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At the end of the road with dh 15

(201 Posts)
HormonalHeap Tue 27-Oct-15 14:06:19

Ds 15 has a severe gaming addiction. About to get chucked out of school and kicked dh (his stepdad) in the stomach this morning before trying to throw him down the stairs. His violence has escalated and happens whenever we try and restrict his gaming. He will not see anyone to get help as he thinks the object is to restrict his gaming- the only thing he lives for. Dh and I had an hour with a psychologist who explained to us why this has happened and how he uses it as a means of escape from problems, but without him seeing anyone he can't be helped. I'm terrified that at 15 this is my last chance to stop him beating up some poor woman as an adult and ending up behind bars. Has anyone been through similar or have any experience of addiction in adolescents?

sarahsarah34 Tue 27-Oct-15 16:00:29

No but I'd certainly take all games away for at least a week for assult. I'd probably call police as well if this is not one off.

DD does not self regulate with her phone so I remove it at 9.30 on weekdays and when doing homework. This is pretty extreme behaviour can you get referred to CAMHS?

HormonalHeap Tue 27-Oct-15 16:18:27

Thanks Sarah, may I ask how old your dd is? My dh doesn't want him to have a criminal record. Ds hides his games, and unless he is out of the house (never), I can't get to them. If he wanted to get better that would be half the battle. A referral to CAMHS would take ages, and there's no guarantee of quality of therapist- and he won't go anyway!

JeffsanArsehole Tue 27-Oct-15 16:32:24

If he has a severe gaming actual addiction then he can't control it and it needs to be taken from him.

So you remove Internet, remove everything from his room til you find the console and games and you get rid of them.

Then you contact the police if he assaults you.

All of these NEED to be done to keep him safe and stop his addiction.

If he's not addicted then you are just going to have endless battles about control, minimising, managing etc which is very wearing.

I say this because it might help you to be clear that if he is addicted then the only option is to be stopped playing, anything else you do is just facilitating addiction. If your child was addicted to anything else like alcohol or drugs you would remove it from the house.

Gaming addiction is the same, it's just no one wants to hear it.

If you don't think or don't want to think he's addicted then that's fine but my advice will be different.

{{{{{hugs}}}} even though we don't do many on Mumsnet. What you're about to do if he's addicted will be hard in one sense but very easy in another. If he's addicted you will save his life and the life of others. But you have to and absolutely have to, stick to it.

Once you've removed it all and once you've gone through the initial kicking off it will get much easier. You are going to need to call the police if he assaults you, for a myriad of reasons . But he has to take the consequences of that, a criminal record is better than losing your life to gaming.

I can hear how much you've tried, I bet you've tried everything. But if you're sure he's addicted there is only one way to go with something so serious on an adolescent brain.

HormonalHeap Tue 27-Oct-15 16:43:12

JeffsanArsehole on reading your advice I know you're right. I know he is addicted and I know he can't control himself. He has never been violent in the past. It's my dh who bears the brunt of the assaults not me. You're right, I have tried everything; nothing works. I'm now willing to do what needs to be done.

sarahsarah34 Tue 27-Oct-15 16:47:15

DD is 14. We waited 10 months for CAMHS but DD has never been violent (not sure if that speeds the process up).

Sounds harsh but you need to get it away from him. He has assulted your husband and that needs sanctions or he will think it gets him his own way. getting DDs phone off her was bloody difficult and involved a 2 hour stand off and lots of tears and emotional blackmail (how if I took it shed run away forever). I got it eventually and now she hands it over the more she resists the longer it's gone for. Obviously he doesn't want a criminal record but do you want him to think it's ok to try and push your DH down the stairs and kick him in the stomach. Maybe the police would come and talk to
Him (no record) about the potential consequences In future should he assult anyone.

HormonalHeap Tue 27-Oct-15 16:54:31

Sarah you've done so incredibly well with your daughter, that's no mean feat at age 14. I will consider the police coming to talk to him but not sore there would be no record. Unfortunately even that would not teach him to self regulate as an adult, which is what I am somehow going to have to get him the help to be able to do.

sarahsarah34 Tue 27-Oct-15 16:58:10

What's his behaviour like at school? Thanks it was/is not easy DD has ADHD and is very defiant. It took blood, sweat and tears (and I wondered if my sanity might vanish altogether wink ) . However DDs behaviour has improved as long as I never ever give in on the rules if I give her an inch she takes the piss and reverts back!

sarahsarah34 Tue 27-Oct-15 17:11:48

Just re read. Why is he about to get kicked out of school? I've been there to!

