OMG. He erased all of his assignments.

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by TerryJ2, Jan 5, 2010.

  1. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Last night, difficult child said he didn't have any homework, because they are studying for exams, and he happily showed me his homework notebook. Each class section had a smiley face in it, indicating no homework. Two were initialed by the teacher.
    husband just picked up difficult child from school. The teacher said none of difficult child's homework was done. husband told her he swore the notebook had all smiley faces.
    The teacher said, "The homework was all erased and the smiley faces were put in on top of it."
    OMG. husband and I both looked at the book and sure enough, difficult child erased everything.
    Deliberately. He told husband he does it all the time.
    We couldn't find any other homework erasures (but he did erase a note I wrote to the teacher once).
    Lies on top of lies. Just so he can play video games and watch TV.
    No more electronics until ... he's 18.
    What an addiction.
    It's just like drugs, ya know?
    Like the way people lie when they're on crack.
  2. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    My daughter used to write "No Homework" on her school agenda all the time so the teachers began writing in the assignments--which she would then erase and write "No Homework".

    I don't know who she thought she was fooling....


    Maybe you could just write the word "Food" (or draw a smiley face) on a plate and serve it to him at dinner. Will he think it counts just 'cause you wrote it down? Or will you actually have to do something in order for him to get fed? Maybe he would get the point.

    Sorry you are dealing with this!

  3. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    :rofl: LOVE it!

    Terry, we had to take away all of difficult child 1 & 2's video game privileges after the last round of report cards. AND we took the TV out of difficult child 1's room. The distraction and temptation were just too great. It was absolutely like an addiction. But I have to say, the focus on homework and chores got better when we did that.

    husband gave the games back over the winter break, and you should have seen the look on their faces yesterday when I asked for the game units back and put the lock on difficult child 1's TV. How quickly they forgot!
  4. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Don't put all this on an addiction just yet- my difficult child did the same thing all thru 6th grade and starting 7th grade and was not compulsive about computer use thru that period (it was the period where half the time electronics were banned from the house). Actually, I'm surprised he admitted it!

    What turned it around? I think a combinmation 1) me backing off, 2) changing IEP to focus on rewards instead of punishments and them working with him more at school, 3) maybe a little more maturity and peer pressure and a whole lot of bragging at home.

    If it's any consolation, my son leans toward perfectionism for the past 2 years. Last year he would destroy homework he'd done or had a meltdown over assignments- Why, you ask? because he didn't think he could do it good enough. LOL!
  5. timer lady

    timer lady Queen of Hearts

    Terry, wm pulled those things all the time - still does or tries to with foster mum. Fortunately our schools have homework emails that go out at the end of each day.

    Having said that, wm has been diagnosis'd with a gaming addiction. He's been cut off - had to donate his PS2 to the local children's hospital & then we put a "danger bored wm" box together. (wm doesn't believe he's addicted - his psychiatrist begs to differ.)

    We're pushing the old classics books, hobbies (wm's quite the artist as well), along with every science fiction book I can find from husband's book collection. I've thrown in a portable dvd player & some movies he can watch while he's with foster family & doesn't like what's being watched. Introducing him to the classic movies like African Queen, old Dracula films, some of Mel Brookes films & the like.

    Okay, this really started out by saying that wm has been diagnosis'd with a gaming addiction. And we are putting interventions in place. wm's doing all the lying, stealing & every other behavior you can think of to get at games. psychiatrist thinks this could be a jumping block to other addictions once wm becomes an adult.

    Soooooo. ..... what can you replace (that's pleasant) for your difficult child to do rather than the electronic games? Just food for thought.
  6. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Wiz has been addicted to electronics for many years. And RPG games like Magic the Gathering and D&D. I saw the beginnings of it way back when he loved dinosaurs. It absolutely IS an addiction. NOTHING was beyond the limits of what he would do to get at these things. Not even kill his sister if he couldn't get them. (NOT a joke as those who were here then remember.)

    My policy was, is and ALWAYS will be that if there is an addiction you MUST avoid the substance totally. My mother and father ALWAYS felt this was unreasonable because it wasn't alcohol or crack after all. I heard that so many times. When they say it about a four year old there is something seriously wrong going on, in my opinion.

    When he moved to the gparents he got tv before homework after school, at LEAST one day a week devoted to gaming primarily, and they used the games like carrots. On the surface this all seemed okay. He got less violent. But he still lied cheated stole whatever to get more.

