View Full Version : 17 yr old home alone - is he studying?

06-07-14, 02:25 AM
My son (ADHD medicated) is home alone on Mondays due to school schedules. It is his last year of high school so he needs to be studying hard. The trouble is, he is addicted to Minecraft and my husband and I wonder whether he is really getting through work on that day. He failed most of his subjects last year, not by a lot and of course, he would rather be on his computer playing. He doesn't have a great work ethic no matter how hard we have tried to instil one in him. My husband came home sick from work and found him playing Minecraft which is not allowed on Mondays during school hours. How can we change his attitude? It seems the only thing he cares about is that stupid game.

06-07-14, 04:58 AM
I guess if he was caught once playing it when no one was home then he probably does it all the time..

MADD As A Hatte
06-07-14, 10:08 AM
Having recently read some research about gaming addiction, and having watched closely over the past 12 months as a work colleague developed a Minecraft-type-game addiction (his inattention to the job is actually sending the company broke), I'd say:

Nope, your son is not studying while you're out - don't even try to kid yourself!

Nope, you can't change it

People only change their behaviour if the reason to change is relevant to them; and if they want to make the change themselves. Your son will need to develop his own understanding of the value of an education, as it is relevant to what he wants to do with his life. Keeping in mind ADD characteristics such as difficulty with delayed gratification.

The reason games like Minecraft, and Camelot, and Zombiefarm etcetera etc are so addictive is their model of constant rewards and offers of upgrades etc. The research is phenomenal. In South East Asia it's so bad they now have like Betty Ford Clinics where gamers go cold turkey for treatment and suffer all the symptoms of addicts withdrawing from other addictive behaviours.

As a parent of a 17-year-old who has ADD, I recommend:

- the days most likely blow off anyway, so perhaps officially give him the Monday morning off to play Minecraft; and get him into some volunteer work for the afternoon. A young teens after school community group maybe? Volunteer work has all sorts of hidden benefits.

- give him lots of short term rewards for him for studying (cash is king!).

- intense parental supervision - which means being physically close and attentive (do the ironing, read a book)

- put all computers in the communal areas in the home; and TURN THE TELEVISION OFF. If his studying is the most important thing, Uncle Telly will simply have to shut up for a while. Create a household ambience of reading and quiet and study

- good nutrition and constant carbs (refer the Barkley videos in my signature)

- appropriate medication for your son, and Cabernet Merlot for you!

- work out which parent has ADD - that person is NOT the one providing the supervision!!

All the best - the last year of high school is a hellish year, whichever way you cut it!

06-07-14, 10:24 AM
also stay positive and encouraging,
don't say (to him/ in front of him), that the game is "stupid". after all it's something he loves to do! it will just build unnecessary resentment.

Ms. Mango
06-07-14, 12:00 PM
Is he failing courses because he has problems academically or is it mostly due to not working hard? Assuming that he will be able to graduate with his class this year, what will he be doing next year?

06-07-14, 10:32 PM
Great advice. Just last week we moved his laptop into the communal area and now I work at night beside him. We have had a talk this morning and offered for Mondays to be Minecraft day with some work in the morning. He disagrees and says he wants to study that day so, this is what we will do - set a prescribed amount of maths which he has to complete as well as some of his other work. He needs to be able to show us that night how much he has done and it must be a fairly heavy workload.
He can be a strange kid in that when you call his bluff he is almost relieved for his parents to get him back on track.
I hear what you are saying about gaming and it is of concern - I've told him this morning about the clinics in SE Asia for rehab and he was amazed, so maybe the message is getting through - about 10% anyway!
Meanwhile, constant vigiliance aided by Cab Merlot! :lol:

MADD As A Hatte
06-08-14, 03:07 AM
Good job, Clancyfish! Your darling son is not the least bit strange though, in showing relief when you reel him back in after he's tested a boundary. It's an important part of the adolescent job description, and part of him learning negotiation skills etc. Finding that you are in control and keeping a watchful loving eye is exactly what he wants and needs, developmentally, in order to feel secure enough to test the boundaries again, on another issue.

