Parents, worrying about your kids is counterproductive

MOTHER: As an adult I have a responsibility to protect my child from harm. If my son develops an addiction to video games, don’t I have a responsibility as the parent to stop this?

DAVID: Many parents operate from the premise that children – especially young children – cannot be trusted to figure things out for themselves. By virtue of them being adults, they believe they know what is best for the child and it is thus their ‘responsibility’ to point out the error of their ways. From my perspective, it is very clear that the child is free to make his own choices on any given subject and that parental interference is unnecessary. The parent who chooses to ‘worry’ about the unwanted behaviour observed in a child energises and reinforces the problem (which exists only in the mind of the parent) through the power of her attention – in which case the “problem” amplifies. In all my years of experience as a teacher and life coach I have yet to meet a single child who had (seemingly) ‘gone astray’ who wasn’t fighting against some perceived threat to his ability to make his own choices (i.e. who wasn’t reacting to the interference of a fearful adult).

The only reason a child would develop an “addiction” to video games is because he has forgotten who he is; because he is out of alignment with his natural state of happiness and well-being. He is attempting to fill a perceived void by pursuing a dead end. But the behaviour itself is not the issue. The issue is his lack of alignment. The child wants to feel better. If you think about it, the only reason for doing anything in life is because we believe that in the doing of it we will feel better. A child who consistently feels good about himself (i.e. who is aligned with the love, approval and joy that resides at the core of his being) is not going to develop an addiction to gaming… or to alcohol or to sex or to any other form of escapism because these are all examples of instant gratification: transitory (and thus illusory) happiness.

How does the parent worrying about the child’s interest in video games in any way contribute to the child returning to his natural state of happiness and well-being? Many adults have decided that it is their responsibility to worry about their children. I do not see this as the function of parents. The only reason a parent could be observing her child’s lack of alignment is because she herself is out of alignment. Since it is not possible to change another person (regardless of their age), the greatest gift the parent can offer the child is to demonstrate through the clarity of her own example her willingness to strive for alignment with her own authentic self. In so doing the parent inspires the child to seek his own alignment. If the child is aligned, he feels good. If he feels good, he does not look to video games to fill a void… because there is no void to fill.

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