Single parent in need of some advice relating to behavioural issues and autism.
17 January 2021 at 7:14 pm #48268
Hi everyone call me Mr Craft, having just joined, I thank the peeps that be for privilege, much appreciated. I’m here today in the hope of finding fellow users/parents, whom may be in a similar position, who can offer advice and possibly a modicum of emotional support, lacking any family or friends to turn to during this pandemic and subsequent lengthy lockdowns.
I’m an independent man, widowed, this time around six years now, since my wife’s passing, I have cared single handedly for my son, He’s now twenty one and has mild autism, mixed with acute Asperger syndrome and unmedicated ADD. Prior to the lockdown, he was attending a ‘practical’ vehicle maintenance course at college, however the lockdown has ceased all studies for a year. He like most teens, is heavily addicted to gaming and cannot moderate his time fixated to the screen. It wasn’t so bad at the beginning, I could provide him resources and tools to learn at home, but he showed no interest, apart from cocaine-like ‘craving’ for weapons, violence in war games. In 2019 it progressed to spending real money, to fuel his addiction for one particular premium tank game, with costly in-app purchases. In two months, he’d spent almost £1500 in ISA saving on one mobile game!
This is just the very tip of the iceberg, with a lengthy list of behavioural problems encountered throughout his short academic life, most of which has been instigated by his ‘self-isolating’ withdrawal-like conduct, every time gaming were not allowed. Refusing to accept education, only focused on his arsenal of (purchased) game weapons, His ranking & bragging rights over his team-mates.
REALITY HASN’T HIT HIM YET!
I literally pay for everything, rent, food, all bills, heating 24/7, internet and god knows whatever else he consumes weekly.
Thanks for reading this far, I think you can guess what my questions, after all that might be? Here goes…
What the heck do I do about his addiction?
I understand heroin addiction, crack addiction, most addictions in fact, damned difficult to shake once hooked!
Do I literally make him go cold turkey? Done that, got the bombardment of attitude and skulking around, all over Christmas.
Do I pack him off to somewhere that can knock some sense into him, because I’m too bloody soft with him?
Do I wash my hands of a disruptive twenty one year old, that refuses to grow up and become independent?
Do I continue to break myself apart inside, constantly worrying WTF he’s going to do, should I fall ill (quite possible) nowadays.
Do I continue ignoring my my worsening disabilities and health, to keep him warm, fed and with a roof over his head?
Ya feel me?
Do I….. EXPLODE! LOL17 January 2021 at 9:38 pm #48275
oh, world of tanks is a cool game. played it 5 years ago. find myself playing it in lockdown lol. My brother has an autistic son. and he also seems to be heavily invested in gaming/high-spec computers etc. Have you tried consulting your GP or a counsellor?17 January 2021 at 10:41 pm #48276
Hi. I have a similar problem with my son. He’s 20 and on the autistic spectrum. He attended a special needs college up until lockdown, he went back briefly in September but is struggling to get back into the old routine and now with lockdown again it seems like we’ve gone back a step again. He does very little apart from gaming. I always allowed the gaming as long as he was attending college too. I do worry about his health as he gets little exercise and is a very picky eater.
Is he able to claim benefits, this would at least give you some help towards bills?
How would he react if you said he had to do an hour of studying before you could use his computer?
I was told that people with autism are about a third less mature than their actual age, which would make your sons maturity age about 14. Maybe he needs to grow up a bit more before realising that he has responsibilities.
Theres a website called young minds (I’m not sure what age it goes up to) they might have some information and they do have a parents helpline which I’ve used before and was really useful as they have volunteer professionals to advise, it might be worth a try.23 January 2021 at 4:49 pm #48582
Dear Lorraine, I’ve taken my horse to water, but to personify that famous old phrase…
I couldn’t make him drink it! 🤣28 January 2021 at 4:14 pm #48797
Screen/gaming addiction is a common issue with autism, and I’ve had concerns about my eldest’s behaviour around computer use (definitely behaves like an addict when you try and put limits on their gaming, finds it difficult to stop.)
