Money broken


New Member
Hi every one.....I am seeking advice and support...
My son, 14, is currently diagnosed with ADHD, some form of Aspergers maybe and maybe Bipolar ....he is on medications, seeing Psychiatrist and psychologist ....very clever and accademy strong....
He gets terrible emotional outbursts, high anxiety and verbally abusive exct....

So what happened lately was that he is terribly hooked on an online game, and often plays it....we have good interaction regarding the game, me and hubby sometimes partake to make him feel we are interested in him....
So the bank phoned us 2 days ago and said they are picking up irregular seems that my son has spend roughly $3000 in less than 2 weeks on in app purchases....he is clever enough and knows that he needs to always ask before purchacing anything, and always use his pocket money

He first denied this...but later said he did it, but not all of it...his reason for his behaviour was that he was frustrated because he couldnt win in the game and wanted to upgrade to better level! So I get it that its about feeling inadequite and seeking approval from friends exct.....But this is a big thing...with big concequences...

We were very upset, his dad is still taking it very hard.....

No punishment will bring our money back...we just said he cant have access to any further upgrading or in app purchases.....he dont have the money to pay it back.....

Any suggestions...or some one else who went throuh this kind of thing?


Long road but the path ahead holds hope.
First I would look to the company to reimburse this kind of spending from a minor.

Second I would ensure he faces consequences. As you say he is being and knows what he done was wrong. We are not takin about $50. It was $3000! If you do not face this with appropriate consequence it will happen again. This is not normal level playing it is addictive level and this shouks be addressed and managed before it gets worse.

These are not easy challenges any of us face. My son has stolen from us more than once. Drugs are his vice he steals for now.


New Member
I dont think we will be able to get the mony back? How will we be able to proove he used his dads account.....yes we will have a discussion with psychologist....we dont know what consequences to enforce??
If we take away his phone or game...we will have chaos in this house....he doesnt have other intrests...he becomes obsessed about stuff....and wont shift gears.......


Long road but the path ahead holds hope.
My son wracked up a crazy amount of data fees and we negotiated with the company explaining the situation and then put blocks on all the home computers. We had to call in to override them. It doesn’t hurt to try.

Ask yourself this question. If at 14 you can not take his phone away to discipline him for fear of the chaos; where do you think this will lead when he gets older?

Setting boundaries and dealing with difficult children is not easy, trust me I do know that. Giving in to their negative behaviours will only encourage mitre negative behaviour.

This is not an easy situation. Many people here have the same challenges you are facing.


Roll With It
You tell the credit card company or the bank that you did not authorize the charge. They should investigate and you should be able to get your money back. You probably will have to tell them your son did it. He is a minor and under the care of a psychiatrist and psychologist, so it is a mental health issue. He hasn't done it before, so he probably won't get serious consequences from them.

He desperately NEEDS serious natural and logical consequences from you. These should include removing the game and all games from him for quite some period of time. He should have extra chores to do in this time to at least try to work off some of his debt. Yes, I know he cannot earn that money back. But he can at least pay it off with hard work to Mom and Dad. He can do yard work or wash the car or scrub the floors or any tedious chore you can think of.

He NEEDS time away from gaming of any kind. This should be at least part of his consequences. When you cannot win so you steal to get more stuff so you can win, you are telling your parents something.

You are saying that you will lie, cheat and steal to win at this game. This game is important enough to make you break the law. Your son said, "Mom, winning this game is important enough to me that I will commit a felony against you to do this."

My son was VERY similar to yours when he was 14. Well, mine was violent also. So I know how hard this is. I am not telling you things I would not do, and did not do, with my own son.

This will sound extreme, but it is what I would do. I would take all electronics away from your son. I would also take most privileges that involve being out of your sight, or the sight of people you trust, away from him. He needs to EARN the right to be trusted to be alone away from home. What if he took a credit card from someone else? Then he might actually be facing felony charges and you wouldn't be able to do much to help him. Think about how awful you would feel then.

Lock up his electronics where he cannot get them. I probably would even take the home computer and the tv away. Not sure I would move them, but I would find a way to lock them down so he couldn't get into them.

The first week or 10 days will be very rough. He will be angry with you and probably say nasty things. Don't give in or he will just continue his bad behavior. Keep all of the electronics away. After that he should settle down. His imagination and ability to entertain himself will start to come back slowly. I usually gave electronics back sometime 3-6 weeks after I took them away. It always seemed to happen that way for us. I think you would need to be at the 6 week mark or later, given how much he has stolen from you.

