What does your teen do when not at school?

(32 Posts)
Cloudminnow Thu 21-Mar-13 10:04:54

My DS 14 doesn't really do anything apart from go on his lap top and talk to friends on skype. He has joined clubs at school from time to time to but drops them as soon as he can. He hates sport and doesn't like anything 'organised' or 'club like' at all. He's not interested in meeting friends in town or cinema etc. and doesn't even like watching TV with the rest of the family. Just wondering what other kids this age actually do, or is it ok to sit in your bedroom and spend hours on a computer?

titchy Thu 21-Mar-13 10:33:37

DCs, 14 and 12, three out of school activities per week, including Guides/Scouts. This latter one means they are on camp 3 weekends and 1 full week a year, plus some extra weekend bits with their units.

Both play instruments and are in groups, so several concerts and one or two overnighters a year.

Otherwise it's FB, FB and more FB (dd) interspersed with shopping, seeing friends, going to Thorpe Park, and for ds XBox, XBox and more XBox interspersed with seeing friends (which involves XBox) and going to Thorpe Park. No shopping for ds!

I think wanting to be holed up in your room is pretty normal for a teenager though. They do spend all day at school, and hopefully some time with their family (do you eat together?) so it's not as if they don't mix with people at all.

kathsayshi Thu 21-Mar-13 11:03:36

No I don't think its good, particularily if he is not meeting up with friends and mixing with the rest of the family . It's never a good idea to have the internet in the bedroom . My 15 year old and 17 year old can only access the internet from the lounge and are only allowed one hour each unless they have home work that requires them to spend longer, but they must sit with screens facing outwards. They moan about it a little but accept that I am only trying to keep them safe which is my job. It also means they do spend a lot of time with the rest of the family and if they are contacting their friends on their mobiles and emailing it is usually to make plans to meet up. I realise I am probably stricter than some parents but many of my teenaagers' friends' parents feel the same, which helps. It,s important to keep teenagers involved and communicating , mine have jobs to do in the evening. Its a time when we are all busy together.You can find out what has gone on during the day and whether they are having problems but equally its a time for fun and banter when you can create an atmosphere where teenagers are happy to spend time with the family.

Startail Thu 21-Mar-13 11:09:26

DD1(15) reads, watches iPlayer, does HW, Sings lessons and choir, goes to Rangers and meets a group of mates on Sundays.Does musical things in school.

DD2 (12) plays sims, watches Iplayer, goes to scout, gym and ballet. does school sport that goes past 3.30 sometimes.

ThingummyBob Thu 21-Mar-13 11:11:16

Are their any organised activities he wouldn't mind doing if you gave him free reign to choose himself?

Boys I know that age round here are doing venture scouts, canoe club, wrestling, boxing or are forming bands with their peers smile

Just thought I'd give you a few examples for that age group outside of the usual football or gaming options which do seem to be the most common activities

Startail Thu 21-Mar-13 11:14:06

Both mine chat and interact with the family, DD1more than DD2 because that's their character. DD2 prefers people her own age, DD1 likes adult company.

DD2 does see friends out of school, but its a bit hard because the all live scattered over a 20+ mile radius

blue2 Thu 21-Mar-13 11:22:26

I think boys and girls are quite different at that age (well, at any age smile )

My DS (nearly 15) is quite antisocial outside school and has to be cajoled into seeing people occasionally. I get the impression from other Mums that its the same with them. At home DS is FBooking or making stuff in his shed - but his real passion is downhill biking. That's all he wants to do - even when he's too knackered to do it!

DeafLeopard Thu 21-Mar-13 11:58:34

Cadets, robot club and am-dram (backstage stuff).

Cadets is much busier Easter to October so in the winter months he would live in front of a screen given the chance.

Other than that, tv, youtube, facebook and his default boredom activity of fighting with his sister.

Mrsrobertduvall Thu 21-Mar-13 12:04:11

Ds 13 would spend his evenings on xbox and watching Friends dvds if allowed. He has linited screen time during the week.....weekends he is an assistant manager at Little League on Saturdays, and plays Sunday league.
Usually has a friend round Saturday afternoon, or goes up to London.

Dd has singing lessons and theatre group, goes shopping a lot, hangs out with friends singing and playing guitar.

Like deafleopards dcs, they have lots of fights.

