What to do?

(92 Posts)
awaywiththepixies Thu 19-Sep-13 19:06:35

I have been home edding my 12 year old DS for two years. It is a constant battle to get him to do anything. He will not do anything himself and thinks everything I arrange is crap or a waste of his time. All he wants to do is play World of Warcraft.

I am fearful that he is ill prepared for a life of doing anything but playing Wow.

I was told that give him enough time and he would become interested in stuff but that's just not happened.

I think he was in school too long and anything that smells like learning is seen by him as a punishment.

Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks

SDeuchars Sat 28-Sep-13 13:11:05

I don't want to get into a row SatinSandals but I don't understand how your point about your mother supports your argument. The fact that she didn't pass French and Latin does not make any comment on her autonomous HE. Maybe she could have passed if she had had a bit longer. Maybe she wouldn't have passed if she had had three years of those subjects.

I have not said that all people can do anything if they put their mind to it. I do think that that lie is peddled by school (so it makes it the responsibility of the individual if they "fail"). I said that a child does not need to spend years in school in order to achieve.

SatinSandals Sat 28-Sep-13 16:46:04

My entire point is that the child might not need to spend years in school to achieve ; but they might. You simply can't say. To tell OP that her son can spend years just playing computer games and she need not worry is irresponsible. Maybe she need not worry,but maybe she should be very worried.
I can't get my head around the fact that everyone thinks a 12 year old child should just be allowed to spend his days on a computer game and adults should just airily say ' he will sort him self out when ready'. If he was mine there is no way he would get more than 2 hours a day, and he would only get that if he earned it. I don't expect any child to do what I don't do and so I would have us all off the Internet for a week. If he has a tantrum it is tough. After the break start a new policy.
When my son was 12 years old I was 48 years old and I had much more experience of life and what he needed, we were not equal. As an adult there is no way that I would allow a child in to have hours and hours on a computer game in my house! My children are adults and they still like my company and want to spend time with me. You can say 'no' : you are the mother and not the best friend. They can have plenty of friends who agree with them, they only get one mother!

chocolatecrispies Sat 28-Sep-13 19:26:13

This obviously strikes a chord with you Satin. You do not appear to take seriously the examples of people who have recently autonomously educated their children and so it seems like there is little more that can be added.
However, regarding addiction, there is no evidence that forcing someone to limit their time on a device will lessen an addiction - think about other addictions, if you stop a smoker smoking forcibly they crave cigarettes, if you hide alcohol from an alcoholic they will find it or buy more and hide it better. Forcing a child to do something could lead to serious damage to the relationship between the OP and their son and is unlikely to lead to him wanting to play less, and that is why I would never recommend it. Connection and engagement is the way forward, doing more together, playing games together, not 'just doing nothing'. Autonomous education takes a lot of participating from the home educating parent, it is not just leaving children to get on with it - I wonder if this is really what your mum experienced? Did she have a parent with her attending full time to her education, helping her explore her interests, providing resources for her, exposing her to things she would not have thought of, talking to her about anything she found interesting, taking her to groups and classes she wanted to attend? Did she have opportunities to learn things when she was interested - obviously there was no Internet, but was she in a rich, supportive learning environment which filled her with excitement about learning and life?

That is what I aim for with my children and playing computer games with them and sharing their joy in them is part of that.

SatinSandals Sat 28-Sep-13 20:16:32

Yes she did to all those things, it didn't work and she feels disadvantaged still at 91 years of age.
You can dismiss it if you like, because it doesn't fit your idea of autonomous education.
It can't work for everyone, we are all different. One person's dream is always another person's nightmare.
She tells very few people about her education, I'm not even sure that my cousins know and her friends certainly don't.
It is impossible to be an ideal parent because one person's ideal would be dreadful for another.
I would be highly annoyed if my mother had let me spend my childhood doing something as self destructive as get addicted to computer games. You just have to hope that you have children who match your ideas, luckily you have a good chance they do.

SatinSandals Sat 28-Sep-13 20:19:26

No one smokes in my house! It is similar to computer games. An alcoholic wouldn't get a drink either. I dare say they can both get it elsewhere but I am not going to aid them in any way. It is their problem. I would cut off the computer games if all else fails.