    About a year ago my mom walked into his room one day and it hit her. The boy has spent probably ten thousand dollars on D&D and Magic and Manga. There is no end. Many of the D&D things are now public domain if you want to print them. He spent weeks of time over 3 years at the college library where printing is free. He sometimes came home with 3-4 reams of paper worth of copies.

    She never bothered to think about working on abstinence. We have serious addiction genes from both sides of my family and both sides of husband's family. My mother is still delusional enough to think he will be able to handle alcohol if he tries it. HE is terrified of drugs and alcohol because of his medications. When he first started on medications he had some really BAD things happen with my brother. At the same time I stopped hiding bro's alcoholism and the similarities between him and Wiz from Wiz. I spoke openly and graphically (in an age approp way) about what drugs/alcohol could do with his medications.

    He cannot stand my bro. Is not rude, but has no time for him. Too much abuse to be moved past. The ONE good thing is that this motivates him to stay away from alcohol and drugs. On his own he decided this.

    He is incapable of moderating the gaming at this point. There are some external controls, mostly financial, that are the only thing that moderates it. Well, and one friend, A, who is his BFF and an amazing positive influence. MAYBE he could have stayed here if we had been more willing to use the electronics and games like carrots instead of treating them like the addiction they are.

    Gma still is able to delude herself for long periods of time that he can moderate this stuff. I am sure it is easier for her that way. I don't bring it up. Ever. I don't back down on the rare occasions SHE brings it up, though mostly I bobblehead her.

    You need to attend some alanon meetings. It truly IS an addiction. Young kids CAN be addicted. Then talk openly about this with husband and a therapist to figure out what course of action you want to take. Chances are it will be many years before you will get difficult child to see the problem.

    I am sorry.
  7. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    I know my views on this will be controversial, but I don;t see video gaming as an addiction in kids with Asperger's or similar; I believe it is a coping strategy.

    With our boys, I could see that they found some level of comfort and relaxation in playing games. Also, the knowledge that I wouldn't remove video gaming form them without their involvement in the decision, also helped calm them down.

    HOWEVER - there are still obligations in life that must be met. I make a point of always being honest with the kids and to encourage honesty in them. I wouldn't punish this by removing computer games - instead, I would ask him what sort of punishment HE thinks is warranted, and get him involved in the process. It's quite likely that he would voluntarily accept loss of computer games. Or he might come up with an alternative you consider equally acceptable. I did find that involving the child made it easier for them to keep the anxiety in check, the same anxiety that gaming helps. Keep the anxiety down (especially anxiety over when he will ever get gaming privileges back) and you may find more compliance.

    In the meantime, what do you do about tis?

    OK, he's lost trust. Well and truly. There needs to be a meeting with you, the teacher and difficult child present, with difficult child prepared to offer his own suggestions on how he can begin to earn back the trust. It's time he began to take some responsibility for his own management.

    Removal of gaming privileges may well be the way to go, but he needs to be involved so he won't be resenting YOU. He needs to be resenting his own actions.

    He also needs to continue to get homework assigments the same way he always has, but he's no longer to use a lead pencil. I would also secretly set up an arrangement with the teacher for her to email copies of set homework to you (or to you/husband at work) so you can compare what he comes home with, to what you know has been set. let him think you're on the phone with the teacher or have developed ESP. It will force him a little more into honesty, hopefully long enough for hi to get into thr habit.

    And once he brings home a homework notification that you know is legit, AND he does it, I would let him play games immediately afterwards, that very night, if time permits. Because the immediate reward will reinforce that doing the right thing pays off. I would always mention (several times) how good it must feel to be able to play games AND to know your work is done. a much better feeling than the guilt.

    Your ultimate aim as a parent, is for him to learn self-motivation and personal responsibility. If you ban the one thing he craves, loves and which could be helping him in a number of ways, he will get more sneaky and underhand trying to get what he wants. But if you deliberately allow for it (even if it's at a greater rate than you're comfortable with) then you can use it as a bargaining chip.

    It's our unwritten rule in our family, that we do not ban gaming. Ever. But under some circumstances, we ask difficult child 3 to not play here, or there. If we're going out to dinner and it's simple for a quiet evening out, we will let him play his DS at the table after we've placed our order and as long as nobody is eating. But if we're at a wedding, for example, no DS gaming is allowed until after the speeches.

