GTA IV – What parents need to know (*NOT FOR KIDS)

Yet again I have been pitted against my ex husband in a game of ‘good parent – bad parent’, the cause of which is a small and shiny plastic disc, which while looking harmless enough actually contains a comprehensive content of vulgarity, violence, sexual depravity and well, to put not too fine a point on it….misogyny.

Yup, my 12 year old’s father actually bought my son Grand Theft Auto IV yesterday, in yet another senseless and idiotic moment of parental irresponsibility.

And my son thinks his father is better than God.

Winner of the Numero Uno parent of the year awards

….as per usual.

I’m so sick and tired of this Bull.

When my son bought the game home from his Dad’s last night…I was so angry I said I couldn’t talk about it…(I didn’t know about the game until the ex had gone home) ….today, I ruined our family Sunday lunch because I could not keep a lid on my frustraton and anger anymore.

After speaking about the game this week and telling my son that he must not get the game. He blatantly ignored me.

Of course, his Dad wants to spend money on our boy rather than give me a penny of maintenance (he does occassionally purchase clothes for our son but this is sporadic and he keeps them at his house usually) and so he indulges our son instead by buying expensive things for him, spoiling him in many ways…not merely by buying him pricey treats for no reason at all (when he knows I have little money and struggle to buy huge presents even at Birthday and Christmas time – this makes him Daddy Popular!)…but also he’s ruining/spoiling/informing our son’s moral judgement and by his irresponsible actions, desensitizing him to violent and depraved sexual behaviours.

Of course, as expected, my son did his absolute best to convince me that I was being unreasonable about not wanting the game in the house…despite the fact that the game is for 18 year olds and that he happens to be 12 years old….that the game is free roaming and allows your character to have sex with prostitutes and then beat them up with a baseball bat and then kill them and get your money back…that your character can visit a lap dancing club and have a girl dance sexually provocatively just for you, that your character can masturbate…oh and that’s before we get onto your character being able to shoot people in the face at close range and thanks to the ‘huminization’ of the characters…you get to witness and experience the victims reaction (yup, it hurts right??????)….. before your character proceeds to kick his head in…..

God, give me strength!

But still wonderboy tried to convince me that as it is a ‘free roaming’ game he didn’t have to do those things on the game…and so I asked him if he had…..and he couldn’t answer me.

So I said to him;

“Every game you usually play, you ask me to come and sit and watch you so you can show your skill….would you like me to sit and watch you play this game?”

“NO!”, he said.

“Well”, I said, “since you are saying it’s not as bad as I’m making out, I’d like to see for myself what this game is like, shall I come upstairs and play on it myself?”

“NO!!!”, he said

He went upstairs in a sulk.

Ten minutes later he came downstairs and said he has unplugged his ps3 ready to take it to his Dad’s house tomorrow…I told him I don’t want that game coming back here and that if his Dad is stupid enough to buy the game and let him play on it, then I have no influence over what his Dad chooses to do… (though you can guess that I’l be writing him a letter this afternoon!)…. but that as a responsible parent it is my duty to make decisions, set guidelines and rules acording to (in this case the law) our beliefs, to issues of morality and decency etc….and that I hoped he would one day understand that it isn’t my job to be his friend, but his parent.

I believe that I am the only one of his parents who actually will do this, who will attempt to teach him right from wrong, to lay down rules… and it is so frustrating when his Dad’s irresponsibility causes this kind of conflict between me and my son…my son says I over react that I am too protective, that his Dad is cool and I am not. That he would prefer to spend time at his Dad’s house. Well of course he would! His father indulges him!

His Dad has finally got his way then hasn’t he!

When I left him he said that he would do all he could to turn our son against me…that our son would prefer to be with him rather than me, that he would do everything he could to have our son think that he was the cool parent…it sucks. This job of single parenthood is difficult enough without having to constantly fight against the immature and irresponsible decisions, actions and influence of my ex husband.

It never gets easier. Just more complicated. More frustrating.

For information purposes I would advise parents of under 18’s to read the folowing articles, reviews and opinions as well as my own.

