I see lots of kids in my private practice.   I have the requisite board games like Life, Sorry and UNO.  I have markers, paint and other art supplies.  What I don’t have, though, is any type of video game.  I was thinking I am a bit behind the

times.  I feel comfortable talking to youth about their gaming activities.  I don’t actually get it all but it gives them the opportunity to teach me something and share what they are passionate about.  Anything I know about Call of Duty is from clients.  I wonder how much more I could connect with some youth if I had video games in my office to play.

Right now you may be asking ~Really?~  Maybe you are outraged and thinking, “I pay you money to see my kids and you are playing video games because they can do that for free at home.”  True, but gaming and talking are not mutually exclusive.  Interacting during gaming gives the youth the opportunity to build confidence and actually relate to the adult.  It gives a commonality.   All sorts of conversations and sharing of secrets and worries can come out as you play.

My question for you would be “are you sitting and gaming with your child?”  Are you?  The connections you make with your child can be invaluable.  (Not to mention becoming aware of who they are connecting with in the world through their gaming.)   I think back to my relationship with my brother.  He is five years younger than me and growing up I think there was nothing but animosity and maybe some shared empathy for our living situation.  We weren’t friends by any means.  We had nothing at all in common.  We could connect by playing video games.  Back in the day when we’d have an old Nintendo system my brother and I would play Castlevania.  I wasn’t very good but we could connect over the games.  He could help me by beating the levels I couldn’t beat.  It gave us a common language.  Those experiences are invaluable and led the way to being able to be something like friends as adults.

Try playing some video games with your child.  You  might be surprised at the connections you make.