Fornite V-Bucks. Valorant "skins". Cookie Run Kingdom upgrades.
These are the parts of games that cost money.
The monetization of parts of the most popular games has created a huge temptation for children to make unauthorized online purchases.
What makes this issue even more difficult is that it has never been easier to make purchases online.
Kids by the thousands are falling into the same trap.
So if your kid has been tempted and made unauthorized purchases online, please know that you are not alone. This is a common issue and many parents are trying to navigate this as we speak.
And to help, here are my 4 tips on confronting your kid's unauthorized online purchases.
By using these 4 tips, you will save relationship capital with your child, be able to communicate clearly and effectively, and help to set appropriate expectations for the future.
1. Start with a calm approach
You want your child to under stand that this behavior is not ok. The best approach is a team like approach that doesn't come off heavy handed and leave your child feeling berated, or like a black sheep. So start with a calm approach.
Ask gently about where and what they are spending the money on. Listen to their reasoning as to why they wanted that certain character "skin" or new upgrade for Cookie Run Kingdom.
Once you hear them on why they wanted the certain thing, move onto the next step which is...
2. Be on their side
Just be on their side just for a second. Let them know that, "Wow, that is a really cool skin or upgrade." Even just a simple sentence like that can validate some of their experience and let them know that you are really listening.
But don't leave it there.
3. Give them in fantasy what you can't give them in reality.
This phrase and concept comes from the book How to Talk So Teens Will Listen and Listen So Teens Will Talk.
Below are two examples of how you can do this.
"It would be really cool if you had that upgrade, you could be the best in the game!"
"All your friends would be so jealous if you had that special character."
If you can validate how cool it would be to have that certain thing, chances are the energy and desire for that thing will actually dissipate instead of increase. Furthermore, they will be less compelled to argue as you are continuing to see from their own perspective.
4. Let them know this behavior is not okay
You probably wanted to lead with laying down the law... but trust me, if you are patient and follow this format your child is much more likely to listen and not feel as shameful, or feel the need to hide their behavior from you (which can actually perpetuate the problem further!).
It is finally time to let them know that making these purchases without permission is not ok and the consequences that will follow for making unauthorized purchases.
Good punishments fit the crime. So try to fit your discipline to their misbehavior as well.
Uninstalling the game. No electronics for _____ amount of time. Working chores for money to pay back what was spent. These are all options for consequences. There is no one size fits all for punishments, and what works for one child may not work for another. Let them know that consequences like the one they experience will follow if the behavior continues.
By using these 4 tips, you will save relationship capital with your child, communicate clearly, and set appropriate expectations for the future.
Are you having difficulties with your child's behavior?
If you are overwhelmed and exhausted by your child's behavior, it may be time to think about getting a little extra help from a Bentonville counselor for teens.
If you are in Northwest Arkansas, consider scheduling a counseling session. At teen focused counseling, we work with issues such as gaming addiction, unauthorized purchases, anxiety, depression and more.
The best part is, your first session is free.