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15 yo DS1 more and more reluctant to do stuff with family

(27 Posts)
whataboutbob Mon 21-May-18 13:06:30

DS1 is increasingly reluctant to do things at the weekend with me, Ds2 and DH. I understand teenagers want autonomy. However. His alternative choices can be less than ideal ( sleeping/ being on his phone playing games / staying at home and raiding the fridge chiefly).
His use of devices would merit another thread. It would be useful to have some perspective, what do other parents do to encourage inclusion of teenagers in family activities? I try and encourage stuff such as going swimming, going to a museum, visiting a new area of London , or horror of horrors, going to the allotment. Things which will expose him to new things and/ or involve some exercise. Suggestions of teenage friendly activities we could all do would be very helpful. Thank you.

OP’s posts: |
Sparklingbrook Mon 21-May-18 13:10:26

Hi, there's a similar thread today if you want to have a read.

How old is DS1?

user1487194234 Mon 21-May-18 13:10:56

My 15 year old would moan at all of that and refuse to do the allotment
But lots of my friends seem to spend all weekend on hikes etc with their DC so it might be my parenting skills (lack of !)

What works for us is a compromise eg a walk but with dinner at say Nandos after

Sparklingbrook Mon 21-May-18 13:14:50

The only guarantee of getting DS2 (16) out with me is for food or clothes shopping. When I am paying.

Seeline Mon 21-May-18 13:28:24

Mine will go out for a meal, shopping, trips to cinema, bowling, trampoline etc, occasionally a national trust place/ historic site if interested in the period but those are probably just a couple of times a year. They quite enjoy a day trip to somewhere different eg Brighton. They do need their own space, as well as time with friends though.

strawberrysparkle Mon 21-May-18 13:34:08

It's completely normal for him not to want to do these things with you and do other things instead. Don't force him he will resent you for it. Let him get on with it and when he hits 18/19 he will start wanting to spend time with you.

whataboutbob Mon 21-May-18 13:58:09

Thanks everyone it’s very useful to have these perspectives. TBH, I was half expecting to be slated for being a hover mother/ control freak etc.
I think I can work on compromise. I’m thinking of organising a weekend away somewhere we haven’t been eg Wales , and will consult him on ideas of places. I like to think that the effort I keep putting in will eventually pay off so it’s good to hear from strawberry he’ll start wanting to spend time with us again. One aspect is DS2 (11) misses the time he used rely on spending with him. DS2’s refrain is “ mum, get him out of my room”. Any further perspective/ advice would be very welcome.

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whataboutbob Mon 21-May-18 13:58:50

That should be DS1’s refrain.

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Sparklingbrook Mon 21-May-18 14:05:11

Oh gosh the 'Mum get him out of my room' thing. If I had a pund for every time I have heard that.

We definitely had a period where DS2 (2 years younger) could do no right whatsoever as far as DS1 was concerned. It was very wearing.

But now DS1 is nearly 19 they seem to be good mates and chat a lot like you would normally.

Sparklingbrook Mon 21-May-18 14:05:22


theplanetjanet Mon 21-May-18 14:13:46

Ours will occasionally come along if we are visiting friends (and always come if our friends are his friends parents obviously, because it is all about him!).

He rarely comes into town in case he is 'seen' with us (because, you know, us existing at all is soooo embarrassing). Definitely would not do public family activities such as swimming or cinema any more, but will possibly do a Sunday country walk with pub food, as long as it isn't in town!

We do make him come with us when we go away for an overnight or weekend with friends (probably once a month-ish) with varying degrees of success - he does relax into it after a while. I can also coax him out if I'm taking him to his favourite restaurant or to buy clothes (but only if it is at a random time, like a mid-week post medical appointment time when everyone else is at school). The best and most open conversations are when I'm driving him places, although he is pretty independent now.

