What should I do about my son?

My oldest (11) is losing interest in sports and all he wants to do is play video games. Just looking for ideas that may work for some to balance this. It’s not as easy as saying to take them away and “force” him to do other things… video games have become almost a way of socialization these days (all the quarantine days enforced by school) so it is different from when I grew up. Sports seem to improve his mental health so that’s my main reason to push him into them more than he wants right now. Unfortunately he has a history of self harm. We have tried counseling with different counselors over the years and nothing seems to really help him. Sports seem to help balance him the most and the socialization while actively participating seems to make him so much happier. Which he doesn’t see right now because he is a kid. Advice


Help a mama out and respond anonymously on our forum. What should I do about my son?

My son was the same way. I got him into a parkour class and he loves it! Not sure if you have something like that around you

It’s totally different from when I was kid. My youngest is autistic and while school remote he made a bunch if friends on the Playstation and here we are 2 years later and he still talks to them and plays with them even texts them. It’s like a catch 22 with this

How about a compromise, he participates in a sport and in return he gets to play on his games console


It IS as simple as taking things away. You should have a real conversation about balance… balance between exercise and sedentary activities and how he needs both to be healthy. He can’t have sedentary video games without also having some exercise. If he refuses to go to practice, then no games that day. There is nothing wrong with setting that rule … and enforcing it.


My son was same he has to earn electronic time I got him volunteering with other kids at the animal shelter its so amazing working with animals can really help him.

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Take the game away. After school, homework and sport of his choice is taken care of then he can have a small amount of game time. I can’t believe the terrible trouble gaming has caused with kids, adults, relationships etc. It’s definitely a possibility he’s addicted to it.

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May seem weird but do you have a gaming store nearby? My town has a board game/ card game/ Lego store that does nightly gatherings of playing the games and competitions. Or they host teaching the card games/ painting miniatures for dungeons and dragons. Great way to be social but also expand his interest in some critical thinking/strategy games with physical people


U just gotta find his thing, dance , gymnastics , archery , Rick climbing think.outside the Box not all.boys are footy , rugby or cricket , tennis alsorts, but definitely limit his screen time I do with my 2 boys now and I.will continue to do so , so.when older I’ll.implement homework first and at least one outdoor activity before gaming and no phones at bedtime I’m having them social media literally can kill kids and pedos are everywhere on every platform including gaming platforms , roblox and fortnight are banned for this reason and no one gaming without me or his dad present online with him

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The game console has an off button. Lock it away. You are the parent in this situation so yes, forcing him to get off of the games is that simple. It is not healthy for him to be consumed into a video game all day. Get a back bone and stop letting him walk all over you.


I limit my sons time on video games… no video games for the most part during the week. He has to read for 1 do chores and have 1 hour of physical activity before he gets video game time during the week. Usually once he’s outside playing he forgets about games … on the weekend it’s a little more open… his cousins or friends will text they are online and he jump on for a while … but I keep a 2 hour limit then he need to take a break

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Is there someone he is good friends with? Maybe enroll him in the same team and sport so he has someone else who will be looking for him to participate. Forcing him to play sports could result in him hating sports period.

Some kids are not sporty. Does he interact with people online ? Really forcing issues is not good. You can talk about life balance of course and make him at least try other stuff . My son went to rugby and Tae Kwon Do but nothing else interested him…except warhammer figures. He went to some workshops for that and enjoyed building /painting the figures. Find local workshops for things game related maybe.

Compromise. You’re the parent, limit his time. He has to do something other than playing games all the time. It doesn’t have to be sports. Maybe he doesn’t want to do sports anymore because, well, he just isn’t interested. Is there something else? Music? Someone mentioned board games. Theater/acting? Tell him to find something he would be interested in doing and when he does, then he gets time on his video games.