Mrsrobertduvall Thu 21-Mar-13 12:07:58

Sorry pressed too soon.
I would be concerned if my dcs didn't want to socialise with friends. Dd rarely sits in the same room as us, but is in and out, will chat and integrate at meal times, when she gets home from school etc. she doesn't watch anyhing on tv, whereas ds likes Corrie.

I personally don't think its ok to spend hours on the computer unless you are a grownup on MN of course grin

moonabove Thu 21-Mar-13 13:00:06

Hi cloudminnow - feeling your pain. My ds (13) has become the same over the last year. There was a thread a little while back with quite a few posts on it, almost exclusively concerning boys in the age range 13 - 16, saying exactly the same as your post so it is not that rare.

My ds also hates 'organised' activities and won't get involved in sport. I think a lot of it is a confidence issue - he's not naturally sporty and gets embarrassed when the other boys have a go at him. He did go through a phase of going into town with friends but after a while it seemed to fizzle out - I think they didn't really know what to do with themselves once they got there!

He gets a lot of time on his laptop principally playing Minecraft and watching comedy stuff on youtube. The reason I got it in the first place was for him to use drawing and other creative software which he really enjoyed but he doesn't do much of that at the moment. There have been signs recently that he's getting a bit bored of minecraft and would like to do drawing but he's got a bit of a 'block' - drawing was always very natural to him. I'm putting that down to his age and pressure of schoolwork.

I allow him some laptop time in his room but not for hours on end - basically I just order him to come down and sit in the living room with his laptop or else have it confiscated. At least that way I can see what he is doing on there and he will have a chat about something he's read on yahoo or seen on youtube or show his latest minecraft creation.

I told ds that I want him to start going to a martial arts club - he can choose which. I think it is the best option for getting some exercise and mixing with other kids and will be a useful skill without having to get too much into the whole competitive thing that he dislikes.

Mind you, he has said that he's NOT going so if I can't use the laptop as leverage there won't be any way I can make him.

Ultimately I think it is an age thing and at least if your ds is using skype then he is interacting with friends. It would be more worrying if he was completely shutting himself off.

pot39 Thu 21-Mar-13 13:17:01

Sounds normal. My ds 13 and 17 are very happy doing not much at all when they've done all the other stuff. Both did beavers cubs and scouts but in the end they lost their thrall.
However, for their safety, get the internet out of their bedroom at night time, ipads, ipods, phones etc. Switch off internet if needs be.

Kathsayshi can you come and live at my house for a few days please? I'm amazed you can get a 17 year old to comply with those rules grin

Cloud I can see why you're worried. You don't say how long he's been acting this way - could it just be a bit of a phase? It would worry me a bit that he doesn't want to meet up with any friends or interact with the rest of your family. But I'm assuming he does have friends, or he wouldn't have anybody to Skype?

My 15 year old goes through phases of not going out much - which worries me a bit - then he'll have a run of a few weeks of going out meeting friends every weekend, just to go for a burger or see a film or something, and it ends up costing me a bloody fortune - so I end up wishing he'd be a bit more of a hermit again! When he's not going out he's either in his room on the xbox or pc - otherwise he is generally quite sociable with the rest of us and nearly always spends evenings watching tv with us or joining in with whatever we're doing with his younger siblings (usually playing on the Wii ATM blush). Thinking about it, when I was 15 I was hooled up in my room if I wasn't seeing friends - I was way too cool to spend time with my mum & dad by then blush. I suppose I should be grateful he's not turned out like me....

And PS forgot to say - there is no way I could get him to do any kind of 'organised' activity now. When he was a few years younger, yes, but now, no way....

Emmy02 Thu 21-Mar-13 15:54:17

Hi, my son is much the same, he goes on his xbox and talks to his friends while gaming. I need to push him to organise going swimming or cinema. I usually suggest scrabble or a film we can all do to together as a family to get him out his room. Or ask him to help with cooking to spend some time with him, he usually ends up just chatting while I cook.

Fairly normal phase for teenage boy I think. He will emerge from his chrysalis room in a year or two a lovely young man.

Kathsayshi only allowed one hour each unless they have home work that requires them to spend longer, but they must sit with screens facing outwards

Really a 17 year old???
Sorry but that seems very controlling to me. He will be an adult soon, likely leave home to go to university

Cloudminnow Thu 21-Mar-13 19:36:53

Thanks for all your replies.

Moon your DS sounds v similar to mine. He too is getting bored of Minecraft and was/is very arty, but he seems to do less and less drawing lately.

