Raising my Son to be a Gentleman

So … I’ve been party to a number of conversations recently that have got me thinking about this subject. Raising my son to be a gentleman has always been one of my mantras, particularly in the scary modern world of gaming that seems to idolise characters that, I can safely say, without arguement, are not who we could ever class as gentlemen!

Now, I appreciate, that even before I write this, there will be an uproar of opinion but I don’t want to be battered for mine or my friends’ opinion because I guess I’m trying to understand the culture of our very young youth of today and the social peer pressure that many boys are under to fit in … my boy included.

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Conversation 1: My son discusses that most of his friends have a game that we will refer to as ‘a very popular game that involves stealing cars’ … I’d like to point out here that my son is 12 and ‘a very popular game about stealing cars’ has a certificate of 18 … now I’m going to hazard a guess that this means you are meant to be … wait for it … 18 … wow didn’t see that coming … to play this game … anyone disagreeing? So … based on that little piece of information I’m probably going to advise that son should wait until he’s 18 … oh hang on, I’ve just become the worst mum in the entire world in 5 seconds flat … just terrific … thank you gaming world … thank you parents who let their 12 year old boys play this game … just a whole lot of thanks!

Conversation 2: Son’s friend admits that he downloaded the game when his parents were asleep early one Sunday morning and that he was so utterly and completely terrified by it that he had to wake his parents to admit what he had done so that he could offload the images and feelings that he couldn’t handle … hmmm I can see why 12 year olds should be playing this game … really?

Conversation 3: Overhear friend discussing latest ‘a very popular game about stealing cars’ which includes drive by shootings  … oh that’s OK then … perfect games for raising a gentleman … what was I possibly worried about?

Conversation 4: Another friend’s son begging for ‘a very popular game about stealing cars’ for his 13th birthday as he was desperate to fit in amongst his peers so her and her husband caved in and popped to the local gaming shop (not giving any names away here!) to purchase but thought they’d just discuss with shop assistant first … and here I salute the gaming shop in question … shop assistant announced that it was the most unsuitable game of unsuitable games for anyone below the age of 18 and that under no circumstances would he ever recommend the context of the content for a 13 year old … game over so to speak I think.

So, to support my mantra of trying to raise a gentleman, should I deem it appropriate that he plays killing games with other sordid content that I don’t want to mention here? But am I wrong? I genuinely would love to hear other parent’s views … those whose sons do play such games and those who don’t. Maybe, we won’t know the real damage, if any, until these boys have a few more years under their belt … time will tell … but in the meantime my son will have to be mad at me because I’m not convinced … just saying!

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46 thoughts on “Raising my Son to be a Gentleman

  1. Well done you! Stick by your guns. I know said game from housemates in my university days and it is completely inappropriate. Sadly I have taught 9-13 year olds who have played said game and trust me this is one to keep him away from (and preferably making that clear to parents of any house he visits!) 18 is 18 for a reason!

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  2. I think you should be applauded as you are setting standards for your son and well done for sticking to your guns. The game has a rating for a good reason. I am sure we have this to come as our kids are gamers too. I don’t like them playing the fighting games but of course they are their favourites. At least at this age and on this console I know there is nothing age inappropriate for them. TY for linking up with #FamilyFun 🌸

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    1. Oh thank you lovely. I think it is such an interesting issue that your boys love playing the fighting ones – it’s inbuilt in them but we have to as parents let them do this in a way that we are still trying to raise a gentleman … no easy feat! Thank you so much for reading and commenting x

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  3. Oh how I wish more people thought like you (and I). Seriously? It’s tough to parent in a world where everyone just seems to ‘cave’ so easily. I will absolutely NOT let my 11 year old play this game but most of his peers have been playing this and Call of Duty for a few years now. Why does it say 18?????? The clue is there people! Well done for standing your ground.

