PSP Handheld Game Mis-Usage / Rules

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by MICHL, Aug 4, 2008.

  1. MICHL

    MICHL New Member

    Hi, Just a followup on my previous post about my difficult child's PSP usage. husband & I spoke with difficult child that he would have to earn time on it, just like for the computer or TV. Then, that same day husband does nothing to help me get it away from difficult child and it's all on me. I tried to enforce the rules this weekend, but husband was all against me about that. husband is saying "It's summer" or "He's been at camp all day, with no computer, let him just have some time" which, resulted in difficult child not getting out of the bathroom, with PSP, not wanting to eat at the proper time, and not wanting to go to swim class, and then having a total out of control tantrum. This is the effect uncontrolled PSP (or computer/tv) usage has on difficult child. husband is not supporting the rules we set up and talked with difficult child about (rules set with help of counselor). After tantrum and throwing things, & cursing, difficult child is grounded from PSP. **I feel I must take it to work and keep it there, and that difficult child could have it for trips only. It is in my car right now. Am I being too harsh? Please, any advice or kudos is appreciated. Thanks!

    difficult child (12) Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)-not otherwise specified, ODD,ADD
    medications: Abilify, Tenex
    Last edited: Aug 4, 2008
  2. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    I don't think you are being too harsh - You have set the boundaries with difficult child's well being taken into consideration. You know that overuse is unhealthy and ends in an ugly meltdown. difficult child is 12 years old, he should be able to handle the boundaries.

    Don't leave it in the vehicle if it gets hot in the car. It could damage it.

    I would try setting it aside for car rides, waiting rooms, and special days. You state he earns time on computer and t.v. Do you ever have problems with him getting off those? Another idea is to pick one day per week that he can have it once school work and any household chores are done. Friday night once homework for the weekend is done, you get to have the PSP from 7:00 - 8:00 (or whatever you choose). If he gives any problems giving it up at the designated time, then he looses that many minutes the next week or does not get it the next week.
  3. sharon_0019

    sharon_0019 New Member

    I don't think you are being too harsh. I have the same problem with my difficult child. He gets too into his DS that I had to take it away from him. He was getting up in the middle of the night to play his ds and go on the computer. I had to password the computer and my laptop. We started a ticket system with difficult child and younger easy child. They have to do things for tickets to earn computer/ds/video/tv time. If they do basic stuff like brush teeth, make bed and several other things with out being told, they earn a green ticket. It is worth 15 min of video/tv/computer time. If they have to be told to do those things they earn a white ticket which is worth 10 min. We have meetings every week to discuss how things are going and to make any changes. We have not been doing this for that long and just came back from vacation, but this seems to be working for us. We will tweek it as we go, but we had to do something. I was tired of telling them all the time to do simple stuff like brush their teeth or clean up after themselves. We hope they will do more without prompts and maybe help me out. I should not have to clean up after these two. They are 14 and 10 and should do most of this stuff without being told. It drives me nuts! My husband is with me on this, but I deal with the kids more so it is up to me to enforce this. I hope this is some help to you. I do hate having to take the video games away from them, but they cannot be trusted.
  4. MICHL

    MICHL New Member

    Being that it is a hand-held game, and that I have no control over it, with husband not playing by the rules and acting like a difficult child, I feel I must leave it at work tomorrow, indefinitely.
  5. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    Michelle, I don't think you are being unreasonable about wanting to control the time spent etc to some extent. I also agree that if it is making his behaviour worse then you must do something. But with husband undermining you, I'm concerned you're fighting a potentially losing battle. Also in my experience, most computer games can actually help especially with Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) kids (in moderation and as long as the specific games aren't destructive or damaging).

    You do have a few cards up your sleeve, though. I think you need to change tack. Have you been using any "Explosive Child" methods at all? What level of success? Because if you have found any success there, this next suggestion has a chance of working. But it relies on an agreement which is entirely between you and difficult child, husband is NOT in the picture.

    What you need to do is sit with difficult child and discuss the situation (to the best of difficult child's ability, and I know it's not great). You say, "I know you like gaming. Can you tell me what it is you like about it?"
    Continue with, "Is there anything you don't like so much about it at any time? Anything you find difficult, or frustrating?"
    Keep the communication calm, detached, at a conversational level. You're sharing opinions together. Listen to his responses and give feedback.
    You then share, "One thing I find difficult - I find that sometimes you seem to be edgy, a bit more anxious and irritable. It worries me and it also makes it difficult for me to get you through your evening routine. There are some tasks that must be done in the evening, such as having dinner, having a bath, getting ready for bed. Part of that is also getting your mind quiet and a tense game interferes with that. What do you think we could do to help fix this problem?"

    Listen to him, see what ideas he can come up with. And if he can't come up with any that can help, here are a few that have worked for us, which were compromises worked out with our boys for exactly this kind of reason.

