Melanie shares ScreenStrong's tried-and-true advice for loving your gamer through a screen detox. From setting firm boundaries to spending quality time with your spouse, you won't want to miss these helpful tips!
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Hi, everyone, and welcome to the ScreenStrong families podcast, bringing you the best solutions for parents who are serious about eliminating screen conflicts in their home. This is Melanie hempy. And I am so glad you are here today. I know I say that all the time. But I really, really am glad you tuned in for this particular show. I hope you're having a great day. Welcome, everyone. If you're an old friend, if you're new, we're so glad you found us. And I am, like I said, so excited about this topic, it's just going to be you and me today. Before we get started, though, I have to tell you something that happened this week, because you know, I have to always start with my story. So we are in the process of the season in our life where we are doing college visits. Again, this is a fun stage. So we're visiting different colleges. And last week, we were on a tour. And we were with our boys, you know, our juniors and rising seniors. And so we were in this tour, walking around the campus. And one of the tour guides was just so excited to explain to our boys all about the eSports at the school. And of course, we're just listening. So anyway, as we kind of got through some of the I'm know probably about an hour in, I think the guy was thinking that we weren't really that excited about talking about the eSports. So he decided to drop the big, exciting bomb. And he said, Guess what, guys, you can even get a PE credit if you sign up for esports. So anyway, I'm like, thinking, Okay, do I start this whole conversation in the middle of this tour? Anyway, the boys, our boys are really into sports. And you should have seen the look on their face. And I remember when eSports became a thing. And this was back when my daughter was in gymnastics and when she was being recruited for a D one position school. And I remember her just talking to us about this, how can they call this a sport, they're not even moving or just moving their thumbs. And it is very mind boggling to me that we can think that video games are a form of, you know, a sport, when you think of sport, you think of exercise and moving and using your body and all that kind of stuff. So anyway, boys especially really need exercise, girls need exercise too, for sure. But boys do so much better emotionally and physically, you know, when they can move a lot every day. So this was just sort of a funny thing that was happening. We were on this tour. But anyway, we will move on. And today I want to talk to you about a very, very serious topic. Back when we were dealing with our oldest son in his game addiction. I remember feeling like I just didn't like my son sometime. And this is not a natural feeling. For a parent. This is a scary feeling, actually. So if you are listening today and you have a gamer that you were really worried about, or if you know someone who has a gamer who's just kind of becoming a problem or his his addiction is becoming a problem, then I want you to pay attention to what we're going to talk about. I am very, very passionate about the topic today. And I think I'm so passionate about the topic today. Loving your gamer through a detox because I was there I This isn't something that I'm just talking to you about because I've read about it or I researched it. This is something that I have first hand experience with and you've heard me say before, that as we go through the wonderful mission over here of educating parents on the issues around any type of screen addiction. I promised myself years ago that I would never forget some of the most hurtful I guess feelings that come with this problem. And so today I'm speaking from my heart, and I want to just share as if you were just sitting right here with me in my living room I would. I'm going to talk to you today and give you some Some things that you can do to help you love your gamer as he is going through the challenge or just the ScreenStrong solution that we have, with without you feeling guilty, because it is very tough. It's very hard for parents in general. But I think it's really tough for moms on some level, just because we, we treat our kids different, we really want them to be happy, we will do anything to make our kids happy. And so this is why it is so mind boggling and so harmful and hurtful when you realize you have to take this stuff away, that makes him happy. So he thinks, and then you have to start dealing with the problems in the withdrawal and the meltdowns. And I believe for a parent, I can just say from my own personal experience, I'll just say it like that, from my experience, when we were realizing all the problems with Adam and all the conflict that was in our home because of his gaming habits that had gone on through middle school and through high school by high school. It just got harder and harder. And there were some really negative emotions on both ends, you know, but for me, especially, it was really hard to feel like I liked him. Right. And you may have heard me talk about this on another show with with one of our experts, but it's so it's okay, first of all to feel like you don't like your kid sometime. That that was hard for me though, that was hard for me to get my my head around. But let me tell you, I didn't like him, there were times when I just didn't want them around. Because it caused a lot of emotional pain in our house. Now, if you have a gamer who is 10 years old, or 11, or 12, or 13, you may not even understand what I'm saying. But trust me, as they get older, it gets harder, it just gets harder as they get older, because you see their potential going down the drain. You feel this incredible disconnect, you have a resentment for the game itself, you you're confused, because you don't know what to do. And everybody else seems to be doing fine, you know, with