OBAL 027: Parents’ Call of Duty: How to Manage Video Games with Your Kids!

Tracie and I both grew up with video games. In fact, our generation experienced the birth of video games. Do you remember the pong game? Who knew you could have so much fun with two lines and a dot. The magic was in the ability to move them on our televisions. Never before had there been that level of interaction. Then fast forward to computers like the Commodore 64 and the early IBM models that gave provided the power of the arcades without having to leave the house. Atari, SEGA, Nintendo, Nintendo 64, SEGA Genesis…the list goes on. Who better to parent today’s generation of gamers than us right?One Badass Life Podcast How to manage video games with your kids

Not so fast. Have you seen what today’s video games are like? They are graphic in nature; look as real as watching a movie and the speed is amazing. There is a fine line in what you feel is appropriate for your kids to see and this line is going to be different for every parent. However, there is a line and as parents, it is your Call of Duty to make sure you engage through video games with your kids. As parents of two avid video gamers, we want to share our five goals to keep our kids video gaming under control.

The first goal is Priorities. Our boys are well versed in their priorities and can list them out when requested. Setting priorities before you have a gamer is easier but requires constant reinforcement. Converting an avid gamer takes more persistent and may require some “cold-turkey” moments. Priorities will vary between houses, however our boys’ priorities in order are:

  • School – They must go to school. Odd that we have to clarify that but it happens. School is their job and they have a responsibility to learn.
  • School work – Any homework, projects and daily reading needs to be completed prior to any gaming.
  • Chores – They have a daily list of chores that must be tended to. Ignoring these chores will result in gaming restrictions.
  • Sports/ Activities – Commitments to a sports team or other activities will always take precedence over gaming.
  • Family Events – These are not optional. This includes everyday events like dinner to birthdays and parties.
  • Sleep – As we talked in an earlier episode, kids need sufficient sleep. Lack of sleep due to gaming is not acceptable.
  • Gaming – Bottom priority. If everything above is considered and handled, then they can play their video games.

The second goal is Game Selection. There are a lot of different games out there. Each game is going to have elements that you like and dislike. The system that your kids have will also drive which games they can get. I tend to separate the games into four groups:

  • Family Friendly – This would be the fun interactive games with a cute little cartoon animal that jumps around or the dancing games that are actually a great workout. These are not even on my radar. If the kids want to play these, let them.
  • Shooters – Now we are getting graphic. You can have blood, guts limbs falling off, people dying all wrapped up into one fun game. Game play within the shooter games can vary as well. A typical game will have an offline campaign as well as an online multi-player match.
  • Sports Games – Every sport out there has a game designed after it, even fishing! This type of game may actually pique you kid’s interest in the game and actually help them understand the positions, plays and terminology better. The only concern here focuses on our third goal, so I will wait until then.
  • Violent Games – You might say that the shooters are violent and you would be correct. However there is another group of games that takes the violence to a potential unhealthy place. The star of this group is GTA. Portions of this game are unacceptable because they include shooting people in a free-roam environment without any objectives.

The third goal is Online Interaction. As mentioned before, most games have two modes, offline and online. One of the cool features with online gaming is the ability to talk with others who are online as well as those playing the game. As with most things with our kids and interaction, there are good and bad circumstances that they can get in.

  • Good – The systems allow your kids to create a friend network. Once they are friends they can see what games each other are playing when they are online. This can be a great social outlet for kids to react in an arena that doesn’t require them to be face to face.
    • Rules about friending – our rules on friends are that people from school are always okay. Friends that they meet online have to be handled differently and can be removed at our discretion.
  • Bad – Just as any other space in this world, there are predators in online gaming. Tech savvy people can interact with our kids in a short amount of time to figure out their login and gain access to their account and your credit card. Even worse they could find out where you live and you don’t want that.
    • Rules about online interaction – Our kids know to not discuss the following online:
      • Name – they use their gamer tag
      • Where they live – stop at state
      • Age – Why do they need to know this?
      • Activities – don’t share that we are leaving the house or that we are out and they are home with a sitter.

The fourth goal is Gaming Etiquette. Does it seem odd that we teach our kids etiquette for gaming? No. This is an avenue that they use to interact with their friends, family and total strangers. They should be respectful within gaming as well. Who knows how technology will evolve in their lifetime. We focus on:

  • Language – a lot of these games will have some language that you don’t like. We make certain that our boys know that this language is not acceptable outside or inside of gaming.
  • Yelling – There is nothing I don’t understand more, when my boys are yelling at each other through their online game when they share a wall. The root cause of this is simply that the volume on their headphones is too high.
  • Golden Rule – Yep it applies to gaming too!

