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Katy

s/o - the kick in the pants that almost all 13yos require

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This seemed like a line of discussion worthy of opening up its own thread.  My parents didn't push me except for a few things like forcing me to get back on a horse after I fell, or forcing me to help with house projects.  My motivation for achievement was internal. But some of the moms with older, high-achieving kids clearly push a bit more than I have been exposed to, even if it's not quite Tiger Mom territory. And there were places I could have used the push, places I still hear my mom's, "You're just lazy," pronouncements ringing in my ears.

So--- when and how do you push a kid that's being lazy or is procrastinating, and when do you let it go?

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This is an interesting post.  I am not sure I am "qualified" to comment, particularly so late, as my DD23 was already pretty motivated.

What I can say is that my mom has, at times, expressed regret that she didn't have a parent who pushed a little.  And, I don't believe my parents pushed too hard, yet at the same time, I absolutely don't think they held back either.  I am the oldest of 4, and without going into detail so late, I wouldn't consider a single one of my siblings or I "low achieving."   

 

So, I guess it's something I need to think on.  I suppose my snap judgement is that like most things, it's really not much of one or the other.  

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Maybe don't think of the kid as lazy--think of them as having an immature brain. As an adult with a mature prefrontal cortex you are in a position to look at the big picture, see more of the road ahead, and supplement the child's immature executive function abilities with your own. You can provide the mature direction their own brain isn't capable of yet.

Where and when you are able and it seems to be truly in the child's best interest. Sometimes a thirteen year old just needs to focus on eating and sleeping and growing for awhile and other priorities can wait.

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I would love to take credit for the changes in DS from grade 7 to grade 8. I’m pretty sure he just took one of those gigantic leaps in growing up over the summer, though! Instead of kicks in the pants, I like to think I aim for more frequent nudges in the right direction. Probably just Mother Nature!

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IMHO, 13 is a hard age, and they need a lot of support.  Once they come out of the fog at 14 or 15, things generally improve.  Keep in mind that everyone doesn't have strong enough internal motivation to take a task to completion on their own.  Just because they don't get things done doesn't mean they don't see the value in those things.  Procrastinating is often because of perfectionism - fear of not doing it right, so therefore not doing it at all.  Feeling overwhelmed because of not knowing how to break an activity down into manageable chunks can be a big part of it, as well.   Also, not having a good sense of time can be involved - both in not realizing how much time has passed without starting the task and also in not realizing how long something actually requires. 

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2 hours ago, Katy said:

So--- when and how do you push a kid that's being lazy or is procrastinating, and when do you let it go?

 

The only “lazy” that I would push is if my teens are sedentary all day, they need to move instead of sitting on their butt all day doing academics and leisure reading. I would also nag my sleepy teen to bed. I don't mind DS13 staying up late but if he is already exhausted, his efficiency/productivity is already low and he is better off going to bed and continue his work the next day. 

1 hour ago, maize said:

 

Sometimes a thirteen year old just needs to focus on eating and sleeping and growing for awhile and other priorities can wait.

 

Agree 🙂  My DS14 is still in the tail end of growth spurt mode.

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Since this is a spinoff from my post, I want to explain that this young man takes the lazy route to everything. He said, and had said about everything, that it was just too much work. He is quite content to let the other boys set up the tent, cook the meal, pull the sled, etc. He doesn't want to harness the dogs, haul the water; he doesn't want to hoist the "victim" in first aid, carry the flag, and on and on. When the mother allowed him to bail out of Scouts, he then rejected 4-H because he would have to do record keeping. Sports? No. School work? No. He can not conceive of why others don't want to be around him, as he won't pull his fair share. Sure, kids are tired and growing, but when they are miserable because NO ONE wants to be around them, I DO think they need more than a nudge. This has been going on for a long time, not just during a growth spurt. And the whining begins when others are recognized for pitching in. I fear the man this boy is growing up to be. 

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7 minutes ago, Margaret in CO said:

Since this is a spinoff from my post, I want to explain that this young man takes the lazy route to everything. He said, and had said about everything, that it was just too much work. He is quite content to let the other boys set up the tent, cook the meal, pull the sled, etc. He doesn't want to harness the dogs, haul the water; he doesn't want to hoist the "victim" in first aid, carry the flag, and on and on. When the mother allowed him to bail out of Scouts, he then rejected 4-H because he would have to do record keeping. Sports? No. School work? No. He can not conceive of why others don't want to be around him, as he won't pull his fair share. Sure, kids are tired and growing, but when they are miserable because NO ONE wants to be around them, I DO think they need more than a nudge. This has been going on for a long time, not just during a growth spurt. And the whining begins when others are recognized for pitching in. I fear the man this boy is growing up to be. 

The young man sounds like he's been coddled (maybe I'm reading too much into the "mother allowed him to bail out of scouts" portion).  

But, there are elements of personality, and what motivates the child.  Finding the motivation is the hard part  -- but in dealing with my own malcontents, it takes listening and using their own words to guide/push them.  The young man needs to be shown (led) to the correct conclusions by starting with (1) he is miserable because no one wants to be around him (2) Why does he think no one wants to be around him (most likely will say "I don't know"), and be guided through how he would feel IF situations (how would you feel if you went to a camping trip and you had to ... set up the tent yourself, do all of the cooking, do all of the clean up, etc. while Joey got to lay in his hammock?"  Have you ever done anything like this? (kid will probably say "no" -- because kids like this, ime, tend to be REALLY not self-aware), so you would need to have specific examples at the ready.  Role play situations where the young man can make a different choice.  Set conditions -- not allowed to quit until X is accomplished, or X amount of time, etc.  Set conditions for other rewards -- must volunteer at the food pantry X hours with a good recommendation from the supervisor (sometimes it means the parent has to go and volunteer, too -- not just drop off). before child can go to the amusement park or get a new game.

