son dilemma

C4MERON

Puritan Board Freshman
Dear brothers and sisters, I have posted before about relational difficulties with my 11yo son, but was wondering if you may lend me your ear once again. I feel at a loss as to what to do.
To give some preliminary background, my eldest son is 11 and has 3 younger brothers.
Myself and my wife have always generally had relational troubles with him. He is very rebellious in his attitude, cheeky and argumentative, disobedient (at least at home with us). He has made family life unbearable and is a constant source of negativity amongst the rest of the family.
There is so often a turbulent atmosphere at his hand. Anyway, to cut an extremely long story a little shorter; he enjoys a bit of video gaming and was expecting a new xbox for Christmas. I had bought him one and he found out I had. But when things came to a head and he had been so horrible to myself and my wife, I ended up taking it back to the shop.
He didn’t initially believe me but when he found out I had, there was much lamenting and told me he hated me. He shows much disdain for Christianity recently and has no interest in church ( even though I make him go) and he hates it when I make him and his brothers sit down for ‘bible time’.
I dont want him to waste his life in video games. I want him to know and love Christ and live for him. My question is.. should I re-purchase this games console and know that he’ll be happy or do I stick to my convictions? He says why cant I be a normal dad and let him have it? ( desperate as he is to play older age-rated shooter games just like his ‘friends’). He has no desire to have a relationship with myself or his mum :( I don’t know what to do for the best. Thank you for your advice dear friends.
 

chuckd

Puritan Board Sophomore
My son is similar to this, but only to his mom and sister. He usually straightens up around me. He is only 4 years old, but we have concluded that he essentially craves negative attention. Or he simply craves attention and getting it negatively is the easiest route. If he has a bad day, it turns into a bad week. We have to be very intentional that if he does something good, we praise him for it and found that it leads to further good behavior.

That being said, regarding the xbox, it's hard to know the best course of action. It's easy to give it to him to make him happy, but this will not solve the problem long term. On the other hand, withholding it as punishment may feed the anger, rebellion, and frustration.

I'm sure you've had many talks with him, but maybe explain to him that you want to see a change with how he treats his family before you consider buying him a toy with your money. And encourage him in the talk - "I know you can do it", "we love you very much and want to see you succeed", etc. Then help him along. Encourage him during times that he is argumentative or disobedient. Give him examples of what to do. Praise any little thing nice he does for you, his mother, and brothers. I know it will be exhausting to have to remember to highlight every kindness you see, but again, with my son at least, it breeds further kindness. And eventually it will become habit.

In addition to that, find an activity you both like that you can regularly do together. Building, cooking, sports, etc.
 

Irenaeus

Puritan Board Freshman
I'm really sorry to hear about this. That's very difficult to have these behaviors in someone so young.

You mentioned giving him the console to make him happy. I don't think that's going to make him happy. If anything, it might communicate that he can be terrible and still get his way. His difficulties go much deeper than an xbox.
 

Lukemk824

Puritan Board Freshman
He says why cant I be a normal dad and let him have it?
Do you have any guesses on where he is drawing information on what a 'normal dad' is? You definitely don't want to be the normal dad; I'm sure you know that. I would be observant of who his friends are and what their parents are like. Is he putting expectations on you to act like his worldly friends' worldly parents? Is he learning what a 'normal dad' is from television?

I don't recommend you going back on your decision to return the gaming console. Have a conversation with him and ask him why he believes he deserves it. Ask him if he truly believes that he should have his way when he treats his family so poorly.

Sorry you and your wife are struggling with this.
 