YoniBottsBumgina Sat 28-Sep-13 20:34:31

If he does want to work in the games industry, skill will take him far, further than any computer game course that a university or college offers. Languages is a fantastic one which is much in demand, or the ones with more competition: graphic arts including CAD and 3D digital sculpting, "real life" art/sketching, coding/programming skills, ability to write a decent storyline or compose music. If he is aiming to do some sort of course then it's best if it has links to industry, other than that he'd need to get out there, be active on forums, volunteer, apply for tester positions, offer to do unpaid intern work, apply for jobs abroad as well as in the UK - this is where the language skills come in too. The computer games industry in Germany for example is thriving and growing, due to tax breaks for this particular industry. There are loads of software and hardware companies here, games, components, all sorts of things.

In addition to that there are tournaments now, there is such a thing as E-sports which is where players compete on the games worldwide for huge cash prizes and sponsorship. Games aren't just a soul destroying, mind-mushing thing any more, the potential is real and it is probably larger than you think.

However I also think everyone's suggestions on this thread are great about bringing in his interests from the game to real life. Or from other games - Civilisation for example could lead to interest in history, he could look at modding games to teach himself coding (usually not allowed in MMOs) you could look at tabletop games if he is into fantasy etc.

I also think the idea of him earning his time is a good one. This enables you to ration it but him to keep some control over how much time he gets to play. It also fits in with real, adult independent aims - he will one day have to juggle the game with finding a real job, if he wants friends in real life or a girlfriend etc, he will need to balance that with his need to play the game. It's all good practice.

SatinSandals Sun 29-Sep-13 04:53:45

I would say that that is the most sensible post on here, Yoni.
We have really got off course with bringing smoking and alcohol into it. The only relevance HE has (autonomous or not) is that he has time and huge stretches of time. Most 12 year olds are out of the house and away from computer games for at least 7 hours a day and then have other calls on their time, such as homework.
The real problem is getting him to widen his interests.
A suggestion of a career in computer games is a good one, but as I know only too well from personal experience, it is highly competitive. There are many highly qualified, talented young people who are out there and over 100 apply for every job. SDeuchars mentioned law which is also highly competitive, we have too many young people doing law. The world is changing, a 2:2 used to be a perfectly respectable degree but now you would need at least a 2:1 to have the edge in careers.
This means they need to be very flexible, my son has finally got a job, it is a good one, using his degree, but it is not his dream job in computer games. He is getting relevant experience and he may achieve his ambition one day.
Flexibility is the key and a 12 year could make a start by being more flexible. Yoni's last paragraph is extremely sensible. I can't see what is wrong in earning time because it is simple to do, gives both him and his mother some control and is very fair and seems to me the perfect compromise for anyone, making the form of education irrelevant.

IWipeArses Sun 29-Sep-13 23:49:18

All careers are highly competitive. And specialism is necessary to get those good jobs. If you're a little bit good at lots of things, you aren't good enough at one thing to get the job.
Would there be such negativity if he were 'addicted' to reading novels?

SatinSandals Mon 30-Sep-13 05:44:06

Of course all jobs are highly competitive, there are very few jobs for graduates and that is the problem. I mentioned law because that is one that is particularly difficult and those with a degree higher than 2:2 can't get jobs in it. I don't think that those who have younger children realise that retail jobs, restaurants etc are full of people with very good degrees in all sorts of subjects. Computer games is particularly difficult.
You will be much better off if you are a little bit of good at lots of things, you may well have to go off at a tangent, and you are quite likely to have career changes through life. The job for life has gone.
I dare say that you could say I was 'addicted' to reading novels as a child, I was certainly called a book worm. However it still left hours and hours to do other things. My son's friend did English at university and he had 7 hours contact time a week, the rest of the time he was reading. He still had time for friends, hobbies and interests even when he was reading far, far more than the normal person.
This is a 12 year old child, spending all his time doing one thing and calling everything else 'crap' and a 'waste of time' is not something a parent should be accepting. I can't see a single thing wrong in earning the time. e.g. One hour maths=one hour computer time: the washing up= 15 mins computer time. It is perfectly fair, reasonable and easy to do.

chocoluvva Mon 30-Sep-13 08:23:52

Yes. Whether or not he's 'addicted' to WoW is irrelevant - the point is, he's doing nothing else apparently.

