Motivating teens over the summer

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-30-2007
Motivating teens over the summer
8
Wed, 06-01-2011 - 4:19pm

Well, here it is summer and the kids are home. One (my son,16) got a job working weekends at a restaurant a couple of months ago. I mentioned recently that he should ask for more hours since he will have lots of free time, but they actually cut him back to just one night a week (Saturday). Meanwhile, my daughter (also 16) has been very defiant about working this summer and so a few weeks ago I started looking for volunteer opportunities for her. I had already told her she has to do something besides watch TV or sit in her room all summer. I have found an agency that can use her help with physically/mentally challenged kids and she has agreed (half-heartedly) to participate, but it's just four hours on Saturdays.

They have both been given a few daily chores Monday through Thursday to help out around the house. Other than that, though, I don't know what to do with them...I hate to see lazy kids hanging around all summer, but I can only do so much. I discontinued allowances, hoping that would motivate them to work so they'd have some spending money, but they don't seem too concerned, even though I don't buy them anything other than the necessities, so they're going to run out of fun money soon (or in son's case, have very little of it). I can't really "volunteer" them for things if they aren't all that willing to do them.

I realize jobs for them aren't easy to come by. We've discussed this since about March and I tried to get them to brainstorm and see if they could come up with some other options, like mowing grass. They just don't want to do it.

Any suggestions?

Avatar for suzyk2118
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-1997
Thu, 06-02-2011 - 11:06am

If July is summer school, can you see if there are any openings for other core or elective classes they might want? Are they old enough to do dual enrollment at the CC? (ours starts next week - ds is taking a math class so he doesn't have to during the year)

Also, at least around here you can become a certified

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-30-2007
Thu, 06-02-2011 - 8:48am
I may check into that, although like you say, it could be too late to enroll now. We were pretty sure J was going to summer school, but he pulled off a miracle and passed his math class at the last minute. That would have filled up three weeks in July for him.
iVillage Member
Registered: 01-30-2007
Thu, 06-02-2011 - 8:45am

They don't have their full licenses yet, so they aren't driving. We've told them that if they want us to get them a car, they need to help out and save up for insurance as we can't afford it otherwise. They seem pretty content for now having their friends drive them around. Their cell phones are on their aunt's plan, so they don't pay anything there.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-05-2005
Thu, 06-02-2011 - 8:30am

We have always required our son to either be working or volunteering

iVillage Member
Registered: 03-27-2005
Thu, 06-02-2011 - 8:05am

We have always required our son to either be working or volunteering

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-27-1998
Wed, 06-01-2011 - 8:08pm

External motivation is tough. I have one kid

Avatar for suzyk2118
iVillage Member
Registered: 07-30-1997
Wed, 06-01-2011 - 6:47pm
Do you have a CC around? If so, can they take classes there, even if they're not for credit (tennis, dancing, sport skills, art, photography, etc.)? Or an art studio or other type facility for a session in whatever might strike their fancy? For us, every HS summer ds took a class (his choice) - might be too late to enroll now (?) but a thought, if not. He loved knocking off a core class in a subject he didn't like or just wanted to get overwith (took PE and health before freshman year, history the next two, and painting for fun before senior year). That was his choice - I said either school or work or a mixture; once he was 15 he did both. (and yes, even now his hours are also being cut back, but he's also taking a CC for-credit class this summer to get it overwith)

Sue
iVillage Member
Registered: 02-14-2000
Wed, 06-01-2011 - 4:58pm

Are they driving yet? If so have them pay for their own gas (if you don't already). Or for their part of the cell phone bill. Re-evaluate what are necessities - food and shelter for sure. But really nothing beyond that. Obviously if they're trying hard to find a job/get more hours you can cut them some slack but otherwise that's the only thing I can think of. I think some kids are just more internally motivated than others and I don't think there is much you can do to make them all of a sudden want to work/volunteer/etc. if things are too comfortable for them. We gave Justin some money for gas when he was taking college classes but we stopped that at the beginning of May. If he doesn't do anything about getting a full time job our next step will be to make him pay his part of the car insurance. Of course our situation is different - he's 21 and at this point has no plan to return to school. I personally wouldn't have had the boys pay for car insurance in high school but some people do. Good luck and hopefully you'll get some other suggestions!

Pam