Charles Johnson

Puritan Board Sophomore
I wouldn't recommend video games for any young man. Modern games are very addicting, much more so than anything on the Mario or Nintendo. As a teacher I have students that won't touch a book and can barely focus in class, but they'll play Call of Duty for 6 hours a night. Video games are stimulating enough that the make other things seem very interesting and seriously hurt focus. That has been my own experience as recently as this year - on days I played video games I couldn't get more than a few minutes of studying in, in spite of having all the time in the world - but after six months of no video games I can work a full day than study for hours (assuming I avoid other vices like social media as well). The problem of games has gotten far worse even since I was a child, when we had the PS2 and Wii. It was very easy to put those games down by comparison. But I agree with other's evaluation that the child's problems run deeper than games. I remember a time in youth when my parents didn't let me play shooter games and my friends were allowed to, and it was all they talked about, and I wasn't bitter at my parents about it, although I might have occasionally complained about not being allowed to play.
 

Andrew35

Puritan Board Sophomore
My advice: Take the money, buy some classic board games, and commit to playing together as a family at least once a week.
 

Edward

Puritanboard Commissioner
If you were in the US, I'd suggest the Marine Military Academy starting in the 7th grade.

To answer your question, "NO".
 

De Jager

Puritan Board Sophomore
As some who played video games, my advice would be to not provide that for him. If he wants to cut lawns and buy it himseld that's another matter but I wouldn't encourage it at all.

As I am sure you are doing, also pray for the Lord to get a hold of him. Remind him of his obligations as a covenant child to obey Christ and his commands.
 

Morgan

Puritan Board Freshman
I would definitely not let hm have the video game, I would remove them completely as I think they are an utter waste of time and addictive (yes, I used to play them but when I was young they were much different than now). Yours is a difficult situation and I would enlist the advice from your church leaders and also pray for him (and asking other people in your church to also pray) eagerly that our Lord would change his heart.

Let me know his name so I can add him to my prayers.
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Junior
Guys this really isn't about video games and whether they are a waste of time or not. As far as I can tell it looks like there is an 11 year old that is the acting head of household. It sounds like disciple is required and consistently. You are the father, assert your authority and put him in his place. Spare the rod, hate the child. I am not saying beat him. But it does sound like he is long overdue for a spanking...multple spankings.
 

ZackF

Puritan Board Post-Graduate
I don't know if this will help but it is our journey as the kids say these days.

Our younger one responds well to typical parenting including appropriate conversations with and without corporal punishment. Our oldest, is a 10 yo girl with some of the same issues as your son. Her rebellion against going to church and worship doesn't seem to be at the same level though she sometimes says horrible things and hits her sister. Two years ago she was hitting her mom regularly. We warned she'd lose her dollhouse if she continued. She continued with the hitting. I gave away the dollhouse. Other than a couple of incidents the past two years she ceased hitting her mother. Even though the dollhouse wasn't cheap, it was worth it. She has some general emotional regulation issues though my wife and I have made some changes in parenting. We're considering having her tested for Asperger's. Here a few things that have helped us:

1. Me: I've taken a more active role in what she is doing rather than merely backing up my wife. We do stuff together that my wife and our other daughter don't do. My daughter and I have conversations about the structure of her day's activities. We talk about how there will always be likes and dislikes. Not everything is fun. Church isn't always "fun" either. We talk about consequences if things don't go as are supposed to. The helps if negative consequences become necessary to mention or realize.

2. My wife: She stopped just parenting to the negatives. It is easy as a homemaker from dawn to dusk to allow a general feeling of frustration and even disgust to settle in. This can cause a day's interactions with our daughter to be essentially one long rant. My wife is training herself to stay out of pointless and loud back and forth elevated "conversations" with our daughter. Take more time if necessary. I don't know what your education situation is but we are homeschooling, not doing school at home.

3 Both: When our daughter is emotionally escalated, we sit beside her and just talk softly, easily and repeatedly until she calms down. Most of the time our daughter will apologize (us too if we need to) and we can talk about what happened and what needs to be done.

Our daughter is not allowed and will not be allowed social media indefinitely. No way. We've decided against gaming consoles for the foreseeable future. I have an addictive personality and had to give up gaming two decades ago. However she likes games and is heavily into in Minecraft these days. She does not have her own device though she is saving for her own iPad and we're matching ala 401-Dad (for non-Americans that is a play on a kind of retirement plan in the US). We don't pay her an allowance, she gets paid per chore.

