Yu-gi-oh Cards and 18 Yr Old

Updated on July 13, 2017
M.6. asks from Woodbridge, NJ
9 answers

Our son will be 18 in 2 weeks. He has fetal alcohol syndrome, mild developmentally delayed, severe ADHD combined type, schizophrenia, and is on the spectrum (PDD-NOS and pragmatic language disorder). He cannot make friends - literally. He does not have the ability to start or maintain friendships. He is nice to folks and folks are nice right back. He can be around folks doing the same thing they are doing, though. Like going to the pool every day or participating in classes like lego building, etc. Things that mostly require kind of "parallel play". So while he doesn't have "friends," we make sure that he spends plenty of time around people and being socially active. We live in a small town and all the kids in town know who he is and are generally nice to him. If we go to a football game, he is always invited to sit with the "cute girls" and they buy him a treat :)

He has a real thing for Yu-gi-oh cards. He likes Pokemon and Magic cards, but Yu-gi-oh are his favorite. He probably has 10,000 of the darn things and it is all he asks for for birthdays and Christmas each year. I think that I would like to see him move away from spending so much time playing with the cards. If I didn't intervene, he would play with those literally every waking second of the day. We do have "cards time," but honestly we have to kind of fight him to put them away. My husband thinks that we should let him have at them - as many as he wants. His feeling is that our son doesn't get many pleasures in life - he doesn't have friends and considers these cards his friends.

I totally see both sides of the coin. Why not make him happy? On the other hand, I think maybe it is time to look at some other interests - ones that are not so solitary. I mostly worry about when he goes to a group home and they don't "force" him to engage in the world (and will they be too lazy to make him engage?) and he spends weeks in his room just playing with these cards.

I'd like to put the kibosh on giving any more Yu-gi-oh cards as gifts (since he has a million already) and encourage folks to find something else to get for him. Hubby is like "meh, who cares if he has a million cards, he loves them." My husband isn't advocating that we stop getting him into social activities, but he just isn't worried about how much time he spends with the cards like I am.

So, tell folks to find something other than Yu-gi-oh cards for his birthday (and going forward) or say screw it and let the kid get a million more cards?


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So What Happened?

Thanks for the advice! We have asked our team of professionals that work with him (and have for years) their thoughts on this and have received answers on both sides of the coin, which is one of the reasons we are somewhat struggling with the decision.

We are not able to connect him with other Yu-gi-oh players because he isn't actually "playing the game" (nor does he want to). He lines them up, has his own "game" that he plays, and then relines them up again. He has no interest in learning how to actually play and no interest in "clubs" relating to the game other than to the extent that he can look at other people's cards for pleasure. Additionally, the nearest card shop/group that plays is an hour each way - not feasible since he doesn't drive, I work full time, and there is no public transportation that goes between the two even if he was interested.

We are pretty realistic about his future and have mapped out goals with his team and with him vocationally, educationally, and regarding living arrangements as we move in the future.

Thanks again! We still haven't decided quite what to do, but we still have a bit of time to decide. With a milestone birthday, this would be a good time to work on cultivating some other interests, but that doesn't necessarily mean he can't keep playing with the cards or at least receiving a few from family members :)

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answers from Portland on

I have learned the hard way to let my son (big time introvert) just do his own thing. He is happiest on his own and gets very out of sorts if I intervene too much.

My husband is the exact same way. He told me to leave my son be.

I went to a few counselling sessions to help me parent better. My son was having a hard time at school, feeling very drained and coming home super negative. He's learned some techniques to help him, and I learned to back off.

My son enjoys some hobbies that are quite young - and he can't do these hobbies with friends without being made fun of. He has one pal who is also into the same hobbies (another introvert - big time), and they enjoy a nice friendship. A lot of it is online though. Neither of them feel a big need to get together.

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answers from Pittsburgh on

I know that you are thinking specifically about cards, but I feel like maybe you are missing the forest for the trees. The bigger issue here is how much do you push your son outside of his comfort zone, and how much do you let him do his own thing? I know you do a lot already with the social activities, and that's great. But he's almost an adult and, as you say, eventually he will choose for himself.

