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Parenting Issues This forum is for discussing any of the parenting issues involved in your divorce, including parenting of step-children.

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  #1 (permalink)  
Old 12-30-2013, 04:22 PM
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Default GTA V for a 13 year old

My 13 year old splits time 50/50 between my house and his Mom's. In my home he is only allowed to play age appropriate games on his playstation.

My ex recently bought him Grand Theft Auto V which is rated Mature 17. I told her that in my opinion the game was too adult for a 13 year old but she bought it anyway. I can't control what she does in her home but I wanted to give my input. She decided to go ahead and buy him the game anyway because, as she put it, "every kid in his school is playing it".

My son was referred to a psychologist a year ago and was diagnosed with ADHD. The doctor also noted that his maturity level is on the lower scale compared to other boys his own age. He does not have a healthy relationship with his mother and in the past the cas investigated her due to complaints of physical abuse against him. Recently his mother told me that he has started swearing at her and that he pushed her.

I also have a Playstation at my house and when I am watching Netflix I can see that he is online ALL THE TIME! When I see his username online it also lists which game he is playing and it is always GTA V. My son just went back to his mothers yesterday afternoon and he was playing all day and finally logged off at midnight (I do realize he may not have been playing that whole time but it wouldn't surprise me).

I have major concerns with him playing this game. I have tried out a friends copy of the game and it full of racism, sex (you can have sex with prostitutes and pay for a "blowjob", sexism, tonnes of violence and generally psychotic behaviour. I know that I can't control what she does in her home but it makes me sick to see that he is logged onto the PS3 network everytime he is over there. She recently bought him a headset so that he could talk to other game players, some who are adults and strangers.

I have tried speaking to her in person about this and got nowhere. I am going to put my concerns in writing but I really don't think I am going to get anywhere with this. Am I wrong to voice my concerns here? My son has enough problems (poor marks at school, poor relationship with his mother, problems making friends, getting picked on at school).

Just wondering, what would some of you do about this?

If you are unfamiliar with the game, Youtube has countless clips if you search "GTA V".

Thanks
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Old 12-30-2013, 04:38 PM
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There is nothing you CAN do IMO. Your rules at your house and moms rules at her house.

I have 3 boys (21, 16, 14) who have been playing games like that for years ... (The oldest gets it and the younger ones follow suit).

My ex doesn't / didn't believe in tV's in bedrooms. I saw/see no problem with it. My kids all have tV's in their rooms at my house but not at his.
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Old 12-30-2013, 04:50 PM
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Not much you can do outside of helping your kid understand that you don't agree with the game and why. You can let him know you see he is online for long hours and recommend other activities and then start doing those activities together.

Bad parents will be bad parents. Not much you can do about it, and there are no laws against.

Bringing this up with the ex will get you the same reaction you got before, which is nothing back. It is like running head first into a wall, deciding it was a bad idea.....then doing it again. Your ex doesn't care what you think. The boy is out of her hair and not getting into trouble, and she has likely bought some of his affection. So for her it is win/win.

I don't agree with the game either. I've honestly never even played any of the series as I don't see the appeal.
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Old 12-30-2013, 05:02 PM
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I agree with the other posters in that you can only dictate what goes on in your house.

Perhaps you could have an "adult" discussion with him about the game. Patiently hear what he has to say. Ask him what his opinion is on it and why he thinks it is so popular. Be sure to explain to him how unfair it is to belittle or make fun of the kids who's parents won't let them play the game.

He's a teenager. I guess things have graduated somewhat from buying and hiding Playboy magazines.
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Old 12-30-2013, 05:10 PM
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@ Teddie.....

Newsflash: Nobody should have TV in the bedroom. For adults, it's a passion killer!

Personal take on how I have dealt with this related matter, in my case it was putting my concerns forward in an email to the EX, with the focus being on the child. The generation of the kids today...mostly boys are into video games, whilst girls are into social media, make up and fashion.

Skylanders is a very popular one for young boys, and the price of the console and games is a testament of this.

Quote:
I have tried speaking to her in person about this and got nowhere.
Peaceful, consistent, and purposeful communication with your ex is essential to the success of co-parenting—even though it may seem absolutely impossible. It all begins with your mindset

Quote:
I am going to put my concerns in writing but I really don't think I am going to get anywhere with this.
Now you are thinking....It may seem impossible to stay calm when dealing with a difficult ex-spouse who’s hurt you in the past or has a real knack for pushing your buttons.

Think about communication with your ex as having the highest purpose: your child’s well-being. Before contact with your ex, ask yourself how your talk will affect your child, and resolve to conduct yourself with dignity. Make your child the focal point of every discussion you have with your ex-partner.

