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TaraSilverwind
2013-09-11, 12:51 PM
Hello all,

I just became a DM to two teenage boys, and want to know if anyone has any advice specifically for DMing teenagers. I don't have any children of my own yet, so I don't have much personal experience dealing with teenagers as the Responsible Adult. One of the two is my neighbor's kid, who I'm friends with. They know he's going to start playing D&D over at my house, and they are actively encouraging it. I don't know the other one's parents or if there could be any potential issues if they know/find out that he's playing D&D. They may very well be cool with it. I just don't know.

This will also be their first time to play D&D, aside from the one impromptu/poorly organized, but still very fun session we played on Labor Day.

Any advice with regard to DMing for teenagers in general, and dealing with parents if that should become an issue?

SowZ
2013-09-11, 12:54 PM
Hello all,

I just became a DM to two teenage boys, and want to know if anyone has any advice specifically for DMing teenagers. I don't have any children of my own yet, so I don't have much personal experience dealing with teenagers as the Responsible Adult. One of the two is my neighbor's kid, who I'm friends with. They know he's going to start playing D&D over at my house, and they are actively encouraging it. I don't know the other one's parents or if there could be any potential issues if they know/find out that he's playing D&D. They may very well be cool with it. I just don't know.

This will also be their first time to play D&D, aside from the one impromptu/poorly organized, but still very fun session we played on Labor Day.

Any advice with regard to DMing for teenagers in general, and dealing with parents if that should become an issue?

My rule when dealing with teenagers/kids is, should their parents get mad about something, let the parents decide what they want. That might be unfair to the kid himself if his parents say he can't play D&D and I say I'm not comfortable putting myself in that position. But that's my rule.

Gavran
2013-09-11, 01:04 PM
Treat them the same as you would anyone else. :x

As a former teen, that's what I'd have wanted.

Mastikator
2013-09-11, 01:29 PM
Why would their parents even be upset that their kids are playing D&D?

valadil
2013-09-11, 01:36 PM
Teenagers are animals. May Pelor have mercy on your soul.

Nah, just kidding. I wouldn't expect much maturity out of them as players. Not because they're teens but because they're new to the game. Looking back at my forays into D&D in middle school is at best cringe worthy.

What I've seen from new players is that they go through a few phases. This is just what I've observed and it's just a pattern, not something I expect everyone to hold to.

The first is that they don't get RP. They just play themselves. Or they get that they're supposed to be playing adventurers and they're all chivalrous knights pretending they know what middle english sounds like.

The second phase is that they want to explore the game's freedom. They'll do things they can't do in real life just to see what happens. Sometimes you get GTA killing sprees. Sometimes it gets darker as the players try to gross each other out by seeing who can cross the most lines. Again, I'm not saying that everyone goes through this, just that it's common. If I were you, I'd indulge them. Fighting them on it will only make them come on stronger.

Once that gets boring they might be willing to open up as RPers.

On dealing with teenagers, all I have to say is treat them like adults. They resent being treated like children. You're playing a game together, not babysitting them.

Black Jester
2013-09-11, 01:52 PM
I used to run an RPG club for students at the school I worked at during my studying days and have a bit of experiences when it comes to playing with kids between 12 and 16. Because this was at school and the kids could participate voluntarily, I never had any issues with parents (the only time a father mentioned the gaming thing at all was because he used to play as well and looked for a new group).

Actually, what most teenagers want is to be treated as adults (or at least as what they think adults are treated like), so if you want to do them a favor, just a run a game like you would for any other people you would play with. Otherwise, try to make the game fun and entertaining, and ask them what they want to play. Treat them like their opinion matters. That's usually a good idea for any player, but in this case you can activate the "I am treated like an adult" button of empowerment.
What can be difficult when playing with younger players is to find the right mix of assistance (you don't want to be condescending, but you still want to help) and giving a direction to the game (because railroading is bad form at best, but for many new players, especially younger ones the responsibility to pick sensible decisions can be a bit overwhelming). Depending on the kids in question, the issue of frustration tolerance can be relevant, so it usually is recommendable to not block ideas they have only because they seem outlandish to you. The whole 'don't say no if you can say yes, but...' advice works really well when it comes to playing with this age group.

When it comes to the issue with the parents, well in this day and age, I think that most parents will be more concerned to the idea that their kid spents some time with a strange man they don't really know and not because they play role-playing games, in which case 'not being a strange man they don't know' might actually help. Talk to the kid, talk to the parents (on your initiative, just give them a call or something and explain ahat the game is about and what you have planned and if they are okay with it. Ask them to participate; they most likely won't, but it emphasizes that you have nothing to hide so to speak. And if they do join, well you just won over a family to a really fun and slowly dying hobby. Which would make you officially one of the good guys in my eyes.

Terraoblivion
2013-09-11, 01:55 PM
Hello all,

I just became a DM to two teenage boys, and want to know if anyone has any advice specifically for DMing teenagers. I don't have any children of my own yet, so I don't have much personal experience dealing with teenagers as the Responsible Adult. One of the two is my neighbor's kid, who I'm friends with. They know he's going to start playing D&D over at my house, and they are actively encouraging it. I don't know the other one's parents or if there could be any potential issues if they know/find out that he's playing D&D. They may very well be cool with it. I just don't know.

This will also be their first time to play D&D, aside from the one impromptu/poorly organized, but still very fun session we played on Labor Day.

Any advice with regard to DMing for teenagers in general, and dealing with parents if that should become an issue?

Depends on the teenagers in question. Teenagers are as diverse as adults and need to be treated as individuals first and only teenagers second. I'll also second the opinion of treating them like anybody else, really teenagers are smarter and more mature than people, especially Americans in my experience, like to give them credit for.

TaraSilverwind
2013-09-11, 02:10 PM
Why would their parents even be upset that their kids are playing D&D?

Sadly, it does still happen. There are still people out there (a lot of them!) that think D&D will make people evil and warp their morals, just like there are still people out there that think playing video games will make you violent. Hopefully, that's not the case here, but you never know until you do.


Teenagers are animals. May Pelor have mercy on your soul.

Nah, just kidding. I wouldn't expect much maturity out of them as players. Not because they're teens but because they're new to the game. Looking back at my forays into D&D in middle school is at best cringe worthy.

What I've seen from new players is that they go through a few phases. This is just what I've observed and it's just a pattern, not something I expect everyone to hold to.

The first is that they don't get RP. They just play themselves. Or they get that they're supposed to be playing adventurers and they're all chivalrous knights pretending they know what middle english sounds like.

The second phase is that they want to explore the game's freedom. They'll do things they can't do in real life just to see what happens. Sometimes you get GTA killing sprees. Sometimes it gets darker as the players try to gross each other out by seeing who can cross the most lines. Again, I'm not saying that everyone goes through this, just that it's common. If I were you, I'd indulge them. Fighting them on it will only make them come on stronger.

Once that gets boring they might be willing to open up as RPers.

On dealing with teenagers, all I have to say is treat them like adults. They resent being treated like children. You're playing a game together, not babysitting them.

Thanks. In our first gaming session, one of the players decided to play an evil character (already in phase 2, it seems). I let him do this because I don't want to stamp out their fun and try to tell them how to play their characters. Fun is what the game is about, after all. During that first game, they killed an NPC that helped them escape prison. Though, to be fair, the NPC was kind of a bullying jerk that tried to steal their bread. Still, I've got some plans afoot for them to meet with a large group of fellow escapees (too large for them to fight off by themselves), the leader of which is the father of the NPC they killed. If he finds out what befell his son, the PCs will have just made themselves a long-term enemy through their actions. If they don't end up killing him too, of course.

I think my basic plan is to create the dungeon they're in, including the backstory and NPC/monster/enemy behavior, and then have them ignore and/or bypass all of that, leaving the knowledge of my wonderful creation to be trapped forever in my head. Le sigh...

But I'm totally looking forward to it!

TaraSilverwind
2013-09-11, 02:19 PM
What can be difficult when playing with younger players is to find the right mix of assistance (you don't want to be condescending, but you still want to help) and giving a direction to the game (because railroading is bad form at best, but for many new players, especially younger ones the responsibility to pick sensible decisions can be a bit overwhelming). Depending on the kids in question, the issue of frustration tolerance can be relevant, so it usually is recommendable to not block ideas they have only because they seem outlandish to you. The whole 'don't say no if you can say yes, but...' advice works really well when it comes to playing with this age group.

I'm also enlisting my boyfriend to kind of be a player's aid while they get the hang of stuff their characters can do and figure out how the rules generally work. I remember my early days in D&D when I'd be asked, "so what do you want to do?" and all I could do is stare blankly and ask "uh, what would a character in this world normally do in this situation?" - except not quite as well-worded as that.


When it comes to the issue with the parents, well in this day and age, I think that most parents will be more concerned to the idea that their kid spents some time with a strange man they don't really know and not because they play role-playing games, in which case 'not being a strange man they don't know' might actually help. Talk to the kid, talk to the parents (on your initiative, just give them a call or something and explain ahat the game is about and what you have planned and if they are okay with it. Ask them to participate; they most likely won't, but it emphasizes that you have nothing to hide so to speak. And if they do join, well you just won over a family to a really fun and slowly dying hobby. Which would make you officially one of the good guys in my eyes.

