14 year old son never goes out with friends

(55 Posts)
WorriesRus Thu 03-Jan-13 12:21:51

My 14 year old whilst being happy with lots of interests - (he plays in a football team, is in the scouts and loves school) but rarely if ever goes out with friends. He spends his time in his room with his hobbies - he builds models for his skalextric and spends time on his computer, not often on facebook and not on twitter at all. I feel he should be spending more time with friends and have tried to encourage this.

It's his birthday this weekend and I tried to get him to invite some friends to do something (cinema, go-karting?) but although he had 3 friends in mind whom he would've liked to ask he never got around to it, saying that he would rather wait until he was asked by them. I think it is a confidence thing and he is scared of being turned down. How can I help him to build up confidence and a healthy social life?

TheLittlestNarwhal Thu 03-Jan-13 12:29:34

I haven't really got any advice, but my DS is also 14 and sounds very similar. He has not seen any of his friends over the Xmas holidays except on the occasions when we have all got together with other families.

I have spent the last 45 minutes trying to convince him to call a friend and arrange something. He finally did with a lot of grumpiness, first friend was unwell and second one was out!

I think it is a confidence thing of not wanting to make the first move. Does your DS have friends at school? How is he if a friend makes the first move and calls him? I wonder if a lot of it is teenage laziness, DS is really at his happiest flumped on the sofa, if he has a mate flumped on the other sofa then that's fine, but if not then he is quite happy with his own company.

Probably not much help, but I will be watching thread with interest smile

StressedoutMotherofTeens Thu 03-Jan-13 15:07:26

My DS is 13 and has plenty of friends in school and in the area we live and has seen his friends a number of times but also has bouts of not wanting to go anywhere. E.g. One friend phoned earlier in holidays and he said he couldn't come out (he could but couldn't be bothered to get dressed!). In the end I made him!

I think it is a confidence thing. They don't like the thought of being turned down. What I have resorted to in the past is suggesting he sends his friends a text just asking what anyone is doing and maybe suggesting going out on their scooters for an hour later. This has worked and now they usually all arrange something independently.
What I will say though is sometimes they are just happy in their home I know mine is a bit of a homebird lazy . It's just trying to find the right balance and perhaps not trying to worry so much about it. If they are happy - although that is easier to say than do! Hope this helps a little smile

WorriesRus Fri 04-Jan-13 11:46:35

Thanks for these replies. DS is back at school on Monday so will keep encouraging nagging him to organise something. Will keep you posted if/when any developments. hmm

Theas18 Fri 04-Jan-13 11:52:51

Don't worry about it! DS was like this at 14, he's now 16 and has been out 3-4 x with mates over the holidays or to parties.

my 13yr old hasn't seen any school mates and doesn't seem bothered. There is still a lot of catty behaviour that she isn't really part of and doesn't weant to be.

TheLittlestNarwhal Fri 04-Jan-13 12:33:43

Good to hear that they may grow out of it!! grin

I pushed Ds out of the house with a sharp stick yesterday afternoon to get some fresh air on his bike. He called me about 3 minutes later to say he was at a friends on the X-box and spent the afternoon there!

Texting is a good idea, I will suggest that next time.

carlota2 Fri 04-Jan-13 19:56:51

My DS, who is just 15 years old, has no friends with whom to go out. It
has been an issue for a few years now -- slowly getting worse as time has gone
by. The school guidance teacher, to whom I have raised my concern, seems to think he is perfectly ok in the school and that he is a nice and likable kid but the reality is that he is totally on his own once he is out of the school. He’s never invited to any outing or birthday party. The guidance teacher appears to think that he is too ‘grown up’ for his school year mates but I am not sure this may be the problem. According to what adult friends say of him he is kind, clever, nice and has great social skills so I am totally at a loss of what is the problem. His self-esteem is really low although he tries his best to accept the situation but clearly he would like it to be otherwise. He has been trying to phone other kids but it is always a big hassle and never quite works, as the other kids don’t seem to be very interested in meeting him. He was a very cheerful confident child when he was younger but this issue has slowly changed his character and he seems to have lost confidence and now he spends all free time at home playing computer games or ps3. Needless to say I feel terribly inadequate and I can't think of anything to help him. I have tried many things in the past, inviting kids at home all the time (curiously most of the time kids were very happy to come home but they hardly ever reciprocated) but as he grew older this was not possible anymore. Any suggestions/thoughts?

