How Gaming made me a Better Parent: Chronicles of a Gaming Dad

How Gaming Helped me Become a better parent, Ways that video games can help you be a better parent

Let me start with this,

Gaming is something that not many people fully understand. Being a “Gamer” gives you a title in which even in 2018, people aren’t taking it seriously as the technology revolution and the actual benefits of playing Video Games are.

My Background as a Gamer

For me,

I started playing video games when I was fairly young (I’m thinking around 5 or 6, back when the Macintosh started supporting games). From there it has only evolved as technology has gotten better.

Keep this in mind as well, for me I mostly play video games that are RPG’s, MMORPG’s, Action/Adventure, and some Sandbox building style games.

If you don’t know, these style of video games are generally much longer, and require thinking. Not just your basic “Shoot em’ Up” games that people associate violence with.

With this in mind, I’m the type of gamer that I can play a ton of different genre’s, but I always find myself craving a RPG. Not so much as to literally Role Play and get into character seriously, but these style video games give me a more complex gaming experience.

Especially when it comes to games such as Runescape, World of Warcraft, Neverwinter (Dungeons and Dragons), the Elder Scrolls Series, and even games like Far Cry (I’ve played a ton of Far Cry 5 lately).

However, there is still a good chance I will end up being in a City/Civilization Builder style game as well, or even something like the “Tycoon Games” like Roller Coaster Tycoon.

So with this, you can see the games that I play are a lot more about strategy, versus just entertainment, they give my brain a workout in finding the best methods to get armor, skills, new items etc.

How Gaming has Helped me be a Better Dad

Now it gets into the fun part.

Gaming has helped me become a better parent in a few different ways. Obviously, you might think this could be a bit far fetched in a sense, however some of the key traits that you need as a parent, you can also receive from video games (Especially the ones I’ve listed above).

So with that, lets jump into a few different ways, I will be writing again on this topic in the future about all of the traits that you can learn from gaming which you can apply to parenting as well.

Patience

So here is a tricky one, patience.

As a parent this is a vital skill that you either have or you just don’t. Where I do believe I’m somewhat in the middle, I’ve attributed much of my patience for My Daughter and two step-sons to my years of Video games (and sports).

With gaming there are a ton of different objectives that need to be accomplished. Each of which requires you to take steps in order to reach that goal. In turn you have to be patient, because if you want that ultimate achievement of 100 Gamerscore (For my Xbox Gamers) you have to get there in time.

Parenting requires a TON of patience as well, which I’ve learned. You have to be willing to take the hit up front, in hopes that your patience will earn you the reward, in this case your child learning something or achieving a milestone.

This goes into relationships and co-parenting as well, but for now we will stick to how it can help you as a parent.

I don’t expect every one of you to be an avid gamer, but lets be honest, most of us have played video games in some form.

For RPG’s especially, you have to be extremely patient. You can’t expect to be max level right when you fire the game up right?

Learning New Skills

This goes right alongside with being patient in gaming and parenting. Learning new skills isn’t something that you have to stop doing as a parent.

Gaming gives you that reward system for when you learn new skills, your character progresses, you unlock content etc (Runescape and World of Warcraft are great examples).

Parenting is in the same exact boat. You have to sit back and take a look at what skills that you already have, and what you need to improve on. From there you “Level Up” and get better at those things that you needed to work on.

For me, I try and learn things about the kids every day. This lets me get a deeper insight into how they function. For my daughter it is one thing, since I’ve been there since her little self was born, however for the boys it is a real task.

That Step-Parent role especially needs to take up learning new skills and leveling them up, in order to get into the heads of the little ones. It is a bit more challenging, but that is the point as we level up skills right?

Think of it like this,

You are learning the skill of understanding the likes and dislikes of your children. It is an ongoing task, but in time with patience we can reach that max level and have a full understanding of how they operate.

Being Adventurous

See this one is more literal than the other two, as we don’t have to do a ton of digging deep and finding out about ourselves and about our kids.

Gaming for me is the ultimate adventure. You go through and explore new lands, fight monsters, conquer dungeons, find treasure and level up.

Parenting is very similar, every day is an adventure.

Now,

You have to understand as well that sometimes it doesn’t mean just going out and doing things, it is an adventure just being a Dad (or Mom). This gives you a sense of exploring your child and ultimately finding the treasure of their lives.

For me, I’m a pretty adventurous person naturally meaning I like the outdoors, camping, fishing, mountain bike riding, dirt bikes, racing you name it.

Where I’ve tried to include the little ones on some of the journeys, sometimes it isn’t in their best interest because it isn’t who they are.

Take this example, I played baseball for 14 years of my life, each of those at an extremely high and competitive level. When the Misses and I first got together, it was a blessing to be able to have not 1 but 2 sons that I could teach to do some awesome things in sports, baseball especially.

Recently we made this plunge for the Oldest (He’s 10 right Now), and enrolled him into baseball.

Where it was his choice, and both of us reiterated that it was up to him, he chose to go that route. However, I’m pretty sure he did it because I played not because he really wanted to or enjoyed it.

Fast forward around 5 months, and he starts practice and playing in the Fall ball season which is generally much less competitive and good for learning. He has fun, but is really not into it and all of us can tell. Mind you, this kid is SUPER outgoing and he turned into a wallflower on that field.

Come to find out, he just wasn’t into it. Yes, he tried it and had fun, but it wasn’t his thing, it was mine.

So after speaking with him about it (he is a people pleaser by the way), he didn’t want to continue playing. Which I understood of course, and something about him is that he is athletic yes, but he enjoy’s the arts (singing, dancing and drawing).

He wanted to seriously pursue dance, more than likely Hip Hop, Pop-Lock, or even Gymnastics as well. Granted I knew this about him, he just wanted to please me and his real father with sports, and of course I wanted him to be happy so we are going into this new adventure.

Reeling it back in, adventure doesn’t always have to be something that is literally going out and doing something. Gaming you explore, in Life you explore yourself and those around you.

Having the courage to pursue something like this, is a real adventure and I’m proud of him for that.

End Note

Gaming is a part of my life that the majority of people don’t know about me, and yes it has helped me more than anything as well through many different things in life.

It has helped me become a better parent, with being not only able to relate to certain things, but to train my mind and learn skills that sometimes you can’t find anywhere else other than through that screen.

Some might disagree, but I’m a better parent because I play video games and I have for many years.

With that, I thank you for reading this far and being along for the journey. I hope this can bring a bit of insight into something that is still not completely mainstream.

Comment below if you are a gamer and a parent, let me know what games you play and how you can apply them to your parenting.

Thanks again, and I look forward to the discussion below!

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