Dear Grandma:

My 16 year old stepson spends all of his time playing video games..specifically XBox Live…against players all over the world. His dad doesn’t see anything wrong with this but I am concerned that he is addicted. He sometimes stays up all night playing, even on school nights. He only ever has one friend over and all they do is play XBox!

My husband also has given him access to one of our credit cards and he is constantly charging new games and levels to our account. I feel that because he is my husband’s only child my husband is trying to be the favorite parent by letting him do whatever he wants.

I have 3 children who always have to do chores around the house and participate in family activities. My stepson does none of these things. When I complain to my husband about any of this he accuses me of not liking my stepson. I don’t think liking (or loving) a child means letting them do whatever they want. It’s an endless battle. Help!

Dear Friend,

I was made aware of the video game preoccupation when I moved to a small town and set up a home with my daughter and two grandsons. I was appalled at the time they spent playing games. However, they also were involved in music at school, and in a church youth group, so there was other socialization for them. Also, if there was a consequence for doing something against the rules, their mother took away the computer and TV for a period of time. I remember that they were playing games at times all night, but not when there was school the next day. I was still appalled. They turned out fine.

What I have more concerns about when it comes to your situation is the difference in your and your husband’s parenting styles. To me, this calls for some professional guidance so the two of you can work it out and agree on what the rules are in your home. A little family counseling couldn’t hurt.

Kindest regards,
Grandma Maggie

Peggy Moss, AKA "Grandma Maggie," was was a partner in BabyNames.com after she retired as an early childhood educator. Her Q&A column "Ask Grandma Maggie" is now republished with the best of Grandma Maggie’s parenting and childcare advice. She has written many eBooks about parenting issues, available at Amazon.com.

Peggy, who passed in 2014, was mother to Sue, Kate, Jennifer, and Mallory Moss, and grandmother to Ike, Peter, Miranda, and Veronica.