11 year old son has no motivation and no desire to "better" himself

(37 Posts)
esoh Sat 24-Aug-13 17:14:17

My 11 year old son has no self motivation whatsoever. I feel he is what I would call the "x factor" generation in that life owes him a living and why should he try and do things either for himself or others. He has NO interest in doing anything as a family and makes life very unpleasant for all of us. He refuses to do any school work at all and literally "shuts his ears and eyes to it". Will someone please tell me that one day he will realise that he has to put some effort into life to gain results. !

IWipeArses Sat 24-Aug-13 17:16:25

You could start by banning x factor?

LynetteScavo Sat 24-Aug-13 17:19:07

Um...he is 11.

I think not doing school work and not doing things as a family are two different things.

Are you basically saying you think he's lazy? What does he do?

Is he smoking weed?

noddyholder Sat 24-Aug-13 17:27:48

He is 11 my son didn't get any until about 17/18 and still flags at times

IWipeArses Sat 24-Aug-13 18:00:55

What results is he going to get if he starts doing what you want? Where is the motivation for an 11 year old to do anything they don't want to?

heidihole Sat 24-Aug-13 18:05:01

He makes your life unpleasant? Are there consequences to his actions? Docking of pocket money/priviledges?

Does he understand that to have money you need to work for it (be it at school, or chores at home?)

Does he understand that if he wants to live in a warm cosy family home that that is a privilege not a right? I would remove his TV/X Box/Laptop etc until he gained some respect.

MairzyDoats Sat 24-Aug-13 18:07:31

Agree with above posters - all the lovely things he sees as his right should be removed until he has earned them. What sort of outings are you going on that he doesn't enjoy? What would he prefer to be doing?

Isabeller Sat 24-Aug-13 18:09:39

Don't worry. A dear friend's lovely son was only really interested in sharpening other people's pencil's and being sweet at that age but is a wonderful responsible young man now with a great job and about to get married.

noddyholder Sat 24-Aug-13 18:12:01

Living in a warm cosy family home isn't a right aged 11? hmm

FranSanDisco Sat 24-Aug-13 18:17:26

DS is almost 11 yo and needs a constant firm foot in the small of his back to do anything these days. He used to be Mr Sociability - lots of friends, clubs and hobbies. Now he has a small group of friends I asked him if he has lost confidence due to someone saying something to him e.g you are rubbish at so and so? He said very seriously 'mum, I am changing' smile. I am hoping secondary school may awaken something but we still have another year.

AndyMurraysBalls Sat 24-Aug-13 18:19:09

OP - IMHO you are describing most 11 year old boys.

Mine was like it too.

In my DS's case it was school. He was utterly bored with it at that point and needed to go to secondary where he could be treated like a proper bloke instead of a baby.

I cannot tell you the difference that made.

He's now 17, works every hour he's offered in the holidays, going back to 6th Form well up for it and has decided he wants to plan for University without any help or guidance from us because he wants to make his own decisions and find his own way.

He helps me mend things and lug stuff around without me having to ask.

He's not perfect - you should see the state of his bedroom and he leaves towels all over the place and has to be reminded about the washing up rota.

Don't panic OP. Just give him space, love, a good example and a few years to grow into himself.

ffsx2 Sat 24-Aug-13 18:31:46

I have a very ambitious self-motivated 11yo DD, and I think she is Very Weird. Convenient for me, but still weird. I'd be more relaxed if she were like OP's DS.

yellowballoons Sat 24-Aug-13 18:39:14

Is there any back history at all?

AmberLeaf Sat 24-Aug-13 18:58:26

Is the 11 in the title a typo?

FranSanDisco Sat 24-Aug-13 19:00:00

AndyMurraysBalls - you bring me hope grin.

heidihole Sat 24-Aug-13 19:00:11

Noddyholder no, sadly it isn't a right. Plenty PLENTY of 11 year olds across the world and the UK do NOT
It is a bloody privilege and a fortune of birth to be living in a warm loving family home. He should remember that and be reminded to be grateful.

AmberLeaf Sat 24-Aug-13 19:03:00

How does an 11 year old 'better himself'?

usualsuspect Sat 24-Aug-13 19:07:16

Of course he has a right to live in a warm loving family home,he's 11

What are you on about?

noddyholder Sat 24-Aug-13 19:08:48

Agree amber some of the attitudes here are ridiculous. He is 11 he can't better himself he is good enough already in his own mind and he doesn't need to be told otherwise just yet.

AmberLeaf Sat 24-Aug-13 19:09:02

Seriously heidihole?

I would say tat every child has the right to a warm loving family home, I know not all get one, but they certainly should!

noddyholder Sat 24-Aug-13 19:12:57

21 posts in and I am considering hiding the thread A record! grin. Seriously do not expect an 11 yr old to have motivation or a desire to better themselves or the years between 13 and 19 are going to be a shock to you

bunchoffives Sat 24-Aug-13 19:14:43

I think Heidi means he shouldn't be able to take everything for granted.

