Oct 19, 2007
Generally speaking, although there are exceptions, it is easier to stay "in touch" with our teenage daughters than it is with our teenage sons. On the surface, it may not appear so, but how often do you get to really talk with your growing son? How much one on one time do you get? And I don't mean from the stands of a sporting event that he is participating in.
There are several ways to accomplish this major goal as a parent. You could go hiking together, camping, fishing, but these are usually "Dad" times to bond. Some Moms do this as well, but I found something that is fun, a bit challenging, and just about anyone can do it. Now, this is for the Mom whose boys enjoy video games and are completely brilliant at them, getting bored easily because they beat the game so quickly. Ask them to teach you how to play, be very interested, and genuinely wish to learn!
The easiest game I found, and the one my son taught me first, is Dungeons and Dragons Heroes for the XBox. It is a two player game, comes with a tutorial that you stay in until you have it all figured out and learn the controls, the graphics are pretty good, and will retain your sons interest for enough time to get you started. The choices in the two player game catagory are very limited, but after you master Dungeons and Dragons Heroes, try another XBox game called Baldurs Gate Dark Alliance 2. This is a more challenging game that will hold both you and your son's attention a bit longer as there is an awesome side quest to find soul shards. As you get more comfortable with the game systems, you start incorporating other topics into your conversations besides just the games and "which button do I push?" Before long, he will start to tell you important things about his day or even his thoughts. Understand, that if he is really good at the games, for him, it is a relaxing, no brainer activity, and those are the most opportune times to get to know who your son really is.
Yes, it might be a lot of work to learn something new, or you just don't have time, or it is too hard. OK, this is not for everyone and certainly there are other ways, but this way works And you obtain a skill to boot! Trust me, video games Are a skill! Some help with History, like Age Of Empires will give you is a big plus. Age Of Empires is a PC game that comes in different eras. A brilliant learning tool on the Roman Empire and tacticle manouvers, while you learn better to interact with your son.
Or, you could choose a racing game, like Mario Cart! It is a benefit to their later driving abilities and found with the Nintendo systems. Haunted Mansion is an XBox figure it out puzzle type game that boosts your thinking and reasoning skills. Even Fable, which is absolutely brilliant by the way, shows them morality as they and you journey through life. Fable and Haunted Mansion are one player games, but you can help him figure out the puzzles in the Haunted Mansion, and with Fable, the beautiful graphics are like watching a movie play out by your sons hand.
The best part of this adventure through gaming, other than the main purpose of getting closer with your son, is when you can play the cool old stuff we used to play, like Pacman and Gallaga. Nintendo has these for their system. Your son might say that the graphics are a bit on the lame side, but you will enjoy the play time together, no matter how short.
Don't wait for them to want to do something with you, it may not happen right away. And, offering to do something with your son out in public is not always received with great eagerness. This is at home, no one has to be informed that your son is "hanging out" with his Mom, that is, until you get good and then become a bragging right for your son! Well worth the effort at that point!
You can spend time online at Amazon, or drive down to EB Games or Gamestop for inexpensive, used games. There really are only a few select "greats" that never get old. Enjoy your new skill and the new relationship with your son!
Stephanie Haile AKA Wavecritter