Strange woman in this case, but I get your point :smallwink:

Black Jester
2013-09-11, 02:33 PM
Strange woman in this case, but I get your point :smallwink:

I should have seen that. Sorry.

TaraSilverwind
2013-09-11, 02:43 PM
I should have seen that. Sorry.

No worries! I didn't take it personally :smallsmile:

Frozen_Feet
2013-09-11, 02:59 PM
Valadil has good advice. The things you need most are thick skin and patience. The default form of roleplaying, from 10-year-old girl scouts to war veterans, is wanton murder-hoboism. It'll take time and teaching before they'll grow out of it.

BWR
2013-09-11, 04:59 PM
Maybe most common, but not universal. My gf started with Kult and several people at the club managed to play D&D-ish games without killing everything in sight. Some of these were even in the prime age group for MHing.

Black Jester
2013-09-11, 05:22 PM
Valadil has good advice. The things you need most are thick skin and patience. The default form of roleplaying, from 10-year-old girl scouts to war veterans, is wanton murder-hoboism. It'll take time and teaching before they'll grow out of it.

Actually, I am not sure if this is not some sort of self-fulfilling prophesy, perpetually recreated by the introduction of new players to the hobby through older hands, back to the days of CoSims and the like. You know, war gamers.

When I played with my students, the exploration aspect (discovering strange places, finding sunken cities, and most importantly treasure was deemed much more important than beating up monsters. The idea that 'monsters should be tricked (or even better befriended) if possible' was really common (and because it was in school and I had to write a report about the pedagogic effects of the whole project, I officially supported the "search for non-violent solution strategies and conflict resolution through alternative means" and it worked just fine (and because I am me, I couldn't really avoid the other message "... and sometimes, you need to fight, because all other alternatives are worse" in there as well, but that wasn't the main part).
Roleplaying games are really flexible when it comes to what you are going to do. There is no reason whatsoever to limit oneself to just one sort of style, only because it is a common one.

TaraSilverwind
2013-09-11, 05:37 PM
Actually, I am not sure if this is not some sort of self-fulfilling prophesy, perpetually recreated by the introduction of new players to the hobby through older hands, back to the days of CoSims and the like. You know, war gamers.

Well, to this end, I've actually got their next encounter set up to hopefully encourage role playing rather than fighting, though fighting will also be an option if that's how they want to go. The next room they enter is going to have a guard playing darts all by himself, because the other guards don't like him very much. He's very cowardly and will try to convince the party to tie him up and punch him a few times to make it look like he didn't just let the prisoners go. If he feels sufficiently threatened, he'll even offer to tell them where he hid his treasure if they just tie him up and let him live. If the players think to do it, he could even tell him more about the dungeon they're trying to escape from. We'll see if they take the bait though.

TheThan
2013-09-11, 07:11 PM
Sadly, it does still happen. There are still people out there (a lot of them!) that think D&D will make people evil and warp their morals, just like there are still people out there that think playing video games will make you violent. Hopefully, that's not the case here, but you never know until you do.


Here are some more fairly solid reasons why parents might not want their kids to get into dnd:

Some parents donít like the idea of their children hanging out with adults they donít know for hours on end.
Some parents simply donít want their kids to grow up to be geeks and nerds. I know it sound incredibly stupid. But itís something Iíve actually encountered.
Some parents are afraid that their kids are going to cost them a lot more money by getting into this hobby than they already cost them.
Some parents are control freaks and donít want their children doing anything that they donít have control over.
Some parents just donít like DnD or hobby games like it.

Gavran
2013-09-11, 07:34 PM
Here are some more fairly solid reasons why parents might not want their kids to get into dnd:

Some parents donít like the idea of their children hanging out with adults they donít know for hours on end.
Some parents simply donít want their kids to grow up to be geeks and nerds. I know it sound incredibly stupid. But itís something Iíve actually encountered.
Some parents are afraid that their kids are going to cost them a lot more money by getting into this hobby than they already cost them.
Some parents are control freaks and donít want their children doing anything that they donít have control over.
Some parents just donít like DnD or hobby games like it.


Also some parents don't want their children to become witches and warlocks! Magic is evil after all. Especially pretend magic.

Jaycemonde
2013-09-11, 08:21 PM
Also some parents don't want their children to become witches and warlocks! Magic is evil after all. Especially pretend magic.

Wouldn't want our poor, mentally defenseless children to think they could become something extraordinary in their spare time, would we? They might start getting ideas.

Mr Beer
2013-09-11, 09:37 PM
Personally I wouldn't change much at all, I guess I've very occasionally thrown in sexual elements into a game I'd give a pass on for teenagers (one "you're gonna get raped" taunt, one openly sexually sadistic bad guy). That would be excluded less because I think teenagers couldn't handle it and more because I think it would be contextually extremely inappropriate.

Jaycemonde
2013-09-11, 09:56 PM
Personally I wouldn't change much at all, I guess I've very occasionally thrown in sexual elements into a game I'd give a pass on for teenagers (one "you're gonna get raped" taunt, one openly sexually sadistic bad guy). That would be excluded less because I think teenagers couldn't handle it and more because I think it would be contextually extremely inappropriate.

Putting aside the fact that you should never use a comment about rape as a taunt for players in the first place, I think that while most teenaged players could handle sexual themes just as well as adults it'd make things with the parents rather awkward once/if they caught wind of it.

Mr Beer
2013-09-11, 10:51 PM
Putting aside the fact that you should never use a comment about rape as a taunt for players in the first place, I think that while most teenaged players could handle sexual themes just as well as adults it'd make things with the parents rather awkward once/if they caught wind of it.

I know what I should and shouldn't say with my own friends but thanks anyway.

Fiery Diamond
2013-09-12, 12:40 AM
I know what I should and shouldn't say with my own friends but thanks anyway.

Just because you (and your friends) find it acceptable does not make it acceptable.

FallenGeek
2013-09-12, 12:44 AM
I ran a few games for teens when I was a teenager - and I would say that they are just like any other beginner at the game.

Except, maybe expect a few more off-color jokes from the teens. But that depends on your regular group. And if not serious murder-hobos, at least plan on one of them wanting to be a tough-as-nails anti-hero. I would encourage against cross-playing. In your situation, keep it rated PG for both violence and sexuality.

Treat them like any new person at a table. If you're starting a new campaign, (highly suggestible for the learning curve anyway), talk with the teens about what they want in a game. Do that (if appropriate), with a twist.

Mr Beer
2013-09-12, 01:13 AM
Just because you (and your friends) find it acceptable does not make it acceptable.

Correct, being acceptable is what makes it acceptable.

EDIT

Although, myself and my friends finding it acceptable is a necessary pre-requisite for it being acceptable.

FallenGeek
2013-09-12, 01:23 AM
I changed my mind, myself and my friends finding it acceptable is a pre-requisite for it being acceptable.

I'm going to agree with Mr Beer. And while the topic may be in bad taste, and easily abused if done poorly, the GM is playing villains. Much like villains in the source material that likely inspires most GMs, his (and my) bad guys are very bad guys.

If the players give informed consent to mature themes, then its okay to use mature themes.

Mr Beer
2013-09-12, 01:32 AM
I'm going to agree with Mr Beer. And while the topic may be in bad taste, and easily abused if done poorly, the GM is playing villains. Much like villains in the source material that likely inspires most GMs, his (and my) bad guys are very bad guys.

If the players give informed consent to mature themes, then its okay to use mature themes.

Thanks.

Those kind of responses do my head in, it's totally acceptable for participants casually wholesale slaughter dozens of imaginary enemies on a daily (or session-ly) basis and no-one bats an eyelid.

But have a villain make a crude and unpleasant threat and suddenly everyone draws in their breath, wags their fingers and says "well you can't ever say that! That's never OK!".

tasw
2013-09-12, 01:40 AM
any teenage parent who gets up in arms ask her how many years she let her kids watch Miley sirus.......

then say sorry mom D&D isnt sending your kid to hell......

but twerking will.... so take your outrage, find the nearest mirror and express it all. But I have a job to do here and I cant focus on this.

T

Vitruviansquid
2013-09-12, 02:40 AM
Trying to remember what my education textbook said on the topic of teens... Middle school and high school teens were sufficiently different in mental development that the book had two different sections detailing how they should be treated, so it might help if you could tell us the exact age of your players.

Besides that, the most applicable fact about teens I remember is that they may sometimes put up a tough front, but they are actually very very sensitive to criticism from adults, especially adults in authority positions (like teachers, but perhaps also dungeon masters). The book recommends that you avoid implying or stating that they are stupid or inadequate because their skins can be quite thin. Teens also like to make crude/offensive jokes and use crude/offensive language often. If you want them to stop, chide them gently but firmly - they are likely to be just learning the boundaries of what is and isn't acceptable.

Personally, though, I would go with my gut and treat your teen players based on what you've observed of their personalities. I doubt the generalized advice from any book would be as accurate as what you see with your eyes and hear with your ears.

Frozen_Feet
2013-09-12, 03:38 AM
Actually, I am not sure if this is not some sort of self-fulfilling prophesy, perpetually recreated by the introduction of new players to the hobby through older hands, back to the days of CoSims and the like. You know, war gamers.


