Deeply concerned about 13 yr old DSS

(26 Posts)
BruthasTortoise Tue 02-Apr-13 14:46:52

My DSS is 13, 50/50 resident with us and his DM. Here's the thing when he's not at school he never leaves the house. He doesn't have a phone, he did have one but has lost it and doesn't want it replaced, so he has no contact with any friends outside school. He doesn't want to join any clubs or do any outside activities. Don't get me wrong he's no trouble round the house, he's pleasant, polite, good with his younger sibs but surely by this age he should be starting to develop his own social life? Also he's getting no where near the recommended amount of exercise per week though he isn't overweight but it can't be good for him in the long run. Or is this " normal" for some teenage boys to be complete homebodies?

TheRealFellatio Tue 02-Apr-13 14:50:45

This is perfectly normal - in fact there are whole threads on it. If you have a young teenaged boy who is not into football it can be quite hard to get them involved in much else out of school hours. I have all the same concerns about my youngest, but he assures me he has plenty of friends and plenty of opportunity to go out if he wants to - he just rarely wants to.

He enjoys his school very much, is pretty popular I think, but he just needs plenty of time alone and does not tire of his own company doing simple things indoors.

I'm sure given another year or two that will all change though.

TanteRose Tue 02-Apr-13 14:55:06

www.mumsnet.com/Talk/teenagers/1649930-14-year-old-son-never-goes-out-with-friends

Very common, nothing to worry about

My 14 year old is the same

He festers away in his room perfectly happily

BruthasTortoise Tue 02-Apr-13 14:56:04

That's good to know, to be honest I was starting to worry that he was secretly depressed and because he goes between our house and his mum's it was being missed. Can I ask do you encourage your son to take some form of exercise? He's definitely not a footballer but he did want to try skateboarding but when it came to actually going out on the skateboard he didn't want to.

BruthasTortoise Tue 02-Apr-13 14:56:55

Thanks for the link!

racingheart Tue 02-Apr-13 14:59:26

It's lovely that you are so concerned for him. I think lots of teens go through a chrysalis stage at this age, where they do very little before emerging as the person they want to be. is he reading a lot? Or daydreaming? Writing? Online? Drawing? Teaching himself guitar? Is he in some way using his time to develop a sense of who he is? If so, can you use any of these interests as a starting point for a club you encourage him to join whether he's enthusiastic at first or not.

He probably needs a nudge. I still remember my dad deciding he'd had enough of my sis and I lolling around all day in PJs and he sent us out to join a local club. Best thing he did and it led to us making loads of friends outside school and to a career I adored for years. If he hadn't, I'd never have even known it existed.

Be blunt and say he needs more fresh air and fun, and that you'll either let him choose a club to join or you'll sign him up for a different one each term of your choosing until he finds one he likes. get him a new cheap PAYG phone for emergencies - he should have one so he can contact you and his DPs.

You could also be a bit sneaky and look up online one of those bucket lists people have of exciting things to do and places to go, then ask him which of these he'd like to have a go at as though you're just making conversation. Anything that prompts enthusiasm and goals can be used to help him get more engaged in life.

I agree with The Real. Perfectly normal at 13.
When DS2 was 13 there was not a sport or activity in existence that I did not suggest / encourage him to try. He was also very inactive and while not overweight he was not as skinny as his sporty brother.
Actually both of mine are what you call homebodies, partly because we live in a village. It was in year nine really that they both started to socialise more and establish friendship groups with other boys and girls from school.
They do socialise on-line though. Both play PC games alongside friends via Skype or on x box.

Doyouthinktheysaurus Tue 02-Apr-13 15:02:05

I used to be the same, I grew up to be a fairly normal adultgrin

I'm still not very sociable, just kind of prefer my own company really. I'm perfectly friendly at work and have a job that revolves around interacting with others oddly, but I just like being on my own and I guess I always did.

BruthasTortoise Tue 02-Apr-13 15:08:23

Thanks for the advice, I will get my DH to talk to him as I'm the background worrier when it comes to my DSSs! He spends a lot of his time on YouTube, he's trying to set up his own channel and works alot at creating different little videos which he'll happily share with us. It's another worry because for the younger kids we have very strict rules re. screen time but we can't seem to enforce them with him because it's literally all he has to do. I think maybe if we ( DH, I and his DM)were to limit the screen time he might start finding other interests but it seems harsh when he really is no trouble at all, it would be a case of doing it for his own good which never goes down well with teenagers (as I well remember!)

MrsHoarder Tue 02-Apr-13 15:08:45

Could you see if he is interested in doing the DofE? Works best if its with a group away from school and is intended to get teens/young adults trying new sports/activities and helping the community.
Plus its how I finally hooked DH so I'm biased.

Yes, this is normal. DS1 is thirteen: has plenty of friends, plays for a rugby team, does Scouts.

On weekends and school holidays, his default activity is mooching around the house in his pyjamas. All day. He leads a busy life in term time, so I can see that he'd need to do nothing and relax sometimes.

