My son has a friend whose parents allow him to play video games all the time, and he has become very self-absorbed. As the boys are entering high school, my son has lots of homework, projects, and sports, and his friend seems to have very little discipline or guidance. I want to reach out to his parents because I am afraid that with no intervention this child may become further withdrawn and not be prepared for a young, adult life. Should I just say nothing? It’s bothering my son that he has so much responsibility, while his friend gets to be a real slacker.
The real question is what is bothering you more: the fact that this child has no self-discipline or that his relationship with your son has made your son question all the work he is expected to do? You should commend yourself on raising a son that “gets it.” Apparently, all these early years of your teaching him to wait and finish his chores or work before indulging in playing games has paid off. One of the biggest reasons we take our children to extracurricular activities is to teach them commitment and discipline. When parents do not teach these lessons, children grow into adults that can not manage their time or wait to receive their rewards. I’d say to reassure your son that his hard work will be rewarded with good grades, a well defined social life, and the health benefits of exercise. He will prosper in young adulthood. If you are truly concerned about the well being of the friend, then perhaps you could invite him to a sporting event or to a museum and expose him to something other than his computer screen. If you are super close to his parents, you could more thoroughly voice your concerns, but be careful! People do not like being told how to raise their children, even if what they are doing is clear to everyone else as being poor choices.
Alisa Murray, aka “Auntie A,” is an a-winning columnist and fine-art photographer.
She holds a BS in Psychology.