Balance is an important lesson that we have to teach our children from the time they are born. We have to use a combination of restrictions and limits, especially on things like TV (e.g. only one hour per day allowed), in addition to providing them with ideas, motivation and examples on how to engage in activities that are more healthy. Our kids will learn from our example, and if they see that we are interested in something and encourage them to engage in it, they will also take an interest in it, in sha ‘Allah.
However, once our kids have established certain patterns of behavior and expectations, it is very difficult to change
and/or to get them to change. They have come to expect certain things to be in a certain way. A typical reaction from parents who have not used boundaries and limits with their children regarding behaviors such as TV watching and video games is that once the patterns of behavior have already been established, then they see that there is a problem. Unfortunately, at this stage it is more difficult to address the issue because the child has already come to expect things a certain way. As you say, now you have to literally tear him away from the video game to get him to stop.
First of all, I personally feel that in addition to trying to make him understand that outdoor activities can be as fun as or even more fun than video games, a seven-year-old boy requires discipline in such matters. I believe it is important to set limits for the child and stick to them. For example, perhaps you can set a limit of one to two hours per day of video games, AND THAT’S IT. If the child is not disciplined, it will do irreparable damage to him later on.
I have been witnessing this now where I currently live. The trend for parents now is to spoil their children and provide virtually zero discipline. It is really sad for their kids are being raised to be helpless human beings. They cannot do anything for themselves and they learn that they are the center of the universe, which has a multitude of horrible repercussions.
Many parents do not realize how serious a problem spoiling children too much can be. Without discipline, children have a hard time learning self-discipline later on, and Islam is a deen (Islamic way of life) that is predicated on self-discipline. How can we expect our children to regulate their own selves and behaviors later if we do not teach them any boundaries now when they are children? They must learn appropriate boundaries and why such things are important for them. They must be taught that life is best lived in a balanced manner.
Also, do not underestimate your child’s ability to understand such matters. Children understand quite well when we adults explain things to them in an age-appropriate manner. The challenge is for us to make the effort to teach them why they should and should not do certain things such as play less video games and spend more time outdoors.
If we respect our children as human beings and take the responsibility to discipline them in an appropriate manner and educate them in the process, they will develop to become balanced and level-headed individuals when they grow older, in sha ‘Allah. Finally, if you want your child to find certain activities fun and interesting, you and the rest of your family must provide the example for him by showing him your own interest in such activities. Setting a good example is often the most affective form of educating.
Disclaimer: The conceptualization and recommendations stated in this response are very general and purely based on the limited information that was provided in the question. In no event shall AboutIslam, it’s volunteers, writers, scholars, counselors, or employees be held liable for any direct, indirect, exemplary, punitive, consequential or other damages whatsoever that may arise through your decision or action in the use of the services which our website provides.