The fifth and final goal is Be a Gamer Too. Now this can be hard and demoralizing. They are younger, have faster reactions and reflexes. They will beat you into a pulp. So what! Join them in their space every once in a while. Of course we don’t have the time or patience to be good at these games, but that is not the point. Try it for these reasons:

  • Time – it is not on your side and forcing them to do something you want to do isn’t always going to work. They will be adults sooner than you want and you will have missed this opportunity.
  • Fun – Watch out and you might have fun. As they focus so much on their score, I am just running around trying not the die so many times and it turns out being fun.
  • Relate – Gaming is a part of most of our kids’ lives. They are going to relate a lot of their real life interaction to their games. Better to understand what they are saying so you can communicate with them.

Be sure to support our podcast by sharing it with others and rating our podcast on iTunes. Ratings helps us keep our podcast visible, giving other a chance to check our podcast out. A special thanks to those that have already provided a rating.

If you’d like to comment in this episode, please go to the bottom of this podcast. We look forward to reading your comments.

Don’t forget to check out the resources page to get access to some of the tools we have made available to our audience.

We are glad you joined us. Now go live one badass life!

OBAL 026: Help Wanted! Getting your Teenager a Summer Job.

One Badass Life Podcast - Teenagers Getting a JobAs summer approaches, your teenager is preparing for a nice lazy ten weeks of sitting on the couch watching movies and playing video games. NOT!!! They are getting dangerously close to adulthood and their level of responsibility is resembling that of a 5th grader. As parents we need to provide a little bit of hard love and get them off that couch and looking for a J.O.B. As it is the end of June, a lot of the typical jobs may be taken. However that doesn’t mean they aren’t out there.

A point to discuss quickly as well is that the current job market is pretty rough on teens. In a study released in March of 2014 by Statista.com, the monthly unemployment rate for teenagers in the US dropped from 24% in March of 2013 to 21% in March of 2014. As a comparison to the overall national unemployment, the same time period saw a drop from 7.6% to 6.7%. So the jobs for teenagers are recovering quicker but the overall discrepancy is staggering. That is all the reason more to get our teenagers out there and we are here to help you get started. Today we are going to discuss five strategies to get your teenager a summer job.

  • The first strategy is to Get them Prepared. The first job is always the hardest to stand out from others. Most of the typical employers they are applying to understand this. We talk about the top four items they will need to be prepared.
  • The second strategy is to Hit the Streets. Time for all the preparation to come to fruition. Teenagers have no idea how hard this is going to be. We have to keep them going.
  • The third strategy is to Think Outside the Box. The first choices that a teenager is going to gravitate to will be based on their interests. To help our teenagers to think outside the box talk to them about other jobs that they aren’t thinking about.
  • The fourth strategy is to Get their Entrepreneur On. What better time for teenager to create their own business. The opportunities are large and limited only by their imagination. We talk about a few places that they can start with.
  • The fifth strategy is to Think Beyond This Summer. If your teenager is eating up the entrepreneur work, don’t let it stop once summer is done. Our next generation is going to be led by these young minds as innovators not employee.

Be sure to support our podcast by sharing it with others and rating our podcast on iTunes. Ratings helps us keep our podcast visible, giving other a chance to check our podcast out. A special thanks to those that have already provided a rating.

If you’d like to comment in this episode, please go to the bottom of this podcast. We look forward to reading your comments.

Don’t forget to check out the resources page to get access to some of the tools we have made available to our audience.

We are glad you joined us. Now go live one badass life!

OBAL 022: Disciplining Kids Without it Being a Pain in the….!

One Badass Life Podcast - Disciplining kidsNobody likes disciplining kids. That goes without saying.  As parents though, we have a charge to help our kids grow into amazing people and guide them in the ways of right and wrong.  I would have to guess that most people discipline their kids in a similar fashion that their parents did. I can only speak from my experience.

The perception of discipline changes with the generations. I remember as a kid that spanking in public was acceptable. Today you would have CPS called on you and probably try and kick your ass. For the record we don’t spank, unless it is their birthday! Disciplining kids should be more about helping them. Listen to our discussion about four constructive methods to disciplining kids without it being a pain in the ass!

Methods for Disciplining Kids

  • The first method is Time Out. This method has deteriorating results with age. That means it works better on the younger kids. As they get older, you will be fighting to get them out of their rooms.
  • The second method is Finding Collateral. This worked for us for some time. It will be different for each kid and will change as they grow up.
  • The third method is Consequences. This one will take some effort on your part. So if your kids breaks something that they use, you have to let them live without it. Don’t go replace it immediately. Seems easy right?
  • The fourth and final method is Grounding. This is the big one in our house. Grounding is the big house. If the kids do something that is beyond small stuff, they will be grounded. I like to give the analogy of professional athletes. When they get arrested for a DUI they are first punished by the local authorities. Once that is resolved, they typically get punished by their respective sports league. We are the sports league.

Be sure to support our podcast by sharing it with others and rating our podcast on iTunes. Ratings helps us keep our podcast visible, giving other a chance to check our podcast out. A special thanks to those that have already provided a rating.

If you’d like to comment in this episode, please go to the bottom of this podcast. We look forward to reading your comments.

Don’t forget to check out the resources page to get access to some of the tools we have made available to our audience.

We are glad you joined us. Now go live one badass life!