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Tuesday, February 4, 2014

It IS a Drug! It is!

Some people have a way with words. When I read Ian Tan's Facebook post above my heart skipped a beat...

"... drugs can destroy whatever opportunities their talents will unlock..."

This post is not about Philip Seymour Hoffman. What he is and what he has done is of no interest to me here, except for the fact that he was clearly talented, and drugs destroyed whatever opportunities his talent had unlocked for him. Since June 2013, I have rescued SIX boys... yes... all SIX are boys, from gaming addiction

The solution to their lack of focus and attention deficit disorder was easy enough. All six were asked to go Cold Turkey on electronic games of EVERY sort (handphones, computers and tablets). In 4 months or less, all of them improved in 
(1)  ability to focus and 
(2)  became emotionally more stable
(3) changed from coiled-up spring monsters who threw tantrums, could not sit still and were unreasonable, to calm little ones possessed of an active curiosity about knowledge, learning and social relationships.

Learning and friends began to give them joy.

Case Study A
Little C-1 was identified as GEP. I taught him in June 2013, and thrilled to the speed and responsiveness of his brain. In 9 hours he mastered what took others weeks and months to grasp. Teaching him was like driving a Ferrari ... or a Lamborghini... an engine that hummed and purred, responding to my slightest touch.

In December 2013, I taught him again. By that time, he had become an addict. He sometimes spent 3 to 4 hours a day on computer games. The emotional tone at home was poor. Tantrums, melt downs, and shouting matches were common. To begin with, the computer games kept him in a state of high adrenalin. It didn't take much to make him melt down. Next, his brain was so desensitised to stimulus that normal and healthful intellectual pursuits were bland and un-interesting. He wanted to finish everything quickly in order to get back to gaming. He was impatient, edgy and mean to his sister. His academic results had suffered too. He was a naughty and unhappy child wearing the gifted label.

Little C-1 has been off computer games for about 2 months now. Yesterday, I received a message from his Mother.

C-1's emotional balance has returned. His Mother sent me a picture of him engrossed in Dr Pet's compo HW - happily engrossed too. To be honest, C-1, even at the worst depths of addiction, didn't LOOK like an addict. Though his brain had slowed down tremendously, he was still performing at the speed of a child with average intellect. The only reason I could pinpoint his problem was that I had previously taught him, and could contrast the pre-addiction performance with his post-addiction performance.

4 of the 6 cases I encountered were children with normal intellect. Now THESE... these children behaved like cocaine addicts. I looked into their eyes and saw the ever present look of a stressed rabbit... their hands and feet could not stop moving... their attention span was short, very short. C-1 had a gifted brain. It was a strong brain to begin with... rather like how some men have strong livers or hold their liquor well. They're drunk but you cannot tell. 

These good brains recover fast too. It has been barely 2 months since C-1 stopped, and we are seeing results. From my experience, normal children require 4 to 6 months of cold turkey.

Case Study B
Little C-2 developed an addiction over the December 2013 holidays. He was given a choice. Stop gaming or stop Dr Pet's classes. He chose to game. We respected his choice, and terminated his weekly classes with me.

He has since decided to give up computer games in order to be allowed back in Dr Pet's classes.

However, since his vacated place had been given to another child, he could not return immediately. So, he said, "I will stop playing when Dr Pet allows me back into her class."

Hmmmm... interesting bargain eh?

Would any Christian dare tell God, "Dear Father, I will stop sinning only when you answer my prayer."? Needless to say, I would not tolerate that this child tell me - "Dear Dr Pet, I will stop playing computer games only when you accept me back into your class." The reason God does not want me (Dr Pet) to sin is because He loves me. He knows that the wages of sin are death. The reason why Dr Pet doesn't want children to play computer games of ANY sort is because I love them. I know the wages of computer games is failure and brain damage. God does not negotiate the terms and conditions of sinning. I don't negotiate the terms and conditions of computer games.

I don't sin (at least I try not to sin) because I love myself (自爱) too much to accept death as my wages. Children should be taught to love themselves (自爱) enough that they don't accept brain damage and failure as their wages. I am certainly NOT going to bribe children to do what is good for them!

So my response was - "No... you stop gaming FIRST... and when a place appears I will prioritise your re-entry." This way, even if I have no place for the child to re-integrate my classes, I will at least know that his focus and performance will improve anyway.... JUST by getting rid of his gaming addiction.


Astrud Gilberto said...

...the extend you went for the little ones, who are not even related to you.... I am very touched.
May God continue to provide and guide you to steer these lost ones back to where they should belong.

Petunia Lee said...

Astrud Gilberto - May God continue to provide and guide you to steer these lost ones back to where they should belong.

Thank you for this prayer. This is the EXACT prayer I NEED.

Petunia Lee said...

Astrud Gilberto - Heyyyyyy... I know you! I went to check out your FB. You're one of my Mommies!! Please pray for me. I need prayer.

Astrud Gilberto said...

Yes, I will. My kids and I do 'Shalom' every other night and yes, all of them know you because you are in our prayers, although 2 of them are not under you, yet. ;)

The youngest one is always very curious about you and asked me, if Dr Pet has many pets in her house. I said.. errm.. yes... kekekeke...

Petunia Lee said...

Astrud Gilberto - LOL!

Cindy said...

Hi Dr Pet,
Would like to check on your schedule for new classes in 2014. I have been waiting ernestly. My boy has started Pri 4 this year.
Hope to hear from you soon!

Petunia Lee said...

Cindy - Please Mommy Cindy, would you kindly go to the Motivation Genome website at and fill out the Contact form? I will email you the necessary?

Cindy said...

Dr Pet, Thanks! I have done it at the other website. Hope to hear from you soon.

Wen-ai said...

O yes... Game addiction. I have friends whose children are clearly iPad addicts. But parents choose the easy way out and allow iPad to be iNanny. While Beanie was running around in the restaurants, their kids would sit nicely in the chairs and play with their iPads. Then the parents looked at my Beanie disapprovingly and asked me why didn't I get her a iPad?!?!?!

Petunia Lee said...

Wen-Ai: When my kids were young I read up on brain damage from excessive TV. We gave away the entire TV, and lived without one for years... and my friends said my kids would grow up into ignorant people who knew nothing about the world... and would have no friends because they would not be able to converse intelligently about what most kids saw on TV.

Fast forward a decade, the parent who insisted that my kids would grow up to be country bumpkins cried buckets because her child had scored less than 200 points at PSLE, whilst Little Boy scored in the top 10% of his cohort. It is her child who has problems relating to people... and Little Boy has developed leadership skills which lead him to be voted Class Secretary last year. This year, he is Class Chairman. He lead a team of fundraisers and pulled in the highest amount of $$ for a charity effort.

You develop social skills by actually dealing with people. You develop thinking skills by actually THINKING. TV is a passive activity. It develops neither.

Rachel Jk said...

Hi Dr Pet,
My boy is in P2 this year.
May I know if you are only accepting students from P3 or P4 onwards?
Does he/she needs to meet any criteria before he can be accepted in your class ?

Thank you

Petunia Lee said...

Hi Mommy Rachel, we take children from P4 onwards. Our syllabus targets higher order thinking and complex writing skills. Children who cannot recognise what is a short and full sentence are unsuitable. Children who don't know how to paragraph their compo are also unsuitable. This criteria is easily met.

However, children who don't know paragraphing... don't know lower primary spelling... don't know that sentences must start with capital letters.. will be advised to sign up with tuition centres that will review lower primary language skills.