Bone crushingly self conscious and hyper sensitive and well as incredibly self-centred and lacking empathy are all new traits - he was a confident, empathetic and generous child with no behaviour issues, I'm hoping we just ride this out. He does go to the gym with friends maybe two or three times a week (I pay the £10p/m teen gym membership) and I encourage him to go out and meet up with friends at least once over the weekend if we're at home without plans so he doesn't spend it glued to a screen. I also make sure he comes down to spend time and be nice and sociable to visitors - although that can be short lived, but I'm not going to let the whole manners thing go.

It is very trying, you are not alone OP!

Oblomov18 Mon 21-May-18 14:16:21

My Ds1 doesn't want to spend any time with Ds2 atm. BUT, they did play football together yesterday. Seems to be the ONLY thing that works atm!!

And like other posters: food or clothing buying seems to be the only thing that works with Ds1 currently.

catinapatchofsunshine Mon 21-May-18 14:20:49

Seriously - as an oldest child - get DS2 out of his room! They are not going to re-bond if you won't let DS1 have somewhere he can retreat from his brother!

My parents seemed to think I was responsible for my next in age sister's happiness and that this had a higher priority than my privacy. Even though we had separate rooms I was branded "unkind" if I didn't let her wander in and out of my room pestering me. Equally if I wanted to read and she wanted me to entertain her I'd be called "unkind" and when she mocked my clothes or said rude things about my breasts or tummy or skin, or jumped and landed on me from the back of the sofa (she was only 2 years younger) it would never be her to blame but me for selfishly not being at her disposal - I can still hear "she just teases you because she loves you and wants some attention, be kind and put your book down and play with her for a bit". Pointing out that they didn't allow her to treat them like that was "rude and ungrateful", obviously...

I appreciate not all children have their own rooms, but if they do then do allow them privacy.

None of my kids are allowed into one another's rooms without permission. Each child has one room where they can go to get away from the others. Otherwise there is no escape from an annoying younger sibling. Its better for their relationships all 'round if they know they can have space if they want or need it!

BackforGood Mon 21-May-18 14:35:16

Perfectly normal for a 15 yr old to not want to go out and have 'family time'.
They do also need more sleep - there's a lot of growing and changing going on.
I'd leavewell alone. that said, at 15 all of mine were involved in things that took them out and about, just not with us.

whataboutbob Mon 21-May-18 14:42:49

Thanks for the elder siblings perspective catinapatch. I’m an older sibling but can’t remember that phase, maybe because I had a bro and he wasn’t that interested in my room. I must remember to see things from DS1s perspective and not just get lost in DS2s disappointment.
Good idea re the gym planet. Is it working well for DS?im conscious that any exercise at this age is beneficial in laying down muscle structure, acquiring good habits etc.
I know about the self consciousness and whereas I laughed it off at first I now take it seriously. For instance DS finds variousbehaviours of mine ( liking my fingers at the end of a meal- sorry, silly jokes) embarrassing in front of friends so I have stopped. Today I was shopping and there was a gaggle of boys his age in their uniform in the shopping centre, I half expected him to be there and checked myself, thinking how I’d handle it ( as curtly friendly and neutral as poss before disappearing).

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whataboutbob Mon 21-May-18 14:44:38

Backforgood I encourage any activity as long as it’s legal and productive. He’s doing D of E, but could definitely do with some more activities that take him out of the home.

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catinapatchofsunshine Mon 21-May-18 14:51:25

whataboutbob we do forget I think, but also yes - maybe your dynamic with your DB was different (I have a girl first then a boy, but then another boy...) Only my girl is a teen, and they still mostly get on well, but they aren't in each other's pockets and DS1 doesn't really pester her and respects her privacy. It is easier I think, having a DD then a DS.

My DS1 finds my DS2 irritating at times though and I have to remind myself to look at things from DS's perspective - DS2 is still so damn cute blush as he's only 7, and I have to remember that the sound effects he makes when role playing are only endearing to me, they are bloody annoying to DS1 and DD! Sometimes I have to force myself to remove my parent goggles there when I see how his face falls when his siblings tell him to stop making noises or play somewhere else! But that is when it comes in useful that anyone who doesn't want to fit in with the majority (either quiet in a room or louder) can go to their own room and shut the door if they want!