Hard work is important during the time he is not watching tv or playing video games. He needs chores to do so that he can do something to repay you for the money he stole and the chaos and conflama you are having to endure.

If you decide not to do this, I can understand. He does need very strong consequences. Maybe selling his game system and all his games to help him pay back the money he stole would be a good consequence? It is natural and logical? You can see how much it would fetch at the pawn shop and go from there. You can also have him do all those little chores that you haven't wanted to do up to now.

For other ideas on how to handle this, you might want to read, "Parenting Teens With Love and Logic" which can be ordered from amazon or from Love & Logic ( Parenting Books, DVDs & Packages | Love & Logic® )

Whatever you decide to do, none of us will be upset that you didn't take our advice. We know that you have to do what you feel is right for your family. We can only give you ideas based on what our experiences have been. We know you cannot follow every idea or else you would be incredibly confused! Take what is useful to you, mix it with your own ideas and instincts, and hopefully it will work out very well for your family.


Well-Known Member
Is he receiving interventions for autism? I have a 24 year old autistic son, on his own, doing well but crazy obsessions are part of autism. And he may need them, I get it. But I would discipline in another way,likeale him work it off or cut allowance.

Is your son in any autism intervention to teach him how to control himself? My son HAS learned how so it is possible. My son had tons of interventions and therapies and school help and it really made a difference. Honestly, if you met him now you would not think he has autism, but he does.

Son learned to behave in a largely neurotypical way and learned the rules of life and that they apply to him too disability or not. Because of his challenges, when he misbehaved, it was much harder for me to discipline him than my other kids.

Fortunately his autistic support system helped me. And my son's basic good nature and desire to do well. But I melted like a snowman in summer when faced with having to discipline him. It broke my heart. His team really held me up. And taught him. It paid off.

Autistic kids need autistic specific help such as social skills classes, occupational therapy, physical therapy, school supports (which may include an aide) and maybe a therapist who understands autism. Regular theray is not as effective. My son is medication free. At times with certain people medications can help, but often ADHD medications make them even worse.

I hope you find your answers.
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New Member
Thanx for all your really helps to make me feel less isolated!
He has been in therapy from age 3...He has been seeing a very good psychologist who has experience in Aspergers and did his doctors degree on the effect of technology on teens.....
He doesnt know of this latest insident! He encouraged us to not take all tech away, in the past, because it helps to modulate son feels really embarresed to ket him know...said if we tell him he will refuse to attend the future sessions....but I will work around this one......
Regarding chores...he might do few but will refuse all
We try to apply the consequence principles, but the autism does make it difficult for him...its sometimes almost as if he doesnt fully understand the consequences of his actions.....this was a huge judgement error....and we agree he needs to be we took away his game account in the sense that he can play it, but wont be able to purchase or upgrade ever again....we are going to try and sell some of his stuff....and he wont be getting any new games/ tech or pocket money in the near future....he can earn a bit by doing chores.....
Thanx for giving us hope that he can improve and thanx for the reference to the book....not sure if it will work on autism....but will try


Roll With It
The concepts of the book worked with my son. Even with the Aspie obsessions, if they get to be overwhelming, sometimes they need to be taken away. I am the child of an Aspie, I am probably an Aspie (females present differently), and I raised one. The removal of the obsession creates a longer period where the child longs for the item and wants it back, but it is a good thing. Sometimes you have to do this when that obsession interferes with life to the point that basic functions of life are not happening or when criminal behavior happens to facilitate the obsession.

Only you can determine what is right for your child. Letting your child keep this from his therapist with blackmail (I won't ever go back if you tell my therapist this) is setting a HORRIBLE precedent!! His therapist NEEDS to know this and needs to know it NOW. In fact, your child needs to be the one to tell the therapist this.

Why does the therapist need to know this? Because it is a major escalation in the level of the obsession. Taking your card and using it would be a fairly major escalation, to use it to the level of $3000 is an enormous escalation the way Mt. Everest is just a hill. Not telling the therapist about this, especially when the therapist is especially equipped to handle these things, is a mistake. It is like going to see an orthopedic surgeon but not telling him that you have a broken bone with the bone sticking out and wearing loose bulky clothes so the doctor won't see it. Why bother going to the doctor at all? You are wasting the doctor's time, your time, and your money.

Sometimes you have to go ahead and tell doctors things the kids don't want you to tell. Then you have to make them go to therapy anyway. I do know how hard this is. I truly do. I also know how hard it can be to get an Aspie to do what he does not want to. You have to make doing what is in his best interest, what he needs, more important than his calmness or happiness or anger. You don't want to do things out of anger, but you do have to do things so that he learns that he cannot do what he wants just because it is part of his obsessive interest.

