Hi, I'm Jim,
And you are probably here right now because you love your child very much and you might have questions concerning their direction in life, performance in school, or one of the many issues parents and teenagers encounter.
You might even be searching for a new approach in reaching out to your son or daughter.
Before that though, allow me to introduce myself through these personal photographs that show a little about my life.
Seeing my grandson, Travis, and Chloe, our super cutie Maltipoo, play together when he arrives at our home is candy for eyes. They can play hard for a solid hour - I mean running around!
Speaking of Chloe, she joined our family a year ago and filled our hearts immediately. She quickly became a "travel pet" going with us on our yearly "Winter-bird migration" to Florida in February, and tagging along as we bike the trails.
And if I'm not working, you'll find me in the saddle of a trail or road bicycle - averaging 5000-miles yearly.
Our grandson Travis and Chloe are best of friends.
With children grown, our family is but three great souls.
Riding a bicycle has been part of life since childhood.
And yes, I've been a video gamer since the early 80's - it started with the arcade machines (Yes, those in the free-standing cabinets). All the way to today, where I sit in my home immersed in virtual worlds at times.
Over the past twenty-years, I have worked with thousands of children while using commercial video games as a tool for learning as a teacher, a counselor, and as an academic life coach.
And not only do I approve of video games, I also support the gamification of education. Through workshops, seminars, and research, I would like to believe that I have contributed to the transformation of education, be it ever so small.
There really aren't that many adults who have this type of gamer street cred with children.
I share this with you because it is important for you to know my mindset and services - I approve of the use of age-appropriate video games, for the most part, in many aspects of life.
So instead of trying to turn children off to gaming (it'll never happen and there is no reason to), I use their immersed life in video games to see parallels between gaming, life, and reaching personal goals.
All the while, I work with you, parents, equally through my blog, publications, and the provided coaching services, as you gain experience understanding your child's lifestyle and attempt to reconnect with them, or "double your XP and level up", to use a gamer phrase, in your relationship your son or daughter.
My goal is to show parents the world of video games and its importance in their child's life, and to work with teens who might have fallen down the gamer's "rabbit hole" and use gaming principles to begin to frame an adult life - that includes video gaming of course.
Is your teens goal to become a YouTube Millionaire?
Does your teen have a dream for his or her future?
Is there an on-going family fight about screen time?
You are probably here because you're concerned, or curious, about your son or daughter's video gaming habits. You're concern might be that they are wasting their life away and you see no value in what they do, or, they are not learning how to interact socially with their peers, or, their school performance is dismal and getting worse still, or, their exposure to and participation in the video game violence, or, your child has stated that they want to play video games for a living by creating a YouTube Channel (While you fear it's an addiction).
These are all real concerns for parents. And I understand them.
Yet, what if I told you that you can reconnect with your gamer child by understanding their world better. And that you can again participate in their life as a parent, an advisor, a mentor, and a tutor regardless of their age.
That home life can again be pleasant, maybe even back to normal.
This shift doesn't require that you become a gamer - it's about empathy.
What I write about here is contrary to much of the media coverage around video game addiction and use.
Believe this when I say it - You can reconnect with your child by gaining an understanding about their world.
So, what's up with LEVEL UP - NINJA PARENTS?
Leveling up in the gamer world is everything. It's what most gamers live for. It feels like a mashup of many emotions rippling through a gamer's body - it only lasts for a minute or so.
As a parent you might have heard a primal scream coming from your otherwise quite child's bedroom. He or she has probably leveled up to the next game level, or achieved a much sought after goal in the game.
I can still recall a few years ago when I finally leveled up in Call of Duty (COD) Black Opps II (BO2) to diamond camo on my sniper rifles. Ahh, the good times.
Leveling up as a parent in your child's world means improving upon the relationship between both of you. It's about taking small positive steps towards a solution that you want - an improved relationship.
The "Ninja Parent" is just that - you will take any measure to reconnect with your child. I am asking that you forget the traditional means of communicating with your child - it's not working. Instead I'll be asking you to wage irregular "warfare", of sorts, deemed "dishonorable" and unconventional in the eyes of the public. The Dr. Phil's of the world would be appalled.
In essence, I'll be asking you to gamify your parenting style in order to reconnect with your child.
The Philosophy of Level Up
This might be new for you - focus on achieving epic solutions rather than dwelling on the problems.
At the core of my work with people, parents and teenagers, is solution-focused brief coaching/counseling. The solution-focused approach grew from the work of Steve de Shazer, Insoo Kim Berg, and their team at the Milwaukee Brief Family Therapy Center.
By focusing on the present and the future, and using the past as a resource only, goals are reached at a quicker pace than spending years in psychotherapy or another life coaching session.
Throughout my blog writings (Solutions Focused Parenting) I talk about how to use this technique as a parent and as a teenager who is setting goals.
Make parenting a game
Being busier than a noob in COD BO3, you might have missed the biggest trend in Western Civilization currently - everything is being gamed. You play, you win, you level up in life.
Business models are being rewritten, education is experiencing new rules, personal goals like exercise and behavior change ALWAYS include a gaming aspect.
And as parent to a gamer, your style of communication needs to be gamed-out as well.
Much of my writings and publications address this topic head-on. Yet be patient with yourself. It's going to take time to acquire the necessary mindset and language to reconnect with your child gamer.
Make sure you sign up for my updates! Soon to be released is a fabulous online course that walks parents through the process of becoming a Ninja Parent Warrior!
In working with parents and children alike, having a ubiquitous life coach present that guides behavior and decision-making along is critical. Guess what? Mobile computing, like mobile cell phones and tablets, are nearly ubiquitous in our lives. And what I do is review, test, and find the BEST method to fit theses technologies into both of your lives, as a ubiquitous life coach.
Often I'll update my recommendations to you concerning the newest mobile technologies available. I'll even be your test dummy and report back as to how a particular mobile app performed. Only then can I recommend it be tried out in your situation, or your child's life.
There is really nothing like. Once you develop a daily mindfulness practice life just begins to seem calmer, clearer, more positive.
From being a parent of a teenager with ADHD, to reducing the stress associated with being a parent and a teenager, I write about how-to develop a mindfulness-based stress reduction practice.