Wednesday, November 14, 2012

My Man-Child

I recently listened to a radio broadcast with an author speaking about raising boys. She spoke of so many issues our boys face, but she specifically directed her book and her research to the mothers of boys. I was riveted! It was such an amazing hour of information, i bought the book before i even got to listen to the second segment.

( you can listen to it here and link to Part 2 )

One of the things that really struck me is when she was explaining what researchers have discovered about boys and video games. Boys' brains are apparently hard-wired to enjoy task-oriented activities as well as the satisfaction of completing a goal or honing a skill. Within the video game framework, you have all of the above and the boy never has to get off the couch! His brain's needs to "hunt it, kill it, drag it home, and get better at it tomorrow" are all fulfilled with some flicks of his thumbs.

Generally speaking, maybe this isn't a problem, but apparently, researchers are specifically looking at why we have 20-something young men still living at home playing video games all day... and they believe it is directly connected to the success of video games in fulfilling that part of a boy's nature. I'm sure we can all agree that a young man who will not go out and get a job or attend college courses to obtain a career cannot be considered a success. And apparently, the problem lies in the fact that these boys are having their needs met and do not enjoy trying to have those same needs met in the real world. Gulp.

We all know that cleaning the toilet or taking out the trash has very little payoff - unless we are internally motivated and can see the big picture. This boy, the one who plays video games as a favorite past-time, isn't gaining internal motivation and mental "atta boys" for doing those tasks, and he isn't learning to see the big picture - because everyday tasks cannot provide the same gratification the video games do at the same effort level.

( I'm trying to nutshell this for you, as well as put my adolescent psychology spin on it, and i'm not sure i'm doing a very good job, so just go listen to the radio show! LOL )

Okay, now for how it applies to me. :)
I talked with my husband about this issue, and we agreed to limit those sorts of games more for our son than we currently do - we are, in fact, seeing evidence that he gains little satisfaction from life's tasks and is video game focused. And today, i spoke with our son about it. He understands. He believes it is even likely a real issue. And he is compliant with the plan.

Best of all, without the video games tonight, he built a paper game board and played it with me before bed. Then he built another one for tomorrow. Ahhh, it is so nice when God drops information into my lap, i obey His prodding, and i get immediate feedback.

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