How to Raise a Healthy Gamer

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Yes, it’s possible to raise a healthy gamer. Even in a world saturated with video games.

Fighting about video games, however, isn’t helpful, says Alok Kanojia (aka Dr. K), author of How to Raise a Healthy Gamer: End Power Struggles, Break Bad Screen Habits, and Transform Your Relationship with Your Kids.

“Right now, there is an antagonistic relationship between most parents & their kids around video gaming,” Dr. K says. “You think they need to cut back; they don’t think they have a problem. Then, as parents start to institute limits, children will try to undermine them. Even if you ‘win’ in this scenario, you lose.”

It’s more helpful, he says, to establish a collaborative relationship. Ask your child what he enjoys about gaming. Listen carefully to his answers, with an ear to understanding. Really work to understand what he gets from gaming, and ask questions to help him reflect on the role of video games in his life.

This takes time — and it’s time well invested.

“The time scale that a lot of parents operate on around video games is too small,” Dr. K says. Slow down, & don’t impose solutions. Instead, work on shared problem-solving. “This shifts the dynamic from ‘us vs them’ to ‘we’re on the same team.’ And the moment we make that shift, we see some beautiful changes.”


In this episode, Jen, Janet, & Dr. K discuss:
  • Why video games are so problematic for many boys & their families
  • The role of gaming in boys’ lives
  • Video game addiction
  • Handling boys’ resistance
  • Why you should never make & enforce a boundary at the same time
  • Why you shouldn’t use gaming as a disciplinary tool (or reward)
  • Responding to kids who won’t put down their phone
Links we mentioned (or should have) in this episode:

How to Raise a Healthy Gamer: End Power Struggles, Break Bad Screen Habits, and Transform Your Relationship with Your Kids, by Alok Kanojia (aka Dr. K) — Dr. K’s website

Why are Video Games So Important to Boys? — ON BOYS episode

The Evolution of Esports — ON BOYS episode

The Link Between Freedom & Video Games — BuildingBoys blog post

Why Boys Play Video Games – BuildingBoys blog post

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