Parenting: Video Games Without The Stress

Mercedes Samudio, LCSW by Mercedes Samudio, LCSW

video game

In the final post in the Media, Parenting, and Kids series, we discuss video games and how parents can actually use them to make life less stressful in their family. If you missed the other two posts in the series, click here and here!

The debate about video games and it’s effects on children [especially due to its violence] is a huge, controversial issue. But, no one really looks at how video games can be used as a stress-free addition to their family.

I don’t want to minimize the effects of violent and adult games on your child. But, I do want to stress that there are games that kids/teens can play without the blood, cursing, sex, and violence. And, yes, parents, you can even have fun playing them with your child.

Stress-Free Video Gaming

The first step in learning to enjoy video games in you house is to know what types of games are family friendly and fun for all. The rating system for video games is very helpful in determining what titles are for mature audiences.

The ratings are as follows:

E – This is the rating given for games that can be played by any age. These games usually have no adult content or violence. Under this rating is also “EC” for games geared towards early childhood education and “E10” for games that have content more suited for children 10 or older.

T – The “T” rating is for games that have content that is suitable for children 13 and older. These games are most likely more geared towards fighting and fantasy, so they have more violence, crude humor, and suggestive themes.

M – This rating is for teens 17 and older, and most definitely have themes that are more adult and more mature. These games are the ones that usually get the most controversy surrounding them, and have blood, graphic violence, sexual themes, adult language, and adult humor.

AO – There are not a lot of games marketed with this rating, but the rating is for Adult Only games. These games will only be sold to customers who are 18 or older. While they have the same themes in a “M” rated game, their will also be nudity and/or graphic sexual content.

Now that you know what ratings to look for in purchasing games for your child, let’s get into making gaming fun and stress-free:

  1. Let Them Teach You – Children like showing their mastery of things, and what better way than being able to show you how to play there favorite game
  2. Have Video Game Nights – Just like have board game nights, maybe incorporate video games as well. You can play family friendly games, such as Wii interactive games or racing games
  3. Spend Time With Them – It might sound annoying, but you can use the time that your child is playing video fames to actually bond with them. Lots of video games encourage critical thinking, team work, and strategic thinking. Even in a game that seem to be silly, you can watch your child succeed at beating levels and praise them for this
  4. No Punishment Zone – That’s right, parents! I’m going there! I know that taking the games away is a great punishment strategy. But, I challenge you to know take all the games away. Let your child have one game that he can always play no matter how he acts. The reason behind this insanity: it gives them a space to calm down after having an argument or getting into trouble. I know this one is a toughie, but it’s a challenge. I bet it goes over better than you think.
  5. List Accomplishments – As preposterous as this may sound, add video gaming to your child’s list of daily/weekly accomplishments. If they beat a really difficult level, or earn a new achievement in the game, give them some praise. It shows your child that you see them as a whole person and not just someone who makes grades or does chores. It’s a great way to also find positives to praise your child for.

I know, for most parents, video games are a thorn in their side. You fight more about turning it off than you do about anything else. But, try using some of these tips to make video games in your house a stress-free issue.


I’d love to know how this works for you! Comment about it working, or completely failing!

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