My soon-to-be 13yo Blondie is a totally different kind of lazy than her soon-to-be 16yo brother, PokeMan.  and Pokeman is wholly different from LEGOManiac, and PonyGirl.  I nudged (pushed) a lot, and continue to do so -- but my pushing is borne from the following:

  1. Child without a plan has to follow my plan until they can articulate their own.
  2. Talk to the child regularly about what they like/don't like to help them learn to articulate their own plan.
  3. Research opportunities gleaned from discussions in #2 to help provide ideas/opportunities to help them discover their own plan (goal is to move child to learn how to research/discover their own opportunities, but at 13, this can be hard -- because they don't know what to look for).
  4. Create coursework/school opportunities to help them explore the things they feel they might be interested in.
  5. Reward their taking on challenges, finding things they are interested in with additional opportunities -- often which hinge on fulfilling responsibilities.
  6. Go over responsibilities to make sure child understands every part that is required.  It is not enough to say "the kitchen is clean" -- because that leaves too much room for interpretation of the word "clean."  Detailed checklists -- including specifics about supplies & tools to be used -- are very helpful.  
  7. Continue building upon previous conversations, checking in with responsibilities/opportunities how things are going, what they like/don't like -- adjust as necessary and continue moving forward. 

There are no easy answers here.  And remember, 13-15 year olds are dealing with a lot emotionally they often can't articulate.  Frustration at not being allowed to do adult things they feel they are old enough to do... increased responsibilities they don't want because they still want to be a kid... often new romantic feelings/bodily reactions sometimes they might not even realize are normal... not having the vocabulary to deal with any of this... feelings of shame, confusion (they don't want to admit), insecurities, lack of control -- all of which can come out as anger.

When we've reached points with each child entering this phase, I've pulled each one aside into a private space and laid down rules for engagement.  At times, it has also included a journal to write down all of that (knowing I would not read it).  My soon-to-be 16yo is finally on the other side of that mess (still needs a proverbial 2x4 to the head now and then, but so much better).  But in the middle of it -- there were angry, tear-filled moments of poor-me-isms, and this notion that he should be able to do whatever he wanted without any consequences (said much less politely...)

I have many rambling thoughts about this -- because I've been through it differently with 3 kids, and have #4 to deal with next.  

 

 

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All kids are different.  I have had 3 boys go through the 13 year old phase and I work with 13 year olds right now.  Oh, and I was a 13 year old once!~ 😂

Some kids are just natural achievers and have an intrinsic desire to achieve for personal merit.  My youngest is this way.

Some kids need constant prodding and nudging and lots of accolades when they do something.  My middle is this way.

Some are very insecure and afraid to try things and fail.  And too much kicking in the pants makes them shut down.  My oldest can be this way. 

I try to see each child for who he/she is, what motivates them, what goals they have, and work from there, because the truth is, depending on the personality and background, each child will react to "kicks in the pants" different ways.

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That's a hard question to answer.  I think middle school was about the time I started sitting down with my oldest weekly and having him make a list of goals for that week: everything from doing his co-op assignments to merit badges to things he wanted to build...and then I'd make him set aside goal time every day.  He'd reassess at the end of the week, make a new list of goals, and repeat ad nauseum.
Sometimes he did everything he wanted to do, sometimes he did none of his goals, but I figured my role was to keep trying to help him build the habit.  It paid off in the long term, but the short term drove me nuts some weeks!

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I have to be careful not to say too much to my 13yo.  It is easy for him to think I don’t have a good opinion of him.  He also sometimes does not tell us about things we would like him to tell us about, and we are working on that right now.  

The things are small problems that he doesn’t know how to handle, and it would be great if he would let us know!  

I think he sounds similar to DawnM’s oldest son.  

 

 

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I have two girls. One was pretty motivated for stuff she wanted to do, but needed some support/suggestions/gentle prodding.

The other needed steady pushing and reminders that we agreed to try this (whatever) for x amount of time, and then she could quit/do something else. 

I don't know that I kicked anyone in the pants, but gently pushed and reminded (without, hopefully, nagging!). 

Both girls are older now - and one appreciate the continued pushing, the other sees that it would have been helpful if I had pushed her a little bit more. 

I don't think you ever know if this is the right time/amount/direction/etc - you just do what you think is best looking at the long term and taking into consideration the conditions in the short term.  And pray.  And apologize if you mess up. And sometimes point out why you are pushing and why/what you think it will lead to. 

