Realization son is addicted
December 28, 2017 at 3:24 pm #40Emma9 Posts
My son has returned home from college for the summer. His grades are not good, considering his class rank in High School and brilliant PSAT. My husband and I work hard to come up with the crazy high college tuition and we know he does nothing but LOL in his room every night at college. He has made no new friends at college, except those from High School, no love interest, or any interest in the rich social scene his college town provides. He is underweight and looks unhealthy and tired, due to gaming all night. Despite ultimatums to produce a transcript and get a job, he has done neither, so we suspect he may have flunked a course or is hiding something. Tonight I checked to see if he was on his elaborate computer system at 4:00 am and he was ( he locked the bedroom door but I could hear the keyboard and him talking to his online “friends.”) My disappointment is immense, this is a kid with such amazing potential, although we worried about his computer time in High School. Back then he got great grades, had a social life and a super girlfriend. When confronted he becomes very defensive. Apartment living has allowed him to really get into his addiction, funded by us, his parents! We are now faced with the possibility of pulling the plug on all his funding and kicking him out of our house. Either way, we feel we have “lost him,” and that hurts! I have taken solace in knowing this is a real thing, and the stories out there are similar to ours. It is hard to imagine someone wanting to waste their time to their own detriment like this, and tough love seems the only answer.December 28, 2017 at 3:27 pm #43sammy18 Posts
First off, he’s at that age when every kid wants to break away from his parents and be independent, and from what you described, he doesn’t sound that different than a lot of kids today, or really that much different than a lot of kids ‘yesterday.’ Any animosity or bad behavior toward you is likely more age related than computer ‘addiction’ related, in my opinion.
From what you said, it sounds like you only had good intentions for your son, funding his education, room and board and an expensive computer. And it sounds like he’s not getting the connection between hard work and reward. He might just need a metaphorical ass-kicking.
Now every family is different, but for me, I didn’t really have an appreciation for the things I had… car, place to live, food, insurance, etc., until I had to start paying for it myself. My parents, while I lived at home, started making me pay my car insurance first. Then I started paying for my books for school, then tuition and then I started paying for my own meals ( I ate out a lot during college years). I also started working when I was 15 at my parent’s business, then at 16 I got a job at a burger place and then started working for a company at 17, and worked up through college. Before long, I had a good appreciation for the NEED to work if I wanted to have things. By providing everything your son needs out of love, maybe it’s just enabling his behavior. Maybe… again, every family is different.
Perhaps you could start by shifting some of his expenses to him gradually. A good place to start would be his cell phone if he has one and if you pay for it. Make him pay his monthly fee or part of it, and he’ll learn quickly that he either works to pay his phone bill or he won’t have a phone. This will force him to make a choice… either play online, or work to pay bills for things he wants to have.
Also, working for and paying one’s own way is good for his self-esteem, something that a lot of people with serious addictions don’t have.
Just some thoughts 🙂December 28, 2017 at 3:29 pm #44sammy18 Posts
I remember the days of ultimatums that were dismissed/ignored. One of the ones we told our son was that we’d send him to boarding school if the time ever came when we couldn’t control him at home. He has since told us that he never believed we’d follow through, since we never had. That’s the problem with ultimatums; you can’t give an ‘or else’ unless you plan to follow through the first time, every time.
My first recommendation would be to get those grades as I suspect you are probably correct in your assumption that they are not good. In any case, I would refuse to pay future tuition until you have that information and can base your decision on it.
As indicated above, making your own way sheds new perspective on life. Our first rule for our son was that he would not attend college away from home and instead, commute to a local university. Most importantly, we insisted that he pay his tuition forward; the only way he could do that was to get a job. If his grades were good and his scholarship maintained, we reimbursed him. After the first year, that became a non-issue. He held his part-time job and his scholarship.
The downside is that if he refuses to get a job, you will have to take another measure. The one thing so many of us have experienced is a kid sitting around home all day, playing games and doing nothing else for themselves. It’s an easy trap to fall into, especially when you are faced with defensiveness or (in our case), defiance and anger.
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