Being addicted to reading, tinkering with computers/programming/biology etc would probably be more useful to him than playing a game (albeit a complex one) where much of the enjoyment will be coming from the dopamine hit of the 'interactions' and the adrenaline rush of the vicariously stressful scenarios he finds himself in. Not healthy.

ringaringarosy Tue 01-Oct-13 11:38:56

I think that by giving rewards for doing maths you are turning maths into a chore,if you enjoy maths you would just do it.

I have a feeling some people on here A. dont HE and B.dont dont know what autonomous ed/unschooling means.

chocoluvva Tue 01-Oct-13 11:43:09

Doing nothing but play WoW might or might not be a HE 'issue' though!

ringaringarosy Tue 01-Oct-13 11:44:30

It is when you are discussing what "to do" about it though.

ringaringarosy Tue 01-Oct-13 11:45:10

I dont really understand why people would read the HE threads if they are not HE or considering it.

ringaringarosy Tue 01-Oct-13 11:48:58

OP have you looked on sandra dodds website?she also has a page called always learning on yahoo groups.

chocoluvva Tue 01-Oct-13 14:16:53

Unanswered threads site!

SatinSandals Tue 01-Oct-13 21:25:31

You are not giving a 'reward' for doing maths, you are saying that the child needs variety and they can play WofW if they earn it, it doesn't have to be Maths, it can be baking, gardening, a game of chess, in fact anything at all that isn't WofW because addiction of any sort isn't healthy.
I read all sorts of threads, why not? I am not feeding a baby, choosing a name, keeping a dog, having a step child etc but I am fully entitled to read it and comment. It is a public site! I found it on 'last 15 mins' which is where I find anything unless I try 'unanswered questions'. I never choose a topic.
I can't see that is relevant to HE anyway, other than the fact he has lots of time. It is a 12 year old child with an addiction, it is just that most posters seem to want to collude with it and say that it isn't a problem.

ringaringarosy Tue 01-Oct-13 21:53:26

But it really isnt a problem unless you make it one.I suggest you read up on unschooling before commenting on it.

I think its sad people are worrying about what job hes going to do hes only 12 for gods sake!

SatinSandals Tue 01-Oct-13 22:21:33

I happen to know a great deal about unschooling.
I am not going to comment any further, except to say that as a responsible adult there is no way that any child of 12 years of age would get more than 2hours a day on a computer game in my house. I would use the carrot rather than the stick,but as a last resort we would all have at least a week without a computer. It won't do him any harm to be bored and forced to use his imagination. It will do him harm to be addicted.

SatinSandals Tue 01-Oct-13 22:24:29

No one is worrying about his job, that was merely a suggestion to get him to think a little harder. A career in computer games needs a lot more than an interest in playing them! Getting a job in it is highly competitive.

SatinSandals Tue 01-Oct-13 22:28:51

And how do we know it isn't a problem. How many DCs have been addicted to games from the age of 10-12 years, with no sign of stopping and no other interests? Even other people's examples on here have done a few other things or been persuaded out on family or group outings. They haven't called them 'crap' or 'waste of time'. OP is rightly worried and I think that she got some useful advice.

chocoluvva Wed 02-Oct-13 07:52:39

"it really isn't a problem unless you make it one".

I assume the OP is not happy with the situation - that's why she's posting.

Also, the point about it not being so bad if he was obsessed with something more useful is valid IMO. Although we all benefit from the scientific breakthroughs and great works of art made by people who are obsessed with their specialism I can't see how the OP's DS or anyone could benefit from an obsession with a game.

ringaringarosy Wed 02-Oct-13 12:04:22

Unschooling is basically seeing everything as an opportunity to learn,so that means you see watching tv or playing a game as valid as reading or painting,do you understand that?

ringaringarosy Wed 02-Oct-13 12:04:43

Anyway the op seems to have done one!

chocoluvva Wed 02-Oct-13 12:57:26

There's a significance between watching tv, reading or eg, investigating the fauna of your garden though. WoW is stressful with no physical outlet for that stress. Not good for OP's DS.

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