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Halcyon

When your child doesn't seem very....driven

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My older son is not 'driven' in a way DH or I recognize. DH went to Columbia at 15, got all A's, and assumed that's just what one did. I worked very hard in high school, was accepted to Yale, and still push myself to learn new things all the time.

 

DS14 seems to be wired differently. He is a kind, responsible boy, who does his work but never goes above and beyond. He cares about doing well, but does not push himself inordinately hard. For example, night before Pre (ETA!!) Calc midterm, we asked him, have you studied. "Sure I did. I'm ready." Turns out he had only 'gone over' the study guide once, hadn't worked out all the sample problems, and was a little fuzzy on some concepts. (This after DH sat with him for an hour). But DS14 wasn't concerned. In his mind, he was fine.

 

And as regards intellectual curiosity--I find myself often introducing new ideas, new approaches to him, new books that might pique his interest, much as one might "strew" interesting material for a younger kid to "find" around the house. But isn't he a bit old for this? I mean, by his age I had a true love of reading, would often hole up for hours with an interesting book. But with DS....it's just not that way, and I am finding it hard to recognize what's going on. He always does what's expected of him--give him a list and he will diligently work through it. Ask him to do certain chores while I am at work for the day and almost always they will be complete upon my return.

 

Things he LOVES? Travel travel travel. He has already expressed an interest in taking a gap year to work and travel.He has been to numerous European countries already and relishes his time there. He loves challenging math problems but hates studying. He loves 'family time'--board games, movies and long walks. He enjoys researching the latest tech online. He is interested in politics and current events, but does NOT seek out information--he finds interesting articles I show him and shows we watch, but again, he DOESNT SeEK THIS OUT. (this is my main issue). He LOVES to work side-by-side with me on the same thing--both watching an educational video, both reading the same book, both taking the same test. I am not sure what that is, maybe just he likes the companionship.

 

So what's going on here? Do I continue to introduce things to him--at some point, by now for sure, I would have thought he would 'pick up the gauntlet' and have his own interests that he pursues and reads about and researches. I feel like I am pulling him along and I am really tired.

 

Also, DH and I disagree about how much he and I should be involved in his studies. He was in B&M 9th grade last semester, and I was pretty hands off--I figured he needed to figure things out on his own, how to study, how to focus, how much to apply himself. He got B's and A's, mostly B's and DH was not happy. He says we need to be more "on top" of him, hire tutors if he needs them (he really doesn't, he just needs to study harder!) and basically follow up with all his work. I feel by now he should be taking ownership of his work and that if he gets a C, that's the way it goes. DH disagrees, pointing to his NYC friends who hover over their children, hire tutors, and basically micromanage their high schoolers lives (and no he doesn't want to go THAT far, but he says my hands off approach is not right).

DS14 is immature in some ways for his age. So I am jsut not sure,

 

 

PLEASE DO NOT QUOTE AS I WILL BE DELETING THIS.

 

 

Edited by Halcyon
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I have one of those. 

DH, DD, and I are highly driven academically, and DS is very different. He is introverted and only intrinsically motivated and does not respond well to external motivation (i.e. bribes, praise, threats).

We found that the only way to work with him was to make sure the required minimum got done, by supervision and insistence, and otherwise let him be. Over the past years he has become more and more independent. Taking his first college class was an eye opener and motivator for him. He insists on being left alone to organize his school work. That has not always been smooth sailing, but he is learning from his experiences and mistakes. Any pushing or checking up etc is met with a push back and withdrawal.

He is motivated in other areas, especially his athletics. He displays all the wonderful traits, is goal oriented, persistent, organized - for the things he is interested in. His coaches and boss highly respect him. So, he can do it when he chooses. I cannot make him choose to apply the same focus and persistence to academics; I can support and hope that he will. He is a great kid - just very different than all other family members, and it takes an effort on my part not to compare him to his sister.

He learns a lot and reads widely if he can choose. He buys lots of books - about martial arts. He researches online- about martial arts, sports nutrition, training. He just does not respond well to external assignments. ;) But he knows how to learn, how to find information, etc - the traits of a life long learner.

 

So, my advice would be to make sure the minimum gets done and otherwise leave him be and trust that you laid the foundation for him to be successful.

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The world needs all kinds of people.  No doubt he will continue to grow and mature with time, but there is nothing wrong with not being highly driven.  He is who he is.  Let him build the kind of life that he wants to have.

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Agree with the above posts.

 

Figure out what you minimum is and help him get to that point. Also figure out how to accept the fact that he is not as driven as others. Sometimes they need more hand-holding for longer due to immaturity, but at some point you have to let them be who they are and be happy with it.

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Following...our DS 14 is very like yours. He is a caring, loving and never gives us an ounce of trouble. He will complete his list of class and household duties, but he never goes beyond. Now that being said...he wanted to build his own gaming computer so he spent hours reaseaching and nailed it, built it and did a fabulous job. He loves science excels at it...wants to be an eye surgeon, will watch and study procedures for hours. Plays in the adult and youth band at church...he will get side tracked listening and playing for hours. Now where we feel the problem comes in - he writes just enough to get by and read a book what is that? Oh he will read his science assignments and ace them, but Lit. is like pulling teeth, he says he reads too slow and gets bored. Do we keep on him - well I tried and am worn down. So he has surgery Monday after he will have a new schedule where he must do all his subjects... idk looking myself for a balance. Seems like his organization is for what he deems important...praying for you.

Lisa

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Adding another thought: keep in mind that the years between 14 and 18 are years of tremendous personal growth! The 14 y/o boy undergo a huge development before 18, and the development continues into the 20s.

