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Single parents: How to prevent video game addiction

Some single parents can agree with their exes on parenting matters easily and quickly. Other parents find it more difficult. One area where parents may disagree is how they structure their children's video game use.

None of us want our children to develop a dangerous video game addiction. At the same time, many of us recognize that video games are fun for our kids, they keep them occupied and in many ways out of trouble -- and we want to find a healthy balance that the other parent of our children can agree with.

Supporting our children to have a balanced lifestyle that includes video games -- but not doesn't involve video game binging -- starts by getting on the same page with the other parent. Start a dialog about what you've noticed about your child's behavior and what you feel is healthy to learn what the other parent thinks about your views. Then, come to an agreement on some guidelines that both you and your ex can gently enforce with your children.

Once you have arrived at an agreement with your ex, you'll want to talk to your child about it -- and you'll want to do this with the other parent present so your child knows that everyone is on the same page. Consider creating a written agreement for your child that illuminates your expectations, but don't make it just about video games. Make it about the larger balance of your child's life, including scheduling matters relating to school, chores, video games, team sports or other activities your child is engaged in.

If a video gaming addiction develops, and it becomes dangerous for your child -- but the other parent refuses to do anything to help this issue -- a family law attorney could help. By discussing your challenge with a lawyer, you could develop a diplomatic strategy for getting through to the other parent about this common single parenting challenge. This may involve informal mediation, or other conflict resolution strategies.

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