Teen Son’s Problems Related to Video Games
Q: Over the past year, the relationship between our 14-year-old son and his sisters has deteriorated markedly and is causing major problems in our family. He won't speak to them and says he hates them. He's also become very disrespectful toward me, Mom. His sisters say they want to be on good terms with him, but he rejects any attempt on their part to improve the relationship. He makes decent grades in school and has several friends he is pals with. He plays video games and sports but appears not to care about his appearance or hygiene. Church is a major part of our lives, but he's started to complain bitterly about attending with us and even participating in youth activities. Suggestions?
A: This is the sort of problem that stretches my ability to be helpful through this format. It might be a good idea for you to make an appointment with a professional. Perhaps your pastor can recommend someone whose values are in line with yours.
I have one thought for your consideration, however. My antennae went up when you said your son plays video games. In my experience, the behaviors you're describing-alienation from the family, disrespect toward females (especially family females), indifference toward personal hygiene-are fairly typical of teen boys who are over-involved with video games and are possibly accessing pornography.
Just as some adults, but not all, who gamble become addicted, some teen boys, but not all, who play video games (which are, after all, a form of gambling) become addicted. In this case, you described the typical symptom picture. I encourage you not to take any chances. Remove the video game console from his room and get it out of the house. If he has a computer or television in his room, remove those too. Do this "cleansing" while he's in school. If he goes into a rage when he discovers what you've done, that will simply confirm my theory. Rage is a withdrawal reaction.
Again, and with or without the rage, please contact a trusted professional for ongoing guidance.
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