I only have one son, so can't generalize - but what I have seen over the past few years speaks to this. At 17, he is more mature, organized, focused than he was at 14. His goals have not changed very much, but his plan for achieving them has become much more realistic and sensible. 

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He seems to be studying advanced things at a pretty young age so it would seem he is doing quite well if he can do that. To be honest I would say that your description of yourself and your husband at that age is fairly unusual and so you may be comparing him to something that seems normal to you but really isn't that usual for kids of that age. I have high expectations of my dds and want them to do their best but try and remember that I don't want them to grow up with the feeling that they can never satisfy me or be good enough for me. 

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I have one of each. I expect study skills to be mastered and they aren't cut loose from mandatory study hall and oversight until they are. I showed them the high school gpa typical for a SUNY U admittance and told them the min was their min. The competitive child knew he could do better and once he started acing high school level, he started working on college study skills with me as mentor. The noncompetitive, settle for the lowest pass guy learned quickly that his college profs don't respect that, and they expect a 2.7 or better if he wants to grad in his major,so he rose to expectations, then decided he wanted to give himself some cushion plus not be disadvantaged in the job search so improved. His high school teachers nudged by coding his grades with 'has ability to do better', but he saw no need to do make work and they wouldn't put him in honors, so his time was indeed better spent reading at his own level in his own interests than doing busywork...that gave him the Regents and SAT scores he needed. AP poetry selections were a lot of fun with him, as he had traced men's fashions thru time and was using that knowlege in poetry analysis.

 

Researching on their own was done more when they had downtime and their own laptops. They took it for granted until a friend came over and informed them of the norm for the area and accepted my invite to use my my wifi.

 

It does sound like your dc is looking for people interaction. Does he go to live speakers or conventions

? My younger one realized the potential there at one he attended at Jacob Javits Center around that age. So nice to find people willing to interact.

Edited by Heigh Ho

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Isn't he just 14?

 

I kept my hands off with dd last term, and had to pay the bill.

Seemed she had no idea how to put enough work in her studies.

 

With 40% effort she came this far she says, but 40% is not enough any longer.

As she wishes to attend university, she needs a pre-university diploma, and so has to learn to put enough effort in her work.

 

Our dd hit her wall (finally!) last term, so she'll have about 3 years to prepare her self.

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In some ways he sounds like my dh. He went to Yale but probably mostly due to his older sister pushing him to apply to Ivy League schools. He's intelligent and curious and creative but he is not really ambitious or driven in any way. He isn't lazy. He works hard for the family but he is content with having a job that is really just a job and not a career. His interests are travel, cooking and art. But he has no desire to further those interests. For example, he loves photography. I think his photos are very good and have encouraged him to enter local photo contests. He really has no desire to do that. He is a good cook and likes to dabble and experiment and try new things but would never want to pursue that interest in a more formal way. He obsessively plans all our vacations and trips and would be very good as a travel planner for others. He does that for friends and I've joked that he should start a side business but he doesn't want to. He volunteers in the community but has no desire to take on any kind of leadership role in any setting that requires him to attend meetings or have a commitment.

 

I will say it makes for a great father and husband. And in many ways makes for a great life. He is a fairly content person doesn't feel the need for constant self-improvement. He never brings work home (either actual work or just by having it be something he is thinking about). 

 

 

 

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In some ways he sounds like my dh. He went to Yale but probably mostly due to his older sister pushing him to apply to Ivy League schools. He's intelligent and curious and creative but he is not really ambitious or driven in any way. He isn't lazy. He works hard for the family but he is content with having a job that is really just a job and not a career. His interests are travel, cooking and art. But he has no desire to further those interests. For example, he loves photography. I think his photos are very good and have encouraged him to enter local photo contests. He really has no desire to do that. He is a good cook and likes to dabble and experiment and try new things but would never want to pursue that interest in a more formal way. He obsessively plans all our vacations and trips and would be very good as a travel planner for others. He does that for friends and I've joked that he should start a side business but he doesn't want to. He volunteers in the community but has no desire to take on any kind of leadership role in any setting that requires him to attend meetings or have a commitment.

 

I will say it makes for a great father and husband. And in many ways makes for a great life. He is a fairly content person doesn't feel the need for constant self-improvement. He never brings work home (either actual work or just by having it be something he is thinking about). 

 

this really does sound like my ds14! he has interests--likes to cook, loves pokemon go, volunteers, but doesn't 'take the helm' in any of those, nor does he do 'extra' reading or research or anything regarding these things. I do think he will be a content and happy person--and he's a good listener and cares a lot about others. He also doesn't complain usually, and does what's expected.

 

I think i am trying to find the line between 'pushing beyond reasonable expectations because i have no idea what reasonable is" and just letting him do his own thing, which i don't think is enough, nor does DH.

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A 14 yr old taking Calculus seems driven enough, for me.

 

Gently- I think perhaps because of your & your dh's experiences, you have a skewed view of typical teen development.

 

He has interests, he has things he loves in life, he obviously has intelligence.

 

Does he have extracurriculars & time spent with peers? Hobbies?

 

I wouldnt expect a kid his age to "take up the gauntlet" of what he should study & research.

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A 14 yr old taking Calculus seems driven enough, for me.

 

Gently- I think perhaps because of your & your dh's experiences, you have a skewed view of typical teen development.

 

He has interests, he has things he loves in life, he obviously has intelligence.

 

Does he have extracurriculars & time spent with peers? Hobbies?