Peanutbuttercups21 Mon 21-May-18 18:58:36

I think it is quite normal, my 15yr old spent most of the weekend on his own, as we (mum, dad, younger brother were all out at events Sat and Sun). He slept til noon, ate donuts and potnoodles, played computer games and walked the dog, raided the snack cupboard.

When I said I was sorry we had all been off constantly and left him to his own devices, he said:" actually, it was the best weekend ever" grin

whataboutbob Mon 21-May-18 19:43:33

Cat I really recognise what you say. I still find DS2 cute and he’s eleven. Maybe I’ll find him cute until he hits puberty, which can’t be that far away. I know it riles DS1 and it’s so true, DS2s cuteness is mostly perceived by me, less so by DH , not at all by DS1 or anyone else for that matter and sadly my parents are dead &so they don’t get to enjoy it. I will try and put my DS1 goggles on more often.
Peanut, I think DS1 would have acted exactly the same except we don’t have a dog. Sounds like his ideal weekend too!

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TheOnlyLivingBoyInNewCross Mon 21-May-18 19:49:53

My DS's weekends are similar. I comfort myself that he is very busy during the week with his sport, music, scouts, DofE and climbing so a weekend vegging is not the end of the world. We are working hard to keep the reading ticking over, and he does still enjoy it a lot, to balance the screen time.

A real lifesaver for us has been that we all watch TV together - fortunately DH and I enjoy the stuff DS is into (Supernatural, Arrow, etc) so we bond over family TV time.

lljkk Mon 21-May-18 20:05:18

Funny enough, my teen is keen on the younger brother than younger bro is on the teen. The younger one wants more space. Personalities.

I suppose from teen yrs onwards we talk a lot to find activities that have mutual appeal . My older teens only liked to eat out & shop & go to cinema (sigh), and yet they have been dragged up the occasional mountain. 3rd kid is odd teen who still likes long walks with just a parent.

Swimming lengths is bizarrely one of the few things they will do with me.

Peanutbuttercups21 Mon 21-May-18 21:08:03

Ah yes, the cuteness thing

My youngest is 13, and he is still my "baby". To be fair, I also hug the (6ft2, in need of a shave) 15 year old and tell him he is a little cutie-pie grin

They need hugs, but also to be left alone a lot. I want him to go out a bit more, but think it is normal he'd rather go out with his mates than us. I remember being 15, I craved independence and space.

Ragwort Mon 21-May-18 21:15:31

I think it sounds quite normal teenage behaviour, my DS is an only child so we didn't have the sibling element but he stopped wanting to do anything with us around that age. And yes, the 'embarrassment' of being seen in public with your parents.

He will go to the occasional sports event with DH and he does play a sport himself and will let us go along to watch.

At half term we have a couple of nights booked in London but the sort of self catering holidays in this country we used to enjoy wouldn't be happening again. One thing we do all do together is cards/board games on Sunday nights which is fun.

But looking back, I never went on 'family holidays' from the age of 13.

PeggySchuylar Mon 21-May-18 21:33:33

I can only get mine to come on walks 5 times a year - Mother’s Day, my birthday, Father’s Day, DH’s birthday, Boxing Day.

It seems they are keen to come on interesting holidays if we pay but not keen on boring holidays. grin

Nb65988 Sat 26-May-18 10:46:28

At 15 u don't want to go out ure nearly at the age were alot changes u can get a job etc mines left school got a job pays his keep I don't go in his room anymore as it's his and he needs his privacy not me half snooping when I'm putting washing away he has a serious relationship as well since 14 but I have condom's in my bathroom I also but them all the time as I've taught them never trust the fact a girl is contraception if u don't want a baby then don't have unprotected sex we are so close he tells me everything

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