I need help. I have been concerned about my son (now he is 19) for many, many years. My heart was telling me there’s a problem, and I listened, but I did not know what to do. Now, I am confronted w/ strong evidence of a problem, just today, finding out he used all $800 of grandparents’ gift money on games rather than paying for school as he was supposed to do / said he would do / said he wanted to do. He looked so ashamed, like he could not control himself. He wants to go to school and be a fireman but seems so pulled into this game thing. Like he has two opposing desires. I told him to go to school (it’s first day of college in EMT program) and tell the financial office that we needed a few days to figure this whole thing out. I need help knowing what to do. I know I must stop enabling him, I know I have to prevent access to our internet at the house. My question: I have rent paying tenants all of whom are students. These tenants need the high speed internet I provide for the house. We rely upon rent to pay our bills. I know I can change password and restrict my son from it but can he find a work-around? Secondly, I view getting an education especially a practical sort of one like this as a good way for son to achieve / make new friends / kick this addiction. So what I WANT to be enabling is his access to his education, his participation in his classes, making new friends, etcetera. How may I do this and DISABLE his gaming. I love this boy soooooo deeply and I’ll do anything for him including stopping enabling him (now that I am learning about this). He is (still is) a wonderful young man with so many great qualities.
It’s very hard. We want to give our kids the best help to get on in life. But your son’s actions show that he is in trouble. This loss of $800 is a huge flag waving in the breeze that should not be written off lightly. He needs to start paying that back to you by earning the money somehow.
How willing is he to engage in therapy? Does he admit he has a problem with gaming that he cannot control? That is important to know.
If you are unsure of the security of your internet to him then get in an IT professional to advise you on the best course of action. It will not be as costly as a wasted year of college.
You could give him one last chance and put in place strict checks; that you get all his scores for his assignments and that he must do XYZ for you to keep funding him. But the first time he does not measure up you will need to rethink whther you should keep going along with it. The experience on the forum is that he is likely to struggle if he is an addict and used to playing excessively. If he gets along with people and has real life friends then it is probably a better sign, but if he spends lot of time by himself, I would be very concerned.
My gut feeling would be to suggest you call time out on college unless he can pay for it himself. Have a year of theraputic engagement. This could be a detox at a place such as reSTart, and then working/volunteering to see how he is coping with real life and independance, or going on a wilderness experience.
There are many options; but it depends on his response.
Keep coming back to read other parents’ posts about how they have mananged the failing in college problem. The more informed you become the more you can help the situation.
Parents actions are part of the problem. Once we realise this we can make changes. All the best to you and your son.