GTA IV Reviews that parents need to read before purchasing this game for their children

A concerned parent asks about GTA IV….

Beat a prostitute to death with a baseball bat on GTA IV

Prostitution and Masterbation in GTA IV

What parents should know about GTA IV

Catholic Mediew Review of GTA IV

Rosemary’s Post

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16 Responses to GTA IV – What parents need to know (*NOT FOR KIDS)

  1. Rita says:

    Oh Dear Deb,

    I feel so sorry for you. This must really hurt, this stuff is so unsuitable anyone who really cared would NOT foist this on a child. However, I think this is one battle you can’t win and probably shouldn’t even try to. This stuff is fast and exciting, especially if the hormones are starting to kick in, and it must feel to your son like a rite of passage into manhood, especially as it has the blessing of his father. Bide your time and keep reminding your son that adults who find computer games more exciting than real life are probably losers with not much of a life.

    It is not impossible for a mother to find meaningful rites of passage for a boy into manhood. When he is a bit older plan to take him into one of the big cities and spend evenings with the men (and women) who minister to the needs of the destitute (he’ll see courage, bravery and kindness in bucketfulls). Be planning now to see if he might want to get involved with the Tall Ships or Operation Raleigh. There is loads of stuff out there that is exciting and wholesome and needs planning. It will eventually teach him that instant gratification is shallow and unfulfilling, but it seems to be all his dad can offer.

    You can guarantee that when dad gets bored with computer games, it won’t be too long before it is unsuitable films and alcohol. I currently work in a boys school, I’ve seen this battle played out time and time again. I’ve heard of fathers encouraging their boys to look at soft porn because it’s healthy….

    On the computer game front, the person to ask is probably Paul at On the Side of the Angels…I’m sure he could find you one that was considerably more virtuous and a whole lot more fun.

    Take care,

    Rita
    xxxx

  2. John Bowden says:

    Hang in there. You remind me of how I was with my Mom and Dad and how they insisted on being responsible for me. While I didn’t appreciate it then I MORE than appreciate it now. I pray that your son will also appreciate what you’re trying to do – if not now, then later when he’s on his own and understands more. He’s only 12 – you are most definitely doing the right thing – stick to your guns -both with him and your ex!

    You will all be remembered in my rosaries and other prayers!

  3. Alexa says:

    At this point, Deb, I’m wondering if there was any chance of you getting FULL custody of your son?

  4. Suzanne says:

    Deb,
    Your son also needs to know that we will not be allowing our son to have this game. He is 14 we will
    do all in our power to keep him away from this evil.
    There are tons of other great games, tons of other things to do. It is my offering for you to share with him
    that there will be tons of families prohibiting this.
    Right now, we are in the process of having mentoring
    visits with our pastor for Shane. The world is very ugly and our pastors are going to have to step up to the plate. I pray that you can locate a priest and also perhaps your father who can help mentor him. If you can locate a caring enough pastor and your father to help you, you will not be feeling totally alone.

    If this is how his “dad” is going to be, I would see about fighting for full custody. Look at it this way,
    what have you got to lose, except regular ongoing problems that could get worse. I am not trying to scare you further…this is worse than the bump on his head or blood problems and I know I don’t have to tell you that. We have been having many semi-
    serious problems here at home with Shane during this past year…esp. the last half year. So, you are not alone in this, but you do need help and I’m going to pray that you find it.

    This game is the worst I’ve heard of yet, although, I’m sure there are some just as bad.

    Write me if you wish…we’re praying for one another!
    Suzanne

  5. Praying for you and Wonderboy – this is the most appalling thing I’ve heard. What is this world doing to our children?
    If it’s 18 rated, isn’t it against the law for your ex to be giving it to him? I feel so sorry for you having to fight this battle, and for your boy being pulled in the direction of such an evil game.
    I shall pray for strength for you in this, and especially to St Maria Goretti for Wonderboy’s purity.
    God Bless.

  6. Karen H. says:

    I think despite his protestations, he clearly does know this game is wrong because he does not want you to play it or watch him play it.

    does he have a much younger 5or6 or 7 year old cousin?

    Ask him if he would let him play?

