Tuesday, August 28, 2007

First Melt-Down

Okay, I know it has happened at school, but we had our first melt-down at home. It could have been worse. I jumped in and helped de-escalate.

Of course it involved World of Warcraft.

Frankie was playing and narrating as usual. It starts off amusing (to me) but especially irritating to the boys. "Okay, I'm off to the wufs. Here wufs.... come let me kill you... There! I got one. Oh no, more wufs! There are too many wufs!"

After a while things start to go downhill. "This stupid program. Why are there so many glitches! I put my spell on it and it broke free. It is supposed to last for 12 seconds! He isn't supposed to break free."

Andrew, trying to be helpful say, "It says that it does damage for 12 seconds, not that it holds it for 12 seconds."

"It says right there: 'damage for 12 seconds!'"

"I know. That means that the damage continues that long, but it can resist your spell and break free."

"NO! It can't. It says 12 seconds and I did it right and the stupid wuf broke free! It's dumb. The program shouldn't have so many glitches!"

Okay... imagine this for about half an hour. Frankie complains about many "glitches." There aren't any herbs; there's no way to get money; things keep killing him.

Brian looses his temper and says, though with a controlled voice, "They aren't glitches! That is the way the program works."

They fight over whether there are glitches. Andrew comes out to try to explain rationally that this is one of the most labored over programs ever. That a glitch is rare, and the problems Frankie is having are the result of his actions.

Brian chimes in, "They are not glitches! You aren't doing things right!"

Frankie yells, "That's why I don't like you! I just want you to help me with the glitches and you say that everything is my fault and it can't all be my fault."

I get up and intervene. I try to get Frankie to calm down. Brian still wants to tell him what's what, but I tell Brian that I don't think that Frankie is in a receptive mood. Maybe he should try to talk to Frankie later.

I end up just sitting and listening while he complains that the boys think he is stupid and they blame everything that happens on him. It can't all be his fault. He did not turn off his action bar like Andrew said. It just disappeared! That's a glitch, but Andrew won't help him. Andrew just says, "You must have turned it off! But I didn't turn it off. It isn't my fault!" More tears.

Andrew comes into the room and I suggest that maybe they can agree not to use the word "glitch." Maybe Frankie can just tell him what problem he is having and Andrew or Brian can show him what he needs to do. They almost agree to that, but Frankie goes back to being upset that the boys think everything is his fault.

Okay...tempting as it is to keep typing the whole conversation. I'll stop here.

In the end everyone was calm and no one was happy.

Frankie is not developmentally ready for WOW. You aren't supposed to play it until you are 13 and Frankie, as I have said a couple dozen times, is 10. Andrew though assures me that it will nto get better as Frankie's character's level up. The tasks will be more difficult and his will get more frustrated. Getting him off of it though is going to be a problem because Andrew and Brian and his friends all play WOW and Frankie is going to be left out.

Still, it must be done.

We need to introduce him to some games intended for the 8-12 year-olds. Something that looks a little like WOW, but is easy. An RPG in which you are some sort of interesting creature and the wufs just line up to be slaughtered.

Andrew says maaaybe Zelda.

Of course, making sure that he spends time doing something completely different would be a good idea too. Our weakest area as parents is our lack of athleticism. Frankie really could use a parent who wanted to play basketball with him every afternoon.


  1. Oh I just detest it when my boys get angry when they are playing video or computer games. I keep telling them, these are GAMES, they are supposed to be fun. We are playing a new computer game that my boys, (and myself, I must confess) are LOVING! It is called Fate and my boys say it is a less violent and difficult version of diablo. According to the game masters, this is a really good game, in spite of the lack of red blood and demons... ha. It is rated E I think.

  2. The rule here is that if you start getting visibly upset by a game, that it is time to shut that game off.

  3. Also, Cody plays this game: http://www.runescape.com/ and he is 11.

  4. What game systems do you have? Nintendo is pretty good about kids' games... then again, I can name a fair amount of games that nearly had me throwing my controller at the screen on multiple occasions.

    Hmm... here's a thought, do you still have an NES/SNES/Sega Genesis? One of the older systems, combined with Game Genie, means you can input cheat codes to make things... easier. XD There's also things like the Gameshark for newer systems, but they have more steps to make work... I think. Don't have one, not sure, but I do have Game Genie for almost every system they made it for!


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