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paulfoel

Dad to 14 yr old boy

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Realised he has a gaming addiction. The amount of trouble hes caused because of of this is unbelievable.

He has "issues" anyway - OCD and possible Aspergers so I guess its all tied up. This seems to have a big effect on him.

We're partly to blame for letting it get this bad but this is how things work at the moment:-

1. He plays all day every day - every free minute. He even eats meals in his bedroom.

2. He has no other outside activities and no interest in doing so. He goes to school, comes home, plays games - nothing else.

3. We've caught him several times middle of the night out of bed playing on his PC when hes got school next day. He struggles to get out bed then in the mornings.

4. Will do anything to continue playing. When he got caught I told him I could check (I work in IT) - he knows this. He still did the same two days later and we caught him again. Its as if he ignored the risks of getting caught.

5. Ask him to clean his bedroom or he gets a ban. Will take him literally 10 minutes to do. He doesnt do it. Gets a few days ban. Its as if he cant spare the 10 minutes but doesnt appreciate the risk of not doing it and getting banned.

6. If you make him leave the house e.g. family meal he will do his best to be miserable. Constantly asks when are we going home? Knows that next time we just wont bother (our fault here!)

7. Seems to be very moody and bad tempered. Have had several instances of him smashing things up in his bedroom because a game has made him angry. Recently caused about £500 worth of damage. Not just one punch, he'd battered a cupboard several times.

8. When hes off his PC, which happens when we implement a ban, hes a much nicer kid. As soon as hes back hes awful and can get violent and aggressive.

9. His school grades have slipped. He just cannot be bothered to do homework.

10. No amount of sitting him down, explaining, being nice makes any difference at all. He does not seem to care a monkeys nut about anything else at all. If the house caught fire, he'd keep playing until the flames got to him I think!

 

We had an incident a few months ago where he was violent towards me. Several times this has happened but this a bad one (he hit me in the face). We worked past this. Yesterday it turned out he has trashed his bedroom (smashed cupboards), holes in the wall etc because he got angry with a game. Not the first time for this either - hes thrown a large office chair at the wall previously. We get tears from him but we've seen it so many times before.

After his recent violence we laid it on the line and explained where it was heading and he seemed really upset. We were hopeful. But it seems things are heading that way again.

For now, we've taken his PC away because it seems to be causing so much damage to him. Its school holidays so hes got in mind 4-5 weeks of 16 hour a day gaming - which is going to be a bad idea I think.

Hes coming up 15 - here in the UK next two years in school he does exams at the end (called GCSEs). Without passing these you pretty much can't even get a basic job, but they also lead on to staying in school for an extra two years (A levels), and from here into college. He is a clever kid who used to get good grades but at the moment he has no interest whatsoever.

What we plan:-

1. PC is taken out of his bedroom into a downstairs room (I have a home office) so it can be monitored more closely.

2. No more 16 hour all day sessions - time will be limited.

3.  Hes now down to do chores to earn money to pay back the damage hes caused.

4. Doing chores will also earn him some computer time.

Are we doing it right? Any other suggestions?

We like to get him interested in something else too but, honestly, we've tried it all.

 

Edited by paulfoel
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Once you have an addiction, it's incredibly difficult to moderate it. Think of Alcoholics Anonymous... they don't ever recommend moderating, it's basically got to be quit cold turkey. But you can't quit cold turkey without a lot of support, and a very specific plan on how to move forward.

I really recommend purchasing the reclaim program. https://gamequitters.com/reclaim/ You only have a few more years to influence him before he moves out of the house, if you can help him break his addiction, and get new goals and hobbies into his life, that will be the best thing you can do as a parent. You need to set some specific frameworks in place to make it happen, and it will be a lot of hard work - it's not easy to change habits and addictions.

For myself, I have a highly addictive personality and played a lot of games through my teens and twenties. I now have 3 children, ages 6, 8, and 10. I played a lot of games when they were younger and noticed that they were also becoming addicted to games, always asking when they could play, etc. What I've learned is that using video games as rewards for chores, etc. is a terrible idea, and just makes things worse. Having a set amount of time works ok... but lately we've decided to just give up games 100% in our household, including myself. This has been the best, and they are much more balanced happy kids as a result.

Good luck!

Cheers,
Jeremie

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Hi Paul, 

Thanks for sharing. There are a few things I Would suggest, the first is to join the parents FB group where you will get a lot more responses from other parents.

If he has access to the computer, I would keep it to be a very limited amount of time - 1 hour max/day, not every day. You've seen a clear difference between him on the computer and him without it, and as hard as it is, him having less to no access is crucial for his health at this point. 

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Hey Paul,

Thanks for sharing.  I'm not a father, but I was also into gaming when I was his age.  I agree with Jeremie.  It may be difficult and he'll likely aggressively resist at first, but I think the best way to approach this is a zero-tolerance policy on any gaming in your house.  It is your house, not his.  Firm love.  Think of some ways you can bond with him or get him involved with peers his age (that aren't into gaming). 

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