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13 year old ds seems to have lost all enthusiasm, 'normal'?!

(13 Posts)
VonHerrBurton Sat 19-Sep-15 11:59:01

My ds has not long turned 13. Everything, I mean everything, is a struggle. Except for gaming and YouTube. He is a loving happy boy with a nice group of friends that unfortunately don't live near enough to bike/walk over to go out on a whim. I think I've kidded myself that's why he's not bothered about going out - if they lived next door he probably still wouldn't make any effort. Absolutely minimum effort with homework, any jobs he has around the house, any interaction with family, any trips anywhere - unless it's a gaming store....

The thing is he does a martial art and has done for years. He's due to take his black belt exams soon but just seems to have no hunger any more. Just at the most important time in his 'career' he just can't be arsed and looks like he will be passed over for promotion consideration by his coaches, they know he can do so much better. We've spoken to him about quitting, given him the time to consider it and let him know we'll back his decision, but he said no way, he'll just try harder.

If he didn't have this activity which he enjoys and is very good at, for the most part, I'd be frightened about what he'd do with his time because everything we say gets eye rolling and tutting. Simple things like please bring your breakfast dish over you'd think we'd asked him to run 50 miles. We're so frustrated.

Is this total lack of interest in practically everything normal? Dh a bit more old school and is all for packing up the Xbox and giving him the gift of boredom for a few weeks thinking it'd force him into being more sociable. He trains 4 nights a week and does, albeit effortlessly, his homework, keeps up at school and behaves well in school,so I don't limit his screen time.

How do I get his interest sparked? In anything? I'm so down about it all.

TowerRavenSeven Sat 19-Sep-15 15:59:51

We're kind of in the same boat. Ds is an only and does do his fair amount of screen time. I honestly don't think packing up the X-box and giving him boredom time will do it (for your son) I'm on another thread here about having a tight-lipped kid and to a certain extent I do think it is normal to act totally put out about doing the smallest thing! I think That is normal, but what is not normal is if he refuses it. I tell my ds he doesn't have to 'love' doing chores, but he does have to do them, and and as long as he is not disrespectful to me or ds I let him have a moan and then get on with it.

I think having a replacement activity to the gaming is the solution. Is he into scouting? Ds is into scouting (dh is also a leader so they are together) and I love the weekends where he basically is camping and has zero screen time. Or as someone suggested to me: board games you play as a family. I try not to be a all or nothing person, so I don't think I'd take away the X-box but I'd definitely limit screen time. Or make him earn it - I have to admit I don't do this but think it is a brilliant idea: Empty dishwasher, 10 points, etc. and a certain amount of points = certain amount of screen time.
I don't do this because where as ds does do his fair share of screens, I don't see it as a problem as he does do other things.

But I know what you mean about academics. Ds also can rattle through his homework unasked, gets all good marks so I feel like I don't need to bog him down with 'doing his thing'. It would be easier to say, "Go study!" instead of screens if he didn't get good marks. But I think substituting something would be the key. Good luck to you.

VonHerrBurton Sun 20-Sep-15 13:00:18

Thanks for replying and you're right about an alternative. The only problem right now is his commitments to the sport he does, most weeknights and weekends from time to time. It's more the apathy with everything and everyone.

Ill seek out some other threads in a similar vein, that's a good idea.

Many thanks.

timeforabrewnow Tue 22-Sep-15 09:45:52

He trains 4 nights a week and does, albeit effortlessly, his homework, keeps up at school and behaves well in school

I would honestly be so happy with that. I know it's horses for courses in life, but my 16 year old has basically gone on strike with schoolwork and simply won't do it without getting dreadfully upset - even though it is well within his capabilities. And at times, very difficult to live with. Fancy a swop? Apathy I can take.

yeOldeTrout Tue 22-Sep-15 10:18:07

There's a point in adolescence when suddenly life is very tiring. Emotionally, I guess.

Would it keep him focussed long enough for the exams if you promised a specific reward for the blackbelt, like ££ ?