Edited by Bambam
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4 hours ago, LisaK in VA is in IT said:
  • Child without a plan has to follow my plan until they can articulate their own.
  • Talk to the child regularly about what they like/don't like to help them learn to articulate their own plan.
  • Research opportunities gleaned from discussions in #2 to help provide ideas/opportunities to help them discover their own plan (goal is to move child to learn how to research/discover their own opportunities, but at 13, this can be hard -- because they don't know what to look for).
  • Create coursework/school opportunities to help them explore the things they feel they might be interested in.
  • Reward their taking on challenges, finding things they are interested in with additional opportunities -- often which hinge on fulfilling responsibilities.
  • Go over responsibilities to make sure child understands every part that is required.  It is not enough to say "the kitchen is clean" -- because that leaves too much room for interpretation of the word "clean."  Detailed checklists -- including specifics about supplies & tools to be used -- are very helpful.  
  • Continue building upon previous conversations, checking in with responsibilities/opportunities how things are going, what they like/don't like -- adjust as necessary and continue moving forward. 

Well that saved me a lot of typing! 🙂 ITA!

I’ve had some very “lazy” teens and it looks like my next will take the cake. (Lazy in quotes because I, myself, still have scars.). My methods so far (with 3 who’ve mostly made it through to the other side) have been much of the above.

I’ve found that pushing in the most resistant areas is futile. And, in the case of something like scouts, what would be the point of focusing so much energy there, when the desired character traits could be cultivated in an area they find more desireable? (And I say that as a Girl Scout who love scouting and knows the value for others who enjoy it.)

My own kids have pretty much found their Whys by 16, in areas I never expected. (My 15yo is currently on the fence, but leaning.). They would not have found them if they were A.) entirely left to their own devices as young teens, or B.) pushed to do the things they hated as young teens.  (Unless we’re talking math, in which case no one should ever ask my advice because I’m only 1 for 5 on that so far!)

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4 hours ago, LisaK in VA is in IT said:

The young man sounds like he's been coddled (maybe I'm reading too much into the "mother allowed him to bail out of scouts" portion).  

But, there are elements of personality, and what motivates the child.  Finding the motivation is the hard part  -- but in dealing with my own malcontents, it takes listening and using their own words to guide/push them.  The young man needs to be shown (led) to the correct conclusions by starting with (1) he is miserable because no one wants to be around him (2) Why does he think no one wants to be around him (most likely will say "I don't know"), and be guided through how he would feel IF situations (how would you feel if you went to a camping trip and you had to ... set up the tent yourself, do all of the cooking, do all of the clean up, etc. while Joey got to lay in his hammock?"  Have you ever done anything like this? (kid will probably say "no" -- because kids like this, ime, tend to be REALLY not self-aware), so you would need to have specific examples at the ready.  Role play situations where the young man can make a different choice.  Set conditions -- not allowed to quit until X is accomplished, or X amount of time, etc.  Set conditions for other rewards -- must volunteer at the food pantry X hours with a good recommendation from the supervisor (sometimes it means the parent has to go and volunteer, too -- not just drop off). before child can go to the amusement park or get a new game.

My soon-to-be 13yo Blondie is a totally different kind of lazy than her soon-to-be 16yo brother, PokeMan.  and Pokeman is wholly different from LEGOManiac, and PonyGirl.  I nudged (pushed) a lot, and continue to do so -- but my pushing is borne from the following:

  1. Child without a plan has to follow my plan until they can articulate their own.
  2. Talk to the child regularly about what they like/don't like to help them learn to articulate their own plan.
  3. Research opportunities gleaned from discussions in #2 to help provide ideas/opportunities to help them discover their own plan (goal is to move child to learn how to research/discover their own opportunities, but at 13, this can be hard -- because they don't know what to look for).
  4. Create coursework/school opportunities to help them explore the things they feel they might be interested in.
  5. Reward their taking on challenges, finding things they are interested in with additional opportunities -- often which hinge on fulfilling responsibilities.
  6. Go over responsibilities to make sure child understands every part that is required.  It is not enough to say "the kitchen is clean" -- because that leaves too much room for interpretation of the word "clean."  Detailed checklists -- including specifics about supplies & tools to be used -- are very helpful.  
  7. Continue building upon previous conversations, checking in with responsibilities/opportunities how things are going, what they like/don't like -- adjust as necessary and continue moving forward. 

There are no easy answers here.  And remember, 13-15 year olds are dealing with a lot emotionally they often can't articulate.  Frustration at not being allowed to do adult things they feel they are old enough to do... increased responsibilities they don't want because they still want to be a kid... often new romantic feelings/bodily reactions sometimes they might not even realize are normal... not having the vocabulary to deal with any of this... feelings of shame, confusion (they don't want to admit), insecurities, lack of control -- all of which can come out as anger.

When we've reached points with each child entering this phase, I've pulled each one aside into a private space and laid down rules for engagement.  At times, it has also included a journal to write down all of that (knowing I would not read it).  My soon-to-be 16yo is finally on the other side of that mess (still needs a proverbial 2x4 to the head now and then, but so much better).  But in the middle of it -- there were angry, tear-filled moments of poor-me-isms, and this notion that he should be able to do whatever he wanted without any consequences (said much less politely...)

I have many rambling thoughts about this -- because I've been through it differently with 3 kids, and have #4 to deal with next.  