having video games in their house, but you're not. So there's all these emotions that come come around this whole issue. But we do love our children and we love them unconditionally. But sometimes we don't like them. And that's okay. So today, I'm going to share with you some things that I wrote down then and and I've added to now to try to help you get past those negative emotions of just not liking your kids, while they're suffering through this overuse pattern, or if it's gotten to an addiction point. I know we don't like to think of our kids being addicted to things. So we can say they're overusing, which is going to lead to an addiction. For I dive into my list, I have 10 things I'm going to share with you and I'll go through them pretty quickly. But I want to just say a few things first, first of all, this may be one of the hardest things that you ever do. It's very similar to going through the process of getting your kids off of any other types, you know, drugs or alcohol or anything else that it's addictive. So when things are taking hold of this wonderful, sweet person that you love in your life, it is very hard to to go through this process. It's really hard to do. And let me just also say that again, me addiction doesn't happen over night. Even though it may seem like it happens overnight. It seems like you just wake up one day and all of a sudden, your sweet son and we are going to talk about boys today. I know girls get addicted to video games with just for sake of processing here we're going to talk about boys, you can certainly apply it to girls as well. Let me start by saying that a gaming addiction doesn't happen overnight. Even though it may seem like it. It happens because of a slow drip of the drug. So most addictions start with moderation. That's why a little bit every day can be very dangerous. And that's why you're finding yourself right now in the midst of having to do a detox with your son and you're scratching your head because you can't figure out how you got here. I have seen kids get addicted to video games after things like a sports injury, right? They have a sports injury, they can't play soccer and it lands them on their sofa and then they just start gaming and in a six week period you can have a pretty perfectly normal balance kid turn into a gamer. Another thing that can put your gamer into the overuse category pretty quick is divorce whenever there is To Life thing going on, it can cause any child to regress or to find other things to fill the void that has been there either through a divorce or a death in the family. So I've seen this happened. Another thing is getting cut from a sports team at school, this is something that can send your son down into a spiral, he can all of a sudden now start identifying not as an athlete, but as a gamer, and then he will start filling that void. So these things are all really important to understand when we're starting here, this discussion about video games and boys. The next thing is, I believe that every child is at risk for a gaming addiction. If you allow games, I hear parents say that some kids have more of an addictive personality than others. But I think that every child has the addictive personality, I'll be honest with you, I think that even a normal kid can turn into a gaming addict pretty quickly, a kind of joke sometime and say I can take any eighth grader and turn them into a game or if you give him to me for a month. Anyway, I would never do that. But I believe that every child should so remember that that is not just that your kid has some sort of fault. It's just that any of this can happen to any kid because of the persuasive design that video games have. And the next thing is that parents must take responsibility, that your child will not be able to lift him out of the quicksand of this gaming obsession. In fact, he may not even be able to help at all, which is why you're really struggling right now. Because you just want him to be motivated. You just want him to stop doing this. You want him to have the grit and the gumption to get up and get his life going. But it really is our responsibility as parents. So you do need to take responsibility. In fact, your son may be working against you, which is even going to cause more problems. So your attitude is the most important thing. When it comes to this detox, you have to continue to love your son through the detox. So we're going to start with my list of 10 tips to help you love your gamer through the detox process. And when I say when I talk about the detox process, this could be the challenge that you're doing that 30 Day Challenge. Or it could even be something that you're working alongside a physician with. As you're trying to pull the games away, I will say that I continue to believe that cold turkey is the best approach to removing video games from your son's life. I will also make note that I am going to talk in terms of a boy as we do find that more boys struggle with video games and therefore are struggling more with the detox. These tips are not in any particular order. But we will go ahead and get started. So number one, keep a happy attitude during the detox. I'm saying that this is not in any particular order. But I do think this is one of the most important things you can do. You're going to say to me, if we were sitting across the table from each other, you would say what how in the world can I be happy about this? And I would say to you yes. Just like a successful coach. Your attitude is the most powerful thing you have right now as he begins to build a new existence. He is watching you, and he needs you to be a rock. Your attitude is so important. You have to remain happy, you cannot get on his roller coaster, you cannot get in the dumps with him. Anytime that you feel yourself that you're starting to get angry or frustrated, you have to step away give yourself some space. The key to loving him right now is to have a good attitude, even when you feel crummy even when you feel like you're really frustrated. So