school became consumed with conversations about Xbox instead of what he learned that day or how much he loved the song they were performing for the spring concert. His teacher even told me that he acted out his favorite game during class! Things needed to change.

I’m not an expert, but we have been working hard to turn things around. Here’s the advanced warfare we are taking:

1. Limit the time

At the beginning, I will admit that we didn’t really place time constraints. My bad. But we talked it through with him so that he understood why we were cutting back, and that helped some. It also helped setting a physical timer so that he was able to see the countdown and expect a favorite song of his to play whenever it went off.

2. Get them excited about something else

We spent time pulling information out of him to find out some new things that he’s interested in doing that would be easy to fit into our schedule or take time to research and learn about as a family.

3. Start a new activity

Does you kid love baseball? Great, now try something else! Kids easily become interested in things that are new and exciting to them and want to learn more about it. For us, the goal was to get him out of the house (and engaged in an activity) after school and on weekends. We chose karate since they had classes during both of those times.

I’m happy to report that everyday this past week Branden has come home from school and begged me to take him to the park to play—there was no mention of Xbox. While he still enjoys his 30 minutes of play in the evening after homework and bath time are done, it has become secondary to the more important stuff in his life. Now, if only this would work on husbands.

Can anyone out there feel my pain? How are you phasing Xbox or other gaming?

Fashionably Yours,

Allison

Originally published in Mommy Nearest Magazine.

Comments

  1. Robin (Masshole Mommy) says:

    I agree with all what you are doing. My kids would literally sit and play all day if I would let them.

  2. I also limit the time my kids can play video games. Try to get them interested in playing outside like we used to do when we were kids.

  3. It’s hard not to seem like a nag & horrible bore to your kids when you’re trying to limit their time using devices. I remember that feeling, and I’m apologizing to my parents like mad for all the years I protested. I like your redirection through finding other activities.

  4. Heavens YES I feel your pain! But, it is not the xbox it is the computer! My son is addicted to mine craft videos! Help me!

  5. I have five boys and of them its their computer and PS4. I have to literally put them on a schedule otherwise they’d sitting there all day and night.

  6. It’s good to see that you are taking steps to change the way he uses the xbox. My son is now 42 and spent a major part of his life playing games. It started when he was 11, and I bought his first computer, a Commodore 64. I can’t tell you how many times I took the power cord from that machine, trying to get him to do something else other than play on the computer. It took his son nearly dying from an infection he caught in the hospital to snap my adult son out of his obsession.

  7. Those all sound like fabulous ideas! We’ve never really allowed video games but then again we have girls. We use similar principles for limiting social media and computer time. We use time limits and insist on physical activities.

  8. I definitely feel your pain. Often I wish we didn’t have computers, our XBox, tablets, etc. I think that even if our kids were not exposed to technology until college that they would turn out fine and would be able to pick things up.

  9. I get it. We bought our kids Disney Infinity for Christmas and that’s ALL they want to do. We’ve always put a hardcore time limit on games though but if I forget then they definitely don’t remind me. So on my busy days when I get consumed with blog stuff or cleaning the house they’ll sit and play without a care in the world. Then I notice that it’s been 4 hours and they’re still playing. It just gets too crazy.

  10. Great tips! My kids are still really young so I’m taking precautions to avoid game/technology addiction. It’s so hard because I’m kind of addicted myself.

  11. It’s crazy how addictive those games are. I think it’s definitely important to make some other recreational options available.

  12. Limiting time and setting an alarm is the only way I’m winning the iPad war in our home. It’s so easy to stay glued to a screen and it doesn’t help that it’s way too hot to send the kids out to play over here!

  13. Its true, you have to put limits on kids because naturally they are over-indulgers. I think you are taking a smart approach right now so you can prevent him from losing it later on!

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