Reply To: Son has no interest, no motivation. I’m out of ideas.

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Kevin Ju

This reply was originally posted by user adhdmomma in ADDitude’s now-retired community.

Hi @JAMurphy!

Once again, we sound like we have the same son. My son has other interests, but he’d rather play video games (Minecraft mostly right now) while also watching videos of others playing video games. He carries his iPad all around the house watching them. It drives me crazy, but I decided to find out why so I could at least understand it.

My son also has HFA/Asperger’s. He is often very uncomfortable. That, coupled with racing and jumbled thoughts is tough for him to endure. So, he started watching videos constantly, as a way to focus and quiet his brain. He told his therapist and I that a couple months ago and it was such a big ah-ha! His dad (pretty certain undiagnosed ADHD) has to listen to music every waking moment, work and all. I now understand why he does it too, because it makes his brain focus on one thought, the music.

As for preferring to play video games more than anything else, I think that’s because those interactions are a lot easier than in-person social situations for kids with ADHD. It can also take place in an environment they can control to be more comfortable (noise, temperature, clothing or lack thereof). Plus, they are good at technology and video games, when they are not good at other things.

Yes, we are bombarded with messages that screen time should be limited, etc. But, I am of the opinion that isn’t necessarily true for everyone. And my son doesn’t play 24-7. He goes to school many hours a day and works really hard to keep it together those hours. Then he comes home to homework and chores. Sometimes he plays outside with a neighbor. Sometimes we have appointments and errands. Yes, it’s far more than 1-2 hours of screen time a day, but he’s not holed up in his bedroom doing nothing but video games and screen time around the clock.

I am pretty strict about what he can and cannot play though. While he turns 13 this week, he is not allowed to play anything like Call of Duty and the like. No realistic shooting games, etc.

Anywho, all that to say I’m right there with you, and I don’t think it’s as bad as people tell us. And remember, the ADHD brain is motivated by interest and urgency, not importance.

Moderator, Author on Parenting ADHD, Mom to pre-teen boy with ADHD, LDs, and autism