    For kids like ours, gaming is like stimming. It serves a purpose but must be kept to a socially acceptable level and not interfere with their lives. But some allowance needs to be made, because with stimming, if you try to stop it altogether, it will continue to break out and could get worse. But if you accept the more socially acceptable forms, you find overall general improvement and a trend to greater social awareness.

    difficult child 1 would have been seen as a computer game addict by the general rules. But as he's got older he's had to find out for himself that there are responsibilities in life that must be met, in order to earn the chance to continue gaming. If he doesn't pay the rent, he loses the roof over his head. If he fails to pay the electricity bill, then gaming is off due to lack of power. He's had to learn to manage his affairs and the process of doing that, takes time out of his gaming day. He has to work; he has a wife to support; he has family obligations; he has church obligations. And as these develop, so does his life expand beyond the world of gaming.

    This is his life imposing on him. And he would have been seen as one of the worst game addicts - but again, I believe it is more like a stimulant than an addiction. For him and for difficult child 3.

    I am also seeing life skills that these boys have gained, through gaming. It's not always obvious. But reaction times, multitasking abilities, problem-solving abilities - all greatly improved through gaming and frankly, all areas where my boys have NEEDED to improve.

    It's wrong to lie, it's wrong to deceive. But he's old enough now to have some input into what he must do in order to remedy the situation.

    I think long-term you'll have sooner success with him, if you get him to have a say. Otherwise once more, he can say it's you doing it to him. Even though we all know he's brought this on himself. HE has to know this.

  8. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    Matt had/has the WORST gaming addiction. (Although I did not know that was an actual diagnosis.)
    Terry do not EVER let your difficult child play reality games, like WOW. Super bad news.

    However, I have to say, this is such classic difficult child behavior I almost had to laugh. Not because it is funny, but because it is just SO my difficult child. And he would have thought he could really get away with it! Probably just like yours.

    I am so glad that at least you are on top of it. Continue to be firm, and enforce the consistent limitations, and he will get it. He just thinks that no one will notice, but once they do, he will stop.
    (He will probably move onto other manipulations, but you know, we are talking the life and love of a difficult child here.:confused:)
  9. whatamess

    whatamess New Member

    My difficult child is truly addicted to video games. No one can tell me different. All is well at the beginning, then as he plays more he becomes entitled (it's not a privelege anymore, it's his right), and he becomes mean. He will lash out at the other kids for interrupting or even watching. He becomes detached and aggressive. When I put them away he becomes frantic about when he can play again and obsesses about it. January 1st, I told all the kids-no gaming until February, the other kids are disappointed, but difficult child works himself into an absolute frenzy about it multiple times a day. We have gone 'cold turkey' before and it honestly takes about 2 weeks before he reconnects and can find other things to occupy himself. It seems like such an innocent pastime and it is for typical kids, but a gaming addict takes it to a whole new level.
  10. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    DaisyFace, thanks for making me laugh!

    If it's possible that gaming can be BOTH an addiction and stimming, then that's what it is for my son.

    I've been reading a lot lately on the human brain, and most gaming provides random rewards, identical to gambling, affecting the same brain regions.

    I can also see where being able to watch TV or play "one" game (if there is such a limit!) calms my son down.

    Whatamess, that is EXACTLY my son's behavior when he doesn't get his games. He has a huge sense of entitlement. He is antisocial, will not sit at the kitchen table with us with-o repeated reminders, and sometimes an argument. He goes through withdrawal, and fidgets all the way home from school until he can get at the games at home.

    When he's not gaming, he is much nicer and more social. By social, I mean "normal" social, not the arm-punching, leg kicking, tripping Mom, shoving kind of social he often enacts, and then says he doesn't know what the problem is when Mom tells him to stop.

    He loves to read and that is a great outlet for him. He also loves candy, and McD's.

    Luckily, it doesn't take him 2 wks to reconnect ... he's usually better in a day or two.

    I will talk to him about what he thinks should be done about the situation. So far, we've only spoken in passing. husband and I went to dinner for our date night tonight.
    Ggf was in bed, asleep, when I got home around 5:15--very odd. I awakened him to give him dinner, and couldn't figure out why he was so tired and his eyes were so red. After eating, he immediately went back to bed. I left the house thinking that he was overwhelmed with school issues.


    At dinner, husband told me that he read difficult child the riot act, and found a DVD player, a hand-held game, and a duplicate set of my office keys in difficult child's room.

    He said difficult child was crying because of the loss of all those things, plus, he was awake most of last night playing the games and watching movies.

    At least tomorrow, difficult child will have gotten a good night's sleep. This whole thing is so self defeating. These kids have no idea ...

  11. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Okay, I found an alanon mtng right down the street, Thurs at 11:30. But the info online talks about family groups, alcoholics, and teens. How do I know whether I'm going to a family group or a regular alcoholics anonymous group? I guess I just walk in and find out. There is no phone # for any of the groups.
    Also, the online info says to visit 3-6 groups to test them out until you get the one you like.