 

I wouldnt expect a kid his age to "take up the gauntlet" of what he should study & research.

 

 

No, but interests wouldn't be too much to ask? As in, types of books he likes, or authors, or a hobby? He likes TKD but didn't do it for a semester and was fine with that. He started guitar but stopped as he thought it was too hard. He did well at Latin but only because i was holding his hand the whole time. With math, he would be fine doing lower level math if it were up to him. He doesn't hang out with peers much--has a couple of friends but generally doesn't care for kids his age--he likes younger kids though and is a great 'big brother' type. He is smart, but doesn't seem passionate about anything.

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No, but interests wouldn't be too much to ask? As in, types of books he likes, or authors, or a hobby? He likes TKD but didn't do it for a semester and was fine with that. He started guitar but stopped as he thought it was too hard. He did well at Latin but only because i was holding his hand the whole time. With math, he would be fine doing lower level math if it were up to him. He doesn't hang out with peers much--has a couple of friends but generally doesn't care for kids his age--he likes younger kids though and is a great 'big brother' type. He is smart, but doesn't seem passionate about anything.

 

that was my DS, until around age 14 he discovered his passion for martial arts. He also did not have a ton of friends or the need to socialize, until a few years later.

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Sounds like my son.  Yes, I have stopped coming up with ideas for him.  If I get on him with his classes it is along the lines of if you don't do well I'm not paying for more.  That's the only threat I have.  LOL  And I hate to be like that, but he needs to know that this has been a stretch for us financially and I'm fine with that so long as it is worth his while and he does the work.

 

It drives me nuts because if I could combine his brain and my motivation we'd rule the world. 

 

But what can ya do?  I can't make someone else be excited about stuff.

 

 

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To add, I also think this is a pressure we feel and place on our first kids more so than our second.  I do not worry about my younger kid like I worry about my older kid.  I worry about my older kid in the sense OH MY GOSH IS HE GOING TO FIND HIS WAY!?  With my younger kid I think...he'll find his way.  And he isn't anymore driven or any less capable. 

 

 

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My oldest marches to the beat of her own drummer and is very driven in her own way, just not in the Type A overachiever way that DH and I were. She would be perfectly happy to coast and take the Transfer Admissions Guarantee to UC Davis that her community college offers rather than trying to build a competitive application for Berkeley, UCLA, or a merit scholarship to a private or OOS college. Davis is a perfectly fine school but it's an undermatch for her academic potential. 

 

What is she driven about? Art, cosplay, writing fan fiction, etc. But she won't enter her work in the Scholastic competition or apply for a scholarship to an arts high school like Idyllwild or anything like that. She just wants to do it for fun rather than having it judged. She wouldn't even take a visual art class as her community college general ed requirement, instead picking an Intro to Acting course. :glare:

 

I'm hoping that by the time she actually has to start seriously preparing her transfer application, she'll be a bit more motivated and that she'll have a high enough GPA at the CC to give her options aside from the TAG to a less-selective UC.

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No, but interests wouldn't be too much to ask? As in, types of books he likes, or authors, or a hobby? He likes TKD but didn't do it for a semester and was fine with that. He started guitar but stopped as he thought it was too hard. He did well at Latin but only because i was holding his hand the whole time. With math, he would be fine doing lower level math if it were up to him. He doesn't hang out with peers much--has a couple of friends but generally doesn't care for kids his age--he likes younger kids though and is a great 'big brother' type. He is smart, but doesn't seem passionate about anything.

Has he always spent the majority of his time on academic tasks?

 

Id worry less about him taking control of academics, & try to get him involved in extracuriculars &outside activities. He may need to try a lot to find what he likes.

 

So many to choose from, even in my tiny rural area, there must be some near you for him to explore:

Sports, scouts, 4 H, board gaming, chess club, video gaming, art, movie making, dungeons & dragons groups, living history, plastic modeling, hiking, skiing, music, dance, theater, robotics, church, volunteering- library, retirement home, soup kitchen....

 

My oldest did not start to get motivated until he found his niche- programming & robotics. Now hes on a few robotics teams, but also does historical re enacting and plays Dnd one night a week too. Thats his social & interest time.

 

I do still find & request library books for him, he loves to read, but not to find his own choices. I try new genres & look for recommendations. If he really likes one, he will ask for more from that author.

 

I was lamenting to my dad awhile ago about his lack of drive & my dad was like " he's 16, taking college classes, programming robots for fun, doing living history with a bunch of adults, etc".. "At 16, you were mostly just worried about cheerleading & boys". He was right, point taken.

Edited by Hilltopmom
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My oldest marches to the beat of her own drummer and is very driven in her own way, just not in the Type A overachiever way that DH and I were. She would be perfectly happy to coast and take the Transfer Admissions Guarantee to UC Davis that her community college offers rather than trying to build a competitive application for Berkeley, UCLA, or a merit scholarship to a private or OOS college. Davis is a perfectly fine school but it's an undermatch for her academic potential. 

 

What is she driven about? Art, cosplay, writing fan fiction, etc. But she won't enter her work in the Scholastic competition or apply for a scholarship to an arts high school like Idyllwild or anything like that. She just wants to do it for fun rather than having it judged. She wouldn't even take a visual art class as her community college general ed requirement, instead picking an Intro to Acting course. :glare:

 

I'm hoping that by the time she actually has to start seriously preparing her transfer application, she'll be a bit more motivated and that she'll have a high enough GPA at the CC to give her options aside from the TAG to a less-selective UC.

