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14 years old, addicted to online game. Have arthritis and low WBC. What should I do?

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Practicing since : 1976
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Hi my 14 year old son has become addicted to an online game called Runescape. I realised when he lost a lot of money on it and was crying and aggressive. He has been on it all night before and has now refused to go to school because I have taken away his computer. He is trying to bargain with me, saying if I let him on it he will go to school but I have stood my ground. I have the Education Welfare Officer coming to see him tomorrow and so far she has been understanding. He has had a lot of illness including arthritis in his back and low white blood count and has also seen a lot going on in the family involving my 16 year old daughter getting kicked out of school, becoming addicted to drugs and having to get police involved, also holding parties at my home. She has settled now a bit and has secured a place at college. He says that the game is a way of escape for him. He feels he is failing at school but after speaking to his school, they have said this is not the case and he is doing well as he is an extremely bright boy. He never gets into trouble at school although did punch someone last week for screwing up his history coursework. I refused to take him to the cinema last night because he is refusing to go to school and took his sister on her own. I didn't feel that I could be seen to be rewarding him for his refusal to go to school. I don't know where else to turn, I know I need to keep strong and keep saying no to the computer access for the time being until he attends school again but it is a battle of wits at the moment. Unfortunately in the past I have always given in to him for peace and have done the same with my daughter and seeing how she has turned out, don't want to make the same mistake with him. Any advice would be gratefully received and just confirmation that I am doing the right thing in sticking to my guns. My husband is fully supportive of the actions I have taken.
Posted Wed, 7 Nov 2012 in Parenting
Answered by Dr. Rajiv K Khandelwal 36 minutes later

Thank you for your query.

I can understand your situation as adolescence is a period which has to be handled very delicately. You have experienced it with your daughter. You are fortunate to have the social support system to back you. I can suggest that you need to be firm with children and "reward" them for their good deeds so that they start doing more of them instead of "black-mailing" you to accept their demands. Once in a while you need to give in to their genuine demands too.

One thing that you can try after discussing it in the family is to put in a strong parental control over the computer so that games are not mis-used. Another thing that you can do is to "bargain" with your son and allow him access to computer for a limited duration under parental guidance.

Utilizing the offices of the Education Welfare Officer and/or school you can take your son to a counsellor who will be in a better situation then you to guide him.

I hope I have answered your query to your satisfaction. Please feel free to revert back for any clarifications that you may have. You may also share any other relevant information regarding this situation.

Wishing you and your son all the best...


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