My wife and I have came to the understand we are not going to "solve" her in some mechanical way. We catechize, pray, worship and hope. When a negative behavior or pattern emerges my wife and I sometimes "blame" the other one. She gets that from you! I'll close with the cliché of parenting being a marathon over a sprint.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Daniel's comment on 4 weeks is a good compromise. I'll leave aside whether or not he should be playing games at all. Assume that he may. If you repurchase it, you are communicating something to him. He knows that.
 

Andrew35

Puritan Board Sophomore
My advice: Take the money, buy some classic board games, and commit to playing together as a family at least once a week.
Oh, did want to add that the above wasn't intended as an attack on video games. I personally don't have a problem with them, in moderation.

It sounds to me, however, that you may want to invest time more heavily into your family, and this is one way of doing it. More investment makes the discipline much more effective.
 

C4MERON

Puritan Board Freshman
Thank you all for all your helpful advice. A good range of opinions. I wish I could convey just how much lament he is making over this, It is honestly like we have just told him that someone he loves very much has suddenly died. Its like proper grief, including pretty much refusing to eat food. Never seen anything like it. Continually begging for one more chance. I personally just cannot get by the fact that despite my own (and my wife’s pleadings) on Sunday night for him to change his attitude, he was unwilling, until he finds out the one thing he wanted for Christmas was taken away. Just dont know what to do. I feel double-minded in myself and vacillate between reconsidering with a resolve to implement a strict time limit for each day and base allowance of its use on participating in family bible time and on the other hand just outright saying no and sticking to my guns..
 

Morgan

Puritan Board Freshman
You are at an important point with your son and it's a serious situation. You need to dedicate whatever it takes to correct the behavior before he gets much older. The older he gets the harder it will be to change his behavior. Involve your church leadership and don't give up no matter how hard it becomes.
 

BayouHuguenot

Puritanboard Clerk
Concerning board games as an alternative--let that be around step 8 down the road. If he is going nuclear over a console, he might not be ready for little house on the prairie (and my family does play board games).
 

Andrew35

Puritan Board Sophomore
Concerning board games as an alternative--let that be around step 8 down the road. If he is going nuclear over a console, he might not be ready for little house on the prairie (and my family does play board games).
Yeah... realizing after the latest input that the situation is pretty extreme. Might want to involve some outside help here as well, I should think.
 

Taylor

Puritan Board Graduate
Not to diminish the spiritual problem here, but consider also that your son could very well be the equivalent of a drug addict. Others have noted the addictive nature of games these days. When people, especially boys, play video games, they experience large amounts of dopamine release. Dopamine is a highly addictive substance which the brain quite literally craves. It will abandon all reason and sense to get the next fix. It’s why come people can play video games for hours and hours straight without a break.

If this is the case, your son may literally be going through dopamine withdrawals, which can mimic for some drug withdrawals—grief, anger, violence, physical pain, etc.—which would explain his extreme reaction. I’m no doctor, but I've read that what needs to happen sometimes is that the dopamine receptors need to be starved in order to "recover." Your son needs to be prohibited from engaging in these heavy dopamine-producing activities for a time, and instead find other pleasurable activities. How this will work with your son, I don’t know. Whatever it is, it will be painful, but worth it in the end.
 

C4MERON

Puritan Board Freshman
Just an update: very surprising turn of events today in which he came home from school, seemingly, a very different boy. Was remorseful and apologised to myself and his mother and made no mention of it again. I am hopeful and prayerful and will endeavour to spend some time with him. I also have taken on board some advice from another brother to seek out a church youth group where he may indeed perhaps make some new friends within the family of faith.
Thank you for your support and input friends. This is a valued community.
 