But at 11 he's still very much a child. Why not try introducing a couple of negatives (eg no x box at wknd until room cleaned) and a couple of positives eg pocket money=chores or chores=treat like swimming or something. See if you can build the connection in his mind between effort and reward.

FranSanDisco Sat 24-Aug-13 19:16:29

OP, when you say he refuses to do any school work do you mean school work at home? What does he do that makes life unplesant? My ds is lovely at home most of the time but quite unmotivated to do much as I said earlier.

TheCrackFox Sat 24-Aug-13 19:19:14

Good grief, he is 11yrs old, give him a break.

MairzyDoats Sat 24-Aug-13 20:02:09

Sorry, to clarify, I didn't mean that the rights to a warm family home should be removed - certainly not. I was talking about the electronic stuff, tablets, ipads, tv, whatever. The stuff that my 10yo DS cherishes. smile

Spottypurse Sat 24-Aug-13 20:03:14

He's 11.

racingheart Sat 24-Aug-13 20:19:12

Why are people saying: he's 11, give him a break as though it is utterly OK to be a selfish lazy person at that age? 11 year olds are capable of so much more than we allow them to try. I think that's the root of the problem. that their hormones are begging to go out hunting and becoming an adult, but we stuff them indoors then complain when they short circuit. Imo, the problem lies with parents who think that is normal and let it happen, without helping the child to get enthusiastic and stuck into something.

Don't offer him any money, and cut out all rubbishy foods. Not aggressively, but calmly. Try and watch some programmes together on TV that could generate some interest from him in the issues that surround effort and fairness- like that Mark Thomas one about 10 years olds making Adidas trainers for soft Western kids to pay £100 a pair for. Ask what he thinks of it. Watch World's Strictest Parents with him - one of the episodes where they take the brattish Brits to a teen who is struggling to raise a family alone after the parents died. Ask what he thinks he might be capable of in similar circumstances. How well would he cope if he had to?

Give him lots of praise when he does do stuff, and also suggest things that might increase his faith in his ability. DC were mooching, being 'bored' the other day, so I said, 'OK, cook dinner' and left the house to have coffee with a friend. They did. They cooked it and friend came to eat it (her son had helped cook.) They were so proud of themselves and have been discussing what else they want to cook. They're 11 too. The kitchen was a tip and I was at friend's imagine the house burning down, but I think they get bored because too little is expected of them, at school and home not too much.

AmberLeaf Sat 24-Aug-13 20:28:41

I find it incredibly sad that the parent of an 11 yr old thinks he should 'better himself'

Being selfish is not good no, but I think the OPs expectations may well have a bearing on his attitude/behavior.

yellowballoons Sat 24-Aug-13 21:07:31

Nothing in life though is a "right" is it?

Everything is a wish, a hope, a goal or whatever.

Plenty of people across the ages have been in nomadic tribes for instance.

Not sure if this is what heidihole means though.

yellowballoons Sat 24-Aug-13 21:19:59

I hope the op feels that she can come back on to offer some more explanation, and to receive some help if she wants it.

racingheart Sun 25-Aug-13 00:17:43

Not sure the words 'better himself' are very helpful, but I know what the OP means. It's natural to want your child to show enthusiasm and tenacity for something other than quick fix amusement. It's natural to worry if he doesn't. I support the OP in that. At 11, children should be beginning to want to take on responsibility and try things out. If they lack enthusiasm for everything and make no effort at anything, it makes sense to intervene while you still can. At 18 it's too late.

Snowballed Sun 25-Aug-13 18:57:38

Racingheart that's a brilliant post - thank you smile

My 11 yr old DS is the same. I am going to watch Mark Thomas with him. I remember it well.

cory Mon 26-Aug-13 22:48:59

I think lots of children go through a kind of slump around 10-11 when they seem unenthusiastic and rejecting of everything their parents stand for. My ds certainly did. He is 13 now and beginning to climb out of his shell. I think it was prepuberty insecurity: maybe I won't be any good at being a grown-up so I'll just pretend that I don't care. He got over it.

Notmyidea Fri 30-Aug-13 17:11:56

racingheart, those are two fabulous posts, thank-you!

Taz1212 Fri 30-Aug-13 17:37:03

I don't think "better himself" is the best choice of words but I do know what you mean. DS is 11 and left to his own devices would sit playing Minecraft all day long. I pretty much force him out to do things- e.g. he swims with a local swim club so three times a week I'm forcing him along listening to, "I'm tooooo tired! I want to stay home!" But when I pick him up he's invariably bouncing. It's like he just can't get the motivation to get going but once started he's fine.

Are there any activities his friends do that he could tag along to? It's a lot easier if there's a bit of peer pressure.

Taz1212 Fri 30-Aug-13 17:38:55

And got cut off, DS is much better with general motivation when he is involved in activities. It's during the holidays when they are off that he becomes a complete lazy grump.

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