Nah, I've seen it happen without any prodding from my part. The remark about 10-year-old girl scouts was not hypothetical - all I needed to do was to say "there's a merchant..." and their reaction was "We rob him!". (The scenario I was aiming for was "day at the market", but it turned to "cops and robbers" in about five seconds.)


It is a variant of the same phenomenom as people playing with Tamagotchis having a fit of cruelty and leave the thing starve just to see if it will die.

Lorsa
2013-09-12, 04:06 AM
When I started DMing, it was with teenagers. Of course at that time I was one too. As someone mentioned, "teenage" is a fairly long span (to my knowledge, it would be 13-19?) but that aside I don't think age should determine how you treat them.

In those early days, I made sure that there were plenty of things that it was okay to ruthlessly slaughter which I suppose made it easier not to kill everything. Although none of my early players wanted to be evil as such so I don't know how that affects things.

Basically treat them as any person new to roleplaying and you should be fine.

I can't think of any valid reason why a parent would not want their child to do roleplaying in their spare time so if any of them tries to forbid it, just organise sessions in secret. Teenagers are amazing liars (to their parents). The world needs more chaotic good. Ideally though you should first try to talk with the parents and try to convince them. If they have reservations. Which they shouldn't.

TaraSilverwind
2013-09-12, 10:16 AM
The teens in question are about 15 years old. One definitely seems to have a good, sensible head on his shoulders. The other one that I know better is still testing his boundaries, but is a good kid in general. He's the one that chose to play a Chaotic character a la OD&D. We're moving up to 3.5 for our next game, so he'll have a wider arrange of alignments to pick from and may choose something less extreme. I think that him having the choice at first of either Lawful, Neutral, or Chaotic is mainly what made Chaotic so appealing. Who wants to be the goody two-shoes when they're a teenager? And then there's Neutral, which sounds kinda boring when you're first getting started.


Besides that, the most applicable fact about teens I remember is that they may sometimes put up a tough front, but they are actually very very sensitive to criticism from adults, especially adults in authority positions (like teachers, but perhaps also dungeon masters). The book recommends that you avoid implying or stating that they are stupid or inadequate because their skins can be quite thin. Teens also like to make crude/offensive jokes and use crude/offensive language often. If you want them to stop, chide them gently but firmly - they are likely to be just learning the boundaries of what is and isn't acceptable.

Good point, thank you! I'll definitely keep that in mind.

Scow2
2013-09-12, 03:56 PM
I can't think of any valid reason why a parent would not want their child to do roleplaying in their spare time so if any of them tries to forbid it, just organise sessions in secret. Teenagers are amazing liars (to their parents). The world needs more chaotic good. Ideally though you should first try to talk with the parents and try to convince them. If they have reservations. Which they shouldn't.This is possibly the worst piece of advice in the thread. Gaming is not worth destroying the trust between a parent and their children.

Knaight
2013-09-12, 04:13 PM
any teenage parent who gets up in arms ask her how many years she let her kids watch Miley sirus.......

then say sorry mom D&D isnt sending your kid to hell......

but twerking will.... so take your outrage, find the nearest mirror and express it all. But I have a job to do here and I cant focus on this.

T
So, your plan is to deflect by taking irrelevant pot shots at celebrities? Sounds like a great idea.

Lorsa
2013-09-12, 05:08 PM
This is possibly the worst piece of advice in the thread. Gaming is not worth destroying the trust between a parent and their children.

I was wondering when someone would comment on it. While I wasn't entirely serious about someone else doing it, it's probably what I would do. If you don't trust your kid to play D&D then there's probably not much trust in the relationship (if it can be called that) to begin with. Just because someone is a parent doesn't automatically make them right. Can you name one valid reason why a fifteen-year old wouldn't be allowed to engage in roleplaying in his/her spare time?

LWDLiz
2013-09-12, 05:33 PM
I was wondering when someone would comment on it. While I wasn't entirely serious about someone else doing it, it's probably what I would do. If you don't trust your kid to play D&D then there's probably not much trust in the relationship (if it can be called that) to begin with. Just because someone is a parent doesn't automatically make them right. Can you name one valid reason why a fifteen-year old wouldn't be allowed to engage in roleplaying in his/her spare time?

When a mutual acquaintance of mine was not allowed to play when he was a teen because of his parents, it was because the rules allowed for him to play an evil individual and the role play was focused on combat. I think it's similar to some parents' concerns about violent video games and the idea that portraying an evil individual or perpetrating violent acts, even in an imaginary setting, may give it a sense of "normalcy" that will blur the lines between was is really acceptable and unacceptable.

johnbragg
2013-09-12, 05:37 PM
Well, to this end, I've actually got their next encounter set up to hopefully encourage role playing rather than fighting, though fighting will also be an option if that's how they want to go. The next room they enter is going to have a guard playing darts all by himself, because the other guards don't like him very much. He's very cowardly and will try to convince the party to tie him up and punch him a few times to make it look like he didn't just let the prisoners go. If he feels sufficiently threatened, he'll even offer to tell them where he hid his treasure if they just tie him up and let him live. If the players think to do it, he could even tell him more about the dungeon they're trying to escape from. We'll see if they take the bait though.

We don't have to murder everyone we meet and take their stuff...we can just THREATEN to murder them and then take their stuff!

Yay roleplaying!!

And yes, that's the first step in the evolution from murderhoboing to roleplaying.

Mr Beer
2013-09-12, 06:13 PM
Can you name one valid reason why a fifteen-year old wouldn't be allowed to engage in roleplaying in his/her spare time?

Yes, their parents don't want them to do it. That might not be a great reason in and of itself, it's certainly valid enough to stop me* running a game for them.

* as an adult.

TaraSilverwind
2013-09-12, 06:26 PM
We don't have to murder everyone we meet and take their stuff...we can just THREATEN to murder them and then take their stuff!

Yay roleplaying!!

And yes, that's the first step in the evolution from murderhoboing to roleplaying.

Lol, when you put it that way, it sounds kinda bad. But yeah, that'll be the first step, I hope, and then we'll go from there.

Knaight
2013-09-12, 09:14 PM
Can you name one valid reason why a fifteen-year old wouldn't be allowed to engage in roleplaying in his/her spare time?

Probably not. However I can name a number of valid reasons why it isn't worth it for an adult to help the teenager break that rule.

Mr Beer
2013-09-12, 10:03 PM
Probably not. However I can name a number of valid reasons why it isn't worth it for an adult to help the teenager break that rule.

Parent: "And then this 28 year old man told my 15 year old daughter 'OK Charisma 16, so you're very attractive!'"

Policeman: "Hmmm..." *writes it down*

johnbragg
2013-09-12, 11:15 PM
We don't have to murder everyone we meet and take their stuff...we can just THREATEN to murder them and then take their stuff!

Lol, when you put it that way, it sounds kinda bad. But yeah, that'll be the first step, I hope, and then we'll go from there.
But that is the essential difference between tabletop roleplaying and a video game--RPGs allow you to have that conversation. Video games, if they give you the option, are pretty clunky about it.

The first actual character roleplaying I did was about two years in--my paladin had his brain eaten by a mind flayer, made an ill-advised open-ended promise to get his Int restored, then broke it at the cost of his paladin status. So yeah, they'll get there.

tasw
2013-09-12, 11:35 PM
So, your plan is to deflect by taking irrelevant pot shots at celebrities? Sounds like a great idea.

I'd call irrelevant a real stretch. There are real, actual bad influences leading teens and ugh "tweens" into horrible decisions (and decision making processes) that will ruin their lives.

You can find a good chunk of them on MTV and the Disney channel. D&D however is a harmless expression of creativity which if anything helps people.

So if someone gets worried they might be getting a bad influence asking them if they have Cable TV at home serves a very good purpose with that sort of Hypocrit.


Parent: "And then this 28 year old man told my 15 year old daughter 'OK Charisma 16, so you're very attractive!'"

Policeman: "Hmmm..." *writes it down*

Then she killed 3 orcs with her flaming dagger and took their imaginary gold.

policeman: closes book and says we'll look into it, call us and check back. And files that page in the round folder next to his desk.

johnbragg
2013-09-12, 11:38 PM
I'd call irrelevant a real stretch. There are real, actual bad influences leading teens and ugh "tweens" into horrible decisions (and decision making processes) that will ruin their lives.

You can find a good chunk of them on MTV and the Disney channel. D&D however is a harmless expression of creativity which if anything helps people.

So if someone gets worried they might be getting a bad influence asking them if they have Cable TV at home serves a very good purpose with that sort of Hypocrit.

Yes, but unless you are already in a position of trust with that parent, you will be dismissed as a partisan advocate of a Bad Thing.

The likely outcomes of your line of argument are:
1. Good point, we're cancelling cable TV, too--can't be too careful.
2. You are declared a Bad Influence by association.
3. Possibly both.


policeman: closes book and says we'll look into it, call us and check back. And files that page in the round folder next to his desk.

Maybe. Or maybe you get the fun of periodically having to explain why your record shows a restraining order taken out by the parent against you. Depends on the city/town/county, on the personalities of the parent, the (as far as the law is concerned) child, and the cop. It's your life, you can roll those dice if you want to.

tasw
2013-09-12, 11:41 PM
Yes, but unless you are already in a position of trust with that parent, you will be dismissed as a partisan advocate of a Bad Thing.

