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Unread 05-09-2017, 06:31 PM   #601
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Posts: 371

Hi again 1418,

I would reassure you that the majority of my pupils' parents are going through exactly the same to one extent or another, with sons and gaming. One 15 year old slapped his mum in the face when she confiscated his phone, just the other week.

So I just wanted to say that video game use is becoming a common problem in countries like ours and gaming addiction really exists. Consequently, useful professional advice is quite readily available and you can find a psychologist or counselor that's up-to-date with this phenomena. Of course I am making the assumption that computer gaming is what the issue is, but it might not be. Only from your post, it sounds like it could be.

My 11 year old student kept faking illness in the last 10 minutes of his lesson. Afterwards he should have football practice. But if he is "ill" he can skip it and while his parents are having their lesson, he can secretly play on the playstation. So I said to his parents "Look, he's taking us for a ride", and I fear your son is too.

You even say he's playing you, and he has lied to you.

I think just gather your thoughts a moment.

1. So, can you rule out genuine illness? You've had lots of tests done, right? He's fine at weekends. Hmmm....
what was the preventative medicine? and why did it stop working?

2. Despite this, he feels you don't care about his health. He often has loose stools. Immediately tomorrow morning make wholewheat toast or cereal for breakfast, or potato cakes. Change the family diet to high fibre and explain to him it's for his health and because you care about his health. Young people are still very egocentric and don't necessarily put two and two together automatically: I take you to the doctor = I care about your health.

3. Good to stop yourself nagging. Good to praise the small things he does right, but they can be so damn hard to find! It is very frustrating but be patient and keep on.

4. Did you say he couldn't use the computer for a month and then let him have it back after a four day tantrum? Oops.

5. Is he really staying home from school because he's ill? Is there another issue? He will only tell you once you've rebuilt trust. You don't trust each other now, do you? Make time to do nice things together, unrelated to any of these problems.
7. Have you got a pet? A dog or cat can help depression a lot.

Okay, a little harsher on you now but not because any of this is your fault! Just because self-reflection is important so you can deal with this situation...

Seems like threats aren't carried through, and he has all the power to choose when he uses the computer and when he goes to school. I think that one month is a long time to be without a computer and so it was an unrealistic punishment to set, doomed to fail from the onset. I think it would be good to get some professional advice about real strategies you could use with him.

These are some things I know about from doing youth work, but maybe I am too soft and tough love is best. I just think teenagers are unique and an authoritarian approach isn't necessarily best...

- make a contract about what you expect from one another - each person's role, rights and responsibilities. You can do this as a meeting and discuss it, write it out and sign it, or you can just write one item and pin it on the fridge and invite your son to write item 2.
- send him an email or message with all of your thoughts. Laid out in a cool, collective manner on paper/screen can sometimes help bring perspective.
- set clear, concrete rules with clear, realistic consequences if they aren't followed. Absolutely yes take that computer away if he misses school! If you're too ill for school, you should be in bed. No homework, no studying, but also no TV, no pc. Boring, boring day in bed.
- always remember that you are the adult. A teenager might not be able to calm a volatile situation and needs your help to open a dialogue.

That's all I can say for now because my reply is becoming very long, I tend to go on sometimes. I apologize if I sound like an agony aunt!

Also I have no idea how old your son is! Sophomore is that 15 years old? Or is he older? 17?

All the best to you

Last edited by soapdish; 05-09-2017 at 06:53 PM.. Reason: needed editing!
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Unread 05-14-2017, 06:56 AM   #602
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Posts: 371

Any news 1418?

Thinking about you
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