HormonalHeap Tue 27-Oct-15 17:33:05

Sarah know what you ran about giving an inch and them taking the piss. Ds is manipulative and has so far run his homework like a Ponzi Scheme, doing a little here & a little there with charm in buckets to just about keep each subject teacher happy. But they're now on to him, I get daily emails from each department telling me coursework's not been handed in etc.. and although they've not said as much, If things don't change imminently they will ask him to leave. Apart from his many absences and trips to matron, he shows no outward sign of his addiction at school.

sarahsarah34 Tue 27-Oct-15 18:02:32

Is he at a grammar or private ?
DDs behaviour in school was much much worse and she's far from charming!! I use phone for behaviour at school now to! Have you managed to get to the console yet?
Good luck and don't give in to the inevitable battle you'll face. DD ran away (for 2hours) in the hope it would stop me. She threatened all sorts I'm sure my neighbours thought I was beating her with the wailing!

mummytime Tue 27-Oct-15 18:06:16

Have you tried to get a CAMHS referral?
I have written on your other thread, but the one thing I think you need to seriously consider is that you may need Family counselling. CAMHS may well insist on this, but it sounds as if you may need it anyway.

This is much more than "just" gaming addiction. Your DS is communicating with you, and it may not be in words but it does show he is unhappy.
You are prejudging him with words like "manipulative".

What exactly happened between your son and his step father before the violence?

cleo14 Tue 27-Oct-15 18:07:00

Sorry to hear you're going through this, sounds challenging. However, whilst the aggression would not necessarily be considered typical it can be normal (not acceptable) in teenagers your sons age. Someone once told me 'behaviour is a form of communication' and he's clearly trying to communicate- although needs a bit of support to do this without hurting anyone. I got a good book from Amazon- the teenage brain and found this really helpful to try and understand what goes on in their heads! I too have a ds 15 and had some similar behaviour.

ilovewelshrarebit123 Tue 27-Oct-15 18:09:37

What would happen if you removed the TV he plays the games on while he was at school.

Change password on Internet and when he gets help introduce things back again.

sunnyallthetimeeverywhere Tue 27-Oct-15 18:12:19

I would enlist the help of some bulky males and remove all gaming from his room. It won't be pretty but it needs to be done.

If he assaults you it's ok to call the police. I'm not an expert but I don't think he'd get a criminal record and it will all get wiped at 18 anyway. Call the police station on the non-emergency number or call in and ask to talk to someone about the situation. They may get someone to call around and give him a talking to.

We had a milder version of this with DS at 14. He was completely hysterical, shouting and screaming at us when we took it away. 2 hours later he was helping me make dinner. They need saving from themselves.

TuTru Tue 27-Oct-15 19:59:21

Goodness me, it sounds like you're having a terrible time atm.
I think I'd be inclined to call the police if he was violent like that. Sometimes a reality check can help them.
It's so hard, because you love them, it would be easier to punish them or pull the plug on his gaming if you hated him.
Sounds like he really does need specialist help though. Social Services can surely help you.

HormonalHeap Tue 27-Oct-15 20:09:36

Sarah he's at an independent school. Ds can switch on the charm and be manipulative but it's just not working for him anymore. The difference between your dd and my ds is mine is 6ft and has become violent when we remove his consoles.

Sorry mummytime I know very confusing on two threads, but wasn't sure of place to post so did both! Don't feel I have time to waste with CAMHS as a referral would take months and who knows how good it would be. Nothing whatsoever happened between ds and his stepdad (my dh) before this, dh being a fantastic supportive stepdad who's halo's glistening after being kicked in the stomach and assaulted.

Cleo I will order that book thank you. I am sorry you are going through similar. Ilovewelsh tv's all over the house are connected to iPhones so whatever he plays on his phone comes up on big screen. Could cancel his contract but then cutting him off from the few people he does have contact with in school.

Sunnyallthetime yes I need some bulky mates as i don't want my darling dh hurt. I think I will call in at police station, thanks that's a good idea. I'm pleased your ds only had this mildly. The professor we saw told us ds has probably inherited a disposition to addiction and depression from his father, of which I am in no doubt.

mummytime Tue 27-Oct-15 21:43:12

I would still ask for a referral - this is not going to get better until you get professional support. Your case may just be judged bad enough to get a quick referral. In the right circumstances you can be seen in a week or less.