Good idea about bringing the laptop downstairs ... I will try it!

moonabove Thu 21-Mar-13 20:13:03

I feel sure they will go back to their art once this phase is over. Like I said, ds seems to have the equivalent of 'writer's block' with his drawing - where before ideas came naturally to him now he says 'I don't know what to draw'.

I was reading a book the other day by a famous film editor, he said that he felt the key to being happy in life was to find work in the thing that you most enjoyed when you were 11. For ds that would be art, maybe for your ds too?

I don't mind the laptop thing so much in the week as I think he's entitled to wind down from school but must admit it does grate on me at weekends and school holidays. Our council organises activities for teens in the summer hols - last year I didn't book many as he protested so much but I think I'll overrule him this time.

TooYappy Thu 21-Mar-13 20:18:39

X Box
Facebook
Facesomething (facetime confused?)
Making videos for Facebook i.e Harlem shake with friends
Making videos for youtube (Minecraft)
Snowballing windows of people he shouldn't be
Whatever DC get up to when 13 and with another 4/5 boys and 4 or 5 girls????

He only started going out at night in August last year, pre this he was xbox and laptop.

kathsayshi Fri 22-Mar-13 14:22:13

Secretscwirrels- No you are quite wrong. Unfortunately my daughters have learnt through close at hand experience which involved a friend being raped by an online peadiophile. This poor child has now opted out of school ,is on anti depressants, has taken to drinking all day and is completely out of control. It has been very sad to see and my oldest daughter is fully aware of everything , consequently she wants to stick with the rules we have because she feels it helps her younger sisters accept the rules and she feels it is a good way of keeping them safe . The rules are not rigid and are altered when necessary . But the laptops are kept in the lounge for everyones use. In our house we use the intenet and mobiles and games etc to enhance our lives but in no way do they control our lives . My daughters have their friends around much of the time , Our House is where everyone congregates , we are busy talking face to face and enjoying real live company!

TeenAndTween Fri 22-Mar-13 14:24:38

We are miserable parents and have always limited computer and screen time. If they aren't allowed on electronic stuff they have to do something else. smile

DD1 is part of 2 drama groups and otherwise we are kept busy keeping her busy with swimming / walking / playing with her sister / reading / music. Also visiting friends, though non within walking distance.

I limited internet / game use rigidly when the DCs were younger.
As they get older I feel it's crucial that they learn how to use these things safely and moderately themselves, rather than just because of limits imposed by me.

DS2 is 15 and is well aware that I must have his on line passwords and reserve the right to check his activity. We talk regularly about internet safety and excessive use. Never post anything you wouldn't want your mother to read is an oft repeated mantra.

DS1 is 17 and I feel that, just as he needs to learn to be independent in other areas of his life (travelling alone, cooking, choices about alcohol or drugs, learning to drive etc) he must also be able to regulate his own use of computer or other devices.
It's my job to teach him how and I won't be there to do it for him at uni.

alistron1 Fri 22-Mar-13 21:24:45

13 year old son watches top gear/conspiracy theory crap on TV and YouTube and talks at me about it.

15 year old daughter watches 30 seconds to mars stuff on YouTube and talks at me about it.

16 year old daughter chats to her friends about 'prom' this summer and talks at me about it.

In between times we drive them to places.

Any other free time is spent talking at me about my inability to provide them with a 24 hour restaurant service and my other inadequacies.

Astelia Sat 23-Mar-13 03:42:39

We have a similar regime to you secretscwirrels. DD1 will be off to university in 18 months and wrapping her in cotton wool isn't going to help her cope with independence. Helping her to analyse risks, organise her time and sort out her own sleep is what we do.

TheRealFellatio Sat 23-Mar-13 03:51:22

My son is exactly the same as yours Cloud and it drives me nuts. He'll play PS3, watch the same DVDs over and over again, chat to friends on fb or Skype, watch stuff on youtube - that's it.

I force him to do sailing one afternoon a week after school, which he loves actually, but I cannot get him remotely interested in anything else. He did agree to join the scouts but the only pack near us for miles is full up. sad

He will see friends occasionally but not nearly enough for my liking, and he is pretty popular so I just don't understand why he won't make the effort more often.