  7. Renee says:

    Take away the entire game system. Smash it with a hammer and throw it away. That is what I would do, come what may. Then he can not play it at his dad’s place. If his dad buys him another one, and he brings it home, smash it.

    That probably won’t work, but I tell you my blood is boiling just thinking about this. Maybe just break the game, not the entire system. I don’t know. But it would kill me if my son wanted to play that game.

    I would break it, I think. I just can see myself with the sledgehammer now!

  8. ukok says:

    Great advice form reliable and sympathetic blog buddies!

    Rita,

    you threw out a good couple of ideas there and have prompted me to consider what I might be able to get Wonderboy involved in.

    Part of the troubles stem from the fact that Wonderboy is at his dads for a couple of days a week and I get to do all the practical and boring stuff with him…. also, though he has friends at school, they are not the kind I encourage to come to the house…one of the lads that came pretended to be nice and then told Wonderboy that we live in a ‘cow shed’ (that it smells bad is I think what he meant) the next week…this led to others of his mates having a good laugh about us….another *good* friend aged 12 has sexual experience with girls and smokes like a trooper….sadly, Wonderboy won’t get involved in any activities outside of school and I won’t let him play out because of the antisocial behaviour exhibited by the youths in this area…he’s a great kid, he just is so easily led and because of his (mild) special needs (he has a mentor sporadically at school and some small amount of extra assistance, which is also sporadic)…well, he’s just vulnerable and I am careful what I get him involved in…once he nearly got led out of the school during llunch break by a boy who said it would be fun to leave school and go into town! He was 11 then I think. The teachers found him just in time, lessons had resumed half an hour previously! He’s no sap….he just wants to be one of the boys, y’know?

    Thanks for your insight!

    John,

    I really hope that my son does appreciate someday that it is because I love him so much, that I care for his body and his soul…that I speak out against these things.

    He idolises his Dad and it hurts so much that he sees me as the boring and moaning parent. He’s even told me as much!

    But there is hope, there is always hope. I’m glad you turned out good, John – I bet your parents were especially proud of you when they saw you turning that corner from rebelling against them, to your understanding that all that they did, they did for love of you 🙂

  9. Adding my prayers to those already expressed here.

    We are not allowing Big Brother to get that game (and he’s 16!) I know there is no stopping him from seeing it if he’s at a friend’s house, but he knows how we feel about it here.

    It’s not your job to be his friend. It’s your job to be his parent. It sounds like he has one too many friends already (counting his dad in that category). Imagine what would happen if you decided to abdicate your responsibility too.

    It’s not going to be an easy road, parenting a young boy, alone, in this culture.

  10. Carol says:

    Having raised two sets of two kids (one set was raised alone), and seen how much worse things had gotten in those 12 interim years, and seeing how much worse it all is these days, I agree with Renee. Smash it. Nothing else works. Smash it as if you are dealing with the devil himself. That is indeed the culprit.

  11. Suzanne says:

    I agree with Renee. Smash it. How many times is his dad going to keep buying stuff like that if its ruined…I mean afterall you are talking about an 18 yr. old game that his dad should never have been able to allow him to see in the first place…anyway, that is what I’d do also. I’ve thrown some CDs away around here. At first Shane gets all beside himself, but blessedly he likes some other types of music than the stuff I’ve let go of and he needs to learn negotiation around his age. Some things are okay, reasonable, something that makes us a decent citizen in the world…evil, killing, etc. let alone the other trash on this game is NOT good citizenship. Wonderboy can see this. Shane can see it.
    Suz

  12. Scott says:

    tough spot indeed… But at least your son has you, and you KNOW what the right things to do are. You KNOW this isn’t about being your son’s buddy. You make the correct choices for him, even if it hurts you to do so.

    I wish this were easier, I wish his dad would grow up but unfortunately we have no power over other people. I suppose all you can do is continue to teach your son by any means possible, and document the nonsense his dad continues to exhibit, in hopes of one day obtaining full custody.

    God Bless and good luck, you all are in my prayers!