Trust me, the courts won't care one bit that he has Asperger's. It won't make him unfit to stand trial. He still knew it was wrong. That is all they will care about. If stealing isn't a big deal, especially stealing on this level, he will continue to do it. He will have been TAUGHT that it isn't a big deal and that he only gets minor punishments. No one in jail will care that he has Asperger's. They will treat him just like anyone else. He needs to learn this lesson right now or you will have problems for quite some time.

Remember, in most of the US, at age 14 they can be tried as an adult for almost any felony.


Well-Known Member
I agree with Susiestar. I encourage you not to minimize this situation. Your son committed fraud, and with the dollar amount involved it certainly is a felony. Babying him, allowing him to excuse away his actions with the Asperger's plea, will virtually guarantee he will continue to commit criminal acts.

He is no longer a baby or a sweet little boy. He is four years away from legal adulthood. He needs to learn, now, that he cannot do as he pleases.

Otherwise you will be bailing him out his entire life. He will drain your savings and quite possibly wreck your marriage.

Sacrificing yourself and your values to make live easier for your troubled child is not a good idea for anybody. It will only cause more, greater heartache in the end.


New Member
Thanx for all your input...its a real reality check!......
We have spoken yesterday and he agrees that its the best way forward to discuss this openly with the therapist! We are unfortunately going on leave this week, so will only be seing the therapist next week.........
So....the best we thought of doing, for now, is to disable his account in the sense that he wont be able to purchase or upgrade anything on the playstore/ games.....He is losing free access to his dads computer...and the only way he can obtain any money, say for school ect. is by doing chores.......
Then we thought of taking the lead from the therapist...????
I will defenatly be looking into the recommended books


Roll With It
It sounds like you have a plan for the short term. Stick around here. It is a wonderful place to find support as you go through these years with a challenging teenager.

I really hope the therapist has ideas that help. I would suggest that you leave a message for the therapist on voicemail or by email about this. I would say that your son created a major crisis by stealing a credit card to buy game stuff and that you will need to discuss it in the next scheduled appointment. You don't need to schedule an appointment sooner, but wanted the therapist to know about this ahead of time.

The reason to tell the therapist ahead of time is two-fold. It gives the therapist some time to think about what would or could be appropriate for your situation. He has time to process so that he can be prepared, at least a little. It also keeps you from just letting the issue go because it has been a couple of weeks and your son has been "well behaved" since then or whatever comes up. You have imposed some consequences and if you don't tell the therapist, you won't have his input to see if he thinks other consequences will be needed also. It might be easy to get caught up in other things that happen between now and when you see the therapist. This would make it easy to let the theft slip from your mind during the therapy session.

Part of the reason I think the theft could slip from your mind is because of experiences with my son. If he had done something that his therapist needed to know, but we would not see the therapist for a while, he would try to make it so that I could not remember what he had done. Wiz might have been so well behaved that all I could do is rave about that. Or he might do so many things to bother me or upset the whole family that the big thing would just disappear into the forest of bad behavior. Either way, I found that leaving a message or sending an email about a big issue like the theft was a good way to stop my son from manipulating to try to get me to forget about whatever it was.

I really hope that made sense! It did in my mind.


Well-Known Member
A quick thought...if your son is addicted to the game, then "cold turkey detox" might be called for.....allowing him to play the game while disabling the ability to spend money on in-app purchases is playing with fire.

A true addict will not be able to use their drug of choice in moderation....the temptation to abuse and indulge to excess will be too strong.

I'm gently suggesting that by allowing your son any access to his game (drug) of choice, you are setting him up to fail, and get himself into even more trouble.

I have also struggled with addiction to an online game. I, too, justified spending money on in-app purchases because I wasn't progressing in the game quickly enough. In the end, after spending not as much as your son, but enough to be concerned, I abandoned the game because I knew it would continue spiraling out of control. The urge for "just one more good card" or whatever the reward is in your son's game, is just as strong as the urge for crack or heroin.

I had the sense (because I am an adult) to stop my compulsive behavior. Your son probably will need you to stop him. So I understand wanting him to have a device, but he probably ought to be blocked from online gaming. It truly is an addiction and unless you have experienced it, you may not realize how powerful it is. It may be out of your son's control as long as he has access to the game.