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    1. Oh thank you – so glad I seem to have so many people agreeing. Haven’t yet had a view from those that do let their children play it – i’m genuinely interested. One friend commented that although she waited till 18 for her son to get the stealing cars game it was in fact a very popular football game that actually made him very frustrated and aggressive … gaming has a lot to answer for I say! Thank you so much for reading and commenting. Have a gorgeous Easter weekend x

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    1. Oh thanks Carrie! It’s horrible feeling mean though isn’t it?! Though to be honest Sam does understand why but I’m worried that as he gets a little older and more of his friends have it he may not be quite so agreeable with me. Thank you so much for commenting lovely xx

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  4. I think you’re better off avoiding them for another few years if you can. Although I had friends who played games of that ilk when we were teenagers and none of them seem too badly affected! They are awful though so if you can wait I would- you never know if he’ll play it at a friends house though?! That happens a lot, I never got to watch scary films at home so it was the first thing I did round friend’s houses! I think probably once he is 15 or 16 the content wouldn’t shock him too much. #FamilyFun

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  5. Oh man this scares me silly! My boys are VERY small so thankfully I don’t have to worry about this yet, but I am not looking forward to these kinds of dilemmas. My thoughts, though (based on nephews and half-brothers) are that you have to decide what your standards are and stick to them, but as they get older keep the dialogue open about why. These poor kids and the pressure they come under though – terrifying!! #FamilyFun

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  6. I don’t have direct experience of this yet BUT in theory I completely think you are right. If you stick to your standards with explanations about why (and it won’t take much to explain by the sounds of it!) then at least even if he plays it clandestinely somewhere else he will know you wouldn’t approve…he may play it to fit in etc but he will KNOW it’s wrong and deep down (or not that deep down) he’ll know why…his moral compass will be quivering. I can’t imagine it being easy for you though, particularly if other parents are unhelpfully ignoring the certificates and content. Interesting post, thanks for sharing Lucy x #familyfun

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    1. I love the moral take here on if you’re children know what’s wrong deep down then even if my son is playing this horrific game at other’s he will understand why it’s inappropriate (and probably desperately hoping I don’t find out!). It’s not easy … it really isn’t but I think once you have a certain standard you try to encourage you’re children to have that standard too. Thank you so much Lucy for reading and commenting x

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  7. You have to think about what’s right for your son. I have a daughter and she’s four months, so obviously I have no experience with the subject. But I think if I was in that situation I would talk to him about it and explain about the content and such. Depends how you feel really.

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  8. No. You are absolutely not wrong!! Your story just proves it. My husband used to play this game, amongst the ‘fun’ you could have is picking up hookers, running people down, slamming people’s heads in the door & shooting them in the face. This was years ago too, I dread to think how it’s evolved. I congratulate you for standing firm. These games desensitise children to extreme violence. I’m proud of you for saying no. Thank you for linking up with us. #bigpinklink

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  9. Oh thats an interesting one, my little boy is all of 8 months old so something I have not had to worry about just yet. Although I bang on endless to Mr that I was our boy to be a true gent – sadly it had not even occurred to me that the gaming world would have its part to play. You do what is right for you and your family, follow your instinct would be my advice, unfortunately I don’t feel experienced enough to comment on whether I would or would not allow mine to play…fortunately I have some years to decide. #bigpinklink

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    1. I think we have to make the best decision we can for our children but I struggle with a lot of the content in said game. It’s not easy is it?! Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment x

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  10. I think it’s strange that a lot of parents that woudn’t dream of letting their child go to an 18 at the cinema happily let them play such games, in which they are not just watching but practically participating in unspeakable acts. I was recently at a friends and heard what I genuinely thought a woman was being physically attacked and she shrugged and said it’s just the boy upstairs with the game about stealing cars #TwinklyTuesday

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  11. I’m not looking forward to these arguments! I’m totally on your side with this one – those games are gross. He already has a helicopter game where you blow up buildings which I’m not massively happy about but at least there aren’t any visible guts! #BloggerClubUK