 

 

 

This is very similar to how I've handled things for 8 out of 11 so far.  10-14 for girls and 12-16 for boys is a rough phase for all of them for all the growing related reason you mention and more.  It's a balancing act of tough love and carrot guidance. LOL

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5 hours ago, Margaret in CO said:

Since this is a spinoff from my post, I want to explain that this young man takes the lazy route to everything. He said, and had said about everything, that it was just too much work. He is quite content to let the other boys set up the tent, cook the meal, pull the sled, etc. He doesn't want to harness the dogs, haul the water; he doesn't want to hoist the "victim" in first aid, carry the flag, and on and on. When the mother allowed him to bail out of Scouts, he then rejected 4-H because he would have to do record keeping. Sports? No. School work? No. He can not conceive of why others don't want to be around him, as he won't pull his fair share. Sure, kids are tired and growing, but when they are miserable because NO ONE wants to be around them, I DO think they need more than a nudge. This has been going on for a long time, not just during a growth spurt. And the whining begins when others are recognized for pitching in. I fear the man this boy is growing up to be. 

With a child who seems completely without motivation, is withdrawing from activities, socially unengaged, and expresses lots of negativity I would worry about mental health. Those are all classic signs of depression.

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41 minutes ago, maize said:

With a child who seems completely without motivation, is withdrawing from activities, socially unengaged, and expresses lots of negativity I would worry about mental health. Those are all classic signs of depression.

I had the same thought. This screams mental health issues to me. But, I didn't see the post that prompted this thread, so I'm not sure of the whole context.

Edited by Innisfree
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2 minutes ago, Innisfree said:

I had the same thought. This screams mental health issues to me. But, I didn't see the post that prompted this thread, so I'm not sure of the whole context.

 

I agree that particular child may be depressed, but we have no idea if it's organic or situational. It might be biological.  It might be situational because his parents have coddled him to the point that he's incapable of fitting in with other kids and he doesn't know how to fix it.  It might be any other number of situations.  As far as I'm concerned that particular child, who I've never met, is irrelevant to the topic of when to push and when not to except possibly as an example of making sure it's not a mental health issue before addressing procrastination and laziness. Even then sometimes the answer is to go ahead and push them to do something, assuming the issue is situational vs organic.

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10 hours ago, maize said:

mature prefrontal cortex

I love this. So next time my ds is being an idiot, instead I can say "we need to help your prefrontal cortex mature" hahahahah

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I agree that this is hard.  Kids go through incredible changes in puberty.  I feel like their brains are rearranging themselves, and that can be confusing as well as exhausting.

I am not sure what is best (my daughters are 12, and can be quite lazy or quite motivated depending on the interest and the mood).  I think some regular real chores would at least keep things happening until they decide what they want to do.  (I am bad at giving my kids regular chores though.)

It got hard to "tell my kids what to do" around age 11/12.  Which would be fine if they already had the internal motivation established, but we aren't there yet.  Also anything I suggest (e.g. conditioning for a sport they care about) is a terrible idea because Mom suggested it.  😛

Part of me thinks maybe they would have been more ready to push themselves if I had never structured things for them when they were younger.  But I'll never know really.

Thinking back to my own youth, I had a fair amount of chores and responsibilities.  I also wanted to take on more out-of-home responsibility and make my own money when I was 13.  I went out and got a paper route and babysitting jobs.  But then, that was pretty normal in those days, which was part of the motivation.  Nowadays nobody does that around here.  As far as school, I was self motivated, but I had siblings who were not, so I'm not sure how that works.  (My kids are fairly motivated to do well in [b&m] school, and they generally accept my guidance on that.)

As for what I do, I push some.  I will sign them up for stuff and make them show up when I know it is something they will enjoy / appreciate.  (It is easier to get them to do things in a group of peers than at home with me.)  I will nag at home if I have the time and energy.  I will counsel and lecture about goal setting etc. etc.  Some examples of things I've "pushed" them to do despite periodic moaning and groaning:  (1) TKD:  expecting to test for 2nd degree blackbelt this summer; signed up through Master and I will probably push gently until they are 18.  (2) AHG:  so far they have gotten all their "level awards" and this will continue, provided it doesn't conflict too much with other things.  (3) Sports & music - at least 1 sport and 1 instrument of their choosing at all times.  (4) The obvious stuff - school and learning life skills.  At some point I would like to add getting a job.

That said, I could relate to not wanting to push a kid who fights it all the time.  We do get tired.

I didn't read the other thread, but the description in the OP makes me wonder if there is some depression and if so, whether this is generational.

Edited by SKL

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It's real simple, if they loaf while we parents work, they get their reminder that they live in a Little Red Hen household as they are assigned to begin chores.  They see the value in having skills and experience in all of their activities and later in their employment. 

For older child, it was scouting that helped him see the light at that age where he was thinking he might walk off from our values and take the easy ones he saw around him in the community and the extended fam -- you know, mom is the breadwinner & servant, young men are waited on  and spend their time partying while peacocking on parental dime or illegal sales.   One campout, ds's patrol decided they didn't want to do anything they had agreed to do, and showed up with the 'I'm hungry' spiel in the morning as the other guys were cooking. Call it real life or storybook ants vs grasshoppers, ds decided he really wasn't interested in making fire, cooking pancakes & sausage, serving, and cleaning up after freeloaders. Complained mightily the following few days, until I asked him to look at his actions at home, and think about his scoutmaster's skill set and how he got there.  That was the last week I had to push him out to mow and get the yardwork done.  He became a pretty good cook after merit badge work at camp. 

Other child always had things he was interested in and no problem getting chores done. He has always seen the advantage of being skilled. 

Heard a little whine come in as they learned to study and make sacrifices after high school, but asking if they needed anything to send up to the scout shack for those deployed stopped that...it was real personal by then as some of their buds were (and some still are) in harm's way.  

