My son moves around a lot and makes noises when he plays Minecraft. These are clear signs of agitation. What do I do?
In my experience, I have rarely heard about children becoming overly agitated with noises and physical movements when playing video games. Frustration on the other hand, is a fairly regular experience for children playing video games. I’ve had many patients tell me about their children throwing game controllers at the screen out of frustration, occasionally even breaking something in the process.
I would recommend handling your son’s Minecraft play in the same way we would address a situation in which they were playing with some other toy in an inappropriate fashion. Here are some suggestions for managing Minecraft and misbehavior.
Teach new behaviors. I would suggest is using this as an opportunity for teaching. If you were playing a boardgame with him, and he became angry and agitated, you might stop play, talk about his behavior, and help him to reframe his thought process that underlies his behavior. Then it would be time to come up with alternative behaviors.
Take the game away or at least make it safe. I would recommend that you set limits just like you would with any other unacceptable behavior in your home. If a child is throwing a football around the house, you would take it away from him and only allow him to play it outside. If necessary, you may need to briefly take away his opportunity to play Minecraft him and deal with his insistence and anger when you do take it away. Hopefully, after you demonstrate that you mean business and these behaviors will not be tolerated, he will click quickly learn to modify them.
Record video of his play. Sometimes, when kids are overly involved in their video gameplay, they do not recognize how they are acting. You might quietly videotape him while playing and then show him this video tape and explain to him how his behavior is inappropriate and upsetting for other family members. Often, this type of visual evidence is all you will need to affect behavior change.
It is likely that his anger and frustration is in part due to very high levels of focus and motivation while engaged in Minecraft play. Hopefully, you will be able to leverage his motivation to want to play Minecraft to change his behaviors and help him to become less agitated and happier in his gameplay. If not, you may need to consider some alternative strategies to set firmer limits.
Featured image: Flickr user hobbymb