The likely outcomes of your line of argument are:
1. Good point, we're cancelling cable TV, too--can't be too careful.
2. You are declared a Bad Influence by association.
3. Possibly both.

And? Are you trying to be friends with the parents or run a game? They dont like you? So what? They disagree? So what?

Teenagers are making their own decisions about who they are going to be as an adult.

worst case scenario is the parents forbid them from playing and they actually listen. Which is where you were by listening to their crap anyway, so no loss.

best case is the kid learns about being an individual and taking a little control of their own life and standing up to authority when its in the wrong. Which is a very valuable life lesson.

Its really a no lose proposition.

Mr Beer
2013-09-13, 12:02 AM
Then she killed 3 orcs with her flaming dagger and took their imaginary gold.

policeman: closes book and says we'll look into it, call us and check back. And files that page in the round folder next to his desk.

I've never had to look into this, but where I live (Australia), I'm pretty sure if parents of a 15 year old complain that you (an adult) is letting them into your house for private gaming sessions against their parental instructions and they are concerned that there is sexually inappropriate behaviour occurring, the very least you can expect is a visit from concerned authorities.


Its really a no lose proposition.

Wait, you run a game for a teen, parent says no, you ignore their instruction...that's a no lose proposition?

It might be different if you're 17 but I can't think of any plausible reason that would have me running tabletop RPGs for 15 year olds if their parents had told me not to.

Lorsa
2013-09-13, 03:43 AM
When a mutual acquaintance of mine was not allowed to play when he was a teen because of his parents, it was because the rules allowed for him to play an evil individual and the role play was focused on combat. I think it's similar to some parents' concerns about violent video games and the idea that portraying an evil individual or perpetrating violent acts, even in an imaginary setting, may give it a sense of "normalcy" that will blur the lines between was is really acceptable and unacceptable.

Exccept that it doesn't. A teenager is perfectly capable of knowing the difference between imaginary settings and the real world, and pretend violence does not real violence make. Do they also prohobit playing cowboys and indians or superheroes when their child is small enough to want to do that? I'm sorry for your aquaintance, how did he deal with the situation?


Yes, their parents don't want them to do it. That might not be a great reason in and of itself, it's certainly valid enough to stop me* running a game for them.

* as an adult.

If I had been a teenager running game for my teenage friends I certainly wouldn't have cared what my friends' parents said. Why should it be any different now? Of course, if they forbade said teenager to do roleplaying with me my actions would be different, but in this case I assumed they were trying to prevent him/her from playing at all and that kind of stupidity I simply cannot abide to.


Probably not. However I can name a number of valid reasons why it isn't worth it for an adult to help the teenager break that rule.

True enough. Luckily teenagers are amazing at breaking rules themselves, so you don't really have to help them?


Maybe. Or maybe you get the fun of periodically having to explain why your record shows a restraining order taken out by the parent against you. Depends on the city/town/county, on the personalities of the parent, the (as far as the law is concerned) child, and the cop. It's your life, you can roll those dice if you want to.

You can get a restraining order for hosting a roleplaying game? Wow... just wow...


I've never had to look into this, but where I live (Australia), I'm pretty sure if parents of a 15 year old complain that you (an adult) is letting them into your house for private gaming sessions against their parental instructions and they are concerned that there is sexually inappropriate behaviour occurring, the very least you can expect is a visit from concerned authorities.

To be perfectly honest, isn't your teenagers spending their time with an adult preferable to them spending time with other (possibly more) irresponsible teenagers? Trying to accuse someone for sexually inappropriate behavior just because you don't like roleplaying is a whole other level of stupidity. Of course, if they would allow roleplaying you could host the sessions at the teenager's house which would abolish the fear of sexual assault.


It might be different if you're 17 but I can't think of any plausible reason that would have me running tabletop RPGs for 15 year olds if their parents had told me not to.

How about "they're wrong"? Of course if they specifically told me not to run games the approach might be different, this I thought would be for a blank no to all roleplaying. But again, I can't think of a valid reason why a parent would say no to me running a game for their teenager. You can't let lawful evil parenting control their kid's lives!

BWR
2013-09-13, 04:08 AM
I would strongly advise against disregarding the parents of these kids. We may disagree with the parents' decision on the matter, but this is not an important enough issue to get into the sort of trouble one can get into. The arguments they make may be stupid, idiotic and based on entirely incorrect information but encouraging kids to disobey their parents is proving the parents right. They don't like the games and lo and behold! kids are lying and disobeying to do this horrible thing, with other people actively helping them.

This is a hobby. A pastime. It's a harmless pastime. A luxury. Unless these parents are actively harming their children by forbidding activities, don't press the issue. Don't even encourage the kids to disobey their parents and game without you. You don't want the grief that can follow.

The only way one can possibly resolve this sensibly and have the kids be allowed to play is to talk directly with the parents and try to convince them of the error of their ways.

Mr Beer
2013-09-13, 04:10 AM
If I had been a teenager running game for my teenage friends I certainly wouldn't have cared what my friends' parents said. Why should it be any different now? Of course, if they forbade said teenager to do roleplaying with me my actions would be different, but in this case I assumed they were trying to prevent him/her from playing at all and that kind of stupidity I simply cannot abide to.
It should be different now because youíre a grown up. Yeah, stupidity is annoying but parents are allowed to make choices for their children that you might not agree with and itís not up to you to interfere unless itís super important. I donít believe playing some D&D qualifies.

To be perfectly honest, isn't your teenagers spending their time with an adult preferable to them spending time with other (possibly more) irresponsible teenagers? Trying to accuse someone for sexually inappropriate behavior just because you don't like roleplaying is a whole other level of stupidity. Of course, if they would allow roleplaying you could host the sessions at the teenager's house which would abolish the fear of sexual assault.
I was being facetious with the ďyou have Charisma 16Ē-line and thereís no reason any RPG session should trigger such fears in parents, but there is an underlying real world issue here.

I personally would be extremely cautious about doing any activity behind closed doors with a pair of teenagers. To a certain kind of perspective it can look very dubious for a mature age man to want to hang out with school children. If the parents werenít happy with the idea, OK no problem, far be it from me to question your parenting decisions.

How about "they're wrong"? Of course if they specifically told me not to run games the approach might be different, this I thought would be for a blank no to all roleplaying. But again, I can't think of a valid reason why a parent would say no to me running a game for their teenager. You can't let lawful evil parenting control their kid's lives!
Yeah, see above.

Lorsa
2013-09-13, 06:05 AM
I suppose the difference is that to me, roleplaying isn't just "a hobby". It's a very important part of my creative outlet. Forbidding roleplaying seems to me like trying to prevent someone from drawing or playing the guitar or writing short stories.

To be perfectly honest, I am not sure what I would do. I probably wouldn't play with teenagers where the parent had explicitly stated they didn't want their child to spend time with me. But on some level, I would like to.

If I was, say a music teacher at a school and a kid came to me and said "my parents say I'm not allowed to play the guitar" I would make sure he/she would be able to play it at school. Why is roleplaying any different?

Being the parent of a child doesn't automatically make the child your slave, to do with as you please. It's an important responsibility, where you are supposed to help and guide an individual into properly dealing with whatever life has to offer, giving them both confidence and a sense of self-worth and making sure they grow up to be moral individuals. I don't think it gives you the right to make decision like what your child is supposed to study at school (when the school offers choices) or what sport your child is supposed to play or other activities that doesn't harm the child or the people around him/her.

When exposed to bad parenting there are really only two ways to go; either report them or ignore them. It's true that I might not actually do this myself, but that doesn't mean it's not the right thing to do.

Vitruviansquid
2013-09-13, 08:32 AM
Never ever spend time alone behind closed doors with a child or teenager that isn't yours without the explicit or implicit permission of the parents.

TaraSilverwind
2013-09-13, 09:55 AM
So I've been reading all this back and forth discussion about whether to work with or against parents, and I really have to come down on the side of if a parent doesn't want their child to play D&D at my house, I can't let them play D&D at my house.

I'll of course talk to the parent first to find out what their concerns are and try to address them. They're also welcome to come sit in on a session to see for themselves what it's about, and if it just makes them feel more comfortable, I'm happy to try running the games at a different locale, such as at their house.

Fortunately, this is all hypothetical at the moment, and hopefully, I won't have to do any of that, but I'm not going to enable or encourage the teen to start lying to their parents.

Knaight
2013-09-13, 10:33 AM
To be perfectly honest, isn't your teenagers spending their time with an adult preferable to them spending time with other (possibly more) irresponsible teenagers?

No. Teenagers spending time with each other is not a problem.

If I was, say a music teacher at a school and a kid came to me and said "my parents say I'm not allowed to play the guitar" I would make sure he/she would be able to play it at school. Why is roleplaying any different?
And if you were some random person who happened to own a guitar, would you offer private lessons at your home against the explicit instruction of their parents? Because it's that which is roughly equivalent.

RPGuru1331
2013-09-13, 12:43 PM
If I was, say a music teacher at a school and a kid came to me and said "my parents say I'm not allowed to play the guitar" I would make sure he/she would be able to play it at school. Why is roleplaying any different?
Fortunately for your case, roleplaying is INCREDIBLY different from your example - see, a teacher is almost always either a public servant, or an indirect employee of the parent. That gives the parent considerably more leeway to say "No", and leaves absolutely no grounds for the teacher to refuse and continue teaching ethically. None whatsoever. The ethical thing for the teacher to do is to try to help the kid find some other outlet.