Well-Known Member
My autistic son has many is part of being autistic. If you take away one obsession he will find another. It is not normal Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

My son always gamed a lot. It's common in autism. So is loving movies. My son has a life outside of gaming....sports, friends and work....and he is very kind. It is up to you how you handle this. We used autism specific interventions as my son did not talk to therapists. Like most with autism, they do not communicate well so depending on the autistic child or adult normal therapy may be pointless.

Now that my son is 24 and on his own (so he is in charge of his own obsessions/behaviors in his own place) he told me he was a little depressed do he is in counseling. Depression is also common in autism and I am proud he took this step and he has obviously progressed to where therapy is helpful. He can communicate much better now.

He still games, even has a second job at Game Stop.

My personal opinion and experience with my son is that gaming didn't hurt him at all and that you can take it away...he will find another obsession. Once he leaves the nest he will choose what he does anyway.

I don't think this is a matter of a child going wrong. To me it sounds more like an autistic kid who probably needs more autism based therapies. They are different and impulsive and can learn to control it. My son did. He wasn't even Asperger's. He was medium level autistic with a normal IQ and he needed to learn how to behave in ways that society embraces. He did!

Now our kids are different. My son never acted out. So I hope you can find what works for him.

Love and light!
I agree with many others’ advice/comments. The bank/App Store should work with you.

Our underage son racked up hundreds of dollars of charges on our cable account by renting porn movies. When we received the bill I was in shock. I too called and explained the situation and they dropped all charges and assisted me in putting a password to block movie rentals.


New Member
Thanx all for your valluable advise!

"Somewhereouthere"....I can sooo identify with you!!! He has always had will be replaced wih another.....

I think I need to also ad...he didnt steal our credit card to do transactions....our accounts are all linked to my husbands credit card account ( ok...on hindside we realized this was stupid...with a teenager in the house!!) all he had to do was click on the accept/buy option ...fitting in with the compulsion....what he did was definitely a BIG judgement error on his behalve and lesson painfully and well learned.....and yes...he DO tend to become VERY took 2 yrs before he started talking a little bit to the therapist...but at lease its a beginning.....Thanx all...your support is very helpfull!


Well-Known Member
I am glad it resonates.

This is not about too much gaming. Autism is a neurological difference that stunts the person s ability to use his imagination.
Therefore somebody with autism needs outside stimulation for amusement and they do not socialize well or tend to enjoy group activities. And their brains are wired that way so they can't change it.

If you take away gaming and TV an autistic person will find something else to obsess about....maybe gamblimg, which is worse. I don't think it is wise or realistic to treat bad behavior in an autistic person the same as a neurotypical person. I know this is something most parents here do not understand but I do.

I am glad you realize the strong impulsivity in autism too. It is irresistible. For a while we locked up the keys to our car because Sonic who does not have a license, took our car twice to Walmart which is over a mile away. The police could tell he didn't know how to drive so he was brought home twice. But the police were easy on him. They could tell he was different (this was in high school) and one cop even told me not to be too hard on him lol. He got no tickets, just warnings.

Sonic asked us to please lock up the keys so he could not drive when he got the urge. We did. He has never had trouble with cars since and now, living alone, rides his bike or takes cabs (disability gives him a special fare) and has never tried to steal a car lol. His "crimes" were more related to autism than related to not wanting to follow the law. He is a stellar, sweet, good young man. He hates doing anything wrong and as he ages he controls his impulsivity. He still games a lot, buying his own stuff. He lives in his own place. It is his right.It hasn't impeded his life.

If you have an autistic society near you I would join it. There are many other parents who can relate to the challenges and growing pains of an autistic child.

The good news is that it is a developmental delay so they do get better with age.

Good luck :)
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Roll With It
Given that the credit card was already linked to his game, this takes on a MUCH different light. I thought he had gone and gotten the credit card and entered the information with the intent to buy the game gear that he wanted. This is actually MUCH MUCH different.

Was he actually aware that you had to pay actual money for the things that he clicked on that he bought? Was the link between spending actual cash and the buy now button ever firmly established in his mind??

There are a lot of people, even so called normal adults, who do not fully understand the link between spending money on a credit card and spending cash. They will happily buy and buy and buy on a credit card and yet they are incredibly reluctant to make a purchase if they have to spend actual cash on it. I am not saying this because I know people like this (though I do). Marketing research and psychological research have proven. It would not be far fetched to think that an autistic teenager did not fully understand the link between clicking to buy something in a game and his parents having to spend cash to pay for that item.

I would suggest that much of my advice is not pertinent to the situation that you are in. I am sorry that it is so out of line. I truly thought that he had taken your credit card or at least your credit card numbers and had entered them into the game system to buy the things he wanted. Being able to click to purchase while in the fog of the game is a very different thing.

