Jump to content

ideas to engage with a "lost" teenager

  • Please log in to reply
52 replies to this topic

#1 doubting thomas

Posted 11 January 2013 - 01:39 PM

Hi everyone
Im kind of desperate so Im looking for ideas to engage and relate with my 15 year old son. He appears to be very "lost" . He has changed friend groups from the one where I knew all the mothers , is failing every subject at school, is rarely home, has lost interest in pretty much everything including sport which he is quite good at. I have tried counselling with no success . Any ideas for sports, outings, games, holidays, even tv shows or dvds that you have found have interested your 15 year old son would be greatly appreciated. At the moment hanging around at the shops seems to be the only thing he likes doing. Help!

#2 doubting thomas

Posted 11 January 2013 - 01:43 PM

Dang. Meant to post this in WdYt

#3 Chief Pancake Make

Posted 11 January 2013 - 01:53 PM

I don't know if I can help but a few years back I enrolled in an art class at a communitee college - there was a mother and son doing the class obvioulsy doing it as some sort of bonding activity.  The teenage boy was way better than the rest of us and I think benefited from time with his mum and a dozen other adults telling him how awesome he was every week.  Is there something he is/was good at that you could do a class in - even if you are terrible?

#4 doubting thomas

Posted 11 January 2013 - 02:10 PM

Thank you thats  a good idea. Im now thinking thai food or something. He loves spicy food and used to love cooking. Thanks again

#5 Therese

Posted 11 January 2013 - 02:15 PM

I have moved this for you original.gif

#6 doubting thomas

Posted 11 January 2013 - 02:16 PM

thank you

#7 **Xena**

Posted 11 January 2013 - 02:26 PM

How about anime? Sounds weird I know but there are a lot of animes that are for teenagers and I have connected with a lot of teenagers through anime and cosplay. Plus there are a lot of groups and conventions where they can interact and a lot of the cosplayers have made great friends and joined cosplay groups where they get together and do photoshoots original.gif

#8 Charri36

Posted 11 January 2013 - 02:33 PM

I have a 16 y/o, who has quite a few issues, it is hard to bond at that age. I find what works for us, is not so much of getting him to do stuff I want to do, but me showing interest in things he does and likes.

Shops - If he hangs at the shops he probably likes take away food. Could you maybe have Mother son dinner lunch dates at a takeaway store? I know it seems lame, but if it's what they like....Something like, "hey, do you want to come with me to Macca's this morning to eat breakfast?"

Can you take him shopping - Like to JB hifi, my son will try and shock me with "hard core bands CD's. So it then becomes a competition on who can find the rankest CD cover.

Getting him into cooking together at home, ask for his help in a good way, eg - "I know your brilliant at peeling potatoes, would you be able to come and give me a hand, as I really need help at the moment".

Does he play games, sit down with him and get him to explain to you how powerful he has made his character etc. Even show a fake interest in playing an easy game with you. A let him laugh at you when he see's how bad you are at it.

Cooking classes sound OK, but if he's hardley ever home, he might find it more of a chore, than a fun time bonding.

How about a quad bike ride (tour) together. If in your area. Or a high ropes type thing. Something like half a day.

hope this helps, Oh, what we found good was games of pool, we even bought a pool table to help. It's been great! You can get some second hand ones cheap from gumtree.

#9 ubermum

Posted 11 January 2013 - 02:48 PM

It sounds to me like he is smoking pot. The 16yo who has moved in with me from another state to kick the pot habit and start fresh agrees. You can't engage with someone on drugs. If that is his issue, sort that out first.

#10 ImpatientAnna

Posted 11 January 2013 - 02:54 PM

QUOTE (ubermum @ 11/01/2013, 03:48 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It sounds to me like he is smoking pot. The 16yo who has moved in with me from another state to kick the pot habit and start fresh agrees. You can't engage with someone on drugs. If that is his issue, sort that out first.

This is my first thought too. The whole time I was reading the post I was waiting for the next sentence to be about smoking pot.

#11 **Xena**

Posted 11 January 2013 - 02:56 PM

I have to admit I thought that was a possibility too.

#12 doubting thomas

Posted 11 January 2013 - 03:00 PM

Thank you Charri36, I think you make a lot of sense. I know he goes to another friends house regularly for the pool table, but we dont have then room. UBermum unfortunately you could be right too. It kind of doesnt change the fact that I have to try and do something though.

#13 Z-girls rock

Posted 11 January 2013 - 03:04 PM

I dont know that smoking pot means the kid is a write off.

when I was a teenager it was practically manitory to smoke pot. Some kids just smoked at parties and stuff. Some were doing it everyday.

anyway we were still interested in things. It could still be possible to connect with him if you can find out what he is interested in. (surfing? writing (sometimes even pot smokers can be creative and introspective)? music?) I think it is worth a shot.

