I'm hoping someone will have some suggestions...
My 13yo son is ADHD and Aspie. We homeschool so we don't have 'issues' related to stresses at school, etc. He has lots of useful stuff to do, and lots of freedom too. He's a highly gifted musician, involved in many local bands, orchestras, lessons on different instruments, etc. He's also fond of video games... a little TOO fond, if you catch my drift.
We have had FREQUENT problems through the years with him becoming 'addicted' to one game or another. Portable devices are the worst, so most have not ever been allowed in our house. When he was 8, I think, we let him get an OLD gameboy. And we'd find him sneaking it all over the place, playing it in the middle of the night, and oh the tantrums if he wasn't allowed to have it...
Every time we think he's matured enough to try it again, with structures and restrictions and guidelines and limits that he readily agrees to... the same thing happens.
Lately, it's Minecraft, and his new iPod. He saved up the money for the iPod himself and agreed to limits on its usage (never past 930pm, has to finish schoolwork first, etc). Similar restrictions on Minecraft, which we happily bought for him since it's got some great creative aspects to it. We even found a homeschool server for him to play on with other kids we could trust!
Every so often, though, he 'cheats'. For instance, our computer records clearly showed one night that he went on at 2am and played for about a half hour. Other times, he's played when I was out running errands, or busy doing housework, and he was supposed to be doing his schoolwork. This is, of course, to be expected. Who among us NEVER snuck around at least a little bit to do things we really enjoyed? I'm not pleased about it, as it shows his ongoing lack of impulse control and addictive tendencies. But it's within "normal childhood problems" stuff.
The bigger problem is how he LIES about it. And once again, you might expect a certain amount of "cover your ass" lying. "I don't want to get caught" lying.
But he still lies AFTER he's caught. Red-handed. I could be standing there looking at minecraft on the computer screen right in front of him and he'll say "no I wasn't..." "So how do you explain this?" *shrug*
The latest is that he was playing for an hour yesterday while I was out. This was a bigger problem than usual, because we've been having problems with this computer. Crashing more and more frequently, more and more unstable. My IT hubby wanted us to leave it alone until he had a chance to work on it, except that I would try to get on it to make sure our backups were up-to-date. My son was clear on this -- the next time we got it turned on might be the last time it worked ever, and it was vitally important that I check our backups (which include many of his own files!)
However, the computer records clearly show he was on the computer, and playing minecraft. Risking all our files. (It turned out that our data was mostly backed up but slightly out of date, although we didn't know this at the time.) Fully knowing what he was doing.
He was on again this morning, when I was sleeping in (fighting a cold).
He fervently denies either episode. Even when I showed him the clear computer records. He specifically says "I did not." "You know that you were risking the whole computer system." "Yes I know, that's why I didn't do it!!"
I've told him frequently that the problem is the lying, and not the actions he's lying about. That when he admits things, things are easier and better (and on the rare occasions where he HAS admitted things, I've let him get off scott-free!!! that's how desperate we are to show him that the truth is better!). We've tried punishments (no minecraft for a week), positive reinforcement/rewards. We've tried talking about it. I've cried, I've hugged, I've sympathised, I've yelled. Nothing makes any difference.
I've read books on defiant kids. He's read books on being the person you want to be, dealing with things, etc. None of it makes a difference. I've tried re-connecting, making sure our attachment is secure, playing with him, understanding. I've tried supervising his every move -- he whines and cries that I don't trust him (duh, I wonder why) and insists that if I just trusted him everything would be fine. So I've also tried just trusting him. And he betrays the trust every. single. time. Nothing has made any difference.
He has zero impulse control... we can deal with that. But he lies. Flagrantly, bold-facedly, unashamedly. Looks me right in the eyes and tells me things that are clearly and unequivocally and proven untrue. And he gets mad at ME about it!
I understand lying to protect yourself, lying because you don't want to admit the truth even to yourself. But it's disturbing how far he's willing to take it. Whatever threats or promises are made if he would only just admit it, he still won't admit it. Surely there is a point where common sense kicks in and says "dude, just admit it, you're only making things worse at this point"???
I am honestly at the point where I'm getting worried about more serious things. It's "only" video games right now, but what about when he's older and gets tempted by more serious and more dangerous things? And then lies about them? If he can never take responsibility for his own actions (which is a whole other thread, everything is always someone else's fault) where is he going to end up?
He's a sweet kid most of the time. Smart and funny and talented. But self-centered and non-empathetic too. And also with great self-esteem issues, I think fundamentally he sees himself as 'unfixable' and broken, which only compounds with these problems.
We have seen a therapist about this and other issues. She's a sweetheart but almost too sweet... she assures me that just using lots of short-term concrete positive reinforcement will fix everything. No, it didn't.
So... any BTDT miracle stories that might help us out?
Edited by tankgirl73 - 12/2/11 at 9:00pm