If you opt for the private route, it can take a long time to find someone good - and there are a lot of people out there who do not necessarily know what they are doing.
You say he is manipulative, but a lot of teens are very very good at covering up their massive insecurities. There is so much pressure put on young people nowadays, and there is a lot of: self harm, anorexia, depression, self-medicating (drugs and alcohol), seeking self-worth in the wrong places (sex, wrong crowd etc.).
If he goes to the Matron with stomach pains, that may not be just manipulation but actual signs of anxiety.

Bright kids can have it the worst, as they have been told they are clever but fell like frauds and worry about being found out. Often afraid to try because then if they fail, it will be their own fault. My DS once said that revising was cheating, you should "just know the stuff".
Even in my day at Uni there were people who socialised all evening and then started work at 10 pm, so no one knew how hard they worked.

HormonalHeap Tue 27-Oct-15 22:16:07

Mummytime a point you make is so spot on. My ds wasn't expected to get into this school and told me years ago how he felt a fraud and isn't clever really. The school are way ahead of the curriculum and a lot of boys can get away without revising they just need to hear it once. Not my ds! I've always told ds I wasn't interested in results just effort- but when the boys snatch eachother's books to find out eachother's test results- I guess that's pressure. Probably the wrong school for ds but i believe he would have fallen into addiction anyway due to the inherited pre-disposition from his dad.

Also as you say, the psychotherapist told us that the gaming addiction was similar to cutting in girls/anorexia- all a release, escape. You're right about the private route being risky. I wasted thousands 3 yrs ago on the wrong person when ds was depressed. But surely the same can happen on the nhs?

mummytime Tue 27-Oct-15 23:01:33

It can! My DD is seeing someone good on the NHS, but that is luck - and the key thing is that the child/young person clicks at the time with the person treating them.

So your son needs to see someone, and someone he gets on with/trusts.
My younger DD saw someone for a while for a different issue, and although some things he said annoyed me a bit, we stuck with him because she liked/trusted him.

I would also really try to get over the idea that he has inherited a pre-disposition, so he is necessarily going to be addicted. That is dangerous as it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy; genetics is not that simple; AND the workings of the mind and its flexibility are only very vaguely understood at present.
You've son doesn't have to suffer the same conditions as his Dad. He has lots of choices in life that can still prevent that. And even if there is a genetic predisposition, that doesn't mean that it doesn't need life events to trigger it.

My father had a gambling problem. I have never had an inclination to gamble ( above buying raffle tickets), and I barely knew him so it's not like memories of him scared me against gambling. In addition; how much was his gambling an inherited condition, and how much a response to things that had happened during his life including: his grandmother being killed whilst being wheeled in a wheelchair on a family stroll? Or his experience of War whilst in the military?

I have heard of private schools where they line the boys up in mark order once a week. And certainly lots where teachers have not heard of any of the research on how grades can be demotivating.

HormonalHeap Tue 27-Oct-15 23:15:53

You're very lucky that your dd was willing to admit she needed some help. My son admitted he was refusing help as 'help' will lead to reduced gaming time. I take your point about the dangers of labelling a possible inherited trait; this is what my lady told me, but i would be wary of repeating it to ds. As your family history goes to show, I guess we are often the sum of our experiences in life.

mummytime Wed 28-Oct-15 07:03:02

The reason my DD is having help is different, and to be honest she didn't have much choice in accepting it - and it wasn't just us saying she had to (all her friends were pushing her for it, and the State were involved). She also has very different if typically "girl" issues.

ishouldcocoa Wed 28-Oct-15 07:12:20

Are the school aware of the gaming aspect of his life? Do they know that's the reason for his behaviour and lack of effort?
I wonder if you approached them and asked for help - before matters escalated further- if they would know how to deal with it?

HormonalHeap Wed 28-Oct-15 08:11:37

Ishouldcocoa I told his teacher he spends too much time gaming (without disclosing the severity of the problem). He obviously had no experience of it, just saying some boys mess around in yr 10 but when they come into yr 11 realise exams are round corner and start working. I am now going to have to be honest with them, but know the situation needs specialist treatment which the school can't provide, so they will expect me to get outside help

sarahsarah34 Wed 28-Oct-15 09:17:29

Just take it away already grin
You have to be cruel to be kind and you'll be surprised how quickly he improves (if he's anything like mine anyhow).

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