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Video games only durning certain hours and check with your local YMCA about group activities / sports , maybe start your own after school activities for an hour or so in your local park I’m sure other moms would love it too.it don’t always have to be sports .could be at the library or the skating rink

I don’t force my kids to do any sports why ? Cause I think that’s stupid , you want them active go to the park , ride a bike , skateboard , go outside & play… no kid should Have to do a sport they don’t want to …


I limit my 11 year old to one hour a day for electronics, 700-800 pm. He was starting to get depressed and not wanting to come out of his room and play video games all day. Since limiting he has been playing with his brother more. I also try to do things with him as much as I can when we are home. Limiting and sticking to the rules helps a lot.

Limit the video game to rewards for good behavior and just an hr or two in the eve.are you engaging him in the right sports?if he doesnt like football try lacrosse or track etc.my son tried alot of different sports but still plays alot of video games.definatly can get difficult to balance goodluck.

It is that easy. If it’s a problem you take it. You are the parent

Balance. You need to find a balance between the two. My son is 13 and for the last couple of years, video games have been his life as well. This past year he started playing football. Now, he wants to play football, so he’s all to willing to put the controller down and head to practice/game.

It’s possible that your son isn’t into the sport he is playing anymore. Or maybe he just isn’t into sports at all. Ask him. Talk to him. Explain that you know his video games/online friends are important to him, but that’s not something that should consume all of his time. If he doesn’t want to do the sport he currently plays, is there another sport that he wants to play? Is there another activity that he wants to do? Maybe he wants to get into karate (which is a great way to teach self discipline as well as be active). Maybe he wants to focus on art. Give him alternatives.

Why force him into things he doesn’t want to do? Kids have their own likes and dislikes. And they change occasionally. You need to face the fact that he’s changing and figure out how to help and how to resolve your own issues with it. Poor kid feeling like he’s not living up to your goals for him.

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I’ve had this issue with my son. All the quarantine has made him just zone into video games. So, I bought a WII and sports games. So he’s still playing video games but we box, play tennis, and golf! We bowl. So we’re active, he’s still playing his game, and has become interested in sports again. But if he doesnt regain his interest in sports, it’ll be okay. Not every kid wants to play sports. But I hope this helpa

Extreme sports , the game of air soft and paint ball

My kids have to do some kind of activity that’s outside of school &home… idk care what they pick… art classes, swim etc but something has to be picked. I have 4kids all in sports. My oldest is 11 &not very sporty but choose soccer &he works hard towards it every practice &game. I told him once he hits middle school he could experience any other interests he might have &he could quit soccer if he wanted to

Seems like this has been posted before… :thinking:

Limit game time to only 1 hr during the week and a bit longer on the weekends. When not gaming, he needs to do things that are productive, such as sports, hiking, building something, reading…

Remove all video games, phones and TV in the house

We try to play board games and cook together when we can an pretty much hibernate through winter tvs video games ect. Then as soon as it warms up 100% outside really not much balance day to day but it works 4 us

That’s what all those video do - make kids sit for hours and play play -

Take control of the video gaming you are boss he is the sauce! That’s what I tell my kids !

Find a different sport. Try looking into fighting sports such as karate, boxing, etc. Or maybe even sportsman’s clubs in the area for shooting or archery. Try different types of active things not just typical sports

If i had it to do OVER a video game would NEVER be excepted in my house again!! That’s ALL i got to SAY!


I grew up playing video games with my dad and brother’s :thinking: we all bonded together that way. At least he’s safe and at home not getting into trouble.

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Limit the time on video games…
Lots of different sports out there to try

Sign him up for an after school sport or through your community. Try doing a sport where you both can spend time together like bowling or tennis. Talk to his friends parents and try to get his friends to sign up with him on a sports team.