    1) Limit the hours in which games can be freely played. You need to both agree on set times, you shouldn't try to impose (because you need difficult child on side since husband is not). I found, though, that difficult children in general had a greatly under-exaggerated idea of how much time they spend gaming. I asked difficult child 1 to tell me how many hours a day maximum I should let him play and he of course named what HE thought was a ridiculously high number of hours - and it was actually less than reality, also less than I was prepared to concede! So when we stuck to the new limit, it really shocked him because it made him realise there WAS a problem, while all my repeatedly telling him this had not.
    Example: Allow games in the morning once he is completely ready for school (holidays -once he is breakfasted and dressed). Evenings - games should stop at 6 pm so evening routine can continue without problem. Alternatively, if he can prove that he can put down a game to do the next task, then he may continue gaming as long as he complies with requests.

    2) Limit the type of games he plays. Some games may get him more worked up than others. Ask him if there are any games which he feels could be a problem. For now, don't ban those completely, just ask him to stop playing those in the evenings for a while, to see if there is any change. Maybe in a few months he can go back to playing them later. Sometimes there isn't always a logical reason for one game being OK and another not.

    3) Allow the PSP, but after a certain time of day only allow the quieter, contemplative games, the ones which are partly educational anyway. They can help him in his evening wind-down.

    But whatever you do - you and difficult child need to agree that first there is a problem, and second, it can be dealt with by this agreement.

    An advantage of Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD) is their preference for routine and rules. Especially if they have a part in helping set up those rules. This way, you may find that if husband tries to be the good-time fun Dad and encourage him to play PSP when he shouldn't, that difficult child himself will self-monitor and take more control.

    Other issues - especially in the evenings, you need to give difficult child time warnings to stop play (or pause play) because sometimes he will need this to get to a logical break when he CAN put the thing down to do what you need him to.

    Also, if this works out then have another meeting with difficult child to congratulate him on improvements. If it doesn't work out, have another meeting with difficult child to see how he feels things are going and see if he has become more aware of the concerns.

    Engage him. Enlist him as an ally in the battle against disorganisation and distraction. If you and difficult child clash over his behaviour, maybe when he is calm find out what game he was playing. Make a quiet note, see if you can notice a pattern. At your next meeting, run your list of good games, bad games past difficult child and see if he can explain what makes them good or bad.

    He should know that he doesn't have to permanently give up all his games, or any of them. But he may need to change his play patterns at least for a while, until he has better control of his behaviour.
    And if he insists he has perfect control of his behaviour, ask him to prove this by trying things out, and by some level of compliance.

    Here is one BIG advantage of Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD). You might have to say to husband at some point, "difficult child & I are doing this without you because I also want him to be able to play his PSP, and neither difficult child nor I want him to be rude or disruptive."

    Because this has been such a big issue for our family I talked to difficult child 3 (now 14 years old and VERY much Pervasive Developmental Disorder (PDD)!) and asked him what you could say to your son.
    "Games should come second to everything else. Games will always be there, but bath, dinner and other things sometimes need to be done NOW. Maybe the reason he doesn't want to put the game down is because he thinks at some level that it could be the last he'll see of it that night. If he hasn't been gaming for long in his life yet, then maybe he doesn't understand that there are times when he will need to stop and do other stuff. The PSP has a 'hold' feature on it, doesn't it? Then he can click that feature on so he can come away from his game and do what he needs to do."

    difficult child 3 also added, "Please be aware that he might temporarily forget your agreements form time to time, so you need to plan ahead, both of you, to be able to remind him without him getting angry."

    difficult child 3 said that if he thinks of anything else he will tell me later.

  6. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    DON'T LEAVE IT IN THE CAR!!! The electronics and the screen can be damaged by excessive heat! You hate the stupid thing to begin with, don't end up having to buy a second one! lol!

    Put it in an empty tampon box under the bathroom sink. NO MALE WILL LOOK THERE!

  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    My difficult child used to get out of control violent when he had a lot of access to computers/video games/tv/anything with a screen. Really really bad. I had a bunch of people undermining me to the point it made me nuts.

    I think keeping it at work is fine. If difficult child will only use it in the car and that is your limit, go for it. been there done that. Just make sure difficult child doesn't sneak out and break into the car to get it (doesn't break windows or something). And make sure you don't leave difficult child outside in a hot car - dangerous for his health-but sometimes they refuse to leave the car adn the game. I had trouble handling that.

    It doesn't have the same effect on Jessie and Tyler. They both stay grounded in reality, don't have fits when it is time to turn things off, etc...

    If your husband won't help, can you make husband responsible for the difficult child stuff - all tantrums, use of anything with a screen, etc can only happen when husband is around to monitor and thenMAKE husband handle it by leaving it all up to him? Just back off and let husband see what it going on? May take a few months, it did here, but eventually even your husband would see the problem??
  8. Wiped Out

    Wiped Out Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I don't think you are being harsh at all. It's too bad husband isn't more supportive.