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  12. I totally agree with you on that one… there is no way I am going to allow my son to play a game liket that before he turns 18, and even then I will do all I can to teach him, until he turns 18, whats wrong with games like that. I guess some people are just OK with images like that, wether they are 12 or 18 but I’m definitely not OK with it as a 32 year old adult even though I can manage pretty gory stuff on Grey’s Anatomy 🙂 Even so, a 12 year old will not know wether he can manage images like that until he is old enough to decide… which is pretty much around 18!!! #BloggerClubUK

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    1. Oh I’d like to say it isn’t that tough but it really can be – peer pressure is horrid and I hate to feel that my son considers himself uncool and not part of what his friends are doing … even though he knows it’s wrong peers can make you feel out of it. Thank you so much for commenting x

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  13. It is a difficult one. There is an element of taboo and boundary pushing involved and as you say his friend has already discovered the reality of playing something not intended for that age range and far from being desensitised it has scared them.

    The risk is that through repetition then you get densensitised. As some of the posters say some parents that do allow their underage children to play these games are probably unaware of the full nature of the content and have an outdated view that somehow 18 certificated games are not as bad as 18 certificate games.

    The get-out clause of sandbox games like GTA is that you don’t have to do all the terrible things to innocents, sex workers, cops etc. The game doesn’t allow those actions to go unpunished (some do) and breaking he law results in being pursued by the police.

    It’s like comics with the legend ‘Suggested for mature readers’. It doesn’t just mean that it will have adult themes like violence and sex, it means that once you start reading you are your own and only have yourself to blame if you encounter ideas or images that disturb and challenge you. Same is true for games.

    Context is vital. One option could be to say yes you can play the game but I will watch it with you and talk you through the context of these events. If I hear your friends say something sexist, racist or homophobic I will call them on it etc. It may make them less likely to play or it may even start a conversation about why they want to play a game like that and if there are any other alternatives that maybe you could play together or explore.

    It’s not easy, peer pressure is hard for young kids.

    #BloggerClubUK

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    1. Thank you so much for such a great reply … it is such a difficult issue to parent and I completely appreciate your point of boundary pushing – we’ve all done it but it is certainly one of the harder elements of parenting. I like your comment about context and think your advice about watching whilst he plays and discussing is excellent advice … it’s important not to shy away from things just because as parents we don’t like or agree with it … children are perhaps more likely to push those boundaries even further if parents don’t at least try and meet them at some mid point. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment with such thought out advice – really very helpful.

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      1. Hope it helps.

        Games can be so much more than murder simulators. They can explore moral dilemmas, resource management, city design, creativity and stories told from different perspectives and cultures in a way that sparks attention without being preachy. It’s the murder simulators that get the most attention though!

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      2. Wow – I hadn’t thought of it like that! Still not sure I’m ready for him to play ay 12 but you make a very interesting point but the hype and focus is definitely on the sordidness and illegal content!

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  14. I completely agree with you on this one! It’s so difficult to be a good parent, and then have your children under peer pressure about things such as games or the newest phone et ct. I remember playing 18+ games when I was about his age, but that was with my parents in the same room and under supervision. They played the same games so they knew what to expect what was coming. But I think games are far more brutal now than they ever were xxx #BigPinkLink

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    1. wow your parents were cool! As shoebox of memories commented, like you, to play the game with the child and discuss the rights and wrongs etc is probably a good way of parenting without constantly saying no … they are more likely to to push the boundaries if as a parent we don’t try and understand from their point of view.Thank you so much Sassy for reading and commenting x

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  15. Stay strong!!! You have to do what you think is best for your kids. I think if we did what they wanted rather than what was best we would be poor parents. That game is 18 for a reason & you are right to make him wait to have it. Well done mom! Thanks so much for joining us at #bloggerclubuk

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  16. Well done for sticking to your guns, no pun intended! I just hope I can be as strong. My son is 10 and currently obsessed with a Star Wars game that has shooting in it. To be honest I’m not even sure what it’s rated but I’m going to check! I caved for his bday as “all his friends had it” Well done you, sounds like you’re doing a great job at raising gentlemen. X

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