VonHerrBurton Tue 22-Sep-15 23:07:53

Oh we've tried every bribe going! Money, gifts, even more dreaded xbox games to try and get him focused and engaged. He's excited at first but within a day it's back to normal.

SecretSquirrels Wed 23-Sep-15 14:39:09

He trains 4 nights a week and does, albeit effortlessly, his homework, keeps up at school and behaves well in school
You don't have a problem.
This is a perfectly normal teenage phase for him and parenting phase for you. He is reaching the age where he doesn't necessarily want to do the things you want him to.
You can force the issue by limiting gadget time but ultimately he needs to learn to do that himself. I'd avoid draconian interference when he is doing nothing wrong, just not doing what you want him to.

stablemabel Mon 05-Oct-15 16:50:31

Hi VonHerr, you have my daughter in a male body smile especially Simple things like please bring your breakfast dish over you'd think we'd asked him to run 50 miles. ^every.single.weekend.morning. I have to remind my DD to wash her breakfast dish....just switch me on auto

Joking aside I feel your frustration but having read some of the other posters I tend to agree that when you step back and look at it they don't really seem that bad if they are working and getting on well at school. Agree it would be nice for our DCs to have other interests besides screening.

I limit DDs screen time as much as I can and if she misbehaves she has a least a day without.

Feeling your pain, we'll see what others have to say....

Orangeanddemons Mon 05-Oct-15 16:53:51

My ds was like this. I rode with it.

He's currently doing an MA. He still loves gaming over and above anything else though....

CPtart Mon 05-Oct-15 17:08:04

DS1 is almost 13 and the apathy is definitely creeping in. He has no concept of self regulation and would spend all day on a screen if he could. However he does play in a football team, and (for now at least) go to scouts, And as long as he continues to do his homework and behave at school I will bite my tongue.

Catzpyjamas Mon 05-Oct-15 17:21:06

CONGRATULATIONS! You are now the proud owner of a standard issue teenager. You can look forward to 4 8 years of apathy, eye-rolling, inability to perform the most basic human tasks without groaning and a complete lack of empathy for any other person!!!

Unfortunately, I'm only half joking...grin

In all seriousness, he sounds better than a lot of teens if he's still getting on with homework and doing all that training. The lack of interest in anything not in his range of preferred activities is par for the course.
I am now in the survivor of teens stage. DSS is 20 and occasionally engages us in conversation. He's even been known to help out recently. smile

cressetmama Wed 14-Oct-15 09:19:30

Can I venture in to ask for reassurance, please? DH is gutted that DS (16) doesn't want to do anything physical, especially team sport, except skiing and scuba (in tropical water only!) He has the opportunity to go on a half term camp with the option of diving, sailing, mountain biking and lots of other stuff but is refusing to go on the basis that he would rather stay home and see friends from his last school.... and then, when they CBA to organise anything, he will whinge that they are boring and spend the entire time gaming. And then, DH will be peeved with both of us all week! Any brilliant ideas?

nonnomnom Sun 18-Oct-15 13:29:21

Sadly, this behaviour does seem to be normal. I think a certain amount of failing at this stage - because they failed to put the work in so failed to get the results they wanted - is not only normal but a healthy learning experience - if frustrating for parents. Much better to learn this at 13 than whilst doing GCSEs or A Levels.

I think the key is to remember it's their life and they're entitled to make their own choices about how hard they try. The more you pressure them, the more they come away with the opinion that they're only doing it for you and feel put upon. Same goes with schools pressurising them.

The reality is they should be doing it for themselves, as they are the ones who will benefit from it, not for you and not for their teachers.

That's not to say you shouldn't remind them to do stuff or offer them support if you think they're struggling. But it should be up to them to accept or refuse the support.

After all, in a couple of years they'll be stuck in a non-stop rollercoaster of exams and pressure. Let them enjoy coasting for a couple of years if that's what they wish! Do limit computer time if it's impacting on other things, to stop addiction. But beyond that, chill and wait for them to realise they actually do need to do some work!!

I speak as the weary parent of a 15 year old who is only now, as GCSEs loom, bothering to start working. We've had lots of teeth-gnashing but I've found the more I back off, the more effort she puts in.

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