tip number two is to understand why he plays video games. This is really important for you to continue to love him well during the detox. When you understand why he's playing your anger will sort of Lesson What I mean by this the reason why he started gaming the reason why he's playing now is always to fill a void or meet a need. And so when you understand his role in the game and why he's drawn to it'll be easier to find replacement activities. So kids game and I'll say boys here since we're talking about boys today, because they have a need for competition. They really want companionship, they need to master something and it will be your job to look for replacement activities that meet those needs. So in this tip number two understand why he plays video games. Think back to before he was a gamer. What did He liked to do if you can remember, did he like any kind of musical instrument? Was he a reader? Was he social? Did he enjoy having friends over? Did he like to fish did he like to run, anything that you can figure out that he used to do if you can't think of anything that you're going to need to start creating some things and our ScreenStrong course, we have the whole part two, we have lessons on how to do this, how to find these replacement activities and how to restore interest. But this is really important that he finds something that he can be good at, maybe it's something as simple is dad working with him in the garage, on a car, maybe you, you get some projects like that around the house, but something that you can do to spend time with him. But you've got to worry about that more in a minute. But you've got to first understand why. And you're going to have to replace that. That why you're going to have to fix it. So this is a real eye opening thing for many parents. And when they can start to understand why they why he's playing, then sometime it helps with loving him better through the detox. So number three, do not blame him. Do not blame him for where he is right now. I know he has to take responsibility, I get that. But it does not help to blame your son, you need to love him. Well, right now, this blame needs to go away. Somehow you need to get a trusted friend that you can talk to you and you can vent with them. But you don't do not need to blame your son. The hard truth is is that we as parents are the reasons why our sons are gamers, I'm the first to admit. And again, this starts early on in the game, when we start giving them game consoles, and we start making all this okay for them, even we give them smartphones, we're allowing them more opportunities to game so we can't blame them, they would not have gotten themselves into this mess, if it wasn't for parents who paid for their drug. And that's what, that's what we did. And I know this very well, I didn't mean to do it. My husband, I didn't mean to do it. But it just it just happened. And we found ourselves in the situation with our son when he was overusing. And I do know you're tired of hearing this because parents get the blame for everything, right. But you know, what it kind of is kind of is our doing, we have to be mindful of that we have to own that. And even though we are angry about it, we have to get over it, we just can't continue to blame him. So in order to love him, well, you're going to have to put that blame aside, I do wish I had put video games in perspective when my son was younger. So if you're listening to this, and you have a younger son, and what I mean by that is I don't know, under the age of 13, I guess you can hear what I'm I'm saying here, I wish I had taken these games away much earlier, I didn't see the warning signs. But instead of living in the city of regret, my advice to you is not to beat yourself up. This is the first thing you have to come to grips with. The number four tip loving your game or through the detox is to be aware of the stages of grief, because your son will experience loss when the games are removed, he will likely go through the stages of grief. And these stages include denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and then acceptance. When we know what to expect, it's easier to show him empathy and love when you understand that these stages are coming when you understand it. First, he'll be in denial, and then he'll be really angry. And this that's the withdrawal and then he will start making all sorts of deals with you. It's just going to be easier to love him through this process when you understand what's coming next, potentially, number five, subtract four years from his current age. And so this was something I learned as we were going through some of this and I kept thinking that he was so mature, he so I mean, I kept thinking he was so immature. And then with the help of some counseling friends, they told me, Melanie, you really have to subtract four or five years from his age and don't expect him to act more mature than he is he's stunted. He is stunted in his development. So depending on when your son started gaming and how long he's been gaming, he has lost a lot of developmental ground. So don't get frustrated if he doesn't act like he's 16 When he's 16. His game has stolen opportunities to reach these developmental milestones that naturally occur in real life. So what this means is that your son may be extra immature when it comes to making decisions, assuming responsibilities and developing relationships. And this can be really frustrating and this can make you not like your son But please understand that this is normal, when you know that this is normal, it will be much easier for you to unconditionally love him through all this do not expect normal 17 year old behavior from a 17 year old gamer. That's what I'm talking about. And boy, I wish I had known this early on, it is not necessarily a discipline issue, it is a addiction. And as he comes through the detox, he'll have to relearn how to fill his time. And he'll have to relearn how to be responsible. He has some redoing to do, if you will. So we have to have grace. And