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Keeping nearly 14 year old engaged? any tips?

(11 Posts)
superdeeduper Tue 14-Jun-11 22:02:38

I posted a few months ago on Parenting asking how to keep the communication lines open with my teenage son. Got really good tips like finding time to chat in the car etc all of which have worked reasonably well.

However, I don't know if I am being unreasonable in trying to get him to engage more or not. I think the main issue now is education. He's gone from Primary school being so enthusiastic to High School where I get a grunt if I even dare ask how his day was! I know all of this is entirely normal for boys etc but I cant help but feel he could be pushing himself a bit more.

I found out today that some of his classmates had been picked to attend an event at the local Uni. Ds seems to think it was specifically awarded for behaviour, achievement type thing. I just felt a bit sad that he wasnt as this was the sort of thing he would be gauranteed to be picked for in primary. He is bright enough (in all the top cclasses) but I feel its this lack of enthusiasm for anything that is letting him down.

God I dont want this to sound like a pushy mum thread but how do I help him to work to his potential? I should add that he is very social at and outside school, lots of friends etc and I have made sure that nothing is going on. Just this attitude is driving me mad!! And he seems to have stopped reading too sad

cybbo Tue 14-Jun-11 22:05:33

He is a teenager so you've probably got about another 5,6 years of grunting and monosyllables and coasting in education

Be grateful when he talks to you at all wink

lavand Sun 19-Jun-11 15:21:04

I have a 14 yr old son too. I have found at bedtime sitting on the end of his bed at bedtime having a relaxed conversation he tends to tell me more things. I had a very rare cuddle the other day as well. Most of the time though it's just grunts! I think just being there and not giving up is important.

I remember listening to Woman's Hour once where a mother was on with her son, now 19, who did not speak a single word to her from 14 to the age of 17! I think this is quite extreme however. I do remember one important thing he said and it was that during that time he was fed up with the 'stupid' questions his mum would ask him and it always being the same old thing such as 'How was you day darling?'. I am guilty of this, and I think I do it out of desperation to try and get him to talk! So I try not to do it anymore. I'm sure it will get better. Best wishes.

superdeeduper Mon 20-Jun-11 11:31:21

Cybbo you have summed it up perfectly in the word 'coasting'!! It's SO frustrating. I think I could put up with the grunts if I knew he was applying himself a bit more at school.

I now know how my mum felt when I did exactly the same at that age with regards school. Just don't want my boy to make the same mistakes I did

Toughasoldboots Mon 20-Jun-11 11:38:59

My ds is younger but already at grunting stage. I found the best way to communicate was in the car together, just me and him.

He can avoid eye contact, less pressure and there is not much else to do than talk. It is probably the only time I get anything out of him.

3boys1cat Mon 20-Jun-11 11:43:34

Don't sweat about this too much. Senior school is a long game, and I don't think it's possible for them to work to their full potential all the time they are there. You just need to get them to peak at the end of Year 11 if at all possible! My DS1 has just finished his GCSEs and I am expecting good results, but in Year 8 and 9 he was definitely coasting. He would regularly do the bare minimum that he knew he could get away with. I think he found it empowering in Year 9 when he decided which GCSEs to do, and became increasingly motivated through Years 10 and 11.

inthesticks Mon 20-Jun-11 19:10:48

I'm guessing he's in year 8? Generally it's a quiet year and it's common for them to coast a bit. In Year 7 they are all new and keen and in Y9 the hard work sets in.
Perhaps you could bribe promise him a reward if he achieves certain targets? I know lots of people don't agree with that but they only get one go at this and I think it's worth using any weapon at your disposal to motivate him.
By the way the uni trip may well be only for the top 2 or 3 G&T in the whole year so not a bad reflection on your son if he's not picked.

inkyfingers Mon 20-Jun-11 20:41:44

Speak to some of his teachers about how he's getting on and suggest he may be coasting. I'd do this in either the key maths/english, or the subjects he's good at (where you want him to be motivated). But I agree that 11-16 is a long game.

My boys are reasonably talkative. Sometimes I insist on a hug (in a nice way) wink and I like to think they like it and know I love them and that it means something to me at least.

bruffin Tue 21-Jun-11 13:09:25

I have 13 and 15 yr old. I have found the best time to talk to them is when we are walking down the street together. If I meet them from the station after school and walk home I get more information out them than for the rest of evening.

mumsamilitant Tue 21-Jun-11 21:28:16

Good advice here! he's just concentrating on other interpersonal skills at the moment.... its a huge transition! My son is in year 8, he's coasted for about a year now.... Im not sweating about it as he has plenty of time. As long as his grades dont dip dramatically thats cool with me. They have to do soo many subjects at the moment and once its culled down to the one he likes im sure it will all be ok again. I made a bargain with my son recently. He doesnt have to do the unimportant homework now and concentrate on the biggies. Has no interest in art, fine. Has no interest in RE, fine. Has no interest in Spanish, fine. But he'd better do well in the others! lol

mumsamilitant Tue 21-Jun-11 21:30:59

PS. meant... likes/has to do!

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