Note:The following answer is an excerpt from "How to Help Children Addicted to Video Games - A Guide for Parents", which can be instantly downloaded here or by clicking the image on the left (free email support if downloaded today).
Yes, if your son is addicted to video games recovery is possible. If I did not believe this and did not have evidence that children and teens can recover from video game addiction I would not have written this manual.
As is true for any addiction, recovery can be very difficult, slow-moving, and can seem impossible, but you do not need to accept that your son is destined to be addicted to video games. For some children, it may require drastic measures to break the addiction, but based on both clinical research and my own practice with children who are addicted to video games, I know that recovery is possible.
Not sure if your child has a gaming addiction? Take the Video Game Addiction Test for Parents.
On numerous occasions I have worked with children and teens that have been compulsively playing video games for years. In some cases these individuals were playing 50 hours or more per week (more than the equivalent of a full time job). Not surprisingly, these kids were doing very poorly in school and some had even dropped out. Friends no longer called, the child was not interested in doing anything else, and relationships with other family members were strained to say the least.
Parents Can Stop Video Game Addiction
However, if your son is addicted to video games and you are committed to taking the necessary steps by enforcing healthy limits, there is no reason why the addiction has to remain in his life. If there is a bright spot with regard to childhood video game addictions, it is that as a parent, ultimately you still have a great deal of influence and control over your child. True, it may not seem like you have much control now, but don't worry - the techniques in this book will show you exactly how to regain lost control and authority.
In contrast, consider adult video game addicts. These individuals must recognize that they are addicted, that it is unhealthy, and that they need to change - and then they must personally resist the urge to play. So, adults must not only accept the reality of the addiction, they must also develop enough self-control to resist the powerful urge to play. Both of these elements are necessary conditions for an adult who hopes to overcome video game addiction. In contrast, neither of these conditions are necessary for children. Because you are in control as a parent (or soon will be) these components are not necessary to eliminate video game addiction from your son's life…
Your son does not have to accept that he has a problem.
Your son does not have to want to change his video game habits.
Yes, it will make your task much easier if he gains insight into the problem and can practice self-control. But, if this does not happen, you have the power, the authority, and quite frankly, the responsibility to impose tight restrictions on gameplay or the complete removal of the problematic games.
Address Your Child's Video Game Addiction Sooner Rather Than Later
Keep in mind though, that your power to intervene decreases with each passing day, month, and year. The influence you have over your son steadily declines with the passage of time as he gains independence, starts making his own decisions, and takes responsibility for his own choices. This is a natural and healthy part of development. As a parent you cannot (and should not) require your child to adopt your exact worldview, your values, your behaviors, and your goals. You do however, want to encourage the values, beliefs, and behaviors that you believe are essential and that are required to find happiness as an adult and to eventually be a productive member of society. Although these values will certainly vary from person to person, they may include promoting honesty, integrity, respect, compassion, determination, dedication, hard work, resilience, self-care, and self-control. Once your child is an adult your job as a parent is definitely not over, but your influence is far less substantial and your control may be minimal.
Luckily, you are not in this position yet. If your son was an independent adult, your options would be quite limited. You could attempt to get him to see the damage he is causing to his life. You could refuse to enable his addiction by providing him with money, food, or shelter. You could encourage him to seek treatment. Ultimately though, the video game addiction would be his to address. You cannot afford to let the addiction persist until adulthood where your options will be very limited.
With this guide and the help of a loving and determined parent, children and teens can overcome video game addiction. It may be impossible to completely avoid computers and video games, but it is possible to live with them responsibly.
The game can be played in moderation or turned off for good.
Friendships can be restored.
Family relationships can be repaired.
Good grades can return.
Personal goals can become clear again.
Motivation to do other things can return.
Past hobbies and interests can be pursued again.
A future full of promise and potential can become a reality.
If your son is addicted to video games and you are worried about the long-term consequences, acknowledge that the addiction may temporarily change the path he is on, but it rarely has the power to prevent him from returning to this path in the future…and certainly does not prevent him from choosing a different path to a similar or even better destination.
For a comprehensive step-by-step guide you can follow if your child is addicted to video games, take action right now by downloading the new book How to Help Children Addicted to Video Games - A Guide for Parents.
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