The way I look at it is this: if I had to spend seven hours a day or more in the same building as over a thousand teenage boys, I would want some time to recover too! smile

BruthasTortoise Tue 02-Apr-13 15:15:42

I can definitely see the need for down time, I guess my worry is that it's all down time, I think even if he had one activity in a week that he enjoyed and wanted to go to that would take the worry off. Will look into the DoE and get DH to explore that a possibility with him! Thanks!

DS1 does get exercise in that he plays rugby two or three times a week from September to April and walks a three mile round trip to school. Because of this, I'm quite lenient about the amount of time he spends on Minecraft. He and his friends are planning to make some Minecraft videos to upload to YouTube.

If your children are very young be careful of applying the same rules/ standards to a 13 year old.
Don't be too dismissive of screen time. If he's uploading films it's quite constructive.
DoE is not available until they are 14 and is not for everyone.
Maybe try looking for some local clubs. As others have said not all boys are footballers. Some of the things we tried with DS2 were
Judo
Swimming
Cricket
Cycling (track)
Badminton
Table Tennis
Rowing.
He liked the last three and hated the others.
He will never be an enthusiastic sportsman but it's enough to get him moving once or twice a week.

BruthasTortoise Tue 02-Apr-13 16:18:11

What's the consensus on what an appropriate amount of screen time per day? I think over the Easter holidays he's been hitting 10 hours per day despite us ensuring everybody is at the table for meals and trying to organise a few family activities which we all join in.

DS1 (13) often uses screens for 6 hours a day in the holidays. But some days are screen-free - you can't take your phone into a waterpark! grin We're going to Wales next week (no TV, computer or Wi-fi and minimal phone signal) so that should give his eyes a bit of a rest at least.

racingheart Tue 02-Apr-13 16:45:37

It's too easy to get locked into screen time. It's instant gratification so it erodes the desire to put in effort at something slower to gratify but ultimately more rewarding.

My DC would happily spend 10 hours a day in front of a screen and sometimes do. I'm working today from the home office, so DH is in charge. Apart from one hour out on their bikes earlier, they've been locked into screens all day. if this were every day, I'd worry.

If he likes to upload videos, can you try and get him onto a video or film course, or even a photography or computer programming course of some sort.

And maybe say you need him to pick one sport he does once a week at least, to keep him fit. Can you ask him to kick a ball around with his younger siblings? Or cook tea once a week? Start to give him small responsibilities and lots of praise for them?

can you bribe him by saying you'll give him the money to see a film in town, or to go bowling or swimming or for lunch at a café with friends, so long as you know who he's going with? That way, you know he's socialising.

Mine can clock up a lot of hours in holidays but not every day. It's much easier to organise small children to do stuff, going to the park just doesn't cut the ice for a 13 year old.
I used to nag persuade DS2 to invite a friend to go bowling or to the pictures and I would willingly take a car load of boys if it meant getting them out and about. A sleepover goes down well. Piles of junk food and pop and sleeping bags on the floor.

Greenkit Tue 02-Apr-13 17:07:10

My lad is nearly 15 and spends every waking hour, that he isnt at school, on the PS3. I try to get him to go out with his mates but seem to have no chance. I suppose I should just shut down his PS3 and boot him out.

QOD Tue 02-Apr-13 17:13:38

My dd aged 14 is the same. She has enough of socialising in school and just wants to be alone at home

This time last year that would've been ds2, but he has discovered squash and army cadets in the last year and is really enjoying both.
They were suggested by his cousin (squash), and a friend from school (cadets), and he mentioned them both in passing.....I seized on this and told him I would take him, but he had to go to each three times to really give them a fair go.
Neither of these were things that I would have thought of, and maybe because it wasn't me suggesting it, he was much more receptive to trying them!
Maybe you could get one of his school friends to invite him along to one of their activities?

Having said that, I'd much rather he was at home doing whatever, than mooching about the streets like his stepsisters, who both have to be "just out" all the time. Neither of them are ever off their phones and want lifts all over the place, all the time.
A bit if down time at home wouldn't do them any harm, there is such a thing as too much socialising, I think!

nickstmoritz Wed 03-Apr-13 09:43:28

It might be a good idea for his dad to join a club with him where there is a junior/senior section. That way they get to do something together and DSS doesn't have to try and go by himself. Could they try a new sport or hobby? This is what DH DS have done and it's been good for both of them. Doesn't have to be a club as such but if you don't do these things regularly they often fizzle out so joining a club can avoid that.

Saying that, I agree that it's ok to mooch about if he is busy during term time. My DD is very busy with physical activity during term time and enjoys a rest during the shorter hols.

Some theatres or art colleges run film making clubs for young people which he might enjoy.

TheRealFellatio Wed 03-Apr-13 09:48:21

My DS spends way too much 'screen time' but then quite honestly, so do I. MN and fb form a big chunk of my social and relaxing time, so I'd be a bit of a hypocrite to expect him to be any different. At least when they are at home on fb or minecraft or whatever they are not out doing drugs and shoplifting or getting mugged or beaten up, or smoking and shagging in alleys.

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