Being the parent of a child doesn't automatically make the child your slave, to do with as you please. It's an important responsibility, where you are supposed to help and guide an individual into properly dealing with whatever life has to offer, giving them both confidence and a sense of self-worth and making sure they grow up to be moral individuals. I don't think it gives you the right to make decision like what your child is supposed to study at school (when the school offers choices) or what sport your child is supposed to play or other activities that doesn't harm the child or the people around him/her.
It gives the parent the right to intrude and inform and advise, certainly, but it's true that kids aren't property. None of which means it's worthwhile to me to bother trying to get in on that.


When exposed to bad parenting there are really only two ways to go; either report them or ignore them. It's true that I might not actually do this myself, but that doesn't mean it's not the right thing to do.
There's nothing to report, sadly. It'd be bad parenting, but strictly legal and aboveboard.


To be perfectly honest, isn't your teenagers spending their time with an adult preferable to them spending time with other (possibly more) irresponsible teenagers?
No. It certainly CAN be, but it isn't, automatically, better to spend time with adults. There are creeper adults, even without getting into outright pedophilia. More relevantly, there are plenty of decent teenagers and terrible adults. If I were to reproduce (Hahahno), I'd want my kid to spend time with decent people. Additionally, you can't make the argument that teenagers are inherently irresponsible while advancing the notion that we should trust them to make reasonable decisions themselves. Or rather, you can, but it's contradictory.


I'd call irrelevant a real stretch. There are real, actual bad influences leading teens and ugh "tweens" into horrible decisions (and decision making processes) that will ruin their lives.
You think DnD can't possibly negatively influence someone, but Disney will? Because Miley Cyrus? Okay, this has multiple bad ideas in it, let's start with the obvious one:
Miley Cyrus didn't make an uproar over her butt on Disney. She'd never get away with it. Disney may not lard contracts with morality clauses anymore, but it exhibits hilariously tight control over its stars nonetheless. AFAIK (And I'm no fan of her's or the label's, so I'm going off wikipedia here), she's been done with them for 3 years. I'm not exactly a fan of her's, and yes, she's a former Disney child star (and one of the ones who's done the best, which doesn't speak well to most former Disney child stars), but trying to say "Miley Cyrus did something stupid on MTV, therefore Disney is awful because they were her label 3 years ago" is invalid on its face.

Moving along, let's pretend you'd stuck strictly to Miley Cyrus herself: Speaking from experience, arguing with parents that <Nerd Hobby A> should be fine because it's not <Destructive Hobby B> is a very, very good way to shoot yourself in the foot. That's your bar? That it's not as harmful to you as some boogeyman? That's a TERRIBLE case to make, and parents won't buy it. You should be arguing it's just as good for you as <Constructive Hobby C>, because <reasons>. Be prepared to argue that case well. You most certainly can with roleplaying. But that's the case you have to focus on, because it's the one that might win.

And final note, there's absolutely no reason to assume DnD can't negatively influence you. It won't on its own, but neither will music, and that didn't stop you from castigating Miley Cyrus. It really depends on who's running it and how (I can reasonably assume that any of the stuff I'd consider a bad influence inherent to DnD isn't relevant to a parent who hates roleplaying categorically, so I'm ignoring it for now).


And? Are you trying to be friends with the parents or run a game? They dont like you? So what? They disagree? So what?
I am trying to tell a story - and that story at no point involves me dealing with jerk parents getting revenge for doing crap against their permission. If there is any risk to me professionally whatsoever (and there probably is unless I trust the parents, and I probably don't if they don't trust me), that kid's going to walk. I feel for 'em, but no.

Mr Beer
2013-09-13, 02:42 PM
If I was, say a music teacher at a school and a kid came to me and said "my parents say I'm not allowed to play the guitar" I would make sure he/she would be able to play it at school. Why is roleplaying any different?

My understanding is that, broadly speaking, school curriculums have mandatory and optional components. So if the parents don't want their child taking a class, if it's mandatory, their child will be doing it and if it's not, they won't. If music was optional, I suspect you wouldn't get to do guerrilla guitar lessons, but I really don't know enough about it to say for sure.

The rest of your post is basically "RPGs are cool and parents preventing their kids from enjoying them are making the wrong decision", which I agree with.

Lord Torath
2013-09-13, 02:57 PM
So I've been reading all this back and forth discussion about whether to work with or against parents, and I really have to come down on the side of if a parent doesn't want their child to play D&D at my house, I can't let them play D&D at my house.

I'll of course talk to the parent first to find out what their concerns are and try to address them. They're also welcome to come sit in on a session to see for themselves what it's about, and if it just makes them feel more comfortable, I'm happy to try running the games at a different locale, such as at their house.

Fortunately, this is all hypothetical at the moment, and hopefully, I won't have to do any of that, but I'm not going to enable or encourage the teen to start lying to their parents.
When you do need to discuss it with the parents, let them know that roleplaying is a safe way to explore consequences for actions. The kids have the freedom in the game to make all sorts of decisions: good ones, bad ones, and otherwise. You, as the GM/DM/ST/whatever, then help the kids recognize the consequences of their actions both on their own characters, and on those around them. They can explore these consequences in a safe environment with no lasting impact on the real world.

Most parents are concerned about their children's decision-making skills. Explaining how RPGs can help their kids learn to make decisions by thinking about the likely consequences can make them view RPGs in a new and favorable light. Much better than insulting them or calling them hypocrites.

Then you just need to make certain you follow through.

I'm reminded of a McGyver episode where he gets stuck in Russia-occupied Afghanistan. At one point, he and the kid of the family he's hiding with capture a Russian soldier, and McGyver prevents the kid from shooting him, and lets him go instead. Later, when the family tries to escape, they are confronted by a lone tank blocking them. The hatch opens, and that soldier pops his head out, glowers at them and waves them past.

Just make certain you don't punish them to often for being merciful. :smallsmile:

TaraSilverwind
2013-09-13, 04:22 PM
When you do need to discuss it with the parents, let them know that roleplaying is a safe way to explore consequences for actions.

Ah, that is a really good point that I'll add to my list of reasons for "why D&D is good". In their first impromptu game with me, they killed the NPC that they really weren't supposed to kill because he was being a jerk, even though he did help them escape prison. I've already got a potentially long-term reprisal in mind (semi-powerful angry father) to deal with that because really, you can't go around killing everyone and expect the environment to not react to it.

Other than that though, it's a great way to learn teamwork, problem solving skills, and generally how to interact with others. You have to plan and prepare and think critically about the environment around you. And you can even do all of this while having fun! It's a win-win, really.

Alejandro
2013-09-13, 05:46 PM
If you want to really challenge them (and also teach them some important social skill) have them start the gaming session by each turning off their phone and placing them in a face down stack on the table. Give a small in or out of game prize to whomever can go the longest without touching the phones.

Let them check them during a break, of course.

Lorsa
2013-09-14, 03:59 AM
Never ever spend time alone behind closed doors with a child or teenager that isn't yours without the explicit or implicit permission of the parents.

The point I was arguing from is if they would say no to their teenager playing D&D in general, not meeting with the Original Poster (or me) in specific. Obviously those are two very different things.


No. Teenagers spending time with each other is not a problem.

And is teenagers spending time with adults a problem? I tend to believe age is largely irrelevant (like River on Firefly).


And if you were some random person who happened to own a guitar, would you offer private lessons at your home against the explicit instruction of their parents? Because it's that which is roughly equivalent.

Well, in this case it's not a random person. As I understood it at least one of the teenagers was a neighbor or lived close by. But if I were a person who knew a teenager whos parents forbid him/her from playing the guitar I probably won't allow him/her to come by and play in my house. It's what I would have done if a friend of mine was told the same thing back when I was a teenager and I don't see how my age should affect my actions in this case.


Fortunately for your case, roleplaying is INCREDIBLY different from your example - see, a teacher is almost always either a public servant, or an indirect employee of the parent. That gives the parent considerably more leeway to say "No", and leaves absolutely no grounds for the teacher to refuse and continue teaching ethically. None whatsoever. The ethical thing for the teacher to do is to try to help the kid find some other outlet.

I disagree. I think it might be the legally right thing to do, but not the ethical. As a teacher* I believe I should care about the welbeing and future of the children that I'm employed to teach. Since it is ethically wrong for parents to forbid a child from playing the guitar I believe it would be ethically right for me to go against it. My parents tought me to stand up for what is right.


It gives the parent the right to intrude and inform and advise, certainly, but it's true that kids aren't property. None of which means it's worthwhile to me to bother trying to get in on that.

Yes I agree, it might not be worthwhile to get into it. But it can still be right.


There's nothing to report, sadly. It'd be bad parenting, but strictly legal and aboveboard.

Yes that is indeed sad. Just because something is legal doesn't make it right though and just because something would be illegal doesn't make it wrong. Legality and morality are two different things.


No. It certainly CAN be, but it isn't, automatically, better to spend time with adults. There are creeper adults, even without getting into outright pedophilia. More relevantly, there are plenty of decent teenagers and terrible adults. If I were to reproduce (Hahahno), I'd want my kid to spend time with decent people. Additionally, you can't make the argument that teenagers are inherently irresponsible while advancing the notion that we should trust them to make reasonable decisions themselves. Or rather, you can, but it's contradictory.