 

Yes, this is very much like my kid.  He does stuff and is driven, but it is in his own way.  He isn't interested in the typical rat race.  And I don't think that's a terrible thing.  There are many paths and it is his life. 

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Has he always spent the majority of his time on academic tasks?

 

Id worry less about him taking control of academics, & try to get him involved in extracuriculars &outside activities. He may need to try a lot to find what he likes.

 

So many to choose from, even in my tiny rural area, there must be some near you for him to explore:

Sports, scouts, 4 H, board gaming, chess club, video gaming, art, movie making, dungeons & dragons groups, living history, plastic modeling, hiking, skiing, music, dance, theater, robotics, church, volunteering- library, retirement home, soup kitchen....

 

 

 

Yes, but again this comes down to "ME" offering and finding and searching.  I stopped because he rejected any of those things.  The one and only outside class he has been with for many years is a drama class.  So I stopped offering.  Since then he has taken the initiative to get involved with some outside stuff.  So he is capable of doing that. 

 

 

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Well yeah, if they reject everything, there's only so much you can do then.

 

Although i do know families who make their kids do at least one lesson, class, club, or sport each term.

Edited by Hilltopmom

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Gently, I think you (and dh) need to back off. This kind of discussion with a 14 yo boy can quickly turn into a constant subtext of "my parents don't like me, respect me, trust me." That is very damaging in the long run. He may never be as motivated or passionate about things as you are (most people aren't). I am the more driven person in my house and it was very, very hard to not project my drive onto the kids, especially the boys. 14 yo boys will grow and change so much it is hardly believable. The difference between 14 and 16, 16 and 18, 18 and 20 is well and truly amazing. 

He may never been as driven and passionate about learning as you are. That's okay. If he is doing the minimum well, that's okay too, especially at 14. He will do more every year and he may find his "thing" in his teens, or he may not. That's okay, too.

 

Frankly, helicopter parenting a la NYC is not something to be admired or attempted, imho.

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I could have written this some years ago. My much younger kid was finishing precalc level math for goodness's sake. See how unrealistic I was being? That's what anyone reading this would think right? But no, that's not what I thought because my reality was different. I was used to something else and saw the world with a slightly different lens just like how some people might prefer to see homeschooling from a classical lens or others from an unschooling lens. My lens was influenced by my own upbringing with a highly driven older brother and the impossible standards that my DH set for himself from very young. I was hoping that some of those genes should have rubbed off on DS. And all the while, the kid was working so hard, being so nice and polite and respectful. Oh I knew then as I know now that he is a fab kid. But I mostly saw what I felt was lacking. I did not see the positives. And I did not see what would happen if my dream for a much "more motivated", "driven", extremely "focused" kid who wanted to ace every math contest while also acing all his other (outsourced if I might add) classes would lead to. I did not see the negatives that kind of lifestyle and health problems could cause. 

 

What changed is not my DS. It's me. I have shifted my mindset and focused on the positives. I cannot explain why on a public board but maybe it will be enough to say that my kid is mine but his drive and needs are not mine to change if that makes sense. It's completely normal and natural to want what you and your DH want. But it might be that it's not what he wants. Right now, whatever he is working on is consuming a part of him that maybe wants to get it done and that's all. He probably does his very best and thinks that's enough for what he (and you) want. If he rejects everything perhaps you can gently nudge/ push but if he won't take it up perhaps just try again later or leave it aside? The message he might be receiving from you if you ask for more is that what he is is not good enough. That might not be the way he thinks at all of course. But it could be.

 

I am a bit of a drama queen when it comes to thinking about flipsides so please excuse me if it sounds extreme. What really woke me up was all the news about the flipside to working non stop at that age (especially when the push is not coming from the child). The flipside scared the $%#&* out of me because I could see it possibly happening here, because of what happens in my family of very high achievers when they hit their lows.

 

I don't know what I'm saying exactly...I have to run to somewhere in a bit and might not be expressing myself well. You have a right to your feelings about your son. It's perfectly healthy as a parent and perfectly healthy to want to see that. You have obviously been a great role model in so many ways. Polite, kind, hardworking 14yos are not a dime a dozen at all these days. To some that would be drive too. Wanting to wake up and not snap at a mom or dad could be your son's drive. Drive takes infinite forms.

 

Hugs and good luck!

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I do think part of it is unrealistic expectations of a normal 14 yr old boy. ("Normal" didn't seem the right word, but "average" didn't seem to fit either. Normal is as close as I can come to what I mean.)

Most 14 year old boys aren't self-driven.

 

If you are exhausted, then stop pulling him along except for your minimum academic expectations. If he misses something you always used to do for him, let him know he can either do it himself or specifically ask for your help/comradeship. I'd be really honest with him on how you feel. He probably doesn't understand all the things you've always done for him and that you expect him to pick them up and do them himself. (Think of it as you always being there to tie his shoelaces. He just goes with them untied when you aren't there. The thought that he knows how to tie them and could do it himself just never crosses his mind.)

 

If you still have energy for some pulling after the minimum academics, you and your DH (mostly you since you are the one doing it) need to make a list of priorities. Just do the top ones.

 

Above everything else (except the honest discussion with him part - that needs to happen several times), make sure with his new schedule that he has time to explore his interests *if* he wants. He might not. He might just veg. But, make sure he does have time. I know how much his academic work expands into all other times - so if you have to carve out an hour in his schedule and call it "Interest Exploration," do it.

 

I'll repeat what several other posters have pointed out - he has a TON of growing & maturing to do in the next few years. He'll do it. Just give him time.

