Son’s gaming addiction
Q. My son, 20, is a university student. He was a brilliant student during his high school days and was on the honour roll.
While in Grade 12, he got hooked on online gaming, spending long hours on his laptop in his closed room.
His academic performance has been dismal and he seems uninterested in continuing his studies.
He doesn’t do any chores at home nor is he going to work. He has no activity or friends except the long hours spent online.
My wife and I have spent hours advising him and pleading with him to no avail.
Can you suggest a counselling session? He takes no responsibility.
A. Start with getting information and counselling for you and your wife to bring more to your approach to your son beyond your obvious frustration and worries for him.
I say this because you cannot force him as an adult to get counselling.
You can refuse the conveniences and ease with which he’s able to avoid all responsibilities, but that’s a harsh road to send him down — leading to eventually forcing him to move out — which does not easily achieve a positive turnaround and can worsen the situation instead.
Instead, I recommend you call the registered psychologists’ association in your area and ask for names of those who specialize in addictive internet gaming among teens and young adults (unfortunately, yours is not an uncommon story).
Note: In psychiatry, the diagnostic manual for mental disorders considers “Internet Gaming Disorder” a condition for further study and focuses on gaming over the internet as opposed to gaming which may be off-line or online.
By meeting with a specialist, you’ll gain insights to the addiction and what strategies have proved successful in helping people overcome them.
Though he hasn’t acknowledged it yet, this is your son’s problem not just yours.
Your son is missing out on important years of pursuing a route to becoming an independent adult with a balanced life of work, socializing, meaningful relationships and a healthy mix of activities.
Once you’re more informed about obsessive internet video gaming, the specialist you see can also recommend how to approach your son in a way that can lead him to recognize for himself the limits he’s currently putting on his life.
Afraid another baby daddy will run away
Q. I had problems with my baby daddy, so one of my male colleagues was there for me.
Over time, me and my baby daddy got separated and I fell for my colleague.
He’s 27 and has a girlfriend who’s 24. I’m 23. He and his girlfriend don’t have a baby.
Now, I’m six-weeks pregnant with his baby. I love him and he’s supportive.
I’m just afraid that I’ll have another baby daddy who’ll run away.
A. Your colleague proved himself as someone responsible and caring. Tell him your fears. Ask whether he intends to be involved with this baby as you need a partner to raise your kids.
If you don’t get a clear answer, learn from your experience so far: You’re a young single mom, whose babies will be depending on you, so must trust yourself first.
Get to a doctor or birth control clinic and learn to practice safe sex and birth control.
Rule your heart with your mind: the babies are your priority.
Old friend crosses line
Q. My close friend of 10 years gleefully confided that she’d messaged her ex’s new girlfriend and sent me the screenshots. She also sent me the ex-boyfriend’s message back, saying she needs to leave them alone.
I told her I understood that she still feels upset, but she crossed a line and needs to stop. I said that she’s smart, capable, wonderful and the two aren’t worth her getting upset. Her response? She thought I’d “appreciate” what she’d done. We’ve barely communicated since.
A. Take several weeks before suggesting a casual get-together like a movie. Hopefully, this chill will have passed.
If not, that line is still crossed.