What Should I Do About My Son?

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"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"

RELATED: The Only Thing My Kids Want to Do Is Watch TV and Play Video Games: How Can I Change This Behavior?


The following top answers have been selected by a moderator from hundreds of responses to the original question.

"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"

"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."

"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"

"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"

"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."

"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."

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