Parental Advisory: When To Spend.

Been a while since I wrote one of these, so if you’ve missed them, thank my friend Marie (Hi Marie!) for the inspiration. She posed the question on what to do about her son constantly asking her to buy him new video games. I thought about it for a second and decided to use this post as a response to her question.

The best I can do is draw upon a mix between my childhood and parenting experience. Growing up, my mother was a single parent, with my two brothers and I. She knew video games were important to all three of us, so her approach was simple. She would buy us a console we had to share and we only got new games under three circumstances. The first was a birthday. The second was Christmas. The third was her receiving a nice sum of money she didn’t expect AND deciding we deserved a new game. Add those up, and we could max out at seven games a year. One each on birthdays, Christmas, and possibly a surprise one at some point during the year.

We must consider a few things before I move on to how I treat my kids. Back in the 80’s and 90’s, Gamefly, Ebay, and Craigslist didn’t exist. Now that we have them, parents, please use them. For young kids, Gamefly is a godsend. You can constantly rotate games in and out of the household so they always have something new to play. Younger kids are less likely to care about getting a game the day it comes out, so as long as they are being supplied with new games at a steady pace it should lower the need to buy new games on a regular basis. One thing that helped me was my mother allowing me to trade games at my leisure. I would finish games and then trade them to friends for games they no longer played. There are websites now that specialize in this type of setup, so it is an option you cold look into. And of course, you can always trade in games for store credit, although you usually don’t get much.

These days, I have little gamers to keep occupied. They don’t play their consoles everyday, due to also having tablets that they play free games on. But, they do ask for new games from time to time. I constantly think about how I will handle those requests if they increase. I am a big fan of rewarding kids for doing what’s asked of them, so I think some sort of reward system is best. You can regulate how often they can earn games based on how often you can afford to buy them. For example, if you can afford one new game a month, then give them a month to earn the game. You can tailor how to earn the game in any manner you see fit. Shovel snow in the winter. Rake leaves in the fall. Wash the car. Good grades can factor in. Keep their room clean. Whatever you feel the criteria should be, set it. Talk to your kids, get their input on what THEY feel is a good way to earn the games, they might surprise you! If you use all the available methods in existence to find games at affordable prices, you should be able to find a way to steadily supply the kiddies with games. You’ll also be teaching them how to earn the things they want, and how to be responsible. It’s a great scenario for everyone involved.

Well, there’s my take on the situation. I hope it helped Marie and anyone else who may be dealing with a similar scenario. We urge you to share any advice you may have on the subject with us here at the Ourcade. Hit the comments, the Twitter, or the Facebook page. See you guys and gals later!

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