Quote:
Am I wrong to voice my concerns here?
No you are not, you are doing what any rational parent faced with this kind of problems will do.

Quote:
My son has enough problems (poor marks at school, poor relationship with his mother, problems making friends, getting picked on at school).
Now those are all symptoms associated with a kid that is feeling neglected and troubled by the problems all around them. I have seen this so often with the kids that I mentor. You really need to get the kid some help with the school work if you are not in a position to help with that.

The boys and girls club of Canada is another avenue you can look into....your son might be able to adopt a big brother / sister that will help guide them and help with the self esteem. Seriously consider this

It’s healthy for children to be exposed to different perspectives and to learn to be flexible, but they also need to know they’re living under the same basic set of expectations at each home. Aiming for consistency between your home and your ex’s avoids confusion for your children.

Quote:
Just wondering, what would some of you do about this?
Rules don’t have to be exactly the same between two households, but if you and your ex-spouse establish generally consistent guidelines, your kids won’t have to bounce back and forth between two radically different disciplinary environments. Important lifestyle rules like homework issues, curfews, and off-limit activities should be followed in both households.

The problem you have posed to the forum, can be easily resolved by communication with your ex like I mentioned above by keeping your calm and stating your case in a convincing manner and substantiating your concerns with facts.
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Old 12-30-2013, 05:23 PM
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this game is not like other games - if you haven't seen it then please consider taking out the "game" part of the "game" and change it to "porn video". it is not appropriate for a 13 yo.

That being said - I have no advice for you OP - its a tough road. good luck!
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Old 12-30-2013, 07:54 PM
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Ha, if you think GTA is bad have you seen the new batman games? Batman used to be fun and super heroism, not so much in his new games.

As a kid who grew up playing these games myself, I don't personally an issue with them. I didn't turn out to be a terrible adult, my grades weren't affected, and I didn't turn out to be a serial killer or car thief.

How about having discussions with your son about some of the real life things that are portrayed in the video game. (I'm all for open communication with kids, but I'm not a parent myself so maybe my perspective is different)
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Old 12-30-2013, 08:31 PM
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I think it's appropriate to voice your concerns, just don't expect to get anywhere. Her home - her parenting time - her rules (or lack thereof). It sounds like your son may be using this game as an escape from the problems in his life, and his mother is either enabling him or buying him off by letting him play on the the computer all the time.

The best you can do is model appropriate behavior at your place. Have you talked to him about why you don't allow him to play games like this when he's with you? Or about why you don't let him go on the computer 24/7? Could open up a discussion about racism, sexism, violence that isn't fun, and so forth. I think the key is not just setting limits on what he can do at your place, but explaining (even if he doesn't really want to hear) why you've made the choices you have.

There's something about computer games and teenage boys - I know at least half a dozen parents who are having serious problems with their 14, 15, 16 year old sons who don't want to do anything except play computer games, and become aggressive and angry when the parents try to set limits. From the outside, it really looks like an addiction. So you are far from alone in this.
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Old 12-30-2013, 09:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Teddie View Post
My son was referred to a psychologist a year ago and was diagnosed with ADHD. The doctor also noted that his maturity level is on the lower scale compared to other boys his own age. He does not have a healthy relationship with his mother and in the past the cas investigated her due to complaints of physical abuse against him. Recently his mother told me that he has started swearing at her and that he pushed her.
If she can't make this connection between her permissive nature about his videogaming, and his behaviour herself, she's not going to listen to you about it. But can you get the psychologist on board? Ask him/her, out of earshot of the kid, if the GTA V and obsessive playing of it could be contributing to his behaviour, and if the professional could address it with the mother.

Otherwise, suggest that he spend more time at your house, as perhaps more time with his male role model would help him learn respectful behaviour. Let her know, nonconfrontationally, that he does seem to be spending a lot of time online playing a Mature game about violence with strange men. She may not realize he's online so much, if he's sneaky about it, but you see him because you are also logged in. Send her some links to the GTA V videos and ask her if he's quoting anything.

Meanwhile, I'm not sure what you can do that she won't perceive as a criticism of her parenting, and get defensive. At least he's only exposed to the bad parenting half the time instead of all the time.
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Old 12-30-2013, 10:39 PM
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I'm 100% on board with you that it is inappropriate and I understand the frustration about what you kid is being exposed to. However, like others here i agree that it is not something that you can control. Express your concerns clearly and appropriately but know that it isn't worth fighting as there is no way you can win.

What you can do is focus your energy on the time you spend with him. You probably won't be able to find something that he likes more than GTA V, but find the thing he likes most that you support and put your energy into engaging that.
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