It sounds like you're doing a fantastic job of being authoritative (NOT authoritarian).

What's the reward for him meeting the study goals this coming Monday? ADD types like us need continual short term rewards to keep interested (like the lovely little thanks we all give each other here on the forum, for our posts!)

Koonunga Hill cab merlot for me this evening! What's your poison?!

06-08-14, 03:20 AM
There's a possibility that his feeling of relief might be short-lived. Making idealistic resolutions that are impossible to keep is a common ADHD problem.

MADD As A Hatte
06-08-14, 05:41 AM
There's a possibility that his feeling of relief might be short-lived. Making idealistic resolutions that are impossible to keep is a common ADHD problem.

Jeez, mate. I don't know about this.

Firstly, I don't think there were any 'idealistic resolutions' put forward. Just a classic example of parent-child negotiation that will be reviewed on an ongoing basis.

B: in my experience, Aussie blokes are pretty bloody resilient. They're Weetbix kids. We have to contend with redbacks and great whites, and brown snakes down here. And that's before you make it out the front gate. Given the right support and encouragement, there's no beating our boys.

And (iii): for all Western society adolescents,The Challenge-Negotiate-Regroup cycle is pretty universal. ADD or no ADD.

The adolescent drama of idealistic resolutions unfulfilled comes when they try to manage their challenges in isolation, without parental support. Which is clearly not the case here with Family Clancyfish. It looks like he's in excellent hands to me!

Given parental support and realistic short-term goal setting, this young man, like my son, has every chance of rising to the Great 2014 Year 12 Exam Challenge, and kicking butt.

If he c o c k s up his end of Year 12 exams, there are multivarious pathways to a university education. But let's just be encouraging of him and his Mum, in what is an incredibly stressful antipodean school year, and get him through his HSC (VCE?), shall we?

06-08-14, 11:13 AM
(Didn't want to question either his resilience or the quality of parent-child negotiation. Only intended to highlight the possibility that enthusiasm for the new plan might have hit its peak long ago. :) )

MADD As A Hatte
06-08-14, 08:38 PM
(Didn't want to question either his resilience or the quality of parent-child negotiation. Only intended to highlight the possibility that enthusiasm for the new plan might have hit its peak long ago. :) )

Understood, and thanks.

Just to paint the picture ... re the education system in Australia ... unlike the US, the final two school years here culminate in monster exams and practicals (for music, design tech etc.). A bit like English A-levels. Unlike the American SATs and the college aptitude tests, our end-of-high-school score /ranking is heavily based on the exam results.

The result is, we don't have a choice about being enthused. By and large, the systems requires that if you want a half way decent chance at tertiary education, you have to put your head down and get on with it.

For those of us who are parents of teens in Year 12, it's a high-wire balancing act between being gently encouraging, being an authority figure who keeps the child on track, and being a source of comfort when they have the inevitable melt downs.

It's not uncommon to hear stressed HSC students shriek random things like "Could someone tell the cat to stop stomping past my room?", as Kitty quietly slinks down the hallway.

October is D-Day, but practicals start in early August. This is something we all deal with, eventually. as Aussie parents, but it's stressy and requires lateral thinking and loads of patience.

06-09-14, 12:58 AM
What's my poison! ATM, a lovely Trevor Jones Virgin Chardonnay...

I hear what the forum is saying, and yes, it's constant regrouping and beginning the negotiation process all over again. I keep in my mind that these kids are about 4 years behind in terms of maturity, so I'm really dealing with a 13 year old. It helps me keep my sanity and patience. In saying that, I also expect him to lift his game and take personal responsibility for his actions and choices.

One of the strategies we are using is getting him out of the house and engaged with the world around him...playing water hockey (which he loves because it's intense and suits his ADHDness), bowling, visits to the big smoke (Sydney) for some fun outings and just doing simple things like playing Scrabble or Charades after dinner.

Madde as a Hatte, thanks for reminding to keep the reward stuff coming - he really responds well to this and I probably don't do it often enough.

07-28-14, 05:18 PM
Ok, you want he to stop playing, right? But do you offer him anything that he like instead of it?