OK, so here we go again, another school year has begun. And, although we made it through Freshman year in high school, we were not completely unscathed. As I anticipated, there were certainly times when I would have preferred a Zombie Apocalypse (Zombie Apocalypse vs Freshman Year in High School) to the battles I endured with my son. The bulk of the battles were related to the transition into high school and lack of effort on his part, which I have touched on in quite a few of my posts. (Two Steps Forward, One Step Back; CHANGE; Give It Your All; and Summer Safe Zone?)
As you can see, these are ongoing issues, so you’d think by now I wouldn’t flinch, I’d just take a sink or swim attitude about things. Unfortunately, when my Gifted IQ Child behaves more like a Brain-Dead Walker and can’t seem to learn from his repeated mistakes, despite stating that he gets it, I find myself grasping for any new trick that just might strike a nerve. I do however, continue to hang on to hope that Sophomore year and my son’s sixteenth birthday will bring enlightenment and maturity thus creating advancements in these critical areas. (I keep hearing from teachers and other parents that this will come. They all can’t be wrong. There has to come a point when my walker awakens and sees things as they are, not as his hormone riddled brain imagines.)
Beyond the lack of effort issue, my most challenging struggle continues to be that of my son’s extensive use of all things electronic. A hoard of walkers is much more welcome then the daily battle over his excessive gaming and computer time. Over the summer I retreated a little, having to except defeat in some areas, but, with the start of school, the daily rant about house rules in regards to electronic usage time is upon us. I am continually reminding him that all school work and chores need to be done before play time can begin. Reinforcing this is the daily checklist that was implemented last school year. This list is displayed in a prominent spot as a reminder for my son to use, thus, hopefully becoming a habit. We teetered on the precipice of this happening toward the end of last school year, but summer vacation wiped this queue from my son’s memory banks and has to be reinstalled. In addition, the NO GAMING Monday through Thursday rule took effect when school started, but that will take some vigilance on my part to be sure my son abides by it. He has found many ways to disguise his playing, plus he has found a loophole in which he’s not actually playing, but watching videos about playing. As long as he’s within his time limited, it’s hard to fight this one. (His skill with things like this concerns me. He seems to be a lawyer in the making. Some days I think I need a law degree just to be a parent.)
I have always felt that my son was a bit too obsessive in the gaming area, even to the point of addiction. As I stated in my previous post, “It’s a Matter of Trust,” I regret the day I allowed a gaming device to enter our home. It’s been a slippery slope with walkers biting at my heels from the beginning. As he’s gotten older, the angle of the slope has gotten steeper, particularly because the bulk of his gaming is on his computer now and is not as easy to monitor. Although, he does more group playing on-line using a headset, so sneaking up on him is getting a bit easier. Plus, he can get loud sometimes, so, that’s an indicator that he’s getting overstimulated and it’s time to intervene.
Concerns about my son’s possible gaming addiction lead me to do some research, which only helped to escalate my concerns. Gaming addiction is a growing issue, not just in teens, but in adults, unfortunately, there is no set diagnosis and suggestions for treatment vary. There is however a list of symptoms, most of which my son either has or comes close to. The most obvious ones being overextending allotted playing time, a pre-occupation with gaming/games, and spending too much money on games or game related items. He constantly reminds me it’s his money. And he’s right. I just thing one day he’ll regret this, especially when he wants a car.
My son gets completely lost when he’s playing and has no clue what time of day it is. He even forgets to eat lunch on the weekends. (Skipping meals is another symptom.) Even if he’s just watching videos he can do the same thing. Getting him to the dinner table has become a battle of epic proportions. If he’s not reading or researching about something gaming related, he’s rattling off details about games that just make me glaze over. Read the rest of this entry »