Child to Mother: “Where Do You Get Off Telling Me What I Can’t Play?”

When are we going to accept the fact that parents have to act like parents?

The quote in the headline is a direct quote, word-for-word. I heard it walking through the game section of a local Target, and I just couldn’t believe my ears.

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Well, to be frank, I could. That’s what’s so sad.

As a bit of history, I used to work in game retail. I was a sales associate (translation: register biscuit) for Electronics Boutique for almost three years, and what I saw during that time would be worthy of a dozen more similarly eye-opening headlines. This one, however, caught my attention. It was the tone in which the child in question said it, and the ensuing reaction of the mother.

For the record, had I ever dared to say such a thing to my mother at that age, I’m not even sure I’d be alive today (an obvious exaggeration, in case certain reactionaries care to take that literally).

Okay, first of all, Killzone 3 is not for kids. And FYI, just because your kid is “old for his age,” that doesn’t mean he should be playing it

That was the game in question. I saw this brat of a child waving it in his mother’s face, demanding that she buy it for him. When she initially refused, he whined. When she stood her ground, he actually started to hit her. Finally, he issued the words in the headline – “Who are you to tell me what I can’t play?!” – in an absolute rage. The mere fact that those words could come out of his mouth tells me I was looking at an incompetent parent.

This has to stop happening. Look, I don’t have kids. I am aware that I’m no bastion of child-rearing knowledge. I know my psychology degree is essentially meaningless for a variety of reasons. But I do have some idea how difficult it must be to raise children in today’s society (one of the big reasons I have not procreated, in fact). I understand that from the moment a kid gets up, he’s bombarded with endless media stimuli. I get that when he’s at school, you can’t protect him.

I get all that. I really do. But the fact that a child said this to his mother in public tells me two things: 1. Talk to your grandparents and ask them if this sort of thing ever happened when they were kids. Make sure to watch their reaction when you tell them what the kid said. 2. The lax approach to raising children is partly to blame for the behavioral problems we’re seeing today, and that is not the fault of video games. Games can be a trigger but then again, so can just about anything.

Discipline. Use it. For the good of ALL of us. PLEASE.

I don’t condone striking children. But, do I have a problem with sending a kid to bed hungry if he’s not willing to eat what was prepared? Nope. That would probably land me in jail today, huh? You know, I remember reading an article after the Newtown shooting tragedy, directing parents to bring their violent video games (and other media) to a little get-together, where they could ditch the offensive stuff. I’d heard they were actually burning those games.

…How is that any different than a Nazi book burning? And how is that helping? That’s to blame? If I had been at that assembly, I would’ve addressed every single parent who approached with a bevy of violent games as follows: “Why does your 10-year-old even have these? See, he isn’t old enough to pay for them himself, most stores won’t sell them to him if he’s by himself, sooooo…yeah, it’s you. You bought them. Maybe we should burn you instead.”

Sometimes, even the best parents can’t avoid the terrible behavior of their children. But at the very least, could they at least act like parents? Please?

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A gaming journalism veteran of 14 years, a confirmed gamer for over 30 years, and a lover of fine literature and ridiculously sweet desserts.