Show them the path to being skilled, walk with them until they take the initative, show them respect , show them where the unskilled ended up via volunteering. 

Now one aside:  I was accused of being lazy from about age 10 on.  I simply did not have the energy.    I had to get up at dawn every day all summer to do chores, before it became real hot out.  Long story short, I have a genetic medical issue that meant I needed sleep and supplements; it was not known at that time.  So if you are seeing fatigue and calling that lazy, get the bloodwork done.

Edited by HeighHo

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2 hours ago, maize said:

With a child who seems completely without motivation, is withdrawing from activities, socially unengaged, and expresses lots of negativity I would worry about mental health. Those are all classic signs of depression.

This or also a form of passive resistance. If a kid is forced to do activities he/she has no interest in, this might be the way their true feelings come through.  Might not be what is happening in this particular instance, but I have seen it happen.

I thought when my daughter was in swim (8th) and refusing to go she needed a kick in the pants. Well, it almost ruined our relationship, it did ruin her love of swimming for a long time, and in retrospect she just didn't have the ability to verbalize what the problems were. She was in a very dark place,  I didn't know what to do, and I thought tough love was the answer.  I am lucky our relationship wasn't ruined. It was pretty bad for a few years. 

Now if a kid is actively saying I want to do this, this is my passion, and doesn't want to do the work required, then they need to step it up.  But if they are just passively going along with the program because it's expected of them, maybe it's not something they really care about but they don't know how to vocalize it. 

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My own mom was a tiger mom and to a certain extent, I rebel against that. I was forced to take organ and piano lessons (where I did not have the innate talent some of my siblings had), "volunteer" in a hospital even before I was old enough to do so according to the rules, and signed up for many things I did not want to do. So, I see that colors my view of things.

I have a serious procrastinator child. Not lazy, just prefers to put things off especially if she doesn't enjoy doing them. This bites her, especially if she gets sick before the work is done (and then legitimately can't finish or can't do an activity she wants to because the work isn't finished. I pushed, prodded, and dragged for a couple of years of high school- then started to back off. This year, except for occasional nudges (did you send that email you said you would?), I'm mostly hands off because it is all her next year in college. That means less scholarship applications were submitted, grades were a little lower in a subject or two, she missed opportunities, she experienced more last-minute stress and hair pulling, and she wrote waaay less thank you notes (than I would have preferred). But, we've both survived.

I have another who takes after my DH and doesn't like to make phone calls, meet with people, or talk to groups. Except she's starting a non-profit organization (that she is very passionate about) which requires all of those activities and more. So, I have to hold her hand sometimes and scaffold her through these things because she wants these things to get done but still needs help.

I think it is very much a case-by-case, kid-by-kid situation, including one that morphs as they get older. Like all parenting, it is hard to give a rule that will apply to all cases.

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8 hours ago, Margaret in CO said:

 He can not conceive of why others don't want to be around him, as he won't pull his fair share. Sure, kids are tired and growing, but when they are miserable because NO ONE wants to be around them, I DO think they need more than a nudge. 

 

2 hours ago, maize said:

With a child who seems completely without motivation, is withdrawing from activities, socially unengaged, and expresses lots of negativity I would worry about mental health. Those are all classic signs of depression.

 

My DS13 was the depressed one when he was 8 years old. He had a whiny personality which makes classmates avoid him for group work and games. Everyone wants him as a lab partner because he does most of the work and he concentrates so hard on the lab he doesn’t talk much (so no whining). DS14 was the one evaluated for social thinking help when he was in K and 1st grade public school but I think DS13 is the one who would have qualified and benefited from that service. We did a lot of video tapping so he could see how his behavior looked after he has calmed down. We did a lot of discussions about people’s tolerance for whining. We also talk about Stephen Covey’s emotional bank account because that was a concept he could grasp. Progress was slow and hard but worth it.

1 hour ago, PeterPan said:

I love this. So next time my ds is being an idiot, instead I can say "we need to help your prefrontal cortex mature" hahahahah

 

My kids are into the not being fully developed until they are 25 years old 😛  I do have many late bloomers in my extended family so probability is high that my kids are late bloomers. 

7 minutes ago, SanDiegoMom in VA said:

This or also a form of passive resistance. If a kid is forced to do activities he/she has no interest in, this might be the way their true feelings come through.  Might not be what is happening in this particular instance, but I have seen it happen.

 

Or the child is offered too many options of what is available without the parents considering what the child might have an interest in. I know parents who basically ask their kids to sign up for the 101 activities in the city’s parks and recreations catalog at the recreation center lobby and the kids just say okay/whatever to all the classes their parents (moms and dads) ask.

I know many neighbors put their sons (DS14’s ex-schoolmates) in cub scouts and scouts because it was viewed as the de facto activity for boys and also for the moms to gather, like a built in neighborhood friendship group. I know a 9th grader who is in scouts because it was the path of least resistance (he has a people pleaser personality) and because all his friends are from cub scouts/scouts. 

I had a long time phobia of playing the piano when anyone is around because of piano exams my dad wanted me to take even though the last piano exam I took was in 9th grade.  

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46 minutes ago, maize said:

With a child who seems completely without motivation, is withdrawing from activities, socially unengaged, and expresses lots of negativity I would worry about mental health. Those are all classic signs of depression.

