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Reader Comments (55)

Posted: Jan 18th 2011 3:32PM coercer said

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My father worked 6 days a week when I was a child at a very demanding job. He was stoic and quiet, if he were enjoying himself listening to music or working in the garage I would not have DARED interrupt him. He earned every minute of his time. I have ZERO resentment towards him and because of his strong work ethic and sense of family I ended up the same way. Our relationship is great because it comes from mutual respect. This "soft, everyone wins, never make your kid sad" stuff is really really pathetic.

Posted: Jan 18th 2011 4:03PM JoeH42 said

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"No success in the world (and certainly not in a virtual world) will ever compensate for failure in the home." - David O. McKay

I also appreciate you pointing out that some people don't get to see their children very often. Our son died when he was just a baby and I'd cheerfully agree to never play video games ever again for the rest of my life just to have more time with him.

Posted: Jan 18th 2011 4:18PM Tyrsalt said

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One of the times that I remember was when my daughter came into my office while I was busy leveling. She wanted to know what I was doing so I let her on my lap. She is two so she wanted to touch things. Rather than send her on her way I logged onto my bank alt and we sat there for an hour playing. I controlled the running while she hit the jump button. The she saw another character on a bear mount so I logged on to my main and showed her all my mounts. She ended up wanting me to use my motorcycle and we ended up riding around durotan jumping all over the place.

I view my time with her differently as a year and a half ago she had brain surgery for a cyst in her brain. We were lucky it wasn't a tumor. I can remember doing her night feedings and her touching my face wondering if it was ever going to happen again. We were lucky to not lose her. That was probably one of my most fondest memories on Azeroth.

Posted: Jan 18th 2011 4:39PM Thegratefulhead said

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My father worked his ass off as someone else mentioned. When he came home we were not allowed to bother him. It sucked, when you all wanted to do was tell your father about your day but he was too tired or wanted to watch TV. We did some things on some weekends, and went on some vacations but I do wish it had been more. He did too, he worked so hard, he was able to retire early. My mother died within the first year. My father was tortured after her death. He had children he had not taken the time to be close to and the woman he loved was gone. He eventually hung himself. I also understand my clarity on this matter was dearly gained and the experiences of others are different. I don’t expect you to understand or agree with me, it might be worth considering though. I can only hope.

He taught me a valuable lesson. The only thing that truly matters is the time you spend with those you love. You cannot turn back time. Your children are only young once. My children know that there is nothing more important to me than they are. Hopefully, they will carry that on to their families. I could make more money than I do, but I have job close to home. I am home for lunch and dinner every day. We could have a bigger house if my wife had worked a different job when they were babies. She was able to work from home until my children started kindergarten. Even now she has only taken a job that allows her to take them to school and pick them up. We sacrificed to do that because it was important to us and we feel extremely fortunate to have been able to but we did make it our top priority, we planned for it.

Sure we could have more toys or newer cars, we don’t sell them until they are paid off. When the kids were babies the cars left much to be desired. We could have a bigger house and a lot more “stuff”. My father had lots of stuff, he had lots of alone time too. I can’t explain how much regret he had. He pushed us farther away after our mother died, he blamed us for her death. She did too much for us according to him. I live every single day absolutely as well as I can. That means cherishing my family to me.

Since I am a parent there is no way I can do that snapping at my children for talking to me when I am playing a video game. I am sure some of you can juggle it and everything is fine or maybe you just think its fine. Ever thought you were right about something but later found out you were wrong?. As a guild and raid leader I have seen the worst of it. Screaming at young children with contempt, I can’t take hearing it, can’t accept any justification for it, no excuse will ever make it OK IMO. Sorry, screaming at children like that for disturbing you when playing a game means you fail at parenting and need to examine wtf you are doing. If you do this or something like this my words probably make you mad. I am OK with that, if just one person reconsiders their actions it might make the world a tiny bit better place one child at a time.