again, we don't back down and we don't get soft, but we have grace. And we continue to love him through this stage where he's having to regain some of his developmental ground. So number six, do not give in to the manipulation. If you want to love your game, or well through the detox, you will need to stay firm and not give in he has been living in a different world. He's been living in the virtual world, you're asking him to leave his home, his new home that he's created in this virtual world, what he thinks are his friends, and really his identity and his purpose. And you're asking him to leave that and the chances are that he will become a master manipulator. Because this is what he's been highly trained to do in his video game, he has been trained to win, and he wants to get his game back, he will do a couple things, he'll lash out and tell you that, that you are ruining his life, right? And tell you that he hates you and all these things. And in fact, he may even say things like you were ruining the chances of ever having relationship with me in the future. And trust me, I got all of these lines. So I understand where they they come from, he may even curse at you. This is to be expected. Do not take this personally and do not give in to this manipulation. What I want you to do is imagine his brain trying to reset without his gaming drug and be ready every time he lashes out, you must love him through this hard transition and not get hurt. Do not take this personally. It's very hard not to take it personally, it's very hard not to react. But you cannot give in to the manipulation. This is the point where you will need to reach down deep and find that unconditional love that you have for your child. It's very hard when you're dealing with this pain and in conflict. But you can do it. I know you can because every parent can do this. And really, it's okay for you to understand that it is it's fine for you not to like your son right now you love him. But you really don't like some of the things that are happening right now. And it's, it's okay. In fact, I even remember one time saying, you know, Adam, I don't like what's happening right now. In fact, I could say there's certain things about you right now that I don't like, but I love you. And I will always love you. And I will love you more than anyone else ever will. And I would continue to reassure him. So while you don't give into the manipulation, you have to continue to reassure him that you love him. And this goes back to the first point about your attitude, your attitude is you're in it with him, you're going to love him, even though he's going to act out. That's okay, you have his back. Number seven is to define boundaries. And this is really important when you're dealing with relationships with other people in general, and especially with your kids when they're going through some things like this. And when you're going through this as a family, you have to define boundaries, in order to continue to love him through the detox, you have to plan for things to get heated because they will get heated. But then you have to have a plan when they do get heated. So before you say things that you'll regret in the heat of the moment, plan for what you will do instead. Generally this requires the adult to be in control of the emotional climate. You have to manage your impulse to lash out this will help you love him more. So set your boundaries clearly and tell him of the consequences for crossing them in your home. If you find him gaming at another house, that is against your rules of the detox and there will be consequences for that you'll have to decide what it is and you may be frustrated because you used to use his gaming all the time is his punishment right for things that if he didn't do something, he wouldn't be able to game and now you're not gonna be able to use that anymore. So you'll have to find other things I have found personally and everyone has their own opinions on this but I have found that if you can define your boundaries and and set up the consequences with physical type activities, even physical labor, I call it you know, pulling weeds in the backyard or doing all kinds of cleaning around the house or just something that requires some sort of physical activity, I think is really important for boundary for boundaries, you know, when you're setting up consequence number eight, is to go out on regular dates with your spouse. Wow, what a great tip. So you may think, what does this have anything to do with, you know, loving my gamer through the detox will, this is one of the most important things that you can do to love your gamer through the detox is to continue to maintain a very healthy relationship with your spouse. And if you're a single person, then find that friend that you can enjoy spending time with. And when you go out on these different outings do not talk about your game or on these dates. All right, give yourself a break. This is your time to refuel, you will love your gamer so much more if you're able to refuel with your spouse. So living with a gamer can be very hard. And you may not realize how much stress it is putting on your marriage. Mom is trying to protect her son and help her son and then dad wants to be supportive. But he is so angry, and so frustrated that his relationship with his son is getting more distant, that he is just playing this lame video game, and not becoming the man that he wants him to be. So there's all these different emotions that are hovering around the mom and the dad. And it can really get in between their relationship and it puts more pressure on their relationship, it puts more pressure on each other, it puts more pressure on their son. So it's really important to go out on regular dates with your spouse. The Parental anger piece of this is so hard. And it's so easy to get super critical of our kids and lash out at them and just be angry at them. So this is another reason why it's so important to have time off, to get out of the house, to not let this