View Full Version : 19 yr old son playing computer games and not working


clancyfish
08-25-16, 05:50 PM
My son, ADHD medicated, finished high school last year. He was not particularly academic and has had trouble working out what to do with his life. He started a Digital Gaming course but struggled with it as high level mathemathics were required. He then decided to start a basic level graphic design course. The course is very easy and only two days a week. He doesn't try particularly hard in the course but he is doing ok. He has tried to get a job as a waiter, kitchen and etc but with no luck. His social skills are not great and he only has one friend.

The big problem is his playing computer games which he spends all his spare time doing. He shuts himself in his room and plays night and day. He will come out and do his chores when asked and go straight back to his room.

We've tried turning off the internet, threats, encouragement, sports etc. They work for a while and then he turns back to his computer. When he games he becomes non communicative and angry.

My husband and I are at our wits end. We feel like kicking him out but he has no job and no money to support himself. We are in our early 60s and sick of this constant intensive parenting.

Is anyone else experiencing this situation?

Any ideas or help would be gratefully appreciated.

sarahsweets
08-26-16, 04:18 AM
The big problem is his playing computer games which he spends all his spare time doing. He shuts himself in his room and plays night and day. He will come out and do his chores when asked and go straight back to his room.

The intense focus that some of us can get regarding things we like is sometimes referred to as 'hyperfocus'. Personally, I find hyperfocus to be an impairment because I cant control it and it usually keeps me occupied with stuff I dont need to be doing.

We've tried turning off the internet, threats, encouragement, sports etc. They work for a while and then he turns back to his computer. When he games he becomes non communicative and angry.

What did he do when you turned of the internet?

My husband and I are at our wits end. We feel like kicking him out but he has no job and no money to support himself. We are in our early 60s and sick of this constant intensive parenting.

Is anyone else experiencing this situation?

Any ideas or help would be gratefully appreciated.
I hear what you are saying about being at your wits end. You said that you are sick of intensive parenting? Well, kids with adhd are 30% less mature than their peers which means your son is around 14 mentally. A child with adhd will require longer parenting IMO, in fact I plan on parenting until the kids dont need it anymore. My son is 20, diagnosed when he was 3.5 and he very much needs me. There is no way I could think of kicking him out at this point nor do I need or want to.

Being a parent has no end IMO, and you will be needed and relied upon for years. I am not sure what you mean by being sick of intensive parenting.
If you mean you are sick of him not having any goals then maybe he needs to see a therapist. And maybe he needs to see his doctor about his meds.

Sometimes too high of a dose can cause the intense focus you are talking about. Your son has a brain disorder, a disability. Expecting him to act and live like a typical kid will only lead you to be disappointed.

MItterday
08-26-16, 03:33 PM
I hear you. People can get addicted to computers games. I believe it fulfills the need for excitement, instant friends and challenges, as well as being perfect for those with a short attention span.

I just did a little online research on this and discovered that individuals with ADHD and those with Autism can become addicted to video games (here is link - http://tinyurl.com/gn5b569). However, that you probably have already figured out. Not the next question is what to do about it.

It might be a good idea to talk with a counselor or even your sons' doctor about your concerns as addictive behavior can sometimes be controlled by medicine and diet. Also, using boundaries with your son might be a good idea as well. There is a great book about setting boundaries entitled, "Boundaries with Teens, When to Say Yes and How to Say No" that might be helpful as well.

Take care and good luck.

yepimonfire
08-26-16, 04:37 PM
I would talk to him nicely and just start talking about his future and what his goals are and how to achieve them. Many of us with adhd lack foresight into the future, we live in the here and now and don't always think about how our actions are affecting our future. He needs support, but the support needs to be firm. He is 19, but still lives at home, and you're still mom. Take the games away but do it in a supportive way. Tell him you're doing it for his own good. Is he on meds?

TurtleBrain
08-26-16, 05:32 PM
If he's good at gaming and has lots of social media connections online relating to gaming, he could even turn that into a career by starting a youtube channel where he could post videos of him playing with friends. It may take months or even a year to know for sure though, so it would be better to have a real job just in case that doesn't work out.

Just some ideas, you don't have to keep your kid completely away from the internet. However, if he's not being very social even on the internet, then all that internet time is being wasted for nothing. Nobody can get far in life in isolation. We're social beings. While you may not be able to keep your son away from gaming and the computer, at least try to make sure he's at least being social online. At the same time, make sure to remind him the limits of sharing your life with people online (like obviously don't be telling people where you live).

