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10-11 yo, just need a bit of advice

(16 Posts)
fartmeistergeneral Sun 28-Jun-09 11:06:35

He's nearly 11, and seems to have lost all focus apart from with wii/xbox360/computer games. I do try to limit his play on them, but all that happens is he goes off to his friends' houses and plays there. I'm not saying that's all he does, I'm sure they play outside a bit too, but his overwhelming focus in life is computer games. He's not sporty, and loathes team sports etc (as did I as a child), but is quite musical and plays a couple of instruments, but NEVER practices them. He used to be such a fabulous reader, exceptional really, but now only reads now and again and always comic books. Is that related to his computer game playing? That his mind can only focus on short comic stories? Or am I reading too much into it?

Anyway, what should I do? Is this normal? (probably very common these days!) Should I intervene and try to find him another focus or should I back off and let him find his own way? I limit his play to one hour on these games, but as I say, he just plays them elsewhere. With the summer hols coming up, I need to get a handle on this - but at the same time don't want to be structuring his time. Help!!!

bellavita Sun 28-Jun-09 11:17:52

Sounds like my 12 year old. His favourite things in life are his laptop, i-pod, x-box, wii.

He does play the electric guitar and has lessons. I have stopped nagging him to practice and found it is better just to let him get on with it and quite often he will set something up on his laptop and then start playing along.

I do sort of monitor how much he is on the x-box, wii and if too long, then I will say he needs to go out for some fresh air even if it is just around the village on his bike for a bit. However, he has just got a new bmx bike and a farmer has given the kids some land to do the jumps on so he is out a lot more now.

But he does tend to get quite a lot of homework, so I can't be too hard on him chillin' out watching tv or playing games.

I think as long as there is some sort of balance throughout the holidays then he will be fine. I plan to go out every day with them on a bike ride and they also like to go swimming.

My other son (9) is very much an outdoor child, come rain, wind, shine, snow, hail and you cannot keep him in.

fartmeistergeneral Sun 28-Jun-09 11:24:38

Yes, my other one is also quite addicted, but is sporty and does sports anyway. Ds1 does no sports. The only exercise he gets is if he's out with his pals.

fartmeistergeneral Sun 28-Jun-09 11:59:09


serenity Sun 28-Jun-09 12:08:05

DS1 would spend all day, everyday playing console games if I let him. I think when I was his age I spent every waking moment reading. Same kind of thing, different focus (and as I wasn't reading deeply educational, intellectual tomes I don't think I was doing anything better!)

We'll balance time indoors with trips out (even just taking a trip to the park with a picnic lunch!) None of them are allowed to play games before lunch anyway, and they're given time limits most days. Every now and again we'll have a 'lazy' day and I let them glut themselves with no time limit.

fartmeistergeneral Sun 28-Jun-09 22:10:11


fartmeistergeneral Sun 28-Jun-09 22:16:30

oops, did that bump work?

roisin Sun 28-Jun-09 22:20:46

ds1 would play all day every day if he was allowed.

Some of my strategies:
There is only one internet-enabled computer in the house, so we have to fight over negotiate around it!
There are no game platforms, PCs or TVs upstairs.
The boys go upstairs relatively early. (ds2 about 7pm and ds1 about 8pm). [They are 10 and 11 btw].
That way they have to find something other than screens to entertain themselves.

pointydog Sun 28-Jun-09 22:24:09

I don't think I'd like it if my dc were on teh computer/gaming the whole time but it's not a situation I've had to deal with.

1. I wouldn't bother about the comics at all. Let him read what he wants and encourage him in what he likes. Does he draw or just read?

2. I don't nag much about instruments but I get a bit narky if they are never practised. Could you get him a song book with a range of modern songs in it that would interest him? Have you ever looked up youtube clips of people playing different songs? Might get him back ito the way of it all.

3. I think one hour only is very restrictive. I'd allow either an afternoon or an evening or 3 hours max. If he got into making comics or reading a new type of comic or warhammer an d painting figures or trying to copy youtube clips, maybe he'd be on computer games less?

fartmeistergeneral Sun 28-Jun-09 22:33:30

3hrs of computing gaming? I think that's too much, he'd come off with a frazzled brain!!!!

pointydog Sun 28-Jun-09 22:35:15

If you think that's too much, fine. I don't know much about computer gaming. As a general rule, I let the dds do what they want and get bored of something of their own accord rather than me restricting something.

But maybe computer games ain't like that

fartmeistergeneral Sun 28-Jun-09 22:36:05

You're lucky you don't have this problem!! I do remember the glory days when we didn't have any of these consoles! Simpler times......

bellavita Wed 01-Jul-09 09:30:38

Yep the glory days of long summer hols - playing kiss catch in the woods with the boys or playing truth or dare...

eek blush

Jux Wed 01-Jul-09 10:00:43

Don't tell him to practise his instruments. Ask him to play for you.

Nothing else helpful to add.

Sonnet Wed 01-Jul-09 10:18:06

I have dd's and whilst I don't have the computer game issue, they do seem to watch a lot of TV and computer.
I like Roisin's idea of them going up relativly early and amusing themselves.

DD2 plays the flute and I so insist on some practice over the hols. She is taking her grade 5 tomorrow (eek!) and over the summer we have "agreed" that she will keep up with those grade 5 scales that make an appearance in her grade 6 and choose a piece of music to learn. This can be a grade piece or one of the pieces from a coldpay book or a harry potter book. It is then up to her "when" she does it.

As generally my girls have an early start in the morning I can appreciate that in the hols they like having a slower start to the day with TV. So, they can watch TV in the morning but it goes off at 9.30am.

Another thing I have done in the past is to pin up a list on the kitchen wall of things to do other than watching TV or going onthe computer - I have found that sometimes they just need a few good ideas to stimulate them. This went down well with DD2 who would often "consult" the list grin

fartmeistergeneral Wed 01-Jul-09 20:06:43

I do like the idea of a list - then it's like they are making their own decisions, thanks!!

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