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Encouraging Heroes. You can be one too.

Simon Messler is a casual gamer who loves to follow industry trends, events and news. He loves playing free online farm games and sharing personal stories from his own life, and how video games positively impacted him.

Parents have a knee jerk reaction these days to video games in the household. This is due to a variety of factors, including the saturation of violence in video games, the publicity of video game addiction, and the general idea that video games rot children’s brains.

The truth is that too much of anything is a bad thing. Moderation in all things is important. That being said, video games truly have a place in the modern household, and should be embraced by parents much as they would embrace any hobby their child enjoys. So, here are five reasons you should try playing video games with your kids.

1) Bonding
Sharing any activity with your children gives you more time to bond. Video games are especially great for this because they often focus on teamwork and goal accomplishing. There’s a very real objective to accomplish, meaning you and your children will have every chance to have a positive experience playing video games together. This will help you deepen your bond and relationship.

2) It demonstrates your respect for your children
All parents ideally share an activity both they and their child enjoy. This is great bonding time, builds common interest and helps keep your relationship happy and healthy. However, by going outside of your normal comfort zone you can demonstrate how much your child means to you.

My father made the effort to play video games with me as a child. He didn’t have much experience beforehand, but ended up enjoying it quite a bit. To this day, I full-heartedly believe that this is what made my dad and I so close. Instead of forcing me to engage in an activity I had no interest in, he cared enough to make the effort.

3) You’ll be aware of the games your children are playing
This is a great way to monitor not only what games your child is playing, but what their general interests are. Video games are so diverse, and can have such radical elements, that it is a good idea for parents to be aware what their child is playing. But often it’s hard to be fully cognizant of an entire video game’s content.

Playing video games with your child will give you a real sense of not only the safety of the content of the video games, but also give you another insight into your child’s interests.

4) Better communication
Playing video games will give you a chance to casually communicate and talk with your children. Sometimes it can be hard to have an honest discussion with your children. Doing an activity together gives you the chance to take the edge off, and allow for a better free flow of information.

Obviously you can’t play video games with them every time you need to talk to them. This will have the opposite effect, causing them to clam up every time you try and play with them. Instead, once you’ve established a rapport and mutual enjoyment, it will naturally be easier to have a one on one talk with them during your video game time.

5) Lets you establish an ‘us’ time for your kids
It’s often hard to find time to set aside for your kids. And, once you have, it can be hard to find an appropriate activity. By establishing a set activity, and commonly setting aside time for it, you can have an established time for you and your kids. So, rather than just pestering your child about what they did that day, you have a chance to sit down and actually talk about it. This eases all kinds of friction, and can create a happy family atmosphere.

In the end, it all boils down to the need to be close to your children. Playing video games with your children is a great way to accomplish this, because it:

• Demonstrates respect for their interests
• Allows you to foster better communication and bonding
• Keeps you up to date both on their every-day lives and the games they’re currently playing.

For all these reasons, parents should consider playing video games with their children.

Earnest Parenting: help for parents who want to bond with their children.