Edit: oooh you're in your 60s huh? I didn't read the whole post, I figured you were younger... yeah, that's a tough boat to be in. Well, it could be worse... not that that would make you feel any better. Just saying. At least he's not out there getting in trouble in the streets.

Sophia2016
10-06-16, 06:27 PM
I loved what another poster said "Your son has a brain disorder, a disability. Expecting him to act and live like a typical kid will only lead you to be disappointed."

It really does sound like he needs some inspiration and some sort of a role model. Do you know anyone around you that he looks up to? As a teenager it's really hard to believe in yourself and believe in all the possibilities for your future. He needs to see that there's a whole world out there and someone else has succeeded in spite of being in the same situation as him before.

Lloyd_
10-08-16, 07:12 AM
My son, ADHD medicated, finished high school last year. He was not particularly academic and has had trouble working out what to do with his life. He started a Digital Gaming course but struggled with it as high level mathemathics were required. He then decided to start a basic level graphic design course. The course is very easy and only two days a week. He doesn't try particularly hard in the course but he is doing ok. He has tried to get a job as a waiter, kitchen and etc but with no luck. His social skills are not great and he only has one friend.

The big problem is his playing computer games which he spends all his spare time doing. He shuts himself in his room and plays night and day. He will come out and do his chores when asked and go straight back to his room.

We've tried turning off the internet, threats, encouragement, sports etc. They work for a while and then he turns back to his computer. When he games he becomes non communicative and angry.

My husband and I are at our wits end. We feel like kicking him out but he has no job and no money to support himself. We are in our early 60s and sick of this constant intensive parenting.

Is anyone else experiencing this situation?

Any ideas or help would be gratefully appreciated.

STOP paying the internet bill and if he wants the internet then he better get a job and pay for it then. ;)

ToneTone
10-08-16, 08:17 PM
I have a friend who told me something that helped him and his wife respond to their son who was going through really difficult, annoying, misbehaving period.

They went to a counselor for themselves and strategized with the counselor on how to deal with their son. In their case, their son was at a school that was pretty tough and the counselor suggested they try backing off and let the school play "bad cop." There were other steps, but anyway, my friend just found sitting down--he and his wife--to discuss this with a third person who was professionally trained--to be enormously helpful.

And I think they only went to the counselor for a few sessions. Find the smartest therapist/counselor/psychiatrist you can afford who understands your son's condition ... and who might have a feel for your son as a person ... and consult them. There is something about strategizing with a professional that has so much less baggage and weirdness than talking to friends and other parents. And the professional is a person trained to see patterns of behavior.

Good luck.

I think it's wonderful--and speaks to your concern as a parent--that you are here posing this question. Publicly posing a question clearly (as you have done) is sometimes the hardest part of figuring out the next step.

Tone

BellaVita
10-08-16, 10:36 PM
Sarah's post here is excellent.

Some other things: could he be feeling depressed, since he only has one friend and since he has struggled to get a job? Maybe he is feeling really low about himself, and tries to fill a void playing video games. And the hyperfocus that comes with ADHD is probably making it even harder for him to stop playing - hyperfocus can make us intensely focus on things without being productive or focusing on anything else in our lives and so we fall behind since we can't rip ourselves away from the activity. It's not his fault, it's a part of the disorder.

I agree that it sounds like he needs therapy, and possibly needs to also talk to his psychiatrist to see if he might have something else like depression going on too. And maybe he needs a dose adjustment because like someone else said too high of a dose can cause even more intense focus on one thing.

Could even be too low of a dose where he is unable to manage his ADHD symptoms.

Definitely something he needs to discuss with his psychiatrist and a therapist.

In my opinion kicking him out would be cruel, he's disabled and unable to work right now and it sounds like he's really struggling. It would surely set up his life for failure if he got kicked out.

20thcenturyfox
10-10-16, 12:42 AM
On the one hand having this situation at home would drive me around the bend, too. Especially when it is the very situation you've worried about and worked to avoid all through his high school.

On the other, I'm thinking that your son has just lost one of the main structured settings of his life (as you have, too). I would guess that successfully replacing the structure (including curriculum, tasks, goals, time divisions, social life and work-leisure balance) of high school--without a full-time job or full-time college--would challenge even the most capable 19-year olds. He would probably need help doing this even if he were not ADHD.

