Name: margalit
Location: Massachusetts, United States Professional writer, educational advocate, opinionated ultra liberal mother of 18 year old twins, living life in the slow lane due to hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, congestive heart failure, and diabetes.

email: margalitc at yahoo dot com

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Monday, November 28, 2005

Why I don't hate the Xbox

I know I'm supposed to say that video games are evil and should never be allowed in the house. I know I'm supposed to hate the fact that both of my kids like playing with the Xbox. But you know what? My kids are playing with it right now in the room next to me, and they're having the time of their lives. They're playing with such spirit, just like kids are supposed to be. They're playing SSX3, a snowboarding game that the Boy bought out of his birthday money. He also bought the Xbox himself, as I am one of those parents who refused to buy one. I was wrong, kids can have a lot of fun playing perfectly normal non-violent games. I was wrong because they do use their imaginations and they do learn from their Xbox games. Today, the Boy was showing me that he discovered on MVP Baseball 2005 he can change the stadiums to old time stadiums like the Polo Grounds and Ebbets Field. He went through all the old time stadiums learning where they were and what they looked like. History! The Girl likes to look at all the antique uniforms. Design! They both like to buy extras for their snowboard characters. Merchandising!

Much of the time, my kids bicker and fight. They are very different people and they have very different likes and dislikes. Some of their fighting is normal sibling stuff, and some of it is twin stuff, which is more intense and a bit scarier for others outside the family to observe. They're had their moments when they hit and kick and trip each other. They can fight to the death if they were allowed to, which they are not. Mealtime can either be enjoyable or a battleground. I never know when they're going to start attacking each other verbally or physically. Raising expressive teens is a good thing, because I know for a fact that they stand up for themselves and they are not at all afraid to challange authority. They are individuals who comform on some levels and are totally nonconformist on other levels. They are both loyal to their friends and don't tolerate two-faced behavior. Both of them are very aware of the dangers of being a teen, and are careful to steer clear of trouble. They both learned this the hard way. In fact, they learned it the very hard way, because I'm not afraid of tough love and I'm not afraid of saying that I need help when I feel overwhelmed by their behavior.

I mention all this because when I see them spending an hour together laughing and having a really fun time, so fun that I have to remind them over and over to keep it down to a dull roar, I can't say that what they're doing is wrong and bad. They need to unwind in the afternoons when they come home from school, just as we adults need to wind down after work. Instead of pouring themselves a beer or a glass of wine, they play on the Xbox. They make funny jokes, they tease each other, they fight over the controllers, and they yell stuff like "I can't play with someone that is sucking, it's very unhealthy for me" (guess who?). They totally crack me up and I so much love watching them play together. It's one of those warm parenting moments we all long for, and if it comes with the price of an Xbox, than so be it.

Now, who wants to buy us the Xbox 360 for Chanukah?
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Blogger The Complimenting Commenter said...

That is a hilarious and very well thought out post. I like the perspective that you give on the video game system and your kids. As long as it's monitored, it can be a good way for them to play together. Nice job.

28/11/05 8:28 PM  
Blogger Tired Tunia said...

I think video games get a bad rap too. I remember many hours playing happily on our Commodore 64 and Atari when I was a kid. I myself love our Playstation 2, just haven't had any time to play in the last year or two...

28/11/05 10:09 PM  

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