I need a pep talk from moms of successful teenage boys!

Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997
I need a pep talk from moms of successful teenage boys!
15
Mon, 07-30-2012 - 1:56pm

My 12yo son is presenting problems that his older siblings never did, so I would love to hear from some moms of older sons who have turned out to be the fine young men you dreamed of having as sons!

DS is lazy in almost every way possible.  Whatever task he can get away with not doing, he tries to.  Whatever he wants to do that he think he can get away with, he tries to.  So far he hasn't gotten in any trouble - he just makes no effort at anything unless he's forced to.

He practices his instruments because we make him; he doesn't dislike it, in fact I think he rather likes it, but he does it because he has to, not because he wants to get any better.  He does his homework if he remembered to write down what it was, but if he's forgotten it, it doesn't bother him in the slightest that it's going to affect his grade; he managed to finish 6th grade with an 87 average, but if he'd done all his homework it would have easily been over 95. If you tell him he has to read for half an hour, he acts as though you've told him to shovel a foot of snow off the driveway by himself - even though once he starts, he reads (until PRECISELY the time you've told him needs to stop).

He shows up to tennis and karate and seems to enjoy being there, but he will never exert himself physically at any other time if he can avoid it.

He interrupts us all the time because he doesn't remember that you're supposed to pay attention to what other people are saying to each other before you start talking, a lesson my older ones had gotten at half his age.  He whines constantly that he's bored and doesn't know what to do if 5 minutes go by without him being entertained somehow. 

The last straw was yesterday when he was complaining about going out to dinner at a nice restaurant because it meant he would have to wear khaki shorts and a polo shirt (which he was already wearing since we went to church) instead of nylon shorts and a t-shirt.  (He doesn't have autism, it has nothing to do with how it feels physically).  I just about lost it with this attitude of expending the very least effort possible in EVERYTHING.

The only thing he would LIKE to do is play video games.  Naturally, we limit his game time - an hour on Sat and Sun, 30 mins during the week (which is going to go away when school starts).  We limit his TV time to one half-hour show, and he can watch whatever everyone else is watching in the evening.  If he could, he would passively sit with a remote control or a game controller in his hand for hours at a stretch.  His cell phone doesn't have the internet, and we rarely let him on the computer (if we do, it comes out of his video game time). 

I'm really at a loss as to how much of this is normal and how much I should expect he should outgrow..  My older two (17yo DD and 20yo transgender DS) were always SO busy with something.  20yo DS couldn't handle a high level of activities because his brain was always working overtime on creative pursuits, but the ones he did, he did with great enthusiasm, and he really does love learning.  17yo DD has to keep herself busy at all times with academics, music, friends, creative things, reading, etc.  This business of being lazy is so new to me that I really don't know the right way to motivate him. 

DH alternates between saying he was just like that himself and wanting to throttle him daily. :smileyhappy: 

Any thoughts or perspective to share?

 

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Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997

Thanks Joe.  I have a 20yo and a 17yo, so we've been through the teens already.  20yo is transgender (female-to-male), bipolar and has Aspergers; currently he's got a 3.8 GPA at a top liberal arts college, will be studying in Spain next semester, and is a pleasure to have at home during his vacations.  17yo DD is a multi-talented hyper-achiever with a large circle of friends.

If there's anything DH & I have confidence in and feel we do well, it's parenting.  Since our 12yo is our first biological son, I wanted to hear specific experiences from the folks I know on this board who have teenage sons who've turned out just fine despite maybe being slow starters.  As usual, this board came through!

Avatar for mahopac
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-24-1997

Your sarcasm gave me a good laugh, ekmama! :smileyhappy:

I remember those days from my own childhood - not wanting to quite give up the childish things even at age 12 or 13.  We gave DD a Lego Castle when she was 14 or 15 because she was envious of all the Legos DS was still getting, and she did NOT give it to him when she got older, but carefully took it apart and put it in a box in her closet.  12yo DS still mostly plays with Legos when he's not doing anything else, and he says he likes one friend of his in particular "because he still likes kid stuff, like me."

He did discover the manga books that the older ones read and has gobbled them up.  Not sure how I feel about them, but obviously they didn't harm the older ones, and his siblings are even more protective about what he reads and sees than we are, so if they think they're ok, then it's ok with me.  I'm just glad to see him doing something new.

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