My Son Is Addicted to Video Games

Updated on September 21, 2007
L.S. asks from Orlando, FL
9 answers

I have an 11 year old son in 5th grade. He has ADHD and has been on medication since kindergarden. He hates school worse every year. I have been through every means of dicipline that I know to try to make him care about his school work but all he cares about it video games and doing NOTHING. Tonight was the straw breaker when he told me that he was not doing his book report that they have had 2 weeks to do because he hates to read. He hasn't even started the book. He says its only 1 "0". What's the big deal? He wants to be a professional skateboarder or a rock star so he won't need any of this stuff, anyway..he wines and complains every time I ask him to do something, he does have nice things, but they haven't come easy, I thought he knew am at my witts end, I am not like this, and I have always tried to teach him to be kind to others, he sees me doing things for my family and friends and always has.

What can I do next?

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answers from Jackson on

Take everything away. Don't let homework be a choice. Sit down with him and let him read to you, like the other poster said. My son does his summer reading this way. It does take a lot of time, but it helps. Good luck.

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answers from Louisville on

Everything the other moms have said is dead on the money. Take the games AWAY completely. Let him know that when and IF he can improve his attitude, behavior AND grades, that he MAY earn them back. If the game and TV is in his room- take them out of there and put them in a common area of your home. IF he earns his game back, set firm limits on him. My husband and I allow our oldest son 1hr per school night and 2hrs on weekends for his video games- that's it, and whining about the limits only gets him a shorter time the next day. If he gets into trouble at school, he looses his game time for that day, and if he persistantly gets into trouble, he looses the game for a week at a time.

Be persistant...and don't give up! I know it's hard, but you have to stand your ground and make sure he knows that in your house, even rock stars and skateboarders need an education.



answers from Biloxi on

I agree with all the other posters. But I would add that you need to have him do research on how much time, money and energy goes into becoming a professional skateboarder and then give you a verbal report on what he finds. Then I would have him sit down and write one of those professionals, like Tony Hawk, and see what his advice would be. Both of those desires are fine, but you still need an education and there is an age limit on both of those careers - What is his back-up plan? Our teens need us to help them think all-the-way through their decisions to the consequences. He definitely needs your help in finding a life plan. Not to mention he is a square peg that the public school is trying to force into a round hole. He learns completely different than what school is teaching. He is a global thinker and probably very kinesthetic. You may need to find more creative ways for him to succeed in school. He needs success to motivate him. So set him up for it and then cheer him on. Hope this helps and I'll be praying for you as well. L.



answers from Birmingham on

Well, he does not understand now but School is very important. I would start now taking privelages away until the school work is complete. I think you probably need to work closer with his teacher's so that you can keep up with his assignments. I hope this helps.



answers from Dothan on

I agree with what everyone has said. It seems he needs to learn the value of things that he has and needs to learn some respect. My 7 year old told me after playing board games with the kids for three hours that he never gets to do anything fun. So that is what we did for a couple of days I took everything away from him. He got to sit on his bed and do his home work. I have seen a big adjustment in his attitude. best of luck.
M. S.



answers from Huntsville on

I think it's wonderful that you are catching this now at the beginning of adolescence before it becomes an even bigger problem! I agree with the previous posters who said take away all those privileges he has. Perhaps it will be harder on you than on him, but it would be even harder if you let this continue into junior high and he lost all respect for you. Kids want and need boundaries, and it's our job to provide those.
We definitely discipline for attitude here! I know how hard it is, but be firm and loving, and DON'T BACK DOWN!!!!!
Good luck!



answers from Lexington on

First and foremost, I believe that is completely normal for this age - although, obviously unacceptable and you can't let it continue. He has "nice things" - so? Things don't make great character, discipline, deprivation and hard work do. Obviously you know this, given how hard you've worked for him. He's a kid though, the more you give him the more selfish he will become.

I would suggest doing what most families with 9-11 year old boys that I personally know do: Take everything away. I teach elementary Sunday school and I know at LEAST 8 of the 20 or so 4/5th grad boys I've had in the last two years have had everything but a mattress, blanket, two full sets of clothing, and their toothbrushes taken away. They then have to earn everything back. Remember that as his parent, you are required to provide him with food (although it can be oatmeal every meal?), clothes (although who says it has the to be the best, and that he has to have alot of clothes?), and shelter (although who says it can't be sparse?). Legally, you are required to educate him. EVERYTHING ELSE IS A PRIVILEGE.

Don't let him see friends or talk on the phone. Don't let him do anything fun. Take away allowance. And GET RID OF THE VIDEO GAMES. I don't know that I would let him have those back...course I won't let them in my house period.....but make him earn everything back!! And don't give in.

He wants to whine and complain, fine. Make him do it to himself all he wants in his room with the door closed so you don't have to listen to it. Make sure he knows he's not coming out - even for dinner - until he can respect you and be obedient. And until that time, while you love him, you don't want to be around him.

Good luck!



answers from Birmingham on

I wish I had a great suggestion to offer you. As mothers, we usually know in our heart and gut what we have to do, we just sometimes need reassuring that it's right. I just wanted you to know that I read your note and I'm truely sorry your struggling with your son's behavior. You are in my prayers. I agree with the other suggestions about working with his teacher to see how he behaves in school and taking away the games until work is done. We had that problem when our son got in to gaming and would prefer to play rather than doing homework, of course. I set up a guide that just 1 "0" would mean no games for "just 1 week." Another 0 would double the penalty, etc. I had him repeat the guide we were using so we both knew he understood it was his decision about what happened. The 1st zero was so miserable for him, we didn't have the problem again. I stuck with this and thankgoodness it worked. Good luck!



answers from Louisville on

I have a rule in my video games PERIOD Monday thru Friday. Homework comes first, immediately after school, and until the homework is done, there is no tv, no playtime, nothing!!! Your child isn't the parent, YOU are!! It sounds as though you are letting him decide whether or not he will or will not do his book report. I have a son in 5th grade as well, and he doesn't make those choices. He knows he has no choice, whether he likes it or not, he has to do it. If you have to, sit down with your son and make him read the book to you. While it will require a lot of time & effort on your part, maybe sitting down with him while he completes his book will show interest on your part and will inspire your son and his attitude towards school and homework. In my opinion, video games are ruining our children. And we are allowing it!!! Kinda scary because one of these days, these are the kids who will be running our country. Right now we have the power to control what we are allowing our children to do. Its easy to allow our children to sit in front of a video game because it keeps them occupied and out of our hair...true??? Shame on us!!!

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