Do you think that limiting his card time now will change what he chooses to do on his own later? Do you think that getting different kinds of gifts will help him to develop more diverse interests? Are there other ways to help him engage in the world while doing what he loves (an online Yu-gi-oh card group)? Or is there a solitary type of activity that he could do that you think would be time better spent?

I think you should talk to your son's therapist and limit your battles to things that will really help him in the long run. Is this one of the battles? I'm not sure, which is why I'd refer you back to your son's therapist.

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answers from New York on

The best way to steer or guide children away from something is to guide them *towards* something else that we think is more in their best interests. Or at least to encourage them to experience "options".

I understand the concept of steering him away from so much card time BUT FIRST please develop a plan for what you will steer him "towards" instead.

Could he try painting or pottery - producing items which maybe he could even make money from one day?

As some posts below say too - think about your "vision" for your son's adult life. If you have concrete ideas that do not involve cards, go on ahead and start doing a bit of steering.

But otherwise, let him enjoy his card time!

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answers from Minneapolis on

I understand your concern, but I'm leaning with your husband on this one. I wouldn't tell folks what to find or not find for his birthday. Let other people decide for themselves. If they ask you, suggest that they talk to your son directly (even though you know what he's going to say). The only gift you need to concern yourself with is what you give him yourself. And since you know its highly likely he'll get some of these cards from other people, get him something different yourself

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answers from Miami on

I would guess that you have a psychologist that works with you and your son for his issues, yes? If you don't, you certainly should have. At the very least, you need a plan for his life as an adult, an honest assessment of what life will hold for him, what he is able to do and not do, etc. Many states have "sheltered workshops" for these individuals that will give them a "job" to do and transport them to and from work. It gives them a sense of belonging and understanding that staying at home all the time cannot give. And it gives the family a break as well.

Helping find a place for this young man other than at home with his Yu-gi-oh cards would solve some of your Yu-gi-oh problem...

Another thing that you need to consider, if you have not done it, is getting the court to award you guardianship. I know this has absolutely NOTHING to do with Yu-gi-oh cards, but it's such an important thing. Without it, you cannot make decisions for him that would need to be made. I assume you have a social worker, yes? Talk to him or her about it so that you can get the ball rolling on it. The social worker can explain to you in concrete terms why you need to have guardianship over your son.

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answers from Portland on

It's his birthday, people are trying to give him something they know he wants and likes. I think if you tell others not to give him the cards, you put them in the position of having to wonder what it is that he would want instead.

Keep it simple-- let him enjoy the cards until he doesn't. Your husband is right on this one.

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answers from Norfolk on

Is there are card collecting club that might combine his love for the cards with a more social activity with others that have the same passions?
I can see where you'd like for him to develop further interests.

I'm really not sure if what you would like to do would be a good thing or not.
I suppose you might want to prepare him in the event that Yu-gi-oh eventually goes out of business and no more cards are produced - everything ends eventually whether it's next year or 50 or 100 years from now.
Would he get as excited about stamp collecting?
There are always more stamps - domestic and international.
Is there a counselor that you can talk to about this?

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answers from Wausau on

YuGiOh isn't supposed to be a solitary activity. That may simply be a result of your son's medical issues. My kids are 15 and 17 and like YuGiOh. They have each other to play with, but they also play with a 13 year old kid in the neighborhood, sometimes at school in game club, and occasionally with a developmentally disabled young man of 20 who lives down the street.

What I would recommend for your situation is to seek out local gaming groups - community centers, library, comic and game shops - to find people with the same interest. Additionally, have your son teach you how to play YuGiOh too, if you can stand it. (I learned to play Magic The Gathering, because both kids and my husband do, but it isn't my favorite.)

When he moves to a place of his own (the group home) help him get started in forming his own club. I know he probably can't organize it himself, but I'd make sure the place he moves to has a solid social support system and a dedicated activities director.

As for birthday gifts - he should get what brings him joy. I understand why you wish things were different, but outside force away from what he loves won't have happy results in this scenario.



answers from Anchorage on

My instinct would be to let him have what he loves, but I am not a specialist in kids with these disorders so my opinion counts for little Does he have a therapist or a behavioral specialist he works with? If so, what is their opinion on the cards and the amount of time he plays with them?