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Predicament: Virtual Economy

by Editorial Team | July 29th, 2013 | Parenting Predicament

savingMy 12-year-old son’s main interest is video gaming. When he wants a game or something that costs real money (not virtual) he waits for a sale and gets it very cheap. I’m glad he’s frugal, but it’s making it hard to motivate him to do extra work around the house because he says he doesn’t need any money besides his allowance. It’s also hard to get him off the computer by offering him paying jobs. Do I need to start offering to get him stuff from the virtual economies of his online games? I really wouldn’t know what I was doing. Plus, I’d be encouraging him to spend even more time gaming.

  1. Behavior Analyst says:

    Stop paying allowance and begin paying per task finished. Some shaping, such as paying less for a task partially completed to expectations until the goal of completeing the task to measure is completed i.e. whatever you’ll put up with. Use positive reinforcement to reinforce behavior in small bumps as needed. A kid more motivated by virtual money than real money?!?! Well until he has more responsibility for the things he enjoys (candy, popcorn, burgers, etc.) he will care less for how they are paid. Are you able and planning to but him a car at age 16? Hopefully not but now might be a good time to impose that idea. Dave Ramsey offers his kids 50% of the total cost of any (within reason) car his children purchase with cash as their first vehicle.

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