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How Parents Can Affect Their Children

Children with low self-esteem or psychological vulnerabilities may seek solace in computer games. If you are neglected, anxious, or depressed, a place where you can build cities, win wars, and score points to become the world champion is pretty compelling. If you are experiencing powerlessness, and get even a hint of power through violent video games, you are likely to overvalue the usefulness of violence as a way of solving problems. If you continue to watch and play violent games with very few other social interactions that give you a sense of mastery, you are facing a toxic mix that leads many children to some level of violent actions.
How Parents Can Affect Their Children

Parents need to parent their children, and that requires them to involve their children in a variety of activities, of which the computer may be one, but certainly not the main one.

There is no research yet on the ideal amount of computer game usage. Bright kids are often drawn to computer games, which can provide a level of visual excitement.

One of the toughest transitions for a bright kid is from the computer (including computer games) to almost any other activity. For this reason, parents often say they find it best to limit the amount of computer game time to just before a meal. Food and hunger are probably the best inducements to stop a computer game. Never allow a bright kid to eat his meal while playing a computer game. If you do, you may never get him back to the table again.

Mood changer #8: You!
Author Jeff Conley has a wonderful expression: "taking a checkup from the neck up." That is exactly what we all need to do from time to time.

Parenting bright kids can wear the perkiest parent down. With everyone willing to chip in with their own homespun piece of advice, it can be easy to at times feel like everyone's favorite whipping post. The first thing to do is: get rid of your guilt!

Guilt is woven into modern parenting. No parent can be there enough, clever enough, loving enough, giving enough, tough enough, soft enough. I remember asking one mother who was feeling guilty to list the qualities she believed a perfect mother should have. Listing an impressive array of characteristics, I asked her what the effect would be if she had taken on being a perfect mother. She laughed and responded, "The family would be financially ruined and I'd be a neurotic mess. You're right, it is impossible."

The second thing to do is: set the tone for your home. Use the knowledge in this post to change the mood of your family. Lead by example: sleep well, eat well, live well. Not only do you deserve it; your bright kid won't take seriously your intention to tune up your family life until you do so.

Stop what you are doing
Sometimes, when family interactions get stuck, everyone falls into despair, anger, and blame, which of course only serves to make everything even more stuck.

There are times in all our families' lives when we need to re-invent and renew. This is especially true of families with bright kids because they can wear family processes out and leave in their wake feelings of resentment and smouldering weariness.

Some of you will remember The Professor from the popular television show, Gilligan's Island. A brilliant man, able to invent coconut compasses, a wind-powered electricity generator, not to mention a thousand other quirky creations. But somehow he never found time to either work out a way to patch the hole in the ship or build a new ship entirely.

Sometimes, in parenting bright kids, we can be like The Professor: we fix the minor everyday issues without fixing the whole thing. So rather than look at which part of the family to patch up next, I want to outline a process that has the potential to re-shape the way you relate with your bright kid.

In over 25 years of clinical practice with bright kids and their families, I have often wondered why most interventions take about six weeks before they really work. I think it takes six weeks to form a new habit. To find out more, you can check out How Parents Can Affect Their Children.