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In terms of interests, if you took away all schoolwork and all electronics, what would he do? Would he lie on his bed day after day doing absolutely nothing and not care? Or would go outside and build something? Read a book?

 

Sometimes the best way to find interests is to be bored and have to be resourceful.

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Agreeing with so many of the previous posters. In your first post, you described a person who is different from you and your spouse in needs, goals, and way of looking at things. It sounds like he is relational and finds meaning and satisfaction in accomplishing goals as part of a partnership, group, or team. That is not a "driven" personality, and it's not a personality that tends to take the initiative.

 

Just throwing in another "tool", in case it helps: You might consider taking a Meyers-Briggs test for you, and have your teen son take one, and then do some reading (Your Secret Self, or, Please Understand Me, for example) about your 2 different types to help understand the strengths, weaknesses, and needs of each of you, and how to best support, challenge, and encourage your DS. :)

 

16 Personalities test

Humanmetrics website: Personality Test

Personality Test for Teens

 

BEST of luck as you and DS work through this stage of life together. Warmest regards, Lori D.

Edited by Lori D.
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In terms of interests, if you took away all schoolwork and all electronics, what would he do? Would he lie on his bed day after day doing absolutely nothing and not care? Or would go outside and build something? Read a book?

 

Sometimes the best way to find interests is to be bored and have to be resourceful.

 

Mine would lay in bed all day if I took away electronics.  That's his thing.

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It's not at all unusual for a 14-yr-old to still need some scaffolding and guidance in terms of studying and preparation. Lots of parents provide this, whether the kid is homeschooled or not. It's not inappropriate at all, imo, to make sure that he is actually prepared for tests, rather than relying on his own interpretation. Gauging your own level of learning can be a tough skill to pick up on, I'd say particularly so for a young teen working at a higher level. 

 

Some students also just work much better when someone else is near them, even if they don't need help. My youngest is still like this at 16, even when she is basically working on her own, it goes more smoothly when I am close by so she can read out interesting facts or point out how beautiful her handwriting is today. I'm guessing she had better be in lots of study groups for college  :laugh:

 

I agree with others that there is a LOT of change going on during these years, but you also have to accept the fact that he just may be a different person than you or dh, one who never wants to be 'driven.' I think Alice's post about what this can look like in a successful adult is great. The kid I mentioned above just aced her first two DE classes at university, which didn't seem likely when she was 14, but she's certainly not researching colleges and plotting four-year plans the way her older sister did at the same age. The biggest appeal for college to her is that it sounds better than work, lol, and she has finally acknowledged that 'crazy cat lady' is not an actual profession. 

 

She's a great person with many talents and abilities. I don't worry that she doesn't want to turn her interests into passions or double-up on math or volunteer every week - she is 16. I make sure she works hard at times and doesn't coast, but we don't insist she put all her energy into academics or other 'useful' endeavors. She's still a kid, with kid-level interests and motivation, and that's okay. 

 

I would work on scaffolding and study skills in school. Outside of school, I'd leave his interests and free time alone for the most part. By that age, I'm planning stuff like game night, visits to the museum, and other enriching things when I have time. Everyone else is usually happy to go along if I plan it, lol, but I've learned not to stress when it doesn't happen, or when I realize I haven't seen dd all evening bc she is in her room binge-watching anime. 

 

 

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Mine would lay in bed all day if I took away electronics.  That's his thing.

 

I'm not even going to admit how much time both the college kid and the high school kid spent in bed over winter break!

Edited by katilac
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Mine would lay in bed all day if I took away electronics. That's his thing.

Mine would take the dog for a walk and pet him. Then he would stare in the fridge for a bit, but end up making himself toast with butter. Then he would practice writing with his different pens (he collects pens)

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Ok, so I'm reading and thinking. I read alot, and loved sharing what I've read with my son, be it The New Jim Crow or a book by Jhumpa Lahiri. I thought that sharing my love of reading and learning would eventually spark something. Maybe I am too enthusiastic, impassioned or...something.

Should I stop sharing? He's never said to me : wow, I'd like to read that/watch that or whatever. But he has occasionally found something marginally knteresting when I request that he read ithe or watch it. But again, I am continually leading g he horse to water, and I wonder if I should stop and let him find things on his own (except for school requirements) sorry typing on my phone.

Edited by Halcyon

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I think it is ok to share.

 

My kid does have many interests.  His thing is he wants us to watch youtube videos with him.  They are on a zillion different topics (often electronics related).  So we sit and watch them.  I'd sometimes rather do just about anything else, but he seems to appreciate that we show the interest.  So maybe if there is some give and take with regards to sharing interests? 

 

 

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Mine would take the dog for a walk and pet him. Then he would stare in the fridge for a bit, but end up making himself toast with butter. Then he would practice writing with his different pens (he collects pens)

So, he likes travel(has he been able to plan a real possible trip ever?). Does he like travel shows on TV,learning about different cultures,maybe a language (not Latin, lol). Have you looked into teen travel opportunities, culture camps, etc?

 

He likes pens& writing?has he tried calligraphy or art classes?

 

Taking the dog for a walk & petting him- any interest in other animals or something to do with animals... Pet sitting, dog walking, volunteering at animal shelter, feral cat society, 4 H, dog training, therapy pets

 

I'd Continue to share things you think are interesting. Just like we do for friends or spouses. But dont be bummed because they arent his thing.

 

He'll find something :)

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Also, sometimes people like things on their own terms.  DS likes playing his electronic keyboard.  He plays by ear and is pretty darn good.  I thought surely he'd love piano lessons right?!  Nope.  He is absolutely not interested.  He said that would just be a chore and another thing to practice.  He just likes tinkering on it in his own way whenever he feels like it (or not). 

