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Screen time.....struggling to cope
  • Magnolia
    Posts: 4
    Hello again. Now my son has broken up from school, we are really struggling to manage his behaviour and screen time. He has only recently been told about his ASD diagnosis, and his anxiety levels remain really high. Having previously had screen time rules- some nights no screens, not before breakfast, just for an hour etc, now we have given in (a case of luck your battles) and he is now gaming from 6.30am until 8.30pm. Any attempt at a calm or reasoned discussion about what might be a good balance is met with a panic attack and meltdown - he won’t engage at all in having any form of reduction. I know this is based on an anxiety driven need to be in control but it means I cannot leave the house pretty much (he is only 11 and I can’t leave him on his own really). We are so close to ripping the Xbox out of the wall but know that would cause Armageddon - what do I do when I can’t even start to collaborate? We have lost all our negotiating power as he now games when he wants, and that is the only thing that matters to him. I am so concerned that he is becoming so self absorbed and selfish (he had a massive meltdown when we had to leave the house to take his sister to the doctors with a suspected broken foot) and that this constant screen time is actually increasing his anxiety as he is constant fight or flight mode when gaming. If anyone has any ideas or encouraging words please please post - thank you.
  • Patient128
    Posts: 4
  • webbwebb
    Posts: 2,565
    Hi Magnolia

    Many parents struggle with their childs use of tech or should I say the amount of time they are on their tech.

    Our children with PDA have social interaction and communication difficulties, so find it difficult to maintain friendships but through their tech they can play games and talk to others without the need for eye contact or prolonged contact etc.

    So, you have dropped all your boundaries around his use of tech? If it hasn't been many days, you could negotiate with him to try to put back one boundary? You and he would need to decide this together. - The car is a good place for negotiating!

    Or, you could do what many do which is, make sure you build into his week several activities that he likes which take him out and away from his tech?

    Best to try negotiating with him as throwing the Xbox out the window and causing Armageddon really isn't an option :0
  • This isn't really much help, but I just wanted to say we are in the exact same boat.

    My son has also recently been diagnosed, and since the start of the holidays his anxiety is so high that currently the only way we can manage it is through extensive screen time. We have tried (and failed) to implement boundaries around this, but really don't know what else to do..

    It can be so hard
  • June67
    Posts: 802
    Yep same here; both mine glued to a screen pretty much from when they wake until they sleep with breaks for arguing with each other, asking for food but not knowing what, or obviously complaining that they are bored. Did manage to get them to walk to the local shop for bread, milk and chocolate bars for me the other day. Youngest went because it was raining and he likes rain, won't go anywhere now the sun has reappeared. Currently I'm letting it slide because we have builder working on the house so I'm minimising the stress levels but will need to get them off their screens soon before I go crazy, maybe some swimming will tempt them out.
  • Rubytuesday
    Posts: 289
    Oh June this pretty much sounds like my life, so much so I had to chuckle at your description. Read it my husband who said, ‘Oh it’s not just us then’! My daughter spends loads of time watching YouTube on her phone and playing Sims on the computer. She will also draw which is something, but we’re not having any success getting her out of the house. Her perception is that everywhere is busy in the holidays... My son has done his GCSEs so has been off since the middle of June and she’s not at school so it feels like the longest summer ever already! On the positive side we have a new kitten which has cheered everyone up! Xx
  • Same here too. My 13 year old stepson is on his laptop/xbox from dawn until dusk and any attempt to alter that is met with hostility and meltdown. We have just got back from a week in the lake district on which he spent 6.5 days out of 7 in his bedroom playing on his ipad and refusing to join us on outings. The half a day he came out to go climbing he fought with his brother and caused such a scene when he had had enough we had to return to the cottage out of sheer embarrassment. I too am also concerned about the self-absorbed and selfish nature and we are at a loss what to do. He takes no notice of boundaries, does not negoitatite and every battle we choose to fight he ends up winning as he never ever gives in. If he does lose there is hell to pay. Our concern is life is passing him by and it is higly likely he will spend the next 4 weeks in his bedroom as every attempot we make to cajole him out wth fun trips is met with hostility. I appreciate this is anxiety driven but is so sad to see him missing out on life
  • June67
    Posts: 802
    I do at least see my boys as we don't allow screens in the bedroom, mainly so we can the keep some kind of eye on what they are up to and watching. The other reason is the internet gets weaker the further up and into the house you go. It can be hell when they are close to each other on their respective gadgets and loosing at their games or disturbing each other but generally they are far enough apart they go into their respective worlds and I get things done for short periods. Sometimes like today they will watch each other or play together for a while but this doesn't happen often. Haven't managed to get them out for swimming yet but it may happen. Youngest has a friend coming over later in the week so that will give eldest a bit of a break if of course he doesn't feel too left out.

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