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We don’t allow video games on school nights in our house then on weekends before they can play video games they have to make sure chores are done, they have done so.thing creative for an hour, somthing physical for an hour, asked if mom or dad need help with anything then they get 2 hours they can choose to repeat their hours or do extra chores to earn more time. Also if any grade is below a C no video games unless the teacher can tell me that they did their absolute best which they won’t get in trouble at that point but tells me as a parent my kiddo needs help in that subject matter :slight_smile:

At 11 he’s old enough to have conversations about mental health. He might not always listen, but having the discussion is worthwhile. Have him track his mood daily. Each week, look at the past 7 days together.

Limit video game time. Encourage playing outdoors with friends. Also, is he indoors most of the time? His vitamin D levels could be low. Don’t give him a supplement before discussing it with his pediatrician, though. Vitamin D regulates the immune system and too much can cause problems (not a doctor here, but learned this in a physiology class ages ago).

Lastly, is he on any meds? Antidepressants? He might need them.

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Put a timer on the videogame, introduce board or card games for a family night 1 or 2 times a week. Get him involved in helping cook or bake, which can help with learning life skills and keep focus off the gaming so much. Engineering type activities (build bird houses, build a storage box for the garage to store tools, build a laundry bag holder (just examples).

I just came to say that I agree with you about not being able to just take away video gamrs these days. Honestly 75% of my son’s friends are online. He has a group of kids he has been talking and playing with for years now. Just taking that kind of thing away can effect their mental health just like taking away in person friendships.


My son likes the skatepark walking trails and I’ve tried instruments and he goes on YouTube for lessons I’m always trying to get him into something. He also stop sports about 11ish but just picked soccer and flag football up at 14 amd because he had the background of sports at a young age he is going great. Just keep trying

To be fair, in this day and age, home safe is more valuable to me.
My son too is not a sports person but his enjoyment is in gaming, writing stories and using his active imagination.

Physical exercise is very important but perhaps projecting your own expectations on what that physical exercise IS is the issue. Find out from him how he would like to be active.

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Maybe something video adjacent, like live action role play (LARPing), or theater/acting classes, archery, target or skeet shooting, geocaching, paintball, remote control toy cars or planes, slot car racing, go karts, fencing, canoeing or kayaking, gymnastics or something else similar to what the characters in his games do.

Or how about a class in coding or game design? That’s not being active, but it gets him out of the house and with other people and could lead to a lucrative career.

Maybe he’d give up gaming time to connect with kids his age on Face Time or on the phone other platforms so he can have actual friends instead of just gaming partners. Talk with his friends’ families about ways to get them active together. If he’s an introvert, just a few good friends can be wonderful.

Get a Parks and Rec catalog and let him pick a class. Flower arranging, cooking, ice skating, tennis or racquetball, painting whatever sounds interesting that doesn’t involve a screen. Music, dance,—all the arts can be a wonderful way to work through emotions and create something beautiful out of it. He might really enjoy video making or animation classes too. Again, not too physically active but severing the hold gaming has on him and easing him out of isolation in his room.

How about Boy Scouts? It’s a way to learn a little about a lot of things he might enjoy. It’s also fun to try camping but I think that starts at age 12 for boys. Look into different troops and leaders to see which might be the best fit for him. There has been abuse, but having a parent or another child’s parent that you trust at meetings and activities will ensure that doesn’t happen. There are also Sea Cadets and Sea Scouts for having adventures too.

Tell the teachers, Scout leaders, instructors, etc. a bit about your son’s struggles and any tips on ways to keep him involved and engaged.

Try doing exercise as a family too. Hikes, walks, rock climbing, swimming, whatever appeals to everyone. Yoga, meditation, Tai Chi and martial arts are also great ways to learn to control mind and emotions as well as the body and great for kids and families with challenges. Go to in person classes if possible first, then you can switch to learning or maintaining You Tube or DVD or other digital options. Most places have protocols in place to be COVID safe to reduce any chance of infection. Masks, distancing and limited class sizes, air purifying and circulating measures, frequent disinfecting, etc. Board game and puzzle nights vs movies at home (just more screen time) are also fun ways to connect as a family. Look for cooperative or non-competitive games or don’t keep score sometimes to reduce the stress level.

