12yo son would do NOTHING if left to his own devices(14 Posts)
My 12yo boy is driving me up the wall. He has gradually dropped all clubs and sports and has no interest in picking up any new ones. He doesn't read for pleasure, he doesn't listen to music much - the only things he wants to do is play on the XBox or watch the Simpsons/SpongeBob/TopGear on telly. (He's only allowed to do screen things things after homework and room tidying are done. He is also supposed to practise his piano every day but is so half-hearted it hardly counts.)
He isn't an outgoing boy, and he has slight Asperger's and dyspraxic tendancies so finds both personal relationships and sporty things difficult. I keep explaining to him though, that practice is the only way to improve these things.
I'm trying to encourage him into joining the scouts or something, but the thought of a troop full of strangers is intimidating. He really needs to get more exercise. His younger brother, by contrast ( I know, comparisons are odious), plays football, rugby, does swimming and cross country running - all competitively. I worry about my big lad! What can I do to motivate him a bit more?
I can recognise aspects of both DS1 and DS2 in your description.
DS1 (12) is NT, sociable, does rugby and Scouts etc but tends to do the absolute minimum necessary when asked. He is supposed to do 30 minutes piano practice a day, but it's more like 10-15. He is supposed to have 8 hours of homework a week, but he often claims to have none and would be happy to spend every waking hour playing Minecraft or watching The Big Bang Theory, Red Dwarf, Blackadder or Bond films. As long as he continues to keep his grades up at school and do his chores, I'm going to give him some leeway on how he spends his free time, as he is nearly a teenager and needs some autonomy.
DS2 (10) has Asperger's and getting him to do any clubs is very difficult. He did chess club but it isn't happening anymore. He does Scouts but only because DH is a leader. I know that coping with the social aspects of school all day takes a lot out of him, so I'm not going to push him to do more extra-curricular activities, even though he does fewer of these than the other three do.
There are ways of doing a bit more exercise that might be more attractive to your DS, without forcing him to do team sports or competitive sports. What about karate or Taekwondo?
How about a model club? My church runs one. There is a comic book shop in the town near us that has different clubs after school. Some kind of gaming - both online and on tabletops. Chess club?
our local youth club has one night a week set aside for kids on the autistic spectrum. They also offer a mentoring scheme where sixth formers will go and support kids on the spectrum in social activities. Could you find a similar service locally?
I work with a number of autistic teens and feel quite strongly that allowing them to withdraw from activities and live in virtual worlds for extended periods is very damaging.
You don't have to be an ogre, but all kids need boundaries until they can make their own, healthy choices.
Thanks for your replies everyone. Chess club is a good idea, and he does love a bit of Warhammer.
He has tried karate before, but his enthusiasm waned quite quickly. He tells me he is going to table tennis club at school. I'm not sure if I believe him though. He's very good at saying what I want to hear.
And I totally agree with the comment about how harmful virtual worlds can be. It is too easy for him to be mentally locked in to Skyrim or Minecraft and it teaches him nothing about real world interaction.
I shall look into spectrum- type youth clubs as well. Thanks again.
OP, I could have written your post. eerily similar to my ds in every way. cant post much right now as I'm on dhs hateful phone. I will post more tomorrow though I don't have any answers I'm afraid, just sympathy!
My DS 12 is on the spectrum and I could have written your post OP. i've tried SO many clubs, activities etc over his lifetime and have come to the conclusion that I have to be really focused on what I want for him. My main concern was socialisation hence the clubs which he didn't enjoy. I have really encouraged him to talk about friends at school, invited them around and he now has a social group with 2 other lads very similar to him (non sporty computer wizards!) they socialise over the x box via x box live almost every evening and visit at the weekends etc. knowing he has these friends now makes us SO happy for him (he is a kind, funny lad but would be happy just at home with Mum and Dad if I hadn't pushed and encouraged friendships). I have put clubs on hold at present but are hoping he will find a school club with one of h is mates at some point. He finds school difficult due to the noise and bustle being unbearable at times for him but we are getting there. He had his 13 th birthday party tonight with his friends and cousin, x box and pizza and had a wonderful time. Its really hard isn't it? You want so much for your kids but can't force them to be what they aren't, especially if they have other challenges.
I found that identifying a possible career path with him was really helpful. He wants to be a games developer(funnily enough!) and its the thread we tie through all the activities, school etc we encourage him to do
Another 11year old autistic spectrum boy who finds socialising really difficult. We have been through so many clubs, activities but he just tends to fall out with the other kids because it is so overwhelming. He has just started secondary school which has been tough but good, still driving him to and back from school.... Aaaagh.