I understand parenting is hard. You will lose your temper. Our parents did, we do. I am never happy with myself when I yell. Raising my voice is OK, yelling, not so much. I want my children to do what I say because they respect and trust me as opposed to fearing me. I have to work hard to earn that. To me it is worth it. We all make mistakes, no one is perfect and people have different beliefs on how to raise children. If we are going to err, it is better on one side than the other IMO. Children so much greater than raid loot it is ludicrous to even contemplate it.

Posted: Jan 18th 2011 5:46PM Vestas said

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@Thegratefulhead

I'm sorry for your loss, sounds like you have a firm handle on it. My father was a stoic hard man, who worked hard as well. He's technically a step dad, married my mom when I was 7. Provided for us, cared for us and made sure both my older sister and I got to college. He was strict, he did not tolerate failure in school, they type of guy who'd get mad if you got a B, let alone an A-. I can't number the times I was called "Stupid" or "Ungrateful" or "Will amount to nothing".

We were never super close, he worked too hard and when he got home he just needed to unwind (god forbid you asked him to deal with something after he'd had a bad day). He was never a yeller, he was always calm, in fact the calmer he was the more terrifying he became. I was not phsycially violent. He was just strict. That doesn't mean I never spent time with him, we went fishing (which I hated), we did amusement parks, his parents were incredible people I spent a lot of time with. He could be funny, he had some awesome jokes, he brought his kids to work functions a lot and my fondest memory was a science fair project he helped me with by letting me use his work lab equipment.

I also loved him dearly and idolized him. He was a pillar of honor and integrity. When I graduated from college, he and my mom got divorced. Why? He'd been cheating on her for 5 years (of a 17 year marriage). The only thing I had holding him up crumbled. Wait? My dad was human? He made mistakes? He could be a bumbling idiot?

My parents now live with regret, though they have reconciled their differences (my Mom was no angel in this equation). Dad often can't get through a conversation with me without tears for all the time lost. He and I are truly different people. He never understood my fascination with computer games, my drive to become a programmer or the success I've had in laugh as a result of chasing my dreams despite what he perceived as a child that just didn't work hard enough on things that mattered. Now we talk on holidays, trade some facebook posts and thats about it. No father/son projects. No deep bonding moments. He regrets all of that and thinks he was a horrible parent.

Problem is, he wasn't. I grew up clothed, fed, went to college, got a job and became independant. I support myself and my family. I made friends, loved and lost. And while Dad and I may not be best friends, the lessons he taught me have been guiding examples for how I function. Sure, he may have "fell from grace" but I learned that the reasons I respected him before hand were reasons and beliefs to live by. He instilled those in me.

Every parent is different, ever parent is unique. Their primary job is to raise their children to succeed in life. If you can do that and me the miracle close-knit "TV Family" we all see, awesome. I consider it a major success if your children become functioning members of society that are loved by and love others. Afterall, you're their parent first. You can't be their best friend and be their parent. Parents have to do things to kids best friends never would. They have to do things for their kids best friends never would either.
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Posted: Jan 18th 2011 6:23PM Ryn said

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Thegratefulhead, JoeH42, Tyrsalt, my heart truly goes out to you. I am fortunate enough to have 3 awesome boys, 11, 4, and 1. I'll be 40 this year in October. It has taken me a long time to learn some valuable lessons. I was a work aholic for the longest time, believing that was the way forward. A divorce later I realized I needed to look at life differently. At the end of the day all we have is the relationships we have made with each other. It doesn't matter how much stuff you have or what is in your bank account.

I was fortunate enough to understand that I was on a treadmill. I got off of it and started living life. I was just amazed with what I was missing. It's one thing to hear about or see pictures of family gatherings, totally another to be there firsthand.

I finally learned how to live. It took a bit but I got there. Starting with my 4yr old I took a different direction. As a result, I have a rich life. My boys are more than I could have ever hoped for.

This was a great article. As we all can see, we had a few things to discuss.