#14 doubting thomas

Posted 11 January 2013 - 03:11 PM

Yes thats it I dont want him to feel he is a write-off , though the school sure is trying to do that it seems at times. Its really difficult .

#15 indigogirl

Posted 11 January 2013 - 03:19 PM

Boys this age definitely find it easier to connect over an activity and there are some good ideas already mentioned. Go with something he enjoys and show the interest.

But never underestimate the power of the car trip! When they are stuck in the car but not really having to look at you that can be the best time to try and raise issues - small or big ones. Its a lot less confrontational and they can really open up far more in that environment.

Teenage boys can be really hard to connect with and lots of people just find it too hard, so good for you for really wanting to try

#16 a letter to Elise.

Posted 11 January 2013 - 03:30 PM

My first thought was pot too.

I think the car trip conversations is a good idea. It's often easier for teenagers to communicate when they don't have to look you in the eye.

Has he lost interest in school because he's just biding his time til he can get out and do something else? A lot of the boys I have taught were like that when they'd decided they wanted to leave and do an apprenticeship - they just didn't see the relevance of school anymore.

Do you know what he is interested in?

#17 doubting thomas

Posted 11 January 2013 - 03:43 PM

Thanks for the replies. Very helpful. I have thought of depression but the counsellor he saw (twice) didnt think so. He does occasionally make worrying statements like "I wish I was dead" but I have spoken to him about this and I think its just talk. He is a very social boy with a lot of friends so he is a bit of a conundrum.
Also Yes he does not see the relevance of school as he plans to leave and do an apprenticeship the minute he can but I have been trying to explain to him that a good record at school would help his chances at getting an apprenticeship.
The car trip  idea is true and I have tried but often we end up arguing about his friends ( not good I know)

#18 **Xena**

Posted 11 January 2013 - 03:51 PM

If you do decide to try anime I'd recommend Cowboy Bebop as a good start original.gif

#19 doubting thomas

Posted 11 January 2013 - 04:04 PM

thank you xena. Im not really up on that stuff but will have a look into it ( actually probably best to get my 19 year old to explain it to me).

#20 Apageintime

Posted 11 January 2013 - 04:19 PM

What about a weekend away?
When i was a teenager dad used to take me hiking, i think largely the goal was to get me away from the phone and other distractions, but we always had good chats.

Similar principle to car rides, we didn't actially have to look at each other.

#21 doubting thomas

Posted 11 January 2013 - 04:24 PM

I was thinking of a trip away for the weekend and I think I will go ahead with it. At least thats one weekrnd he's not getting up to no good . And he is a real delight when he is away from his "mates"

#22 Tigerdog

Posted 11 January 2013 - 05:00 PM

QUOTE (ubermum @ 11/01/2013, 03:48 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
It sounds to me like he is smoking pot. The 16yo who has moved in with me from another state to kick the pot habit and start fresh agrees. You can't engage with someone on drugs. If that is his issue, sort that out first.

This.  The loss of interest in stuff, the hanging around.

#23 Tigerdog

Posted 11 January 2013 - 05:03 PM

I think the car trip conversations is a good idea. It's often easier for teenagers to communicate when they don't have to look you in the eye.

Yes!  This is a trick used by youth workers, it works when nothing else does (used to be in this field).

#24 Chiconahui

Posted 11 January 2013 - 05:10 PM

Have you looked into an Aust School Based Apprenticeship (ASBA)? This way he can stay at school (with fewer school days each week) but start an apprenticeship at the same time. I know someone who just finished one and it was great for him.

#25 Froger

Posted 11 January 2013 - 05:10 PM

What about army, navy or airforce cadets? If he want to join now is the time to get organised (as intake is once a year at the beginning of the year).

The cadets do lots of interesting things (depending which one you join) including learning to fly, building aircraft etc. Could also be useful as you say he is interested in an apprenticeship, as this could interest him in an apprenticeship in the armed forces.

He will get to hang around with a lot of great kids, as well as being supervised so not getting up to trouble. Lots of trips away, weekends filled with interesting things to do etc.

Just a thought you may like to consider.

Other stuff to consider - does he play an instrument? What about starting up a band or something. Let him rehearse in your garage.

Acting lessons, amateur theatre, choir, youth group at your local religious group whatever that may be.

I like to fill my teenagers spare time up as much as possible with all sorts of stuff. The busier they are the less likely they are to be getting in trouble. So anything that interests them that I can afford I generally let them do.

