Q: My teenage son is 14. I’ve never allowed him to play 18-plus video games at our house despite him badgering me constantly. Lately he’s stepped up the pressure by complaining that he’s left out at school because all his friends talk about these games and he can’t join in. I’ve stayed firm, but a part of me can’t bear the nagging and the arguments.
Jane, via email
A: Jane, in this kind of situation there are three responses you can give your son – yes, now or yes…with conditions or no. Lets look at how these responses might play out…
1. You say ‘yes’ to an 18-plus game. The arguments will stop, but the likelihood is that within a few weeks you’re son will want to go somewhere, do something or buy something else that you don’t feel comfortable with, even though ‘all his friends are doing it’.
2. You say ‘no’. Your son will keep pestering you. He will insist you are ruining his social life. You may feel bad (about the arguments) but great about the fact your son isn’t spending his free time massacring ‘virtual’ strangers. If you take this option, steel yourself with the knowledge that if you never say ‘no’, your yes becomes worthless.
3. Negotiate. What if you said to your son, ‘I’m not willing to let you have this. But lets talk about something else you want and maybe I can give you a ‘yes’ on that?’ This way you both may get a break from nagging.
Emma Marlin, Counsellor
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