dilemma in your home. affect your relationship with your spouse and your relationship with your spouse. Whether you are even divorced or not, is one of the single most important factors for your kid doing well in life and understand if there's a divorce situation, it can be super hard. But it's really important to of course, get on the same page if you can. And I know that's a whole nother topic because some of y'all are listening today and your spouses are not on the same page, it makes it really hard. But if you are amicable, if you are married and you are living together, it's very important to get out into let your son know, you know what we are relationship is fine. And your problem is not going to tear up our relationship, he needs to know that he does not have that power to control your marriage. And even if you're divorce, he needs to know that he does not have the power to manipulate your relationship, even outside of the marriage if you're in separate homes. So this is super important. I'm not saying that you should go out on a date with your ex spouse, of course. But I think it's really important that if you do have some friends, that you are able to take at least one night a week, and go out and have fun and enjoy your life. And this will also help your son understand that this is what you're supposed to do. And this is what life is about. It's not about being depressed and frustrated and angry all the time. You know, because of a video game, it is really important for your gamer son to see your healthy marriage in what he needs more than anything right now is this strong family attachment. And that starts with your marriage. And if your spouse doesn't agree with your gaming stand, try to attend a ScreenStrong workshop together if you can, or try to get the course and go through the course together. I have some friends right now that are divorced. And they each are doing the course separately. So that's going to be really, really helpful. It's really important that both spouses understand the facts around why you're doing the detox and why this detox is important. Tip number nine, spend time with your gamer and find a way to have non tech fun with him. Even if it makes his eyes roll. Oh my goodness. I have to say that when again. You want to spend time with your gamer. I know you don't like him right now. We've kind of established that you're so frustrated at him right now. Oh, you're crying, you're angry, you're upset about how this has all changed the flow of your home and probably even affected the siblings in your home. Of course, they're his brothers and sisters, but you've got to spend time with Him and find a way to have fun with him. Again, he's going to think this is so lame, he's gonna think that you're just being a crazy parent, but you are not even if it just is painful in the beginning, even if you have to just cringe, you need to grin and bear it, realize that your son's game is working for him on some level right now. And he's not going to want to leave that comfort zone and do anything else. What happens with gamers that get a dictate or that have obsessions, and they're overusing is that somewhere along the way, he's stopped spending time with his real family, and he started spending time with his virtual family. This is a real thing. If you have never played video games, it's hard maybe to understand like me, it was hard for me to understand that. But he has moved his attachment from his family over to this new family to this virtual world, even though they don't care about him. They do not love him unconditionally, like you to in their bad influence in many areas. He thinks it's like a family still, he started trading, authentic family time for this other form of entertainment, and his isolation. Now, he's living isolated, but somehow it's dysfunctional, but it has become comfortable for him. So it's going to be really weird for him to say what you want me to spend time with you. And I'm going to encourage you to do everything you can to bust out the board games, do whatever you can maybe go on a family trip, there's all different tips that we have in the course over things you can do. But you've got to reconnect with him, instead of being mad at him. And you're you're going to have to do it, you're going to have to come 100% of the way you know, in adult relationships, we like to think that people kind of meet us halfway. But this is not really going to happen with your son, you're going to have to go 100%. And you're going to have to try and you're not going to get mad at him when he rolls his eyes and says No, he doesn't want to play Monopoly, or he doesn't want to play the card game that you're getting ready to play, you're just going to try to get him to come anyway, you will try to find things that he likes to spend time with you. But the goal is for you just to be in the presence of him. And to spend time together, maybe in the kitchen making dinner, maybe you have him just sit with you while you cook if he's not willing to lift a finger. And gamers can be really passive aggressive, like any other situation where there's an addiction involved, the passive aggressive behavior can really come out where he's not going to help you cook or he's not going to help you do something that you want him to do, and you're gonna be fine with that. And you're not going to act like a 17 year old, you're going to act like an adult. And you're just going to do everything you can to get him to hang out with you. Again, in the course we have a lot of tips for this. But the key is going to be to get him out of the house in an outdoors as much as possible. That is one of the things that will really work because the game is in the house, he has historically been gaming in a certain place in the house. So you've got to change his environment in order to start to trip up this addiction. But in order to love him, well, you're going to have to relearn how to spend time with him in this can be tough. And I'm going to just warn you right up front that you