Invite receptive friends and other family members to join you if you wish with your activities. Have fun and go swimming or bowling or skating as a family to build happy memories around being active. Or rotate who picks music and dance to it. Maybe try to learn the latest dance moves as a family.

Try having a lot of structure with a set day and time for everything. Chores, homework, reading, meals, activities, errands, and of course, screen time with him on his games and you and dad on computer or phone. Give ample warning/s and maybe set timers or alarms to go off so there’s a warning 5 and 10 minutes before a transition. If the game play isn’t saved or whatever, too bad. Sometimes just knowing what comes next and how long it will last gives kids a sense of calm and control. Post a chart of the weekly or daily schedule for everyone to reference.

After you decide on how many hours a day or week he gets to play, let him pick when he wants to schedule them. Maybe set a goal of reasonable hours and work your way towards that by cutting back 30 minutes to one hour each week until it’s reached.

Sit down as a family and decide together when to schedule everything, and let him make as many decisions as possible. Cutting can be a sign of stress and feeling helpless and out of control, so let him have control of as many decisions as is possible, practical, and safe.

Hope you have everyone in counseling to help. Him to figure out what the cutting and excessive video gaming is replacing or fixing, and how to make better choices and confront his fears. You and dad to figure out better ways of parenting him by introducing calming techniques, learning better ways to react, communicate, and structure his environment, giving him more control over his life where possible, lessening stress and learning better coping skills for when life gets stressful.


I tell my kids they cant play till the street lights come on or till they do something outside for at least an hour it worked really well for us they don’t get on them much anymore cause they have taken an interest in other things

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Compromise? Make a deal in a way where he feels like he’s making the decision- was a good piece of advice I was given years ago with my son. Maybe tell him you don’t want to take the games away because you understand what they mean for him but in exchange, he must pick a sport or group activity.

Mine is no longer interested in sports but has joined the school band. He is learning to play saxophone and guitar. He also has a dart board in his room for fun/skill and weight bench for exercise and enjoys going hunting with his granddad and uncle.

It’s tough being a parent in these times… and a very sensitive and fine line when a child has a history of self harm. Best of luck to you and please don’t give up on the counseling.


Let him choose a sport and as long as he’s playing that sport he gets to play his games. Once he stops sports, video games stops. Just a suggestion, who knows if it’ll work.


Set a time and limit to the video games. Make it times practice would be over at so he sees it as I can’t play them during this time but I can join a sport or activity to do till I can.

Band, orchestra. Maybe he needs something other than sports. 1 of mine got more into playing music, computers. I be honest i didnt limit video games at all. Now my teenager is at my house on weekends. They play games here instead of running around wherever without supervision. I grew up playing video games

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So you guys are in quarantine or there’s no school in your area?

They’re still doing sports in your area? I don’t understand people wanting to do activities in the middle of a pandemic. Let him be home and safe on the game. Play outside with him in your yard. Be creative have him help you make up a fun game/sport you guys can play together. That what my kids do. We also allow gaming daily as my husband and I also play games as well. And a lot of times we will all play together on the video games as a family.


My kids now 18 and 23 were the same. They didn’t do sports but I did have them in scouts so they still had to socialise once a week and also went some weekends for hikes or camps and outings. Maybe have him join a gym with you or the local pcyc or YMCA as they are there to support youth. Also a youth group could be good to try

Don’t mess with a cutter if he wants to join track or somthing fine if he likes video games let him

My child was the same way.
And unfortunately I let it go to long and their mental health declined. I was also distracted with a lot at the time.
I knew they would be more depressed if I forced my will onto them so we agreed on a compromise.
One day a week is ours, usu Sunday, no phones or electronics. One flip phone for emergency purposes.
Then I introduced them to things.
We went and shot pool, watched a basketball game, took a self defense class, horseback riding, volunteering at an animal shelter, and so on…
I never said the words, you should join this I just introduced these things to them.
I’d say 80% of the stuff was a big bore for them but it showed them that there were options out there besides school sports and bonus time with my kiddo.
The other 6 days a week are theirs to do what they want. And much to my happiness they joined a karate class bc they like it so much :grinning:.
It takes patience with the age, and reteaching bad habits away but it is worth it.

