Son’s gam­ing ad­dic­tion

The Peterborough Examiner - - Arts & Life - DEAR EL­LIE el­liead­

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.

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