 

I have a child who has been what we say has "melancholy  tendency" and puberty has made it much worse. She has always been the child who takes everything more personally, who thinks always negatively, who gets anxious over "nothing". I insisted on testing her for all vitamin or mineral deficiency.  Her iron, D and B were all very low.  And got a lot lower as puberty hit.  She takes prenatal vitamins with iron, plus 5000u of D and B and C every single day.  And a sleep schedule and an "exercise" schedule is paramount.  She needs more sleep than some kids and any day where she can't be physical (walks, playgrounds, swimming, dance) and creative (playing music, singing, and painting) is a no good very bad day.  She can get through a couple days without any of that, but by day 3 it's built up and she melts down hard.  It's the difference between living with an extremely angry, dejected, and tearful Eeyore or a happy Rabbit when we do these things.

We do discuss with her that this is not a character flaw UNLESS she refuses to accept that fair or not, these are the things her body needs so her heart and mind can have hope of enjoying life and relationships.  And we've been blunt with her that some day, these measures might not be enough and that isn't a failure either.  It's a basic rule that we all need help to get through this life, she's not the exception to that human fact, but she has lots of people happy to help her when she needs it.

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So much of it has to be modeled. See a group that needs a hand putting up the tent, shoveling the snow, jump on in! Last night was SO fun to watch--group of Scouters and Scouts, all jumping in. We got into the church a bit late, so we were scrambling. I was still bringing things in from the car, but one Eagle Scout followed me out to help. When I got back in, tables were up, tablecloths were out, folks were putting up candle holders, and the Eagle Scouts all whipped out their pocket knives and were whittling down candles to fit when we needed more. Someone had gotten out the trashcan so wax wasn't going all over. Someone counted noses and realized we needed another table, and poof! Like magic, there it was. I grabbed another tablecloth. At the end of the night, I was packing up, and when I turned around, ladies were wiping all the tablecloths. One commented, "Oh, it's so easy to do now. Then you don't have to mess with it." As we put up the last table, the mom of two of the Eagles there had gotten out the vacuum. Her boys jump in because they see mom and dad jump in. And they jump in because that's what is expected. Contrast that with a boy whose parents were there, but he couldn't be bothered to put on his uniform, and when asked about where his Eagle project is, he shrugged his shoulders. So, I DID push a bit (it's my Scout job). But dad isn't pushing and kid isn't progressing. They're LDS, so under a deadline. I hope he doesn't end up being "Life for life". I've heard waaaay too many regrets from folks that did that. 

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Also, kids in the spectrum who are so-called "high functioning" can have that don't ever want to do anything attitude simply because social interaction is unbelievably exhausting and frankly, they are tired and leery of not doing it right.  Telling them that's why they don't have friends is not going to be news to them.

I would go with my kid and coach them through it.  They may be oblivious to the need to step up or overwhelmed by the many steps involved in doing so in a socially appropriate manner, or feel like its better to just not engage with people who they think don't like them.  Especially boys, they are not going to admit any of that.  They'd rather cut their tongue out.  They'd rather say they don't care or act like they are smarter because other people do it for them.  Adults should know this is likely machismo talking. It sound like someone needs to help him work in one focus and branch from that.  

Also.  Maybe the kid hates camping.  If so, let him go home.  

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Hard to say if he likes camping--he keeps running away! It's a manipulation thing--he wants to be BEGGED to join in. He's never where he is supposed to be and his dad won't hunt him down. He spent half of the dog mushing event pretending to be dead under his dad's Subaru. And dad said nothing. Ah well, don't have to deal with him any more--not my problem. My job is to nag Life Scouts into finishing their Eagle projects! The Grand Junction lady just texted--cert for one of our troop should arrive tomorrow! Yay! And yeah, this kid (not so much him, but boy we kicked with older brother) had to have a strong nudge. 😁

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1 hour ago, Margaret in CO said:

Hard to say if he likes camping--he keeps running away! It's a manipulation thing--he wants to be BEGGED to join in. He's never where he is supposed to be and his dad won't hunt him down. He spent half of the dog mushing event pretending to be dead under his dad's Subaru. And dad said nothing. Ah well, don't have to deal with him any more--not my problem. My job is to nag Life Scouts into finishing their Eagle projects! The Grand Junction lady just texted--cert for one of our troop should arrive tomorrow! Yay! And yeah, this kid (not so much him, but boy we kicked with older brother) had to have a strong nudge. 😁

 

That's... weird.  Are there other signs of bad parenting and/or mental health issues with this child?

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Has he told you that's why he does it, Margaret? Because this all reads less like somebody who "wants to be BEGGED to join in" than somebody who doesn't want to be there in the first place.

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3 hours ago, Margaret in CO said:

So much of it has to be modeled. See a group that needs a hand putting up the tent, shoveling the snow, jump on in! Last night was SO fun to watch--group of Scouters and Scouts, all jumping in. We got into the church a bit late, so we were scrambling. I was still bringing things in from the car, but one Eagle Scout followed me out to help. When I got back in, tables were up, tablecloths were out, folks were putting up candle holders, and the Eagle Scouts all whipped out their pocket knives and were whittling down candles to fit when we needed more. Someone had gotten out the trashcan so wax wasn't going all over. Someone counted noses and realized we needed another table, and poof! Like magic, there it was. I grabbed another tablecloth. At the end of the night, I was packing up, and when I turned around, ladies were wiping all the tablecloths. One commented, "Oh, it's so easy to do now. Then you don't have to mess with it." As we put up the last table, the mom of two of the Eagles there had gotten out the vacuum. Her boys jump in because they see mom and dad jump in. And they jump in because that's what is expected. Contrast that with a boy whose parents were there, but he couldn't be bothered to put on his uniform, and when asked about where his Eagle project is, he shrugged his shoulders. So, I DID push a bit (it's my Scout job). But dad isn't pushing and kid isn't progressing. They're LDS, so under a deadline. I hope he doesn't end up being "Life for life". I've heard waaaay too many regrets from folks that did that. 

