Hi, I'm so glad I found this place... My 13 year old son is addicted to online gaming (mostly Team Fortress 2 but STEAM in general) and I am at a loss. A little backstory: We moved to TN from MA in 2011 because where we were living became drug infested and we needed a change. My husbands family (not his biological father/family) lives here so they invited us to come and start anew. My son and I have all of our blood relatives and friends in MA and so it is very hard still.
Anyway, he always played games. I remember getting him to play Gamecube when it first came out and he loved it! We didn't see any issues with it then, he did what he had to do and we had limits that were followed. Well, since moving here, we have moved around a bit. He is on his 3rd middle school since 2011 and the last school he was bullied. He loved going outside at our last house because there was mountain he could play in and that made me THRILLED!
My son has ADHD so he does some things that are odd like talking aloud to himself and such. He attracted some mean kids who ultimately beat him up because he was playing with rocks and sticks. At that point, I didn't want him to go outside because it was too much. I was pregnant and had a 1-1/2 yr old daughter. So he started staying in more and more. We had a discussion about STEAM years ago and his step father and I said NO WAY! Well, we felt that he was getting older and that it would be ok. Well, what a mistake!! Once we opened that gate, we let out a monster.
My son REFUSES to go anywhere with us, the only way he will do anything is if I threaten to take away his computer/internet access. IF it comes down to that or even if I MENTION it, he will throw things and SCREAM at me! This is NOT my son.. not at all.
He is allowed 2 hours after school, not a second longer. I sit there like a prison guard and count the time, but when he gets off of it, he sticks his face in his ipod and watches videos of TF2. I JUST bought him an ipod touch because I thought he start listening to music or something. We got him a Kindle for Christmas too. His grades are not as good as they could be but NOT failing (that I know of!). He is SO bright and used to be fun to be around. Now he scares me when he doesn't get his computer time in or if it doesn't work right.
OMG if the internet goes out or there are loading issues, he FLIPS out! He kicks his chair, throws his headphones, stomps upstairs screams, punches the wall. I recently brought his computer into the living room so we can monitor it and he took that as a direct hit. He looked at me with tears in his eyes and asked "what did I do wrong mom?" I said nothing why? and he said "why am I being punished? Why can't I keep my computer upstairs?". This was my husbands idea of "including" him in family time.
Sometimes I get distracted because I have a 2 year old and a 6 month old so I have my hands full. He KNOWS how long he is to be online and if he goes over his time, he loses it completely the next day. Sometimes I miss it and can't "prove" he's gone over, but sometimes I do and IF I do, he will BEG me to give him another chance. He blew $250 on STEAM. He gets money from his grandparents and uncles for his birthday and holidays and he wanted it all in his steam account. Every penny of it was gone within 5 minutes. He got a check that was mailed late from his aunt so I held onto it until recently then I cashed it. When I told him I cashed it, I said I am NOT putting it in STEAM. it's a waste! He said ok but wrote me a 3 page email about how this is how he will learn to use his money and he should spend it now on whatever he wants because in the future he will have responsibility and that I am wrong for not allowing him to spend HIS Money how HE wants. It got to me.
Today, I put half of it in and gave him the other half in cash when he started begging me to buy this game for him and an online "friend". He got so angry he was typing hard at this "friend" and he was talking under his breath. I told him I will have his grandparents and family put the money into a savings account or give cash so that way he can utilize it or save it on other stuff. Once again he went into a RAGE.
I just do not know what to do. Is counceling something that will work? He has one friend who also has adhd, but he doesn't see him much. He used to play soccer, but had a bad year (bullied) so he stopped playing. We aren't religious people so church is out. I don't know what to do anymore and I need help... I want my son to stop this crazy anger and be social again. I want him to laugh and smile at something other than a computer monitor. I am upset I missed the group tonight, but I will be at next weeks. Any advice??????