 

 

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My "baby" turns 15 in a couple of weeks. :crying:

Mine's turning 14. And going off to the high school in the fall. It's a lot for a tender hearted mama to take in some days. (Especially when those days are full of teen attitude) :(

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Halcyon, if I'm remembering correctly, your DH is the one who never, ever has down time.  He is on the go, non-stop, from morning til night and struggles mightily to understand that sometimes people like to just do nothing and some even require down time every single day.  Actually, from what I'm remembering, he doesn't struggle with understanding it.  He thinks it's a bad way to live and doesn't really want to try to understand it.

 

And I think you've posted in the past that you would like some down time, but your dh doesn't get it and it can be frustrating to you.  

 

If I've got the wrong person, please correct me.  But I think I have the right person and from your OP with your DH going to college so young and being so driven. 

 

If that's your dh, then how in the world do I remember that?  Are you wondering, "Why would some woman on the internet remember these things about my dh? I wrote that ages ago."  Because it stands out.  Because your dh is unusual.  People like that (and you) will naturally surround yourself with other people of the same energy levels, so you think everyone is like that. 

 

But you guys are unusual.  Not wrong, but unusual.  I'm not sure if your dh is capable of cutting your son some slack because he doesn't seem to believe that it's ok for people not to be driven in all their activities all their waking hours.   I don't intend for my tone to come out as cruel. Just a quick stating of a fact.  He just might be blind in this particular area.

 

I agree with other posters:  help him get the base requirements done and then leave him alone to figure out the rest.  He's had amazing examples in you guys.  If he ever finds something to pursue, he'll know how to do it from watching you two do it.  If you see him finding something to pursue and suspect he's struggling in knowing how to pursue it, you can always offer a few suggestions to help him get started, unless he balks at that.

 

I loooove reading and I read to the kids and I share books with them, but they're not interested.  I used to be sharply disappointed that my kids couldn't share that with me, but it's lessened.  I was realizing that when I told them, "Oh, I wish we could share this!" that they were hearing, "Oh, you are a disappointment!  I'm so unhappy with you!"  I caught sadness flashing across their faces, so I was quick to stop saying that.  As others in this thread have said, be careful that your struggle to get him doesn't come across as disapproval and disappointment.

 

I had a friend who adopted 2 kids when they were very young.  She and her husband are somewhat ambitious.  She's a nurse practitioner and he's a judge.  Their adopted kids are not driven academically at all.  Their two biological children are.  My friend has been known to say, "I just don't understand the mindset of X and Y (the adopted kids.)"  She never means she doesn't love them.  She never means she likes them less than her bio kids.  But unfortunately, her kids have heard this sentiment and think it means she prefers the bio kids over them.  Ay yi yi.  Couldn't be farther from the truth.  

 

Another poster up thread was mentioning the health toll on being super-driven.  Lots of people are fine being super-driven, but there are also a lot of teens out there being pushed externally and internally who end up suffering from anxiety, depression, and even end up suicidal.  A lot of them are the NYC kids with parents who push, push, push.  So, take care not to fall down that rabbit hole.  Those stressed out parents and stressed out kids don't necessarily have all the answers.

 

 

Help him more than you have been with organizing his work, but not as much as your DH would want.

Pick the priorities of things that Must Be Done and have him work on those.

For everything else: back off.  Just do what is easy for you and not exhausting to you.

If he gets a spark to do something, support it without smothering it.

Edited by Garga
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So, he likes travel(has he been able to plan a real possible trip ever?). Does he like travel shows on TV,learning about different cultures,maybe a language (not Latin, lol). Have you looked into teen travel opportunities, culture camps, etc?

 

He likes pens& writing?has he tried calligraphy or art classes?

 

Taking the dog for a walk & petting him- any interest in other animals or something to do with animals... Pet sitting, dog walking, volunteering at animal shelter, feral cat society, 4 H, dog training, therapy pets

 

I'd Continue to share things you think are interesting. Just like we do for friends or spouses. But dont be bummed because they arent his thing.

 

He'll find something :)

 

He does like art, and will be taking an art class at a local studio this term. He LOVES travelling and travels with DH on business whenever DH can manage it. He will be starting volunteering at an equine rescue place, and maybe the Humane Society also. But he wants me to go with him and volunteer too. 

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Halcyon, if I'm remembering correctly, your DH is the one who never, ever has down time.  He is on the go, non-stop, from morning til night and struggles mightily to understand that sometimes people like to just do nothing and some even require down time every single day.  Actually, from what I'm remembering, he doesn't struggle with understanding it.  He thinks it's a bad way to live and doesn't really want to try to understand it.

 

And I think you've posted in the past that you would like some down time, but your dh doesn't get it and it can be frustrating to you.  

 

If I've got the wrong person, please correct me.  But I think I have the right person and from your OP with your DH going to college so young and being so driven. 

 

If that's your dh, then how in the world do I remember that?  Are you wondering, "Why would some woman on the internet remember these things about my dh? I wrote that ages ago."  Because it stands out.  Because your dh is unusual.  People like that (and you) will naturally surround yourself with other people of the same energy levels, so you think everyone is like that. 

 

But you guys are unusual.  Not wrong, but unusual.  I'm not sure if your dh is capable of cutting your son some slack because he doesn't seem to believe that it's ok for people not to be driven in all their activities all their waking hours.   I don't intend for my tone to come out as cruel. Just a quick stating of a fact.  He just might be blind in this particular area.