You're right, I can't argue that. What I was trying to get at is that if you, as a parent, believe your teenager not to be responsible enough to make decisions for themselves then wouldn't an adult be preferable to another teenager as influence? It's not really a great argument and yes I would rather argue that teenagers can be just as responsible as adults.

It's certainly true that there are decent people and terrible people. Just as with you I would prefer if my children spent their time with decent people, which is why I would like to meet their friends (including adult friends) on occassion. That's good parenting. For my original argument, I was assuming that the parents would agree to them meeting TaraSilverwind but not to roleplaying games (in general). It's a different discussion entirely if they didn't want them to meet her (in general).

Also, while there might be creeper adults (not sure exactly what you mean by it) I believe those are in the minority?


My understanding is that, broadly speaking, school curriculums have mandatory and optional components. So if the parents don't want their child taking a class, if it's mandatory, their child will be doing it and if it's not, they won't. If music was optional, I suspect you wouldn't get to do guerrilla guitar lessons, but I really don't know enough about it to say for sure.

I think if the school has optional components, it is meant for the students to choose not the parents to choose for them. At least that's how it would be in Sweden. I don't really have to give guerilla guitar lessons, I could just leave the music room open during break and let him/her know it will be!


The rest of your post is basically "RPGs are cool and parents preventing their kids from enjoying them are making the wrong decision", which I agree with.

That's basically what I am saying, yes. :smallsmile:



EDIT: *Not that I am a teacher.

Knaight
2013-09-14, 06:08 PM
If you want to really challenge them (and also teach them some important social skill) have them start the gaming session by each turning off their phone and placing them in a face down stack on the table. Give a small in or out of game prize to whomever can go the longest without touching the phones.

Let them check them during a break, of course.

With a few exceptions, nobody would actually have problems with this. You drastically overestimate how much phones see use when people are already interacting face to face.

RPGuru1331
2013-09-14, 07:36 PM
I disagree. I think it might be the legally right thing to do, but not the ethical. As a teacher* I believe I should care about the welbeing and future of the children that I'm employed to teach.
I didn't say your responsibility was to do nothing. I said it was to not teach guitar. Show them other creative outlets. Public servants need an overriding public interest to go against their constituents, and while that can and most certainly does exist in education in general, 'music' is not going to be that field, especially not because kids need a creative outlet (they do, but music is not the only one that exists).


Also, while there might be creeper adults (not sure exactly what you mean by it) I believe those are in the minority?
Outright creepers? It's hard to know, and they appear to be overrepresented amongst authority figures. Irrelevant though, it's certainly 'sufficient'.


If you want to really challenge them (and also teach them some important social skill) have them start the gaming session by each turning off their phone and placing them in a face down stack on the table. Give a small in or out of game prize to whomever can go the longest without touching the phones.
If their parents have any doubts about a DnD session with adult strangers being a good idea, absolutely don't do this. Later, yes. Immediately, no.

dps
2013-09-14, 10:12 PM
I was wondering when someone would comment on it. While I wasn't entirely serious about someone else doing it, it's probably what I would do. If you don't trust your kid to play D&D then there's probably not much trust in the relationship (if it can be called that) to begin with. Just because someone is a parent doesn't automatically make them right. Can you name one valid reason why a fifteen-year old wouldn't be allowed to engage in roleplaying in his/her spare time?

Because they're doing badly in school and need to spend extra time on their homework, not playing DnD.


It's what I would have done if a friend of mine was told the same thing back when I was a teenager and I don't see how my age should affect my actions in this case.

Uhm, maybe because adults are held to different legal standards in most jurisdictions than minors are.


I disagree. I think it might be the legally right thing to do, but not the ethical. As a teacher* I believe I should care about the welbeing and future of the children that I'm employed to teach. Since it is ethically wrong for parents to forbid a child from playing the guitar I believe it would be ethically right for me to go against it. My parents tought me to stand up for what is right.

Did your parents also teach you to try to see other people's point of view, and respect their opinions?

Platymus Pus
2013-09-15, 12:36 AM
Why would their parents even be upset that their kids are playing D&D?

Because DnD is like Harry Potter.


Sadly, it does still happen. There are still people out there (a lot of them!) that think D&D will make people evil and warp their morals, just like there are still people out there that think playing video games will make you violent. Hopefully, that's not the case here, but you never know until you do.

I'd think it would show how they really are as opposed to warping morals.

Lorsa
2013-09-15, 05:55 AM
I didn't say your responsibility was to do nothing. I said it was to not teach guitar. Show them other creative outlets. Public servants need an overriding public interest to go against their constituents, and while that can and most certainly does exist in education in general, 'music' is not going to be that field, especially not because kids need a creative outlet (they do, but music is not the only one that exists).

What if I did it not as a teacher but as in individual on my free time? While there certainly are many forms of creative outlets, some people prefers specific ones over others. It can be quite hard to say "so you can't play music but hey, you can always paint!". I still can't really see why it would be right for any parent to say "sorry child, you're not allowed to play the guitar, period".


Outright creepers? It's hard to know, and they appear to be overrepresented amongst authority figures. Irrelevant though, it's certainly 'sufficient'.

What counts as a creeper? I am still curious of the definition.


Because they're doing badly in school and need to spend extra time on their homework, not playing DnD.

That's a reason to say "you can't engage in any activities until you've completeled your homework" not "you can't play D&D". The argument was made from a scenario where D&D in specific was a banned activity, not spare time activities in general.


Uhm, maybe because adults are held to different legal standards in most jurisdictions than minors are.

They are, I would also hold them at higher moral standard. I care more about ethics than I do about legality though. On many occassions during history has society been changed for the better by people doing what is morally right by goinst against the legal system.


Did your parents also teach you to try to see other people's point of view, and respect their opinions?

Actually, I had to learn that all by myself. Taking my parent's actions at face value, they wanted me to respect their opinion (and noone elses), and especially my mother thought she was clearly in the right (even when she was not). The only reason to discuss things on a forum (for me) is to try to see other people's point of view and change my own when they're wrong. But you still haven't given me a valid answer why it would be right to ban a teenager from playing D&D. And respecting someone's opinion doesn't mean following it. In that case we could do nothing because there's always someone out there who will be of the opinion that whatever activity you're doing is wrong. I respect that a parent might not want their kid to play D&D but if I was said teenager I would completely ignore the ridicolous opinion and I don't see why I should adhere to stupidity more because I'm an adult.

kidnicky
2013-09-15, 12:33 PM
Society has never been changed for the better by kids playing Dungeons and Dragons. That's just slippery slope nonsense.

There is literally no good reason to have teenagers over to your house to play D&D. There's no good reason to have them over to play XBox. There's no good reason to have them over to play Uno or Monopoly.

It's not that D&D is inherently a bad game (allthough make no mistake there WILL be a stigma) it's that having kids come over to play pretend with you is CREEPY.

I can not believe there are people on here saying you should tell neighborhood kids to lie to their parents to hang out at your place. Do that enough, and you'll end up playing D&D with Chris Hansen, and failing your saving throw in a jail cell with Bubba. That's some REAL "dungeons and dragons."

johnbragg
2013-09-17, 07:21 PM
{Scrubbed}

Traab
2013-09-17, 08:28 PM
{Scrubbed}

Honestly, the main point is, it doesnt matter if you agree with the parents decision, you have literally no right to interfere in this unless the parents are causing the kids harm somehow. And telling them they cant go over to the 25 year olds house and play pretend with him is not going to harm them. Oh sure it makes for an awesome movie where the mysterious adult turns the talented kid into a prodigy of some sort against their parents wishes, in reality, its a fast way to be arrested or at least get into some form of legal trouble. Because the parents are the ones with the final say in who their kids can and cannot spend time with, and if they say no, as a responsible adult, it is your place to shrug your shoulders and say, "Sorry kiddo, the parents said no. Nice meeting you though."

pendell
2013-09-18, 01:37 PM
I agree with Traab. An adult has no business doing an unofficial , unsanctioned anything with an underage person if the parents aren't cool with it. Their explicit permission is best, implicit consent is iffy.

Turn it around: How would you feel about it if you were a parent? If you sincerely believe something is wrong, do you want your kids defying you, and being encouraged and abetted to do so, by adults?

When a person is of age, they are entirely responsible for themselves and bear the consequences for their choices. Until they are of age, their parents get to decide what's best for them. This should only be broken by other adults in serious cases such as obvious evidence of physical abuse or matters of life and death. Not over a hobby.

Besides which, adolescence isn't forever. In only a very few years those kids will full adults and can do what they like. My grandparents wouldn't let me have video games for awhile on my computer. I listened to them, and once I moved out I have played them ever since.

So it's not like you're depriving them of a once in a lifetime opportunity that will prevent them getting into college or something. On the contrary, delayed gratification is a good lesson for teens to learn.


I would recommend investing in some relationship building with the parents. Have them over for a grill. Go to common social functions. Parents are much more willing to trust their teens to a neighbor they know, even one that's a little eccentric, over a stranger. Heck, my pastor's wife asked me to facebook friend their teenage daughter, because they assume I would be a good influence on her online and I will observe the proprieties.

Also, out of pure self defense, I strongly recommend having another of-age adult around as a witness. That way if the kids decide to do something stupid like accuse you of inappropriate behavior, you've got someone to vouch for your propriety.