  13. Rosemary says:

    Deb, how very hard. I do think that you have the right to say what may and may not be brought into your home. I would say to your son and his dad that if the game comes in your home it will be confiscated and not returned. (Then destroy it.) You can’t control what Dad does but you can draw boundaries for your home. You’re in my prayers. It’s not easy raising kids these days under any circumstances. We just have to pray, pray, pray. And then be tough. Some day your son will know who really loves him.

  14. ukok says:

    Alex,

    The ironic thing is the courts only eventually agreed to allow him to see Wonderboy once a week, but it is me who has allowed more contact, in an attempt at fairness. Stupid me.

    I know I have to bear this, but it really is hellish, the conflict that Mr Wrong causes in my household long after I left him. And worse still? I just know that he’s loving every minute of it.

    Suz,

    I just sent you a loooooong email that I think covers what I was pretty much about to say to you – amongst other things 🙂

    Maggieclitheroe,

    You are absolutely right that it is unlawful for Mr Wrong to buy this for 12 year old Wonderboy. I know that I could go to the solicitors about it, but it is not a course of acion that I want to pursue (I know you’re not suggesting that – I’m just thinking out loud!).

    He’s a prime chump.

    Karen,

    Spot on! He does indeed know that it’s wrong, but I can’t get him to actually care that it is wrong…it hurts to see the kind of person that he is turning into 😦

    Renee,

    I so wish that I had taken your advice to smash the game. I sent it back to Mr Wrong with a letter expressing my shock and disgust that he purchased the game. Apparantly he has told Wonderboy that I’m overreacting and that he can play on it when he goes to visit.

    The other reason I didn’t smash it is, well, to be honest, after all his abuse while we were together, he still intimidates me. All 5 foot 4 of him LOL!

    What a joke. 9 years on and I am still treading on eggshells around him. I make myself sick.

    Barb,

    Good for you for not alowing Big Brother to have the game! I thoroughly agree that I’m not here to be Wonderboy’s friend. As painful as it is to see him slowly turning into his father (I even see it in the way he treats his sister contemptuously sometimes), without my attempts to raise him responsibly, I dread to think what he would already be involved in, let alone what he would become.

    It just means I cry a lot and scream a lot, but better that than to allow him to have his own way.

    Carol,

    You’ve led an interesting life 🙂

    Thanks for your understanding.

    I so wish I had smashed it 😦

    Scott,

    You’re right, I should document the nonsense that keeps happening with Wonderboy’s Dad. I guess that is one reason I blog about things (though some think I just blather on that I am whiney)…because these things are inportant and also it helps me to put things in perspective when I write about them (especially when readers comment!) but yes, also, I have a dated record of what happens, when it happens, if I blog about it.

    I also wish Mr Wrong didn’t behave like an idiot, for our son’s sake.


    Rosemary,

    I wish I had had the brains to think about destroying it, but I was concerned that destroying a £45 game would lead to Mr. Wrong asking me for reimbursement and I don’t have cash to spare. I suppose with hindsight, that had he tried to proseucte me I could then have bought it to the attention of the court how unsuitable it was to pourchase it for a 12 year old….darn my depleting brain cells!

    (((hugs to all and many thanks)))

  15. Phil says:

    Oh heck! I feel for you!

    Unfortunately, there’s nothing new in your story as it’s played out in so many families. What is your husband thinking about? Well, the thing is, he doesn’t appear to be thinking about your son, or your son’s well-being; its an ego trip to prove he is the best parent (in your son’s young eyes) and I do feel so sorry for both of you.

    I’m not a parent and have very little experience of these things, but I’d like to think that when your son is older, he will look back and see who the “real” parent was.

    My prayers are for you at this time.

    Phil

  16. ukok says:

    Phil,

    Thanks so much for taking the time to comment, your prayers especially are appreciated.

    (I’m sure it was just a little oversight that had you referring to my ex husband as my ‘husband’, so please don’t think I’m being nit-picky, but the marriage was annulled years ago- lack of form, hurrah!- and merely remembering being married to him makes me feel quite ill).

    🙂

    God Bless you!

    p.s. just wanted also to say that since your dear friend’s passing I have been praying for the repose of his soul and for you to be comforted.

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