My son is 15. He is a smart, highly sensitive, introverted young person - and over the last two years he has retreated from the world, into Runescape. He plays as much as he can, and although he attends school, his grades have gone from an A-minus to a C-minus average, and I think they will get worse still before they get better, if they ever do. He had some difficult experiences with friends, sports and other activities, and it seems to me that his way of keeping himself safe from ever getting hurt is to retreat into his game, where the worst thing that can happen is a failed quest objective, and nobody wants anything from him except to play the game with them.
He has become withdrawn, and openly tells me that he doesn't even like me. I have tried to let him have his fun while keeping up with his obligations with school and family life, but he is less and less interested in anything but RuneScape. He has drifted to a point where it is the only thing that holds any attraction for him.
I can't accept that he is surrendering his life to this. We have been lenient parents, and relied on our kids having all the options and choosing wisely. This has got him used to being able to play whenever he wants, and lately that is all the time, including during the night. I have drawn a "line in the sand", and am disabling Internet access overnight, even during school holidays. I am not sure how much further I want to go with the "tough love" (yes I know, partial internet restriction is not nearly "tough", but you know what I mean. I don't want to remove his computer from his room, because he bought it with money he saved himself, and I want to respect his property. I also don't want to cut him off from the game completely - that seems like an act of violence, and I don't want to model that for him.
His open resentment of me for not letting him play as much as he wants is beginning to get to me. I'm a man in my late 40s, and I have been known to go to bed in tears, because I can't let the son I love do what he wants to do. I am not sure how I can keep going with this. I am terrified of losing him completely, but I can't just keep contributing to something I believe is hurting him, even though he is not aware of it.
Thanks for reading. If you have any ideas, I would truly appreciate reading them.
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