This reply was originally posted by user adhdmomma in ADDitude’s now-retired community.
First, I agree with @curlygirl that 20 minutes isn’t enough time to feel satisfied in playing a game. That is likely requiring him to quit in the middle of the game and never finishing.
Second, I think it’s really important to understand WHY your son is so drawn to electronics and gaming:
1) Electronics are stimulating, which is what the ADHD brain lacks and craves. Stimulation helps with focus and feeling more calm (I know it sounds counter-ituitive, but it’s true for ADHD).
2) Kids with ADHD usually have a hard time fitting in. They want more desperately to be like their peers, and their peers are mostly online, playing games.
3) Kids with ADHD struggle with social situations, especially in person. But, in online games, they are surrounded by like-minded kids and social interaction is a lot easier.
4) For my son, gaming is something he’s really good at. It is a time when he can feel successful and confident, and he needs that.
Scientific research actually shows that video games can HELP the brain. https://www.additudemag.com/adhdblogs/11/11365.html
Games like Minecraft are being used in education a great deal now. And there are games for neurofeedback to improve ADHD now too.https://www.additudemag.com/adhd/article/798.html
Now, can kids be playing electronics too much? Sure. And if they are “craving” it, that’s not good. https://www.additudemag.com/adhdblogs/11/11303.html.
Rather than lay down a mandate on the time allowed, sit down and talk to your son about gaming. Ask him why he likes it so much and what he sees as the benefits. Explain your perspective to him and why you feel limits are important. Approaching it from a collaborative standpoint will reduce the “battle.”
ADDconnect Moderator, Author on Parenting ADHD, Mom to teen boy with ADHD, LDs, and autism