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14yo French Exchange boy here - struggling to find common ground - HELP!

33 replies

IDismyname · 05/08/2012 11:16

I am doing a second generation French exchange with the girl I did my exchange with. We have her 14 yo son here, who arrived with a double ear infection last Monday.

So - it wasn't a good start; he was very brave and we got him to a doctors and got him some ear drops and antibiotics, and he's def on the mend, now. He's a lovely chap - good English, bright and rather 'bookish'. He's devouring books very fast and I've ordered more for him on Amazon (written in French). Loves music, too. Is in his own world half the time

Trouble is, I have a 14 yo son who is a speed freak. Loves being outside, doing downhill biking, getting muddy, getting wet and generally being pretty active. Reading is a last resort! The two are like oil and water.

We've been out quite a bit, in order to make a bit of common ground, done Mercedes Benz World (lot of shrugging and looking at the ceiling from my French friend), we went down to Portsmouth where I spent a small fortune at the Historic Dockyard, Gunwharf Quays etc. Felt I got no value for money that day and came home feeling v demoralised. Don't want to do a repeat performance in London, for instance, and get the same effect. I may say something that I'll regret!

Its pi**ing down with rain here, and I feel really stuck! Every time I ask him what he wants to do, its the shrug and "I don't mind". Apart from watching the Olympics (that's about 10 mins) and watching DVDs with subtitles, there is nothing I've found that they can do.

Has anyone else been here? What did you do?

Any ideas gratefully received!

OP posts:
Earlybird · 06/08/2012 21:15

Has he been away from his home and his family before? Alone?

BettySuarez · 06/08/2012 21:23

Would some cheaper activities such as bowling or lazer quest help?

Cinema? Batman/spiderman?

ggirl · 06/08/2012 21:39

take him paintballing ? ..shoot him adn give him sumat to be miseerable about Wink
bloody expensive having someone to entertain isn't it

PrincessOfSnails · 06/08/2012 21:45

Send him to me, I need to learn French and am too lazy to do much about it.

Could they go swimming with a group of your DS's mates or is that a non because of the ear thing? Confused

Can't they just go to the park and drink cider like we used to

Could they make something, like a model or other crafty thing or wine

IDismyname · 07/08/2012 12:49

Oh, thank you all for even more replies and encouragement!
You're right -
I think he's at a difficult age.
I think he's just sooooo different from my ds
and he probably didn't want to come in the first place

I've asked if he wanted to go to the Science Museum, but all I got was the shrug and "I 'ave zeen eeet already" response. As a day trip to London costs £50 for the 3 of us before we've done anything, I'd like a flicker of interest before I start. (My day out in Portsmouth - see above)

TBH, if I didn't know his parents, I'd have given up by now!

Thank you for listening, and reading my rant!

Just off to book doughnutting session at local dry ski slope. Am looking forward to launching him off the top Grin

OP posts:
Bonsoir · 07/08/2012 12:56

Oh you poor thing! My (French) DSS1 went to Australia two years ago, aged just 15, for seven weeks (though he did go to school) and I think the poor family went demented trying to please him. He was at that very difficult age plus had all the usual French male expectations of being waited on hand and foot and entertained constantly and not thinking anything of sulking if he wasn't happy.

Have you tried playing Monopoly, Mastermind etc? Funnily enough, my teenaged French DSSs are always incredibly happy once they have been made to sit down and play a family board game. It brings out their French competitiveness very well and it is good for language skills.

IDismyname · 08/08/2012 09:33

Thanks for all your messages of support and ideas. Its much appreciated.

We're now on the home straight - he's off next Tuesday morning - so things just feel better. (Only 6 sleeps left - Yay!)

We had great day yesterday at the local swimming pool going down slides and then a game of 10 pin bowling, too. It tired him out a bit.

Then when we came home I told him I had to get into his room to change the sheets. Was expecting carnage up there, but all was OK; it also forced him to spend more time with DS instead of disappearing upstairs, which is no bad thing!

We're all up - have been since 7.00, and he's still in bed. Have taken exec decision to just leave him until 11.00. Much easier. No point in having an even more grumpy French teenager at my kitchen table!

OP posts:
IDismyname · 13/08/2012 21:18


He's off tomorrow!

Will try very hard not to punch the air as I leave the Eurostar Terminal at St Pancreas tomorrow morning...:)

OP posts:
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