So how best to help him without losing your minds? With so many things you could do (some unilateral, some involving your son's participation), and with frustration high on both sides, I like the idea of your consulting with a professional on your own first, to vent, brainstorm, and begin to get some clarity on which problems are yours, which are your son's, what options exist for each, and what order seems to have the best chance of success.

One obvious issue is whether your son's diagnosis or medication needs to be updated or optimized. And if your son has never received any treatment other than medication, then some sort of behavioural program to help him address self-regulation and executive dysfunctions seems like an important option to look into.

Another possible issue is that you may be facing financial, health or other issues relating to your own pending aging and retirement which call for some long-term planning and adjustments at the same time as you try to help your son prepare to take steps toward his own independence. Just as on an aircraft we're instructed to put on our own mask before helping someone else, postponing looking after your own needs, is probably not the best thing for your son, either.

This would be a tough spot for anyone to be in. I think you are right to want to bring the current stalemate to an end, and I wish you the very best as you try to feel your way through it.

ginniebean
10-10-16, 12:16 PM
He's 19 and most likely shut down. He's aware he's supposed to be an adult starting his life but in my experience also fully aware he's not ready even if he doesn't know why. The maturational curve for kids with adhd is much slower please take this into account. He could be as ready as a 14 yr old to make his way in life. You look at him and see a 19 yr old but inside he's likely much younger. i think the hardest time for people with adhd are these years. It's likely the pressure he fears from the outside is matched and possibly exceeded by the pressure he feels so he's escaping.

My suggestion is a very honest heart to heart about how he feels about his readiness. This is a talk that requires he make himself vulnerable in an eztreme way so there has to be listening. He will need help getting a resume and looking for a job. He may go thru many jobs because young people with adhd act "wierd" and that can make for tense work situation and many will bail. That is to be expected. This is so common because it is very much the trajectory of adhd in a peraons life. He needs a lot more help than you can tell just by looking at him . tough love won't make him leap forward maturationally.

im sorry if this is not what you want to hear but it is the reality.

Stevuke79
10-10-16, 12:27 PM
I haven't experienced that situation but I applaud your concern and wanting to make sure that you aren't enabling him.

I agree that at 19 parenting shouldn't still be so 'intensive'.

20thcenturyfox
10-11-16, 03:09 AM
I hear you. People can get addicted to computers games. I believe it fulfills the need for excitement, instant friends and challenges, as well as being perfect for those with a short attention span.

I just did a little online research on this and discovered that individuals with ADHD and those with Autism can become addicted to video games (here is link - http://tinyurl.com/gn5b569). However, that you probably have already figured out. Not the next question is what to do about it.

It might be a good idea to talk with a counselor or even your sons' doctor about your concerns as addictive behavior can sometimes be controlled by medicine and diet. Also, using boundaries with your son might be a good idea as well. There is a great book about setting boundaries entitled, "Boundaries with Teens, When to Say Yes and How to Say No" that might be helpful as well.

Take care and good luck.

Although internet addiction is not yet a recognized diagnosis, research is already moving beyond that to examine exactly what changes are occurring in the brains of those affected. And guess what? It seems to alter dopamine structures as well as pathways. http://scholar.google.ca/scholar_url?url=http://downloads.hindawi.com/journals/biomed/2012/854524.pdf&hl=en&sa=X&scisig=AAGBfm3ZS7zy9vzywuo8iT5cDFj5u8FG-g&nossl=1&oi=scholarr&ved=0ahUKEwif35mIl9LPAhXs5YMKHRGSAgEQgAMIHCgBMAA

Not only are ADHD teens probably more susceptible initially, internet gaming may turn out to be one of the worst things they can do to their brains...training themselves to desire and need even more of the instant non-social rewards that are hampering their ability to self-regulate in the first place.

I have long suspected there is something profoundly harmful and mind-altering about video games and internet chat rooms for some people, just as there is with alcohol and gambling. It's nice to know I wasn't crazy, but I can see this is going to cause a lot of suffering, stress and animosity in households where this addiction is taking root.

Pilgrim
10-11-16, 05:23 AM
This is interesting,
I guess by 19 you would think he's getting it together.

I think some excellent advice above.

Would I say addiction no.

He probably gets a certain amount of confidence through playing, having connections with others online.

Problem is he is focusing on something that in the long run won't help a great deal, answer instant gratification.

I started seeing a therapist/ Psyciatrist / doctor recently.

I game , but it doesn't get in the way, I think. My dr said to me you have to find a healthy thing to hyper focus on. A career, I thought this was interesting.

For what it's worth I applaud you as parents at least caring for him. My 2 cents.