Respectfully,

Brian P.

Lorsa
2013-09-19, 04:48 AM
Society has never been changed for the better by kids playing Dungeons and Dragons. That's just slippery slope nonsense.

Who are you arguing with here? I don't see anyone making that claim. But if you really want someone to argue against you for the fun of it, consider that kids playing D&D isn't hanging out downtime vandalising stuff and assaulting other teens. They might pretend to do it in a fantasy world - which is better, wouldn't you agree?


There is literally no good reason to have teenagers over to your house to play D&D. There's no good reason to have them over to play XBox. There's no good reason to have them over to play Uno or Monopoly.

It's not that D&D is inherently a bad game (allthough make no mistake there WILL be a stigma) it's that having kids come over to play pretend with you is CREEPY.

So basically what you are saying is that all your aquintances have to be age appropriate? I would disagree.

I think the reason that you both share the same hobby and like eachother's company is a good enough reason. But you could also be watching them while the parents were having a romantic evening or whatnot. Or you could be a relative or... any number of reasons.


The homework one was a valid answer, at least until the kids' grades come up.

It was valid for not doing any spare time activities at all. The argument has always been based on the assumption that the parents banned D&D specifically as an activity (while allowing free time).


No you don't. You don't respect it as an intellectually valid opinion--I don't think anyone on this forum does.

I supposed that's what you mean by respect. What counts as respecting an opinion in your view?


You don't respect it as a parental prerogative--you've said you would encourage and help a kid to defy their parent.

I think banning something like tabletop roleplaying is bad parenting, ethically wrong and borderline tyranny. I consider going against something that is wrong to be right (or at least in this case).


You "respect" that parent's opinion and parental status about as much as most Arabs "respect" Israel--it's something that exists, but without any legitimacy, and should be gotten rid of/gone around if possible.

Sorry to bring politics in, but it was a good analogy.

There are plenty of things I respect from parents. When I was a teenager for example, my mother wanted to know where I was and if this location were to change she wanted to be informed (this was before mobile phones mind you) and how to contact me if she wanted to. This is a perfectly reasonable request from any parent and one that I would respect.


Because
--as an adult
--interacting with a teenager
--against a parent's wishes,
You are presumed (at least in English-speaking cultures) to be doing something shady.

This was never the discussion though. Like I've said multiple times, I've been talking about a scenario where the parents would be okay with their teenagers spending time with someone in general but against the teenager playing D&D in specific. Although I suppose if you mean "interacting" as "playing D&D against the parent's wishes" then ok. But just because people presume it to be shady doesn't mean it is shady.


Note that if you were the same age or pretty close, this would not be an issue. If you were 17 and the kid was 14, and he was sneaking out to your house to play D&D, or play the banjo, or watch movies, or smoke weed, it would not seem creepy. If you were 25 and the kid was 17, and he was sneaking out to your house, it seems creepy.

Why does it make a difference? How does age really factor into it? And why would I care if people have some weird views that they think it seems creepy? Just because some people might think something that doesn't make them right.


In fairness, there's one. Things might be different in Sweden?

Well I haven't really made any inquiry of people's views on this subject in Sweden. What I can tell you is that I am a part of a gaming club that has a locale and has a very wide range of members and that there's been teenagers playing in groups with adults on several occassion, not to mention teenagers playing board games with adults etc etc. Thinking back to the gaming shop thread I also know a place where very young teenagers play M:tG with people who are 3 or 4 times their age. Oh, and when I was a teenager I played floorball with adults. People spend time with people from different ages all the time. And I consider it to be a good thing.


Honestly, the main point is, it doesnt matter if you agree with the parents decision, you have literally no right to interfere in this unless the parents are causing the kids harm somehow. And telling them they cant go over to the 25 year olds house and play pretend with him is not going to harm them. Oh sure it makes for an awesome movie where the mysterious adult turns the talented kid into a prodigy of some sort against their parents wishes, in reality, its a fast way to be arrested or at least get into some form of legal trouble. Because the parents are the ones with the final say in who their kids can and cannot spend time with, and if they say no, as a responsible adult, it is your place to shrug your shoulders and say, "Sorry kiddo, the parents said no. Nice meeting you though."

I suppose then my view is that I do believe banning D&D specifically IS doing harm. Parents that do that sort of micromanagement with the teenager's lives (that is, banning completely harmless activities) is abusing their position. I don't like abuse.


I agree with Traab. An adult has no business doing an unofficial , unsanctioned anything with an underage person if the parents aren't cool with it. Their explicit permission is best, implicit consent is iffy.

Turn it around: How would you feel about it if you were a parent? If you sincerely believe something is wrong, do you want your kids defying you, and being encouraged and abetted to do so, by adults?

If I sincerely believe something is wrong but is so deluded and ignorant in my views that I am clearly in the wrong then I would want my teenager to come smack me upside the head and explain to me in clear words why that was so. "So, you're trying to ban the computer-VR-interface glasses because you think it will prevent from understanding what is real and what isn't? You know people have been using them for over 20 years and grown up without any problems whatsoever with the difference between what is projected and what is real, right?"


When a person is of age, they are entirely responsible for themselves and bear the consequences for their choices. Until they are of age, their parents get to decide what's best for them. This should only be broken by other adults in serious cases such as obvious evidence of physical abuse or matters of life and death. Not over a hobby.

So if would be okay for me to permanently ground my teenager so she/he isn't exposed to the horrors of the world? To say that the only activity allowed is reading pre-approved books? I care about children's rights more than I do parent's rights (I think parents have responsibilities, which is different).


Besides which, adolescence isn't forever. In only a very few years those kids will full adults and can do what they like. My grandparents wouldn't let me have video games for awhile on my computer. I listened to them, and once I moved out I have played them ever since.

Good for you? It's true that adolescence isn't forever but that's no excuse to keep teenagers from harmless activities. In some cases (say if they want to do a sport) that might even be banning it forever since it's much more difficult to find groups that do sports when you're an adult (unless you're a professional) and having missed several years will put you at a distinct disadvantage.

My parents let me play video games for one hour a day when I was a pre-teen. I could save them up to play more during the weekend. After a while they realized it wasn't actually harmful and as long as I did my homework and had other activities too that got me out of the house it was fine. Funnily enough my younger siblings never had this rule...


So it's not like you're depriving them of a once in a lifetime opportunity that will prevent them getting into college or something. On the contrary, delayed gratification is a good lesson for teens to learn.

You're saying that a complete ban on a harmless activity is a lesson in delayed gratification? Wow... I think there are much better way to give that lesson rather than "you have to wait until I can't order you around anymore".


I would recommend investing in some relationship building with the parents. Have them over for a grill. Go to common social functions. Parents are much more willing to trust their teens to a neighbor they know, even one that's a little eccentric, over a stranger. Heck, my pastor's wife asked me to facebook friend their teenage daughter, because they assume I would be a good influence on her online and I will observe the proprieties.

Read my above comments on what this argument is about. That's a great way to go if the parents don't trust you. I fully expect any parent to want their teenagers to bring home their friends and aquintances so they can see what sort of people they are. I expect them to ask that some activities be taken place at their house if they don't trust said people. "We want to have some insight into what you and our child is doing together" is perfectly valid. That has nothing to do with banning D&D and the validity of that.

Traab
2013-09-19, 06:49 AM
I suppose then my view is that I do believe banning D&D specifically IS doing harm. Parents that do that sort of micromanagement with the teenager's lives (that is, banning completely harmless activities) is abusing their position. I don't like abuse.


Its your right to think that, but there is absolutely no legal merit to that opinion. You dont get to make the decision on what is and is not potentially harmful to someone else's kids. Telling them they cant take part in one random activity is not harmful. There are literally THOUSANDS of other wholesome activities they could go out and do instead. Roleplay is important? Join the drama club. No judge in the world would say, "You wont let your kids play dungeons and dragons?! YOU MONSTERS!!! I find in favor of the other guy who wants to play games with them!"

johnbragg
2013-09-19, 08:23 AM
Well, this turned into an hour I won't get back.


I can't think of any valid reason why a parent would not want their child to do roleplaying in their spare time so if any of them tries to forbid it, just organise sessions in secret.

Lorsa, this is where people got the idea that your reaction to parents banning your teenage acquaintance from playing D&D would be ďdonít tell them and weíll have the sessions at my house.Ē


If I had been a teenager running game for my teenage friends I certainly wouldn't have cared what my friends' parents said. Why should it be any different now?
As a teenager, plenty of us went to a Forbidden Friendís house without permission under cover of something else, and some of us were that Forbidden Friend. Youíre creating the impression that you are that Forbidden Friend, except 25 instead of 15.
To put it in d20-friendly terms, 25 year olds have massive bonuses to any Charisma-based check against a 15 year old. (This can be negated if the 25 year old is acting on behalf of the parentói.e. teachers) Since teenagers are annoying, this is more often used for evil than for good by 25 year olds.


Of course, if they forbade said teenager to do roleplaying with me my actions would be different,
Here youíre almost acknowledging the issues.


but in this case I assumed they were trying to prevent him/her from playing at all and that kind of stupidity I simply cannot abide to.
ďThat kind of stupidity I simply cannot abide to.Ē And now weíre back to thinking youíre ready and willing to host illicit D&D games at your house.