Morgan

Puritan Board Freshman
Just an update: very surprising turn of events today in which he came home from school, seemingly, a very different boy. Was remorseful and apologised to myself and his mother and made no mention of it again. I am hopeful and prayerful and will endeavour to spend some time with him. I also have taken on board some advice from another brother to seek out a church youth group where he may indeed perhaps make some new friends within the family of faith.
Thank you for your support and input friends. This is a valued community.
What great news, glad to hear it.
 

Goodcheer68

Puritan Board Sophomore
Guys this really isn't about video games and whether they are a waste of time or not. As far as I can tell it looks like there is an 11 year old that is the acting head of household. It sounds like disciple is required and consistently. You are the father, assert your authority and put him in his place. Spare the rod, hate the child. I am not saying beat him. But it does sound like he is long overdue for a spanking...multple spankings.
Spanking isnt always the solution. There is more to parenting then breaking out the rod. His child sounds a lot like mine and spanking only made things worse. He is not like my older two where spanking brought about remorse, with my youngest child it embittered him and made him more committed to his rebellion. You couldn't spank him enough. The thing that worked the best was to have him go to his room where he could get out his frustrations and then when he calmed down to talk to him about his attitude and the consequences of his actions. That was more fruitful than any spanking for him.
 
Last edited:

Ryan&Amber2013

Puritan Board Senior
Are you fully investing in his life, giving him your time, your love, your thoughtfulness, your affection, and your sincere desire for his good? Are you gentle with him, caring, and kind?

Are there ever moments where you let the opposite of these qualities into your relationship with him?
 

C4MERON

Puritan Board Freshman
In answer to Q1). Trying to but very imperfectly.
2). Admittedly sometimes no.
3). Of course, like any parent.

Thanks be to God for Christ however!
And may, by The Lord’s grace, I improve in these areas for my son’s benefit and the glory of God.
 

Ryan&Amber2013

Puritan Board Senior
In answer to Q1). Trying to but very imperfectly.
2). Admittedly sometimes no.
3). Of course, like any parent.

Thanks be to God for Christ however!
And may, by The Lord’s grace, I improve in these areas for my son’s benefit and the glory of God.
Yes, thanks be to Christ for the gospel which renews us! I asked this because it seems like very often, it is easy for us to base our parenting off of spirituality, bringing our kids to church, doing worship with them, making sure they are praying, making sure they are disciplined, and those matters. All of these things are needed, but just as importantly children need a real relationship with their parents, and that relationship needs to be saturated in love and devotion, expressing the most beautiful of characteristics, while denouncing anything that is not contributing to the healthy building of character.
 

C4MERON

Puritan Board Freshman
Yes absolutely. You are right and I need to work on this. Continued prayers appreciated.
 

retroGRAD3

Puritan Board Junior
Spanking isnt always the solution. There is more to parenting then breaking out the rod. His child sounds a lot like mine and spanking only made things worse. He is not like my older two where spanking brought about remorse, with my youngest child it embittered him and made him more committed to his rebellion. You couldn't spank him enough. The thing that worked the best was to have him go to his room where he could get out his frustrations and then when he calmed down to talk to him about his attitude and the consequences of his actions. That was more fruitful than any spanking for him.
I was not saying spanking is always the solution, I agree it's not. However, in this case, I think it is completely warranted. It would be fine to also use some of the other tactics that have been mentioned.
 

Timmay

Puritan Board Freshman
Spanking isnt always the solution. There is more to parenting then breaking out the rod. His child sounds a lot like mine and spanking only made things worse. He is not like my older two where spanking brought about remorse, with my youngest child it embittered him and made him more committed to his rebellion. You couldn't spank him enough. The thing that worked the best was to have him go to his room where he could get out his frustrations and then when he calmed down to talk to him about his attitude and the consequences of his actions. That was more fruitful than any spanking for him.

When you say “get out his frustrations” what do you mean by that? Allow him to scream into a pillow? Punch a bag? This was suggested to us by another parent, but that seems like a controlled loss of self control. Curious how you allow your child to get out his frustrations because I think my son responds the same way.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
 
Top