I've hot a 14 year old ds who hardly ever goes out, him and his friends all seem to communicate via bbm etc, I've 5alked to other mums and mist of them say the same. Hopefully its just a phase they go through.

carlota2 Fri 04-Jan-13 20:08:56

Hopefully, though in my son's case it has been going on for years and the case is that he would like to go out but he can't find friends that want to.

soulresolution Sat 05-Jan-13 19:02:27

Know what you mean carlota - ds spent most of yesterday trying to organise a group of friends to meet up in town, he's seen nothing of them since they broke up for xmas. They all backed out today at the last minute and he ended up going in for an hour on his own and spent the rest of the day in his room. sad

Worley Sat 05-Jan-13 19:07:33

my 14 yr old ds is the same. his friends all live within walking distance but instead they all log on to Xbox or minecraft at same time and play an chat on there together. they all had one meet up last week that I made him organise and they came round for day.. to Xbox.. and the their going next week all together too.. at least I know where and what he's doing!!

soulresolution Sat 05-Jan-13 19:34:25

Yes it's funny, ds has spent hours on facebook this hols messaging his friends who all live less than 20 mins walk away! He got a ps3 for xmas but I think he only asked for it because his mates all have ps3/xbox - he's really not that into games. He's not into sport either so that takes out two of the main areas of socialising for his age group. I'm just really hoping that he can retain his generally happy disposition until he's a bit older and past this slightly difficult phase.

Worley Sat 05-Jan-13 22:03:11

yep ds1 not in to sport. his only activity is fencing club once a week. which he thourghly enjoys and fits in well at. his little group of friends have been best friends since reception and they are all the same.
it's not that his difficult I wish he would just go hang a out at the park sometimes... but then I've seen some if the other groups down there and they're smoking and swearing and then I'm glad he doesn't want to be down there with them!

Moca1 Sat 05-Jan-13 22:59:05

As another mum who worries that her 13 year old ds does not socialise enough, I was reassured when ds told me very calmly to stop worrying, he was happy with his own company (complete with books, gadgets, etc) and was quite capable of sorting out his own social life when he was ready. Maybe more my problem than his !

soulresolution Sat 05-Jan-13 23:46:41

Yeah, quite glad he doesn't fancy hanging round the park! I really wanted him to go to fencing and I bet he would enjoy it but I have enrolled him in quite a few things in the past - drama club, art club, self-defence - all things that he was interested in but he went off them all after the first few goes. He seems to hate being organised into anything and as I am the same myself I can't blame him but I can see that he's missing out. It's a funny age, these early teen years.

Worley Sun 06-Jan-13 00:45:47

yes been there with martial arts, drama, scouts etc but fencing he's really done well in. there all Big Bang theory types there and he fits with them very well. it's lively that he actually has an activity he enjoys without being pushed.

WorriesRus Sun 06-Jan-13 17:14:54

Carlota -I think my DS's problem is similar to yours. He is friendly, kind and intelligent and does have friends at school - he just doesn't socialize with them out of school. He plays in a football team where most of the members go to a different school and I don't think he has much in common with them other than the team.

As he is quite happy in himself, I think it is more my problem than his - his sister who is 12 is always organising outings with friends - sleepovers, cinema, shopping etc and maybe that is what makes me notice it more.

Will continue to encourage him on return to school!!

carlota2 Sun 06-Jan-13 23:05:59

Dear all, thanks for all your responses. I have a feeling now that, as Moca1 and WorriesRus say, that this may be more my problem that my son's! Still it was quite hard to hear from him one day that although he was happy on his own he felt he was missing the 'normal interaction that a teenager should have with his peers' (sometimes he seems more grown up than myself) Like in soulresolution case my son got a PS3 because I suggested it after he said one day 'perhaps friends don't want to come to my home because I don't have gadgets' He wasn't interested in it at all and the irony is that now he is rather addicted to it and friends still don't come! grrr... you can never win. On top of it he is starting to develop some interest in girls (he has been a latecomer on this front) and I know he feels bad and insecure because he is excluded from the parties/discos that the school friends organise where the gender dynamics emerge. I am lucky that he is involved in many extra school activities, drama, music, tennis...and I'm hoping that this 'peer interaction' he misses is compensated a bit by his participation in these activities with kids of his age.