    OMG--it's almost 1 a.m.!!!!
  12. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    That's why we need to involve them, discuss the whole picture with them and then ask them how they feel it should be handled. You may need pen and paper to help here, to mind-map it maybe or put together a list of pro's & con's.

    You've mentioned the pseudo-gambling pay-off. We've actually discussed this with difficult child 3, to ask him what facets of the gaming programming he feels is designed to encourage the player to keep playing. We liken this sort of discussion to information about how advertising works to hook people in (so he knows we're not just bagging out computer gaming).

    Maybe an added factor for your difficult child is the chronic lack of sleep.

    Your ultimate aim - to get him to self-monitor, or at least avoid self-denial in terms of "I can give this up at any time..."

    My boys finally acknowledged their dependence on gaming. It's a start. It does make it easier for us to sometimes say, "Take a break from gaming for an hour, let's go do X instead."

    Another way to break the kid's pattern of gaming furiously - ask to play with him. There are a number of games that you can join with him, let him teach you. We have used Mario Party (game time with me) as reward for difficult child 3, for good behaviour/getting jobs done. It has been a very effective reward and this was suggested by his therapist.

  13. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    Marg, I get your point. It is a really nice thing your boys can do that. I am envious. Wiz is very different.

    It SEEMS to calm him. His moods and actions tell a different story. Even when he picks the consequences, regardless of what they are, he is still unable to stop. He will lie cheat steal from any/everyone to get more gaming stuff. Not even potential loss of his BFF can stop him.

    He has never abided by a punishment. Only total removal of the games for a period of time works. He becomes more loving, creative, does better at everything that he does, and even stops being aggressive after a couple of weeks with no video games. If he has a game and you interrupt him it is possible he will jump up and hit you. He honestly could NOT get out of a burning building if his games were in there.

    The A&E show Intervention has done an episode on gaming addiction. It is interesting. in my opinion it is very different than what Marg sees in her boys.

    The knowledge that he can play as much as he wants is not reassuring to Wiz. It is compelling. He still lies, cheats and steals to get more. At one point he was permitted to have any RPG stuff he wanted. Much as he wanted. He STILL hid some of it. To the point his mattress couldn't touch the box springs.

    Maybe it is a facet of his Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). I really have no clue. I DO know that he is not capable of moderation in regard to gaming. Simply is not able to do it.

    It takes us about 2 weeks to see most of the gaming problems to go away. A rough two weeks. And just like an addict, re-introduction of gaming immediately results in an inability to stop or limit.

    We have tried it. Many, many times. In as many ways as we and our tdocs and psychiatrists could figure out. NOT giving up on him. Truly NOT. Just recognizing a fact, just like I recognize that he has brown hair.
  14. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I can relate to a difficult child get too caught up in these games and them affecting temperament, too. That was a BIG issue in my house last year and I'm still concerned about it when difficult child comes home.

    Although in what Terry is describing, I'm still thinking that her son might have erased the notes about homework even if he didn't have the gaming issue. But I could be wrong- there just seem to be a common complaint with difficult child's in 5th to 7th grade range to try to buck homework a lot.
  15. Steely

    Steely Active Member

    I read somewhere that the same chemical that is released in the brain when one is doing crack, is the same one released when one is playing video games.
  16. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Maybe an added factor for your difficult child is the chronic lack of sleep.

    Not maybe, definitely.

    Yes, Steely, same with-gambling.
  17. GoingNorth

    GoingNorth Crazy Cat Lady

    husband was very into first, "Tunnels and Trolls" (he and Gary Gygax were actually friends) and then into D&D.

    He started electronic gaming back in the Atari days. Yes, once he got sick, the games were a godsend. They kept him occupied and took his mind off of how crummy/fatigued he felt.

    BUT, the RPG games were something he got together with friends to play once a week (husband was a master dungeonmaster and was fantastic at developing alternate worlds), just like he got together with friends to play Poker once or twice a month.

    I never felt it was an "addiction" in his case, though there were times when I had to wait for a pause point before we could leave to go somewhere together.

    on the other hand, he was like me with the TV. We had dish at that time and he enjoyed documentaries/historical stuff, and some of the true crime stuff that was just starting to become popular around then.
  18. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Maybe the erasing is something different, just typical homework avoidance, but since his favorite thing to do is gaming, and I know he wanted to do that when he got home that day, that was certainly at least one of his goals.