Tackling Video Games


My son has always loved video games.  At a restaurant or during a long car ride it has come in handy.  It has also been a good obsession because it has been age appropriate and has given him a means to bond with his peers.  Additionally when he is sad or sick it provides a good distraction.

For his birthday he said he wanted gift cards because all the games he wanted came out in October and November.  I found it interesting the clerk at GameStop thought this was responsible.  He pointed out most kids would ask for something on their birthday and then beg for the games later.  He has a good point except now in November we are in quite a frenzy!

Honestly he usually does pretty well stopping for the day when we ask.   However sometimes a game comes along that he just seems compelled to play and won’t stop when I ask.  I haven’t always dealt with this as harshly as I should because there were other things to deal with.

Over the weekend he got this game SkiRim and it is a fantasy quest game or something.  The guy at the store told me it is about 9 hours to finish the game but he could pause it.  Yeah right, he is only pausing for food.  I asked him today if he is almost done and he said the side quests are longer than the main quest.  Okay, not sure what that means but I think it means, No, he isn’t almost done.

Last night I barely got him to stop to go take a shower.  The shower itself was an accomplishment because he hadn’t showered since he had his tonsils out in July I think.  That sounds worse than it is but since then he would only take baths and have me wash his hair.  We had been trying to get him to go back to taking a shower so he was washing his own hair.

Last night after the shower he went back to playing and refused to stop.  He didn’t have a complete meltdown, he just said he was mad and put his head under his blanket.  Which is better than when he used to throw things!

He finally calmed down and seemed to go to bed okay.  He came in about once every 15 minutes to announce he couldn’t sleep.  Eventually I went into his room to hang out while he fell asleep.  He told me staying in his room won’t help & said he should just play video games.  No, but nice try.

This morning he did wake up on time and started to play the game.  I usually let him play in the morning because it helps him wake up but this morning went horribly wrong.  Again he refused to stop.  Sigh, I told him he had to stop and turned off the tv.  He turned it back on.  I persisted.  He kept saying stop and leave me alone.   I prepped myself for a meltdown.  Honestly I prepared to duck.  I actually kept pushing it because he can’t think he can play video games instead of going to school.

He finally stopped and then hid under his blankets.  I said okay and then walked away.  After about 10 minutes I came back and started working on calming him down with sensory and distraction.  He finally calmed down and apologized for his behavior.

He still said he was too upset to go to school.  I tried everything to get him to go but he wasn’t going.  I had to go to work but my husband was home so he did not get to play video games.  He didn’t melt or throw a fit but he was moping around a bit.

I told him he isn’t getting his new game that is coming out this week.  I asked how we were going to prevent this in the future.  He offered on his own that he should not play video games in the morning to wake up.  We discussed that video games are a privledge and that if he doesn’t do what needs done he will not get the time to play.

Other than missing school I think he did well.  There was no major meltdown or breaking anything.  I am also proud of him for suggesting no video games in the morning.  We will keep decreasing the time but I don’t want to completely take them away.  I know he enjoys them and uses them as a way to socialize.  Plus what would we do for long car rides?

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