I would still explain the situation to the credit card and the game company and ask them to reverse the charges. Most likely they will without any real problems. You may have to pay about $50 of the charges. I do think your son should have to work off this amount, or whatever the minimum amount that the credit card company charges for disputed charges. Having him work off the money (at either minimum wage or the $10/hr wage that stores like Target and even Walmart are starting to use) will help him learn that this is a mistake that comes with consequences. The work should be something like shoveling snow or raking leaves or scrubbing something. It can be anything you want, of course, but physical labor seems to help make the consequences more memorable than if you just let him take the money out of his savings. It was something he had to DO to work off the debt, if that makes sense.

I do think he might need to not play that game for at least a while. I would leave that up to his therapist. Given that his therapist knows him well and is well versed in how technology impacts us, his advice should be something you follow. Your son's impulses have already been lowered in this game, and he may or may not be able to control himself in the future. He may be able to figure out your passwords. It might be better if you had him stop playing this game but allowed him to keep playing computer games.

Given that the use of the card was not premeditated or even thought out, cutting off all gaming seems extreme. I wonder what he would say if he spoke about this with you and with his therapist. We used to tell my son the behavior that we had a problem with (the use of the credit card), and then the things we were thinking about as consequences and then we would ask for his input. He was always told upfront that the decision about the consequences was ours, and not his, but we wanted his opinion. My suggestions are that he have to: 1. work off the $50 2. limit his computer time and keep his game but not buy any game gear 3. limit his computer time but not as much, not play his computer game but play other games; in 6 months (or 12) the family will discuss letting him earn the right to buy game gear

Of those consequences, I would think #1 would be a definite and #3 would be better than #2. Why #3? It would have the family talking about this again in 6-12 months. At that time, Son would have the chance to show that he had changed, that he had learned, and that he would follow whatever steps would earn his parents' trust back. He should know, up front, that steps to earn their trust would be given when the discussion came at the 6 month mark. The ability to buy game gear isn't a right given at this discussion. It is a right able to be earned after this discussion.

This time after the family discussion is when he can show he now understands the link between cash in his wallet and credit card spending. Or he can start to learn that link. This is a lesson that will help him immensely throughout his life. You could even contact a credit card company to see if they had any programs to teach responsibility to teens (I think some do). He can also show that he understands that he should come out of the 'game fog' before he clicks that 'buy now' button for game gear. This will also help as more and more of the websites we spend time on have 1 or 2 click buy now buttons.

I do think his therapist needs to know what is going on. It is something important. I also think that sometimes an obsessional interest for an autistic person needs to be removed cold turkey. I do think that if the person is willing to lie, cheat or steal (especially from family) to get that item, then that item has become far to important. It doesn't mean the person cannot go back to the interest (as long as it won't hurt them). Sometimes they just get so far into the interest that they have to be pulled back into the world.

Some people with autism are like SWOT's son and can moderate their interests. He can buy his games after he pays his rent and bills. My son is able to do that now also. I was in an Asperger's parenting group with quite a few families who had to control their child's finances because otherwise all of the money went to the obsession and none went to bills or food or anything else. Some of them had horrible stories of how far it had to go before the courts would make them the guardian (financial or otherwise) of their children.

Only you know what is right for your child. It is always good to have other people's ideas, but you know him. You have good instincts, and he seems like a great kid. It doesn't seem like he has been in trouble before this. If he had, you wouldn't have had your account linked to the computer like that! Take what helps from our advice, and ignore the rest.


New Member
Thanx again.....yes he has never caused us any trouble of this nature...he is very well behaved in school and try to always follow the rules.....he just doesnt always understand them...or realize that social rules can be changed regarding the sircumstances.....
We will be seing his therapist tomorrow...I did send him an email in advance.....I truelly hope he will shed some light on this matter...and give us some guidlines


Well-Known Member
What game was it? It can’t hurt to contact them and explain the situation - they might be willing to work with you to get some or all of the money back. $3000 seems like an awful lot of money to spend on a game. Is it possible other players were taking advantage of him and getting him to buy stuff to give to them so they’d be his “friends”? That’s why I asked what game it was. Role playing games like World of Warcraft involve player interaction and raise the possibility Of people taking advantage of someone like your son.

For a 14 year old with impulse control issues, being in a situation where having whatever you want be just a click away is a no win situation. Whether you let him continue playing or not is up to you, but you have to disable his ability to make in app purchases. There’s no way he can control this on his own. And be prepared to find out he’s a very technologically savvy and can work around whatever you do to try to stop him.