 

I agree with other posters:  help him get the base requirements done and then leave him alone to figure out the rest.  He's had amazing examples in you guys.  If he ever finds something to pursue, he'll know how to do it from watching you two do it.  If you see him finding something to pursue and suspect he's struggling in knowing how to pursue it, you can always offer a few suggestions to help him get started, unless he balks at that.

 

I loooove reading and I read to the kids and I share books with them, but they're not interested.  I used to be sharply disappointed that my kids couldn't share that with me, but it's lessened.  I was realizing that when I told them, "Oh, I wish we could share this!" that they were hearing, "Oh, you are a disappointment!  I'm so unhappy with you!"  I caught sadness flashing across their faces, so I was quick to stop saying that.  As others in this thread have said, be careful that your struggle to get him doesn't come across as disapproval and disappointment.

 

I had a friend who adopted 2 kids when they were very young.  She and her husband are somewhat ambitious.  She's a nurse practitioner and he's a judge.  Their adopted kids are not driven academically at all.  Their two biological children are.  My friend has been known to say, "I just don't understand the mindset of X and Y (the adopted kids.)"  She never means she doesn't love them.  She never means she likes them less than her bio kids.  But unfortunately, her kids have heard this sentiment and think it means she prefers the bio kids over them.  Ay yi yi.  Couldn't be farther from the truth.  

 

Another poster up thread was mentioning the health toll on being super-driven.  Lots of people are fine being super-driven, but there are also a lot of teens out there being pushed externally and internally who end up suffering from anxiety, depression, and even end up suicidal.  A lot of them are the NYC kids with parents who push, push, push.  So, take care not to fall down that rabbit hole.  Those stressed out parents and stressed out kids don't necessarily have all the answers.

 

 

Help him more than you have been with organizing his work, but not as much as your DH would want.

Pick the priorities of things that Must Be Done and have him work on those.

For everything else: back off.  Just do what is easy for you and not exhausting to you.

If he gets a spark to do something, support it without smothering it.

 

Yes, that was me.

 

The difference between DH and me is that i love down time, but to pursue my interests: reading, crafts, knitting, learning. DH just works. So yes, both of us are driven, DH more work related and me just learning-wise. So it's hard for either of us to "get" DS14. We don't WANT him to be super-driven; i know the pitfalls. But we do want him to love his life and have things he enjoys doing, and right now...I just don't see what that is.

He likes his friends, the few he has--he really likes to have sleepovers and stay up late giggling with them. He likes cooking. He has started Orange Theory with me (a boot camp type workout ) and likes that. But if i said we're never going back he wouldn't complain.

 

And to respond to your concern about pushing him--I don't think we are, certainly not to the extent we could, nor to the extent we see our nyc friends doing. I see that, and i think NO WAY. But at the same time, we have certain expectations, academically and otherwise, for him. And the problem I have now is that, while he will do what's expected, it is ONLY with quite a lot of followup on my part...and I am getting tired of it. My feeling is that by this point he should be more self motivated.

 

Now, he is more self motivated than some kids, and he genuinely wants to do well in his classes--he doesn't blow off work, or miss assignments intentionally, ever. But he doesn't apply himself particularly well. 

 

So I guess what you're saying is to accept that? DH disagrees wholeheartedly with accepting anything less than 'trying your absolute best' and while I am NOT as hard core as him, I do see his point in wanting our child to do his very best and apply himself.

 

So that's where I stumble.

 

And I LOVE my kid--and tell him all the time. But certainly he must know I am sad that he doesn't find books particularly captivating.

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Ok, so I'm reading and thinking. I read alot, and loved sharing what I've read with my son, be it The New Jim Crow or a book by Jhumpa Lahiri. I thought that sharing my love of reading and learning would eventually spark something. Maybe I am too enthusiastic, impassioned or...something.

 

Should I stop sharing? He's never said to me : wow, I'd like to read that/watch that or whatever. But he has occasionally found something marginally knteresting when I request that he read ithe or watch it. But again, I am continually leading g he horse to water, and I wonder if I should stop and let him find things on his own (except for school requirements) sorry typing on my phone.

 

If you find that your secret goal behind the sharing is to get your DS to have a specific response, then yes, stop.

If you share because you are so bubbling over with excitement, and if you in turn listen to your DS when he shares what he is excited about (even if  you have absolutely zero interest in the topic), then it's OK. 

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If you find that your secret goal behind the sharing is to get your DS to have a specific response, then yes, stop.

If you share because you are so bubbling over with excitement, and if you in turn listen to your DS when he shares what he is excited about (even if  you have absolutely zero interest in the topic), then it's OK. 

 

 

Well, i don't want a specific response..just any response lol. But yes, mostly it's because i am bubbling over with excitement--i get very passionate and excited about things. Maybe that's off-putting.

 

I will try and pay more attention to the things he is interested in. Android covers, pokemon go, and agario. Sigh. I know, i know.

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But we do want him to love his life and have things he enjoys doing, and right now...I just don't see what that is.

He likes his friends, the few he has--he really likes to have sleepovers and stay up late giggling with them. He likes cooking. He has started Orange Theory with me (a boot camp type workout ) and likes that. But if i said we're never going back he wouldn't complain.

 

Give him time. Not all kids have discovered at age 14 what excites them. I was for a long time concerned about DS. He had a few friends,  but he was content to see them maybe once every two weeks. He had no desire to interact with other children. He refused to attend any club, group activity, class. He reluctantly came and took horseback riding lessons with his sister, but could have cared less. When he wanted to quit, I told him that he may, but that he must choose another sport to participate in once a week. I ended up persuading him to try TKD  -and it changed his life. Since he started he has undergone a tremendous transformation. Before that, he read a little bit, played a lot of computer games, and did not enjoy the world very much.