Originally Posted by Mr Beer
It might be different if you're 17 but I can't think of any plausible reason that would have me running tabletop RPGs for 15 year olds if their parents had told me not to.
How about "they're wrong"?
And again, weíre back to thinking youíre ready and willing to host illicit D&D games at your house.


When exposed to bad parenting there are really only two ways to go; either report them or ignore them. It's true that I might not actually do this myself, but that doesn't mean it's not the right thing to do.
I bolded the part thatís favorable to you.


For my original argument, I was assuming that the parents would agree to them meeting TaraSilverwind but not to roleplaying games (in general).
Yeah, I donít think thatís ever going to happen. Either the parents know and trust TaraSilverwind or you enough to have a reasonable conversation, in which case they trust TS or you to interact responsibly with their teenage child, either through D&D or guitar lessons or rebuilding a lawnmower togetheróor they donít, in which case theyíre not going to greenlight hanging out at This (Weird) Adultís House.


It's a different discussion entirely if they didn't want them to meet her (in general).
The thing is, every time the parents not approving D&D comes up, you go back to at least implying that youíd disregard parental authority.


When I was a teenager for example, my mother wanted to know where I was and if this location were to change she wanted to be informed (this was before mobile phones mind you) and how to contact me if she wanted to. This is a perfectly reasonable request from any parent and one that I would respect.
Ö..and if you were at a strange adultsí house playing D&D, you would say what exactly? Because if itís now, you DO have a cell phone. And if your teenage player answers their phone, and flat out tells the parent theyíre somewhere else, what do you do then?


Like I've said multiple times, I've been talking about a scenario where the parents would be okay with their teenagers spending time with someone in general but against the teenager playing D&D in specific.
That scenario would almost never ever happen. The concern is part ďD&D is eeevil magicĒ and part ďteenager hanging out at teenage-friendly adults home ALARM ALARM ALARMĒ


Although I suppose if you mean "interacting" as "playing D&D against the parent's wishes" then ok. But just because people presume it to be shady doesn't mean it is shady.
Itís not the D&D part that most people would regard as shady. IT probably doesnít help for some people, but itís the 15 year-old-in-the-25-year-oldís house.


How does age really factor into it? And why would I care if people have some weird views that they think it seems creepy?
Age factors into it because teenagers want the approval of grownups. Teenagers also usually want to not listen to their parents. These are usually in tension. When there exists a grownup who will offer that approval while allowing the teenager to break parental and societyís rules, that grownup can have a dangerous level of influence over that teenager. Thatís what sexual predators take advantage of. Human nature being what it is, sexual predators are more common than white knights of creativity and freedom helping teenagers escape from the shackles of their misguided parentsí ideas into the bright light of adult freedom. And it doesnít help that the first group uses the rhetoric of the second group, and often believes it.

EDIT: I don't know that sexual predators are more common, as common, or less common. But in terms of Expected Value, even if White Knights are 100x as common as Perverts, the damage of one Pervert balances out the good done by the 100 White Knights. And that's if the accounting is done by a neutral observer, and not by the parents who BAnned Creative Freedom in the first place.


Just because some people might think something that doesn't make them right.
If enough people think it, itís accepted practice. Which prudent people pay attention to.


Well I haven't really made any inquiry of people's views on this subject in Sweden. What I can tell you is that I am a part of a gaming club that has a locale
Thatís a whole different issue. If itís a publicly accessible locale, itís not some degenerateís den of corruption and iniquity.


People spend time with people from different ages all the time. And I consider it to be a good thing
I agree, but thatís a whole different subject. I think weíve made a mistake creating a social system where so much of kidsí socialization and interaction is within their age cohort. I think this is the root of a lot of social dysfunction (and also hurts educational outcomes) in middle school, in high school and in college. For most of human evolutionary history, interacting with people on the same developmental level was a small fraction of your social interactions. Now because of grade-level schooling, 11-year olds do 80% of their interacting with 10-12 year olds, which practices and sharpens their 11-year-old-ness. Same for 15 year olds and 20 year olds. And that probably makes 11-year-olds even more annoying to 15-year-olds, 11-year-olds nearly incomprehensible to 20-year-olds, and 15-year-olds more annoying to 20-year-olds. Which means that only a strong motivation will cause 20yos (much less 25 yos) to interact with 15yosófamily, job, sex drive. "Hobby" doesn't reach that level for most people, and why can't you do your hobby with your own age group? The default assumption is that you shouldnít want to hang around stupid teenagers. When your reason is ďA hobby that most of society doesnít respect, and a part of society fearsĒ many people will think ďOh, itís sex, isnít it.Ē

Gaming at a gaming shop, or a library or some public ďeveryone here is absolutely and completely dressed, yessirree!Ē setting, or at a trusted adultís house is a good way to for kids to have more cross-age interactions. Gaming at a DIS-trusted adultsí house, if you roll a 1, D&D is on the local news when crazy parent accuses irresponsible adult of inappropriate conduct in a firestorm of stupid. And then we all suffer.

pendell
2013-09-19, 01:36 PM
If I sincerely believe something is wrong but is so deluded and ignorant in my views that I am clearly in the wrong then I would want my teenager to come smack me upside the head and explain to me in clear words why that was so. "So, you're trying to ban the computer-VR-interface glasses because you think it will prevent from understanding what is real and what isn't? You know people have been using them for over 20 years and grown up without any problems whatsoever with the difference between what is projected and what is real, right?"


What is and is not harmless is something for the parents to determine, not a stranger adult. The parents have a considerable investment in their child's future and outcome, as well as the responsibility to ensure same, that a friend does not have. They also have considerable more 'skin in the game', in terms of investment of time , money, and labor, than a typical stranger adult.

After all, parents restrict and disallow even harmless activities all the time because such an activity, while it may be harmless in the abstract, is not for the child at that time and place. The child may be allergic. Or the child's schoolwork may be suffering. Or any of a million other reasons. To say that something is harmless when they have found it harmful is to second-guess them, to say you know better how to parent their offspring than they do themselves.

Such a message is ... rarely well received.

A stranger may be an expert in a particularly narrow field, such as D&D ,but they are rarely more expert in the psychology and nature of a child living in the home than the parents themselves are :).

The reason we have parent/child relationships in the first place is because the child possesses insufficient maturity to make their own life choices, and therefore need a guardian to shield them until they are of age to foul up their own lives.

For this reason, I will not respect a parent's clearly expressed wishes and find something else to do with their children that won't upset them. Is it to fantasy in general? How about a game of traveller , then? Is it they don't want to be at a stranger's home? How about a neutral location under supervision, then, such as a game shop?

I prefer to work *with* parents rather than get into pointless contests of will, finding something that works for everybody rather than getting into an argument over a specific yes/no issue. Compromise and discussion get you further than confrontation, and it builds a better relationship for other discussions down the road.





My parents let me play video games for one hour a day when I was a pre-teen. I could save them up to play more during the weekend. After a while they realized it wasn't actually harmful and as long as I did my homework and had other activities too that got me out of the house it was fine. Funnily enough my younger siblings never had this rule...


Yup, because your parents learned. But parents are much more apt and quick to learn if their boundaries are being respected than if you are forcing a pointless confrontation. If you make things a contest of wills, people are much less likely to back down even if they are demonstrably wrong, because no one likes to "lose". That's why the term "win-win solution" exists. It's much easier to get somewhere if both parties can feel satisfied with an arrangement than if it's become a zero-sum wrestling match.

Respectfully,

Brian P.

Knaight
2013-09-19, 02:07 PM
What is and is not harmless is something for the parents to determine, not a stranger adult. The parents have a considerable investment in their child's future and outcome, as well as the responsibility to ensure same, that a friend does not have. They also have considerable more 'skin in the game', in terms of investment of time , money, and labor, than a typical stranger adult.


You dont get to make the decision on what is and is not potentially harmful to someone else's kids.

Absolutely not. What is and is not harmless is, in large part, a societal decision, and it absolutely needs to be. There are people who think beating their children is harmless, or even good for them. There are people who think that it is best for an infant to be "house trained" by deliberately putting things they want in their reach, then hitting them with plumbing supply line when they reach for it, over and over, until they stop reaching*. There are parents who consider their children their property, and treat them accordingly. The proper response to parents doing this sort of thing is not to think that because they are parents, they know best. The proper response is to designate this as abuse, assault, and battery in the first case, or in the last case possible abuse and probable neglect, dependent on details.

Doing this is, making a decision on what is and is not harmless/harmful to do to someone else's kids. This is also just fine. The problem you've highlighted is not that someone is making decisions on what is harmful, it is that not being allowed to play D&D is deemed harmful enough to warrant intervention.

*There's even a book, To Train Up A Child, which advocates for this. It has a fairly wide audience, and has been connected to several deaths, ranging from children beaten to death with plumbing line, to children who starved to death (there's some verbiage about denying children food and water for potentially days on end), to children who died of exposure (there's some verbiage about leaving children outside in the winter to curb 'rebellion).

Roland St. Jude
2013-09-19, 02:45 PM
Sheriff: While not surprising, this thread has trended into real world religion and legal advice. Even when relevant to gaming or other permitted topics, these things are out of bounds here. Please construe them broadly and give them a wide berth on this forum. Thread locked.