Christmas money or gift cards do not last long in the hands of my children. Therefore when my son was gnashing over being BANNED from the Xbox due to ongoing jackassery, Caitlyn seized her opportunity and rushed out to buy Skylanders Giants. She was in heaven having a game that came with so much ‘stuff’ that HE did not have any control over. She was in her glory.
Skylanders is more than a game you see. It is a collectable. Skylanders and Skylanders: Giants are the newest offshoot from the old Spyro the Dragon games that were designed for the Sony Playstation. What makes Skylanders so appealing to kids is that in order to play this cross platform world, you have to collect the characters that you ‘activate’ on a portal.
Your characters progress is saved within the figure themselves. Thus you can take your figures to play on your friends console without losing your game progress. The starter kit (including game) is about $70 and the figures are about $12 to $15 each, so the set up is not crazy expensive. Caity managed to find the starter kit for Xbox on sale and there has been much researching and discussions about which characters to invest in next.
I am always happy to find games that appeal to boys AND girls. The Lego games have been great for that, Caity LOVES the Batman Lego game, but it is nice to see a game that siblings can both play and collect without the gameplay favouring one gender over another. I have to admit to being impressed that my Call of Duty loving boy actually likes this game. He has purported to play it long before this with his friends, but he seems happy that Caity is willing to share the game with him….when he is allowed to play.
Which Leads To…
In this day and age, video games seem to be the only bargaining chip left to parents when it comes to working with kids on things like responsibility and sharing. I realize that blackmail is not an approved form of parenting, but the reality of it is, it works. Taking the Xbox away from Adam is pretty much the only thing that can get his attention. It is a HUGE deal to him, not just for the games but for his communication and standing with his friends who he plays with online. Being unable to communicate with them on Xbox live is his equivalent to owning a smartphone and texting his pals.
I will admit that my kids tend to spend too much time with the glare of a screen on their faces. I only assuage my guilt with the fact that they will also happily play outside for hours on end when weather allows, and that my son found solace in his vast Lego collection when deprived of the Xbox. Not to mention that they are both great readers.
Punishment has to teach in my opinion though so I wanted to make sure that his time away from the system was spent with some discussion about how we could make the future Xbox time work better for all the family. I have tried to encourage him to make suggestions about fairness for all involved when it comes to video game time and let him work on what sort of rules should revolve around the Xbox.
This time around I am happy to see that he is truly thinking things through instead of just simmering in anger. We have discussed rules around homework and sharing the system and what would be fair to all involved (including dad). I think the more he sees that there is dialogue and that his opinion is valued when it comes to his precious video game platform and that the rules apply to his sister too, that we will slowly have more peace in our household.
Famous last words