I want to accomplish things in game like everyone else here. If i have time, I do, if not, I don't. The game will be there, the kids grow up way too soon.

Posted: Jan 18th 2011 7:04PM pcgneurotic said

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Nice piece Shawn, as a work-from-home father of two I can totally dig it.

Posted: Jan 18th 2011 11:47PM LuxAurumque said

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I can not say that I have ever heard of seen this in action in all my years of gaming. What I have encountered many times is having a parent leave the computer to help their child. I won't say that this does not happen but having never seen it I have to question how prevalent it is? Personally I would never want to play with people who would do such things.

Truthfully Mr. Schuster I think you need to find a new guild if you hear neglected children over your vent. I would even go as far to say you are an enabler of child abuse if you have sat there silently. If you truly feel so strongly that this is a problem you should confront such behavior, not let it be in your guild, or quit in protest. If you are unwilling to say anything to the person then the situation really must not be that serious and you are just blowing it out of proportion.

I am not saying that you don't have some good points here as you do. You also have great advice about joining a family friendly guild if you have children for when you do need to leave the keyboard. But let us be honest here you front loaded an example flavored with emotion words that color the rest of your article to mean Gaming parents are bad parents.

"But there is a time and a place for [playing MMOs], and that time and place is never when your child is begging for your attention." To be honest I am very surprised a parent would ever write this sentence unless you mean "starved for attention" instead of begging for attention. I once heard the most heart wrenching cries of a child who just wanted a little food!! It went on for hours. This parent must have been a monster for following a doctors orders before the child underwent surgery!! Context is everything, and sometimes it is good parenting to not cave in to your child's every demand.

Posted: Jan 19th 2011 9:55AM Malagarr said

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@LuxAurumque

My ex-sister-in-law used to literally put her kid in his room and put the gate up the entire time my brother was at work during the day so she could play EQ. She'd lay him food out, and that was it. He was 3 years old. My brother would even have to come home from work for lunch just to make sure the poor kid had been fed and changed. He was only 2 years old at the time.

I am not kidding. It does happen. And I thank God every day my brother has custody of his son.
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Posted: Jan 19th 2011 9:56AM Malagarr said

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@Malagarr

To clarify, this started when he was about two. The two split when he was three.
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Posted: Jan 19th 2011 11:06AM LuxAurumque said

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@Malagarr I am very sorry to hear that happened to your nephew and it is good they are out of that situation now. Whenever I here about stories like this I feel real sorrow for the family involved especially the child. The problem is that in these types of situations the MMO has nothing to do with the neglect. It is a symptom of a much larger psychological problem in the mother. The escapism could have taken any form, drugs, alcohol, TV, or any other diversion to escape the problems they have. I hope that the mother is now getting the counseling she needs to help heal the root cause of her disappointing actions.

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Posted: Jan 19th 2011 2:21PM Malagarr said

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@LuxAurumque

Agreed completely. It doesn't have a thing to do with MMOs. I too am a big believer in personal responsibility. But I think sometimes, especially younger parents, tend not to think about how their actions might effect their kids. Hence, I thought this was a good article. If nothing else, it might cause someone to give pause and question whether they might be spending just a little too much time with their favorite MMO and not enough time with their kids. =)
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Posted: Jan 19th 2011 5:02AM Shadowhawke said

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You guys are making me glad I don't have kids, and don't have plans for them, LOL.

Posted: Jan 25th 2011 1:49AM zorovriend said

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@Shadowhawke Same here

It does strike me how passionate all those people are about this subject.
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Posted: Jan 19th 2011 9:51AM Malagarr said

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Well said!

My kids get to bed around 8:00 PM. I won't even log in until they are asleep, most of the time. On the rare occasion that I do happen to play during the day, I never commit myself to anything I can't walk away from at the snap of a finger (or the cry of, "Daddy, he hit me!").

If you are mature enough to have kids, you're mature enough to be a parent. That means the kids always come first. ALWAYS.

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