 But it was sheer luck that we happened to come across the activity that would light this spark. You cannot force this. You can point out opportunities, can gently nudge him, invite him to do something with you - but ultimately, you need to wait until he discovers what excites him. Some people don't find their "thing" until they are adults.

 

Edited by regentrude
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And to respond to your concern about pushing him--I don't think we are, certainly not to the extent we could, nor to the extent we see our nyc friends doing. I see that, and i think NO WAY. But at the same time, we have certain expectations, academically and otherwise, for him. And the problem I have now is that, while he will do what's expected, it is ONLY with quite a lot of followup on my part...and I am getting tired of it. My feeling is that by this point he should be more self motivated.

 

Now, he is more self motivated than some kids, and he genuinely wants to do well in his classes--he doesn't blow off work, or miss assignments intentionally, ever. But he doesn't apply himself particularly well. 

 

So I guess what you're saying is to accept that? DH disagrees wholeheartedly with accepting anything less than 'trying your absolute best' and while I am NOT as hard core as him, I do see his point in wanting our child to do his very best and apply himself.

 

So that's where I stumble.

 

And I LOVE my kid--and tell him all the time. But certainly he must know I am sad that he doesn't find books particularly captivating.

 

 

From your response, I fear I wasn't clear and came across as accusatory.  Not my intention.  I'll clarify.

 

I don't think you're pushing him, yet, but your DH sounds like he wants to.  I think you're probably doing what everyone else does with their kids that aren't self-motivated: you are trying your best to keep him on track and provide structure.  

 

The thing I was mostly responding to was your dh's mentioning of the NYC people who hover and push their kids.  That would be taking it too far.  Your dh was already working at tip-top level by 14, but that's just not how a lot of people operate.  It does sound like ds needs a little more help (how to study for a test, etc), but not as much as your dh is suggesting. 

 

It sounds like he could work harder academically, but at 14 that's how many kids are.  They tend to step it up as they mature.  My nephew's college application essay was about how when he was in 9th grade he had no motivation, but by 11th he had grown and was motivated.  It's normal and expected.

 

I did say to back off, but I was meaning for the fun stuff.  You should still help him get his obligations done, but if he doesn't want to do the fun stuff, then don't push him.  If doing a sport isn't fun, don't push a sport.  If joining a club isn't fun, then don't push the club.  

 

But I wouldn't worry that he hasn't found an activity he likes to do.  I'd be ok with him seeing his friends only once in a while if he's ok with it.  I wouldn't worry about him pursuing a hobby or researching extracurricular things on his own.  He'll come to that in his own time.  

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He sounds like a very normal sort of kid when it comes to drive and focused passion. I wouldn't be worried about him at all.

 

You and your husband are definitely the unusual ones; I can see how you would expect your child to be like you but clearly in this realm at this moment he is not.

 

Drive and passion are not things that can be forced.

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14 yo boys always seem like they should be more self-motivated. And your experience of being 14 is being a girl which is completely different. And your dh's experience is very, very unusual. Not in the norm of things at all. So you are not getting the feedback that many, many dads give which is "yup, that's what I was like at 14." 

If he is meeting your expectations, even if grudgingly and on his own timetable, that is good. When he turns 15, you can adjust things if you need to. In my hard-earned experience, picking at 14 yo boy and trying to get them to be interested in things because you think they should be interested in Something (for the love..) is not at all good for the relationship. 

 

Eventually they all grow up with their own dreams and ways of doing things. 

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I was at a mandatory wrk training this week where we employees had to take a short personality test on line. The we discussed all the different persoanality types that everyone came out as to help everyone have a better understanding of how to work together and communicate better. Based on that experience, it sounds like you are expecting him to have the same personality and areas of interest that you and your husband have. I don't think that is fair to him or realistic.

Maybe it would help you to understand him better if you all took the test.

https://www.16personalities.com/

 

Another thought... could he be intimidated by his parents's successes and intentionally underachieving because he does not want to compete with the two of you on the chance that he can't be "good enough"?

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If he loves to travel, I would recommend getting the book The New Global Student by Maya Frost. There are so many opportunities to "feed" his interest in travel even while still in high school.

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I haven't read all responses yet but a thought...maybe it's ok for him to do as much of travel and animal related stuff as he wants to without introducing more opportunities in those areas. Maybe these are areas that give him peace and calm and/ or excitement and nourish him in other growth-related ways. He can own them however he wants to. Asking him to do more because he loves them can backfire.

 

I also think that if you share readings etc with him and then suddenly stop, he might wonder why you've stopped. Perhaps a respectful conversation could help e.g. "would you like to hear about..." and then backing off if he says no or going ahead if he says "Sure".

 

I was talking to a friend and realized how "managed" life has become for some of us and our kids. Halcyon, I'm not saying this is you so please don't misunderstand. I came to this realization about the me of 3-4 years ago and my friend who is like this right now. We both have only sons and we are both Type A with more laid back kids. I used to do all the things that now make me cringe to hear her doing. Managing everything from reading to constantly balancing his diet to how the workspace is set up to how he communicates (or does not) with instructors. I don't know what the fine line is for each of our families but we are definitely managing more than our own parents did and I think in the end, letting mine go in some ways, letting my need to control go has really lessened our stress and improved our relationship.

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