It is difficult to know what to do or whether to do anything at all and let it be. As Moca1 says perhaps my son will be capable to organise his own social life at latter stages. It is a funny age these early teen years indeed...

carlota2 Sun 06-Jan-13 23:11:28

ah -- needless to say that negotiating those mums'friends' that constantly mention how many parties and invitations their sons get and how many girlfriends they have and how popular they are becomes a rather emotional rollercoaster.

Floralnomad Sun 06-Jan-13 23:19:26

Just to reassure some of you (I hope ) my son was completely socially isolated between about 13 and 16 ,mainly because he was at a school he disliked and didn't fit in because he as an aversion to all team sports. He spent all his free time on the computer or Xbox. At 16 he changed schools ( to a mixed sex school) and got a part time job and has completely changed and now has a great social life!

BackforGood Sun 06-Jan-13 23:21:08

I think it's fairly normal at that sort of age. They are past the parents arranging things, but not quite ready to sort things out for themselves.
I have a dd of 14 who will arrange something with her friends perhaps 3 times a year, but when ds was 14, nothing that needed "organising" every happened. Even now at 16 / 17, there's only one lad that sorts them into going for a curry together. Other 'planned' social events only happen when the girls organise them.

Virtuallyarts Mon 07-Jan-13 20:53:08

I think in the holidays some dteens like to just 'get away' from school, and that may mean they're not that interested in seeing friends - they are glad of a break, which perhaps is not that surprising given that school is quite 'intensive' socialising.

Carlota and Worries (and all others in this position!) do you think any of the people at ds' out of school activities might be more amenable than school friends to socialising - maybe drama people would be interested in going to theatre, scouts on some outing like bowling, or something like that?

Texting friends is good in a way because less nerveracking than phoning - on the other hand people can sometimes not notice texts, be busy when they come in etc - whereas phone would at least get a response. On the other hand my impression is that some teenagers simply don't phone, particularly not on landlines -and aren't used to being phoned!

Herrena Mon 07-Jan-13 21:12:09

Hi, I have no experience of this (my DSs are under 2yo!) but just wanted to say that I was a pretty introverted teenager myself. My DM hated it and kept on going on about how worried she was that I wasn't going out with friends. I suppose she meant well but it did not increase my confidence in any way.

I'm sure you are all trying to be sensitive with your DC but just wanted to flag that point. As it turned out, I really branched out at Uni when I found all the people like me (there were no kindred spirits at my school) and now have a wide circle of friends. So hopefully that's reassuring!

Virtuallyarts Mon 07-Jan-13 21:47:44

It is Herrena! School is quite a unique environment really, suits some forms of social being more than others, so I suppose it's not surprising that some find it easier when they get to university or work.
As you say, important that we as dps don't make things harder - though can be difficult sometimes to walk the line between encouraging and hassling!

slambang Mon 07-Jan-13 22:14:56

I'm yet another mum of a 14 year old who doesn't socialise. It's quite reassuring to hear so many others are around. Ds has some friends but would prefer to stay at home with the X box than go out with them. Ds was asked by his best friend's dad if he wanted to come home with best friend after footy last weekend. Ds muttered and shuffled and then explained he'd prefer not because he wanted to play on the X box. Was v embarrassing.

Ds says he doesn't see the point of actually seeing his friends in the holidays because he can play with them online. If they have to see each other it just prevents them from playing. hmm

One of the problems I think is what do they actually do when they get together. The only option round here seems to be to 'go into town' mooch round the shops, buy sweets and linger in Game or HMV. For ds, who has a lifelong hatred of shopping and no interest in clothes or music this is not very appealing. The cinema is only good for once or twice a holiday (too young for the 15 films, too grown up for the PG ones). Organising enough people to have a game of footy seems beyond them.

I do think their generation is an experimental group of guinea pigs. We don't know whether growing up communicating almost entirely through games consoles and facebook is going to limit or enahnce their ability to communicate face to face as adults.

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