At school he does chess club which he is very good at. But can't get him to try the local chess club junior section where no doubt he would meet lots of like minded bods. I think I might try bribery. Does like tennis and have persuaded him to give a tennis club a go, if one of his mates go... But it starts in January and is outside, sounds a bit tough. So think I might retreat and suggest for the summer term when it will be warmer and light. Warhammer is something else he likes, but not keen on going to the store - it is a bit scary testerone in there.
He loves computers and does play online games and Skypes / fall outs with his friends online. But it has been good for him to interact that way.
Lucky he has an annoying younger brother to wrestle / be beaten up by to keep him moving...
I wanted to come back and share my experieces OP. As I said in my previous post, there are so many similarities with my ds! He is 12, yr 8, mild dyslexia, dyspraxic tendencies and although no diagnosis of ASD, he is VERY quirky.
All ds wants to do is play on his PS3 or talk non-stop about his latest obsession (todays it is Gremlins movie). He wriggles out of all homework, badly underperforms at school, loses things all the time (his shoes and school bag this week, 3 coats and a blazer in the last year,etc). He is meant to be learning to touch type as agreed with school and EP becasue his handwriting is extremely poor. However, he will only practise if nagged nonstop and watched over - if I leave the room, he is back on you tube or playing a computer game. He gave up karate and wont join any after-school clubs despite loads being on offer.
I wish there was a magic wand I could wave to give him a healthy does of motivation but there isnt. He has to earn his PS3 time, sometimes this strategy works, sometimes it doesnt (he sneaks on it when Im not looking).
Dh is getting a mechanical computer controlled gripper and araspberry pi computer to build with ds over xmas. If he has the ability to build and program computers, touch type etc hopefully he will be able to find employment when he is older. Like Kiwigirl, trying to steer ds down a path that will lead to a career, is our focus now.
Well have to say my DH is most definitely very similar to DS1 and despite having crashed out of school with no qualifications (more family issues than anything) earns a very good learning in surprise, surprise computers.... So there is hope for out gadget obsessed little boys....
I have the same with my son, I could have written your OP!
I have spoke to the teachers and asked them to keep an eye, but he generally under achieves because his motivation is so low. He gets obsessed with random stuff (today it's his nerf gun) and loves reciting rules! He doesn't want to join any clubs (I think the intimidation from the social side overwhelms him) and trying to get him off minecraft, you tube, etc is a nightmare. My DH has been able to put a block on internet use when he's been naughty (ie detention) but otherwise I have to monitor him like a hawk.
I try very hard to talk to him about consequences (ie work hard= success) but I genuinely dont know how much goes in. He really struggles with new situations, or anything requiring concentration (so that rules school out, lol). I await other people's responses too!
Sometimes I really despair and dread the future for him, but then he is one of the kindest, most helpful people I've ever met (charms the socks of little kids and is great with animals too) and I pray that will get him through life.
ds2 is very similar (y8, mild Asperger's/dyspraxia)
he would quite happily spend all day every day either playing Roblox on the computer or xbox ..
he refuses to join any clubs at school (just says there's nothing interesting ...)
he has played cricket for the last few years (has a 'splinter skill' at bowling) and the scoring/standing around aspects of the game appeal to his essential non-sportiness but he'll never excel at it and I suspect we've only got a year or two more before the teams are whittled down to the boys who are actually going to win stuff ...
and he has started reading again - we got him a kindle for his birthday and the gadgetiness of it means that he's reading a lot now (when I kick him off the 'puter) although it also means I'm spending a lot more on books ...
it doesn't help that he's sandwiched between two extremely sporty siblings and his younger sister is a 'joiner' who throws herself into as many activities as she can possibly fit in
so no answers here I'm afraid - I genuinely worry about his longterm health if he doesn't get into the habit of doing some more exercise - thankfully he will never be fat as he barely eats as much as a sparrow ...
We are exactly the same here with my Ds Dx Aspergers age 12. Xbox and minecraft are a big obsession when he is not playing them he is either pestering for more time or talking about what he has done on them. I like that he can talk with boys he knows and some are from primary school. He doesn't socialise well or exercise enough despite lots of encouragement and we have also tried all the clubs too. I find it impossible to get him interested in something if he doesn't want to and he would happily spend 24/7 at home on the computer but I do try to get him out even if its just for a milkshake or something. We are trying golf now and table tennis which isn't so expensive!
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