might not like being around him. But you're going to have to be the adult and get over it. Just remember what I said that it's okay not to like him, but you still love him and you love him unconditionally. And I just can't stress this enough this element of spending time with him. Even if you can just get a book and read and sit in the den together with him. Maybe you can enjoy a TV show together. That's certainly a great thing to do certain movies, you can enjoy together something you can look forward together. You know, one thing that we have found that works really well is a fire pit in the backyard. And you can just get a very inexpensive firepit from one of the big box stores and just have some traditions. You know, maybe it's a couple nights a week or on the weekend. And I really liked doing things during the week to to mix things up. Another thing that we did was my husband took Adam out every I think Thursday night for frozen yogurt and that was something they did together special that really helped it really helps kind of break down those walls. And again, today we're talking about how to love you're getting through the detox. I think that really helped my husband love him better as he was going through the motions of just making that commitment and saying you're really important and I want to spend Thursday nights with you And that was one thing that that really did help in our situation. But the getting outside and getting into the great outdoors is just a wonderful way to counter the lower the game, it can be really hard. But once you get it started, then it gets easier. But just remember, in order to love him, well, you're going to have to spend time with him. And the last tip I have for today, number 10 is to find a community, it is almost impossible to go through this transition without two or three, you know, friends supporting you. And this is why we have ScreenStrong. The mission of ScreenStrong is to empower parents and to support them and encourage them through community. So even if you have to start off in our Facebook group to try to figure out who the people are around you, you can you can do that. But in your own community, on your neighborhood, in your church, in your school in any of the clubs that you belong to try to find at least one good friend that you can call when you are at your wits. And do not take your frustration out on your gamer. If you can help it please don't do that. Find a friend to support you. Even if you're just really frustrated one night and you're just so over it, just sit down at your computer and type me an email. Let me be your friend right now if you have no one else to talk to, you can email me at email@example.com. And you can just let me know how frustrated you are and just kind of get get it off your shoulders. But you've got to find a community this detox will be so much easier and it'll be so much easier to love your gamer through it. If you can find another family to do it with you if you can find another one of his friends, or even if he doesn't have any friends right now, if you can find another family that has a child maybe around his age that you can start restructuring his free time. Again, it's all about loving him no matter what loving him unconditionally. And just to do this quick review of the tips. Number one, keep a happy attitude during the detox very, very important. Remember to watch your attitude, even when you feel like crying, just put that smile on and say Honey, I love you. I know this is so hard. But I'm going to be here for you and I'm going to be strong for you. Number two, understand why he plays video games. It helps our anger as parents when we understand the hooks in the certain reasons what why he's playing. If he loves competition, then you're going to know, hey, we need to get him into some competitive sports or some other competitive clubs to meet that need. Number three, don't blame him. Stop blaming your son for this, it's so hard and we have blind spots around this issue when it when it comes to who's to blame for all this, and we want to immediately you know, start putting blame. But if you're gonna blame your son, it's gonna be really hard to unconditionally love him through this detox time. Number four, be aware of the stages of grief, get educated around this, we discussed this in the course and the science behind what's happening to his brain when he's getting addicted to the screen. So be aware of that that's going to help you love him better, it's going to help you have empathy for him, it's going to help you predict what's coming in the next stage perhaps through the withdrawal period. And just with this education, information comes power. So it's really important. Number five, subtract four years from his current age, and set that kind of as your expectation right now, we have to kind of give him a hall pass during this time, when he is detoxing. So we can just continue to love him more, we have to understand that we cannot expect the same things from him. Now it doesn't mean you lower your bar, it just means that you in your head know what you're dealing with. You're dealing with a kid that's about four or five years behind developmentally the number six, don't give in to the manipulation. Hold your ground. This one means that you hold your ground this says love to him, he's pushing up against you. Anyone who's going through withdrawals, they want to know where their limits are, you have to hold the ground very, very strong here. You cannot allow him to manipulate through the detox. Number seven, define your boundaries and do this well. This will help you stay in that coaching role and it will help you continue to love him well, because with boundaries we're able to love much better. Number eight, go out on regular dates with your spouse or go out with a friend to have fun and I mean every week you have to keep this in balance. If this is not imbalanced, you are going to get exhausted and it's going to be much harder to love your gamer. Number nine spend time with