I am looking forward to him turning 14 so he can start the International Award, which is like the ex-pats version of Duke of Edinburgh award. I am starting to think that he and his armchair will morph into one inanimate mass and will require surgical separation. hmm

TheRealFellatio Sat 23-Mar-13 03:53:12

My son is exactly the same as yours Cloud and it drives me nuts. He'll play PS3, watch the same DVDs over and over again, chat to friends on fb or Skype, watch stuff on youtube - that's it.

I force him to do sailing one afternoon a week after school, which he loves actually, but I cannot get him remotely interested in anything else. He did agree to join the scouts but the only pack near us for miles is full up. sad

He will see friends occasionally but not nearly enough for my liking, and he is pretty popular so I just don't understand why he won't make the effort more often.

I am looking forward to him turning 14 so he can start the International Award, which is like the ex-pats version of Duke of Edinburgh award. I am starting to think that he and his armchair will morph into one inanimate mass and will require surgical separation. hmm

BackforGood Mon 25-Mar-13 23:56:06

Explorer Scouts (they also both volunteer with younger age groups too)
Paid work
All the camps, training, and other meetings that go on over and above the 'usual' meeting night
1 of them has music lessons and does the odd bit of practice
1 goes to church
1 goes to a youth group
DofE (but that's mainly from things they are already doing)
Homework / Facebook / 1 watches TV, the other occasionally goes on X-box
They have to contribute around the house (cooking etc.)
Older 1 meets up with friends quite a bit - either a curry or to the park or occasionally the cinema.
Older one started going to q a few concerts now he's earning own money

justcross Fri 29-Mar-13 10:48:16

Am new to the Teenagers section but was galvanised into action this morning by reading about other people's experiences with X box and ds's.My son is very sporty and active but recently since getting FIFA he cannot think of anything but how soon he can get to the Xbox. SO....this morning we took it away!

I feel immediately happier about life and have spoken to him telling him that I know he may hate us, but quite frankly, I don't care! i talked through addiction with him and how, as his parents we have a duty to do things that might make him resent us. after all he's 15 and what does he know!!

He finally admitted that I was right, to an extent. I know am very lucky having (at the moment) a very sensible, sweet boy. It's really hard to be the baddy, and it's also going to be hard having him hanging around saying he's bored....but then....actually if you're bored you might invent the next wheel!!!

I urge other parents to take the plunge and let our boys explore the real world and not just the cyber one.

Bowlersarm Fri 29-Mar-13 11:01:51

It sounds to me like he is similar to a lot of boys. I have three DS's, all totally different to each other, and my middle DS 14 sounds just like yours. He's popular at school but has little interest in seeing friends outside of school. He would much rather sit with his laptop or play ,on his ps3 at home. He doesn't like sports at all, clubs, parties, or interested in girls yet. He isn't allowed his laptop in his bedroom so is amongst us all the time, but it is a bit of a dilemma as how to get him interested in other things. He drives my DH mad, and he gets very anxious about him.

My other two DS's are very different. Very sociable, one is very sporty, and they are out a lot.

shockers Fri 29-Mar-13 11:05:41

I refuse to have an XBox in the house! There are no TVs or computers in bedrooms either, although they (DD,14 and DS,13) do have music systems in their rooms and both enjoy time in there listening to music or reading.

As for other stuff, they play together in the garden, football and cricket mostly, or messing about with the dog. They're both members of a small local swimming club, so they train 4 times a week, DS also does land training with the club. The local YMCA holds free football sessions and organises tournaments, DS also plays for a club, trains midweek and plays a match on Sunday afternoon. They go to church on Sunday morning and the youthclub attached on Monday evening. In the holidays they spend a lot of time with us, walks, bike rides, treasure trails etc.

Last night we all played cards, they love it when we play board games too!

Right now, DS is out on his bike and DD is playing patience with a pack of cards at the table opposite me.

Groovee Tue 02-Apr-13 15:13:15

My 13 year old goes to guides and drama. She helps me at brownies one night a week and she goes out with friends.

He plays rugby and does Scouts (he has a group of good friends in the same Scout group which helps). He goes to a church youth group.

The rest of the time, he mooches around at home (always in pyjama bottoms and t-shirt, regardless of the time of day or time of year).

He sometimes attempts to play a bit of jazz on the piano or does a bit of studying or reads a book. He occasionally offers to cook a meal or put a load of laundry on.

The rest of the time is spent on Minecraft / Facebook / Twitter / Youtube or winding up his younger siblings.

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