Tuesday, June 1, 2010

What/Who is Chaotic?

This is my answer to a mother who wrote me about the video game called Chaotic. She was hoping I could tell her if it was appropriate for her son.  

Dear Nancy,

I am not familiar with Chaotic, but I persued their site and found it very inviting for young boys. I can see why your son wants to play it.  Since there are so many games and other entertainment enticements bombarding your him daily, I suggest you become familiar with them.

You will never be able to "hide" your child from everything, so you need to teach him how to think and make wise choices on his own.  You have to do more than simply tell him WHAT to think.  He has to learn HOW to think.  And it is up to you.

I believe it is important that adults understand the following principle.  You and I live in the United States of America, but our children are being raised in the United States of Entertainment.  If this is true, and I believe it is, you must treat your child as if he/she were living in a "Third World Nation."  He IS living in a "different" culture than you.

How would you "minister" or communicate with someone in a foreign culture?  You would look for some common ground.  You would learn a few key words in his language.  You would find out a little about his culture and customs so he would more likely accept "your message."  The same is true for your child.

This game is your chance to "climb into his world." Ask him to explain the game to you.  Take the time to play it with him for at least an hour. Don't judge him, but listen to the rules and instructions and actually try to enjoy playing with him.  He will be impressed that you still know how to "play like a kid."

He will also appreciate that you took the time to try to learn about his interests.  While playing for an hour or so, I am certain you will get the gist of the game and decide if it fits within your family's guidelines.

After playing, discuss the game with your son.  Now is the time to express SPECIFIC concerns if you have any.  If you don't have specific concerns, I'd suggest allowing him to play it as long as his game play time doesn't interfere with his other responsibilities and family obligations.

Also, children rarely know how to budget their time.  This will be a good time for you to explain how long he can play and when it is appropriate.

Don't be threatened by his entertainment requests and choices.  Use each as an opportunity to get to understand your son even more.  If you do this, he will welcome you into his world.  If you simply look for a reason to say, "no," you will begin to lose communication with your son.  He will pull away and become secretive.

You can do it.  It takes a little work, but he is your son.  He's worth your time.  Go for it.  If and when you run into problems or situations that may overwhelm you, contact me and I will do my best to help you through them.

Have you read our books?  RECONNECT, when your kids are connected to everything but you and BUT IT DOESN'T AFFECT ME!?  I believe you will find both helpful for your situation.  They are both on our website at http://www.almenconi.com/.

In His service and yours,
Al Menconi
Al Menconi Ministries

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1 comment:

  1. What awesome advice! We HAVE to stay plugged into what our kids are plugged into. I let my son play his music from his ipod in the car - I tell him to pick his 5 or 10 favorites for me (depending how long the trip is)...I cannot stand the music but he explains to me what he likes about it and we get a chance to talk about how to make good choices. He is constantly playing his new favorite or sending me a you-tube link...I feel blessed to have open communication with him at 15 years old that I pray will continue for many, many years!

    Tiffany LaVoie

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