LDS kids don't have to leave scouting just because the church isn't going to be sponsoring troops anymore; we're looking into community troops for my son to join. He's just about to First Class, so no way he could have his Eagle before the church troops dissolve 🙂 

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When I have youngsters either in scouts or youth group, that do odd things, its because they want attention or they are in sensory overload.  I can get them to join with the friendly message:  'hey, I see you don't want to do activity x with the kids right now, feel free to hang out with your parent, and join in when you want, you are always welcome".  I have a teen helper designated and that person will edge them in when they do come over for the activity and will escort them back to the parent should they need a break or  decide to disrupt or to attempt to take over and lead the group elsewhere. 

 

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2 hours ago, Margaret in CO said:

He spent half of the dog mushing event pretending to be dead under his dad's Subaru. And dad said nothing.

Yep, this sounds like the parents have their hands full and are likely picking their battles.  That's not to say the parents aren't failing the kid or that there isn't something else going on with the kid, but I don't think a normal nudge would change this kid's behavior.

I will say that I am a parent that makes my kids do chores, help carry, & clean-up. But I don't expect everyone else to require it of their kids because there could be some legitimate but unknown (to me) reason their kid stays in a chair while the rest of us are working. 

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42 minutes ago, maize said:

LDS kids don't have to leave scouting just because the church isn't going to be sponsoring troops anymore; we're looking into community troops for my son to join. He's just about to First Class, so no way he could have his Eagle before the church troops dissolve 🙂 

Oh, absolutely not! I think the town down valley has found a chartering organization for their boys to transition to. I just don't know how many who will. The funny thing is that it's a firefighting hotshot crew, called the Hellfighters! The community pack and troop will be hard pressed to absorb all the LDS boys who want to stay, so we're working on new units. 

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49 minutes ago, Tanaqui said:

Has he told you that's why he does it, Margaret? Because this all reads less like somebody who "wants to be BEGGED to join in" than somebody who doesn't want to be there in the first place.

He just gets surly and unpleasant. And disrupts the group if asked. He lashes out at the closest person. I don't know why, and frankly, a Scout activity is not the place for a therapy session. We've tried in other situations, but have gotten nowhere. We're Scout leaders, and not therapists.

As to the previous question--yeah, it's parenting problems. The other kid is out of control. 

I wish him well, but we weren't making a difference in his life, so cannot continue. 

Anyway, just posted photos of cool things that 13yos ARE doing, so I'll remain content in that. 

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I think if I saw a kid acting like that and I was in charge of the event, I’d go up to the parent afterwards in private and say with as much compassion as possible something like, “It seems as though he doesn’t want to be here. If he does, then we really need you to coach him through how to participate in a polite manner.  If there is some thing in particular that would help make that easier for you, let’s discuss it and make a plan of action to benefit everyone.”

If he has SN of some kind, the question of what coping mechanisms is he being given needs to be asked and explored. Because he is flat out going to need them bc as the OP points out, most social situations and authority figures are usually not good therapy opportunities. 

Edited by Murphy101

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12 minutes ago, Murphy101 said:

I think if I saw a kid acting like that and I was in charge of the event, I’d go up to the parent afterwards in private and say with as much compassion as possible something like, “It seems as though he doesn’t want to be here. If he does, then we really need you to coach him through how to participate in a polite manner.  If there is some thing in particular that would help make that easier for you, let’s discuss it and make a plan of action to benefit everyone.”

If he has SN of some kind, the question of what coping mechanisms is he being given needs to be asked and explored. Because he is flat out going to need them bc as the OP points out, most social situations and authority figures are usually not good therapy opportunities. 

We have. 

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3 minutes ago, Margaret in CO said:

We have. 

 

Wonderful! I wish all parties best of luck in their future endeavors.🙂

 

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42 minutes ago, Murphy101 said:

 

Wonderful! I wish all parties best of luck in their future endeavors.🙂

 

Yep. So do I.

 

So back to the thread--has anyone ever had a 13yo who didn't need prodding???

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15 minutes ago, Margaret in CO said:

Yep. So do I.

 

So back to the thread--has anyone ever had a 13yo who didn't need prodding???

 

Thank you!  That's what I was wondering too.  How did you prod yours?

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20 minutes ago, Margaret in CO said:

Yep. So do I.

 

So back to the thread--has anyone ever had a 13yo who didn't need prodding???

 

I thought I did once but I was wrong. 😔

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19 hours ago, PeterPan said:

I love this. So next time my ds is being an idiot, instead I can say "we need to help your prefrontal cortex mature" hahahahah

Lol.  I literally talk brain science with my 12 year old.  Sometimes he’s beating himself up about bad decisions and I will say “remeber that part of your brain we learned about that makes decisions etc” - “well it’s doing a tonne of growing right now which is why you might make mistakes.  It’s also why mum and dad will still make some decisions for you.  But its growing and you’re going to make better and better decisions!”

