The gamer and concerned mother answer: this way you avoid arguing with your gaming child


Koen Schobbers, now 28 years old, was such a gaming child. Koen came into contact with the game Trackmania when he was fourteen. He loved it and was good. So good, in fact, that he was soon noticed by a team and started his career as an esports athlete. His father was enthusiastic and proud. His mother and her environment were less positive to say the least about her son’s hobby that got out of hand.

“Family, neighbors and friends often reacted negatively to Koen’s professional gaming. They envisioned him as a boy who spent all days and nights at a computer, with chips and Red Bull. Although Koen went well at school and did a lot of sports,” the persistent image that such a gamer was a loser remained “, mother Sophie writes in the book ‘My gamende kind’, which will be published on Thursday 1 October.

“We had a lot of discussion that time. My mother wanted to impose rules that I opposed,” Koen Schobbers told RTL Nieuws. “She was afraid that I would become addicted to gaming and make nothing of my life, while I felt misunderstood by her.” When Koen was seventeen, things changed: mother and son decided to listen better to each other, to make clearer agreements and mother immersed herself more in the hobby she previously hated. “I saw him flourish while playing. When I saw him finish third in a super exciting match online at the Trackmania World Championship, I understood why he was so captivated by the game”, Sophie writes.

Koen’s mother tells her story in the chapter ‘What can we learn from Koen’s parents?’ An important story, but above all a recognizable story, says Koen, who recently founded Parents of Play, a platform to help educators to restore, maintain or strengthen the relationship with their gaming child. “A lot of parents are concerned about their gaming child. Whether he or she is safe online. Whether he is not gaming too much. Logical, because when they were young themselves, these kinds of games did not exist. In fact, back then. there was no public internet yet. This creates a gap between child and parent. “

Cheering at higher level

Deirdre Enthoven, social psychologist, journalist and mother of 12-year-old gamer Tygo, recognizes this all too well. She herself has ‘nothing at all’ with gaming and Tygo’s many games also resulted in a lot of arguments and stress at home. “Before I met Koen, I was the skeptical, ignorant, concerned parent who wasn’t exactly happy with gaming. It was through Koen that I saw that you can also be successful and social as a gamer.”

Deirdre decided to take a different look at her son’s hobby. “I asked myself: why am I standing next to the football field cheering when he scores and not when he has reached a higher level in a game?” Says Deirdre. She also delved into scientific research into games before writing this book. “This often shows that there are very positive sides to it. For example, gaming can be very social, while you might not think so at first. I also see that with my son: we have moved, but he still maintains it through the Fortnite game. always good contact with old friends. “

One of the most important tips that Koen and Deirdre have for parents of gaming children? Watch when your child is gaming and also watch your child. Deirdre: “For example, I saw that GTA is not only a fierce game, but that my son was also constantly making a dent because of the jokes that were made. If you watch and let your child explain what is happening and what he does, then improve your contact with your child. Moreover, you can then make better agreements with each other because you understand each other better. “

Koen and his mother Sophie developed the so-called ‘Game Disk of Five’ as a tool for themselves – and now also for use by other parents. “The Game Wheel of Five consists of five S’s: Sleep, Study, Sports, Social and Play. As long as the ‘S’ of Game has no negative effect on the other four, there is no problem.”

“And besides: don’t underestimate the game,” says Koen. “Gaming may not be of vital importance, but it does give pleasure, satisfaction, self-confidence and it can also bring your child a lot in the long term.”

MY GAMING CHILD: Everything you need to know as a parent – will be out Thursday October 1 by Maven Publishing.

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