Most areas have local autism groups that offer support – even if your son won’t join in, you can be supported as a parent. Meeting others with similar issues can help. They might also be able to offer activities/training opportunities for your son to encourage independence skills.
Very strong boundaries about expected behaviour are vital – but god, it’s exhausting having to enforce them day after day! Presumably you are paying for WiFi? Have a list of things that need to be done (studying, chores, self-care etc,) and change the Wifi password until they’re done. Warn him that this will be the case before you implement it! Try and have a talk beforehand about how proud you are with what he’s achieved on the course, that lockdown has been hard on everyone, and that you’re very concerned that he’s going to throw away his achievement by spending all his time gaming. Discuss the skills he will need to live and work independently, and what needs to happen for him to learn these skills (even if you think there’s no chance of him being independent.) It always helps if you can emphasize his positive achievements and take the angle that you’re trying to help him to achieve even more, rather than it being a punitive measure. Provide alternatives such as a movie night with pizza so he’s spending quality time with you instead of gaming.
Definitely ask college for support, as they’re supposed to be helping during lockdown, see what they can offer.
Money is a difficult issue as you can’t stop him from wasting it all on gaming, you would need some kind of mental competency order to have any control over his finances. I managed to get a note put on my eldest’s account warning bank staff to ask questions if there were unusual requests (ie donating a large sum to a friend in America!) You could try and take action against the gaming website for exploiting a vulnerable person with autism and ask for some of it to be refunded? Some parents have had success with this when younger children have done it. Ask the bank if there’s anything that can be done to help him manage his money better? Otherwise, showing him what £1500 could have bought in terms of buying a car, a brand new computer etc, and then help him to try and have a savings goal for something big that he’d like to buy? Thankfully I currently control the money for my eldest, but it’s hard to know how I can teach her to budget effectively as money just burns a hole in her pocket, she can’t spend it fast enough.
From the sound of it, your son might well be entitled to PIP, I don’t if you’re already claiming it but it’s definitely worth asking for advice about what he (and you) might be entitled to – check with the Citizens Advice or autism charities.28 January 2021 at 6:49 pm #48807
Thanks for the lengthy and informative reply Bob Ross, almost every avenue suggested has been attempted with little to no successs, even struggling with DWP & PIP, his case has been an extra difficult fight, they even denied he existed for three years, at one point. I can’t begin to start explaining too much here, not that I wouldn’t want the opinion and guidence from like minded people, however my situation has become somewhat of an epasse at the moment, with no prospect of improvement.
Help always seems to be just over the horizon, never quite materialising into anything that actually helps, or benefits my son. I live in one of the worst known Boroughs for their inability to cater for its disabled and vulnerable residents.
For me personally, support has always felt non existent, a lonely life devoid of parents and any sort of family life. I was placed in care aged six, becoming completely institutionalised by the time I reentered society, also devoid of any academic skills and/or qualifications, due to constantly being moved from one instutution to another. The longest stay during a twelve year period, lasted six months.
Post local authority care was no less of a struggle, being diagnosed with Asperger syndrome and many other conveniently attached labels. I was an abandoned and abused child, that fell through the net so to speak, at every possible juncture of my existence.
I am prepared to discuss many aspects of my life and its traumatic experiences, but got sick of disbelieving sceptics calling me out as a liar and or an attention seeker.
When pretty much every aspect of my life, and all its twists and turns, are documented and have been validated on a number of occasions, due to the nature of people’s disbelief.
If I do divulge my worst experiences, it is done so in the hope that others may never encounter some of the ordeals I’ve experienced, I’m not here to be judged or make it a pissing contest out of other people’s experiences.
Please do not judge my book, by the cover, or by the chapter you happen to walk in on, is a phrase that personifies my life, people briefly entering it, imparting all-knowing wisdom, only to be met with…
Been there, done that, got the scars to prove it, kinda answer. 😉28 January 2021 at 7:01 pm #48809
I have also recently closed my free social network, as it became too expensive to avoid all the hackers, while encouraging a few bored people to join for free.