your gamer and find ways to have non tech fun with him. And this is the fun part, you will start to really like your kid again, when you start having fun with him, but it's going to be 100% on your end at first, remember, he's not going to meet you halfway, you're going to have to just take the whole roll on your shoulders and say, You know what, we're going to spend time together. Even if you don't like me right now, that's okay, honey, I want to spend time with you. And, you know, you have to remember that every human being out there has a tremendous need to be needed and wanted, we want to belong, it's one of our greatest human needs that we have. So right now, and he's mad at you, and you've taken his game away, he's, he's gonna act like he doesn't like you. But that's okay. Because I told you that this is what's going to happen. And now you know, and you're not going to be surprised you're going to spend time with Him no matter what. In number 10, you're going to find the community, you're going to find at least one other person you can talk to, you're going to keep listening to the podcast here, start your own ScreenStrong group, there are many families right now, I'm so excited that are taking the course and using the course as their discussion point where they are getting five of their friends together. And they're meeting on a regular basis. And they're going through the course. And it's just helping them build that community of like minded support, where they can link arms, and help all of their kids all the way around. Remember, there's strength in numbers, it's going to be much easier for you to love your gamer through the detox when you have people that you can lean on when it gets rough. So it is very possible to love your gamer through this detox process. Even when you don't like him, it's okay. Don't beat yourself up over it, you can do it, you are going to get through the hardest stage of this detox in the very beginning. And then it's going to get easier, it's going to pass, you gotta keep your eye on the goal, you are doing the right thing. But you have to be able to look to the future, he cannot do that right now he can only look to the next hour he can't see in the future, he doesn't understand that what you're doing is the best thing for him. So my encouragement to you is to hang in there to not give up, of course. And if you can get a friend to join with you, in your effort to get your child back, it will be much easier on you. And ultimately, it will be much easier on him. So reach out to our email, if you do need some help it firstname.lastname@example.org If you get in a bind, we're here to help you. This has been done by many, many, many parents. And I promise you that you will love him, you will love him unconditionally. And this will pass the feelings of being frustrated with your child will pass trust me on this. But you do have to remove the games, you have to remove a thing that is causing your relationship to be harmed. So if you had any doubts that you were doing the right thing, I want you to leave those doubts right now on the table. And if I were here, I would give you a big hug. And I would say that you can do it. Leave the doubt here. Walk away, go love your son, find something to do with him. Try to stop blaming the system and the game and him just let's put all that aside. And get back to the basics of what's the most important thing with your role in your your job as a parent is to unconditionally love your kids through these hard times. I know you can do it. And we are here to help. I hope that you enjoyed listening to these 10 tips today. Our parent course is available, like I said, so start planning your small group right now to create your tribe. Right now your son needs a new tribe. This is very important. And now that summer's coming, this is a perfect time for him to start getting into some other activities and for you to help him create this new tribe, even though you don't really like him right now. And he doesn't like you right now. You're gonna do the right thing. And you're gonna be able to get past this. And if you haven't done the 30 day detox, be sure and look at that on our site. It's a great way to get your kids back. Remember, we do have the ScreenStrong family's Facebook group, but stay tuned for an announcement soon about our private online forum coming. This is something we're very excited about. And we're hoping it will come together very soon. Because you need support from other parents who cannot do this on your own. Make the switch to the gap phone and use the code strong. If he needs to have his phone taken away which he probably does. Remember if you have a gamer working through the detox he does not need to have a smartphone he can game on that smartphone. So will you'll need to switch that out for another phone and I do think that it's kind of a cool summer is Just as wonderful time to take a break altogether from video games and social media and phones for all of our families. So what's your homework? Your homework is to plan a date with your spouse, or a fun night out with a friend and get out of the house. If you're in the middle of a detox with your kids. Be sure and pay attention to your activity and what you can do to bring joy back in your life because it may not be parenting right now that's bringing you a lot of joy. So plan a date with your spouse right now. Pick up your calendar, figure out a day, call him or her and just say we're going out and plan something really fun. Your other homework is to share this podcast with I say five friends but even if you only can share it with three friends, that would be wonderful. So as you're planning your date with your spouse, write down three friends that you can share this podcast with. We've got to get the word out and we can't do it without you. Remember, we've got your back and we are here to help you. So until next time, stand up for your kids stand out from the crowd. Keep loving your boys as they're going through the detox and stay strong.