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14 hours ago, Margaret in CO said:

Hard to say if he likes camping--he keeps running away! It's a manipulation thing--he wants to be BEGGED to join in. He's never where he is supposed to be and his dad won't hunt him down. He spent half of the dog mushing event pretending to be dead under his dad's Subaru. And dad said nothing. Ah well, don't have to deal with him any more--not my problem. My job is to nag Life Scouts into finishing their Eagle projects! The Grand Junction lady just texted--cert for one of our troop should arrive tomorrow! Yay! And yeah, this kid (not so much him, but boy we kicked with older brother) had to have a strong nudge. 😁

That sounds like more is going on to me.  

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15 hours ago, Margaret in CO said:

He just gets surly and unpleasant. And disrupts the group if asked. He lashes out at the closest person. I don't know why, and frankly, a Scout activity is not the place for a therapy session. We've tried in other situations, but have gotten nowhere. We're Scout leaders, and not therapists.

As to the previous question--yeah, it's parenting problems. The other kid is out of control. 

I wish him well, but we weren't making a difference in his life, so cannot continue. 

Anyway, just posted photos of cool things that 13yos ARE doing, so I'll remain content in that. 

 

That sounds like a kid who hasn't developed an area of expertise and needs to gain attention in the wrong way.  He doesn't want to accept that he needs to level up, and can do so if he minds his manners and makes rank. Probably has never learned to follow a leader if he's treating his parent that way.  Not really something the unit  can help with, unless you have an older lad he respects who can take him under his wing.  

Edited by HeighHo

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A 13 yo who didn't need prodding.... I can dream!  Even my fairly driven PonyGirl kind of went blah around 13-14.  She started snapping out of it around 15, and was back to pushing hard at 16.  Blondie turns 13 this summer -- and is definitely in this phase.  And I think Boo is an early bloomer... as she seems to be approaching the blah/don't wanna/disappearing phase early (she and Blondie are near inseparable, and she has a bit of PokeMan's melancholy....she's already a bit of a bugaboo.  Thankfully, PokeMan has started taking her under his wing and they are building a pretty sweet brother-sister bond.

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1 hour ago, LisaK in VA is in IT said:

A 13 yo who didn't need prodding.... I can dream!  Even my fairly driven PonyGirl kind of went blah around 13-14.  She started snapping out of it around 15, and was back to pushing hard at 16.  Blondie turns 13 this summer -- and is definitely in this phase.  And I think Boo is an early bloomer... as she seems to be approaching the blah/don't wanna/disappearing phase early (she and Blondie are near inseparable, and she has a bit of PokeMan's melancholy....she's already a bit of a bugaboo.  Thankfully, PokeMan has started taking her under his wing and they are building a pretty sweet brother-sister bond.

Isn't it wonderful to watch older sibs step up and say, "Hey, you're being a jerk. Grow up. Stop being an idiot. We all go through this. You will too." As a PP mentioned sometimes that's an older Scout. I think one strong element of moving through it is HARD physical work. Not sports necessarily, because that's for the kid, but work for the family or others: chopping wood, shoveling snow, building a house, hauling manure. Manual labor is ennobling. 

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2 hours ago, Margaret in CO said:

Isn't it wonderful to watch older sibs step up and say, "Hey, you're being a jerk. Grow up. Stop being an idiot. We all go through this. You will too." As a PP mentioned sometimes that's an older Scout. I think one strong element of moving through it is HARD physical work. Not sports necessarily, because that's for the kid, but work for the family or others: chopping wood, shoveling snow, building a house, hauling manure. Manual labor is ennobling. 

 

I agree hard physical work is needed for boys. Their muscles need it. I didn't have enough on my property or the grandparents', no one hires teens here, so I told the kid to pick a sport and coach took it from there. 

I think responsibility is a key also.  They need to move from child to young adult, and see themselves responsible & contributing to the household.  The thing about chores is that they give teens a way to see that they have developed expertise, and that leads to pride in self.  My kid had three years under his belt with the lawn mower when some of his friends were finally put on the job at their home...yep ,  you know who they were texting 'cause their mom wasn't accepting that they didn't remember how to start the mower.  Same thing in college with cars that wouldn't start or tires that needed changed.  

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Girls need the work, too!

I remember a friend who was upset because his boys couldn't get a job with the county. Well, they had no skills. I asked him--what can they do? Can they drive a tractor? Back up a trailer? Run a triple deck mower? Have they gotten their flagging cert? Can they fence? Can they weld? Can they break a bead and change a big tire? Can they run a harrow? Those are the skills the county is looking for, and without them, nope, they aren't going to get a job. Your boys had a great time backpacking all summer, but they have no skills. So, no job. Shoot, they couldn't even drive a stickshift! They could have spent a few weeks learning those skills, but nope, they wanted to be paid by the county to learn. Um, nope. Not when there were people who were useful from day one.

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I know I got a lot easier to parent toward the end of being 13: I started high school, it counted, I cared, and I was finally figuring out strategies that worked for me.

Hearing that boys start doing better at 16 is a little disheartening right now TBH! Dude is eleven. Very, very eleven. Love him to pieces, but oh, that brain needs all the pruning.

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