Maybe try different sports instead of your typical baseball, basketball, football, soccer, etc try cycling, dirt bikes, snowboarding, skiing or even chess. My son wasnt into soccer really good at it but wasnt into it. He now does cross country mountian biking and dirt bike.

speaking from experience as a person who used video games to cope and used to self harm, whatever you do i don’t suggest to take away the video games completely. that would just cause more harm. i think compromise would be a good idea, if he’s in one sport he can play video games or something along those lines that would work for your child. best of luck :two_hearts:

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Young one - Sports is good - being a former jock myself. But however being the oldest of 10 - we all played ball - or least tried (:yum:) but each of us found something different- one is a bass player, one swam and dove, one went computer programming , one is a pro fisher, one dances and a couple do crafts. So don’t limit yourself and him is what I’m trying to get at. Find what interest him and support it. He’s a child so you all might find something you can do together.

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Going through this with my 15 year old grandson. It’s sad

I let my kid chose his extra activity. He played baseball for a while, now he’s doing band during school and he wants to do karate once school is done. I just told him he had to chose one extra curricular to do each season. He still plays his video games as much as he wants but he has to do one activity to balance it out.

So our youngest was more into the Video games and computers. I felt overwhelmed and stressed in the same situation. I had to figure out how to balance it all. Kids don’t know how to go by schedule or the importance of getting outside for some sun. So I got a timer and told him this is game time but I nit only want but, need you to play outside for exercise and sun. They need to be taught that sitting too much is detrimental to the body. People who don’t get up and exercise have short life spans. I sat him down and explained all this and that gaming can be an obsession if you allow it. It’s Just a game. It’s not life. We need to put or teach them to put family and responsibility first. There must be priorities. He’s entering into puberty. He’s at a good age to begin teaching this. Don’t allow Him to tell You …No. You are in charge. …take it.
He took computer classes in HS and now wants to be a video designer or a computer technician. He can’t decide. Teach him that it can be a job to earn him a living but, it can also be fun. Set a schedule. Sit down and discuss this with him. If he refuses to cooperate. …sell it all. If he’s not mature enough to be responsible respectful or cooperative he can’t do it. Tell him when he’s mature enough to be cooperative , then he can play. Play is the key word…it can’t be an obsession.

Do not take away the one thing he finds solace in. Do not force him to play sports if he does not to. Video games are not bad. They are a hobby and many people find success in them. Let him be.

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Maybe not specifically a sport. But let him pick an extracurricular activity for himself. I wanted to do karate when I was young but my mom said it was a boy sport. And forced me to play soccer, volleyball, softball and made me try out for cheerleading. The activities i did somewhat enjoy were color-guard and choir. I had bad mental health for a while and picking the activity would have definitely helped and made me feel heard. My kids are also stuck on video games but we cant afford to put them into sports right now.

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I don’t see the problem with it. I’m a gamer raising a gaming family. We all play together. I know who they are interacting with. It’s also a great way of family bonding

We had a school principal encourage us to remove all of our sons video games, then once we got him in to see a mental health worker she said they’re actually good for him to play… Maybe do some research on mental health and the positive affects of playing video games? He might be playing them online with his friends and socialising that way? These days video games are alot different.

Maybe he’s just growing out of sports. As a kid I was in a lot, and I enjoyed it. But I also grew out of it and began to be more interested in other things.
Maybe see if he’d like programming? He likes video games, maybe he could make one. It’ll stimulate his brain and also make him feel like he accomplished something. Similar to sports.