1 user(s) are reading this topic

0 members, 1 guests, 0 anonymous users


Two children fall from second storey window

Two young boys have been rushed to hospital after falling out a second-storey window of a home in Eastwood.

Awards 2015: Vote now for a chance to win $2000

Vote for your favourite pregnancy, baby and toddler products for your chance to win your share of $2500 in cash prizes.

Victorian Labor to introduce same-sex adoption laws

Thousands of same-sex couples with children will have the right to be jointly recognised as parents by Victorian law.

Sneak peek: Maxomorra bee dress, t-shirt and romper for babies

Cutest snap find on the planet - bee rompers, tees and dresses for babies.

Toddler found two days after going missing

A two-year-old girl who disappeared on Friday night from her great-grandparents' home in rural Ohio was found alive Sunday evening in a nearby field.

Dad builds the ultimate bed for his toddler son

The transition from cot to big kid bed might be a little easier if every toddler had a bed like this one.

Is Woolworths now cheaper than Coles?

Woolworths appears to have taken the upper hand in its price battle with Coles after investing millions of dollars lowering the cost of groceries, according to new figures.

Aussie babies and parents stranded in Nepal after surrogacy ban

Parents say Australian babies are being "kept captive" and cannot come home after a ban on commercial surrogacy in Nepal.

Wannabe dads left behind in IVF debate

If virgin women can become mothers through IVF, maybe we're ready for another miracle - genuine equality for men in the parenting debate.

The health and fitness lessons I've learned

What I once assumed about health and fitness is wrong.

Our angel baby story: Hunter James

I have two children: one living, the next an angel baby.

Newlyweds send bill to no-show guests

Planning a wedding can be stressful – and, as most newlyweds can attest, it can be very costly, too.

Your choice or theirs: the tug-of-war over baby names

They had just decided on a name they both agreed on, but then the grandparents threw in an offer of $10,000 in exchange for choosing something else.

Dad-to-be's tearful reaction to pregnancy news goes viral

After 17 years of trying, this man had given up hope of having a family.

Claire Danes: acting out postnatal depression was difficult

Actress Claire Danes found it difficult pretending to have postnatal depression in Homeland, as she had just become a new mother herself.

The moment a 92-year-old meets her great grandaughter

It's a heart-warming photo this family will treasure forever.

How to prepare for breastfeeding when you're still pregnant

While every woman's breastfeeding journey is different, many hurdles are shared. Knowing what to expect will enable you to make informed decisions if - or when - you meet challenges along the way.

Sneak peek: new Love Mae bamboo dinnerware designs

We do love ourselves some brand new designs in tried and true products. The renowned bamboo dinnerware from Love Mae has just had several more members join the family, in addition to a brand new website.

Mum who killed paedophile gets reduced sentence

A mother-of-five who killed a paedophile has had her jail sentence reduced by a judge who described her case as a "truly exceptional" one.

Sneak peek: Geleeo self-cooling pram & high chair liners

We just spotted Geleeo, a brand new self-cooling pram liner you can buy in time for summer.

Toddler's silent debate with mum about naptime

He might not utter a single word - but this toddler is having a great debate with his mother about nap time.


What's hot on EB

Stella McCartney honours mum with lacy bra

Fashion designer Stella McCartney has honoured her late mum, Linda McCartney, by designing a special bra for post-mastectomy patients.

Don't panic: A granddad midwife's guide for dads-to-be

Mark Harris has helped deliver 500 babies. And he's now telling fathers what to expect.

How to be a calm parent when you're feeling anything but

Being a calm parent takes a lot of work, sometimes more than is obvious to those around us.

The joy and isolation of being a stay-at-home dad

It's cool, kind of like a second childhood. I love him to bits and think, on average, I'm an okay dad. But I also want to talk about the other stuff.

How baby Teddy's short life is helping save thousands of lives

He may have only lived for 100 minutes, but that didn't stop baby Teddy from saving the lives of others.

A heartbreaking trail of missed chances in death of baby forgotten in car

A haunting reminder to stay mindful about babies in cars, especially as we approach summer.

What to do if your baby has tongue-tie

Tongue-tie can cause feeding problems. However once it is diagnosed, the condition can be easily treated.

How to move house without losing your mind

Some people move frequently, while others like to stay put. But everyone finds it stressful.

'She had nowhere to go': how new mum's life began to unravel

The birth of her first child should have been happiest of times for Campsie mother Phuong Cao, but friends say it marked the beginning of when her life began to unravel. 

Women giving birth to a son keep some of his Y chromosomes

It was an experiment doomed to failure - they were looking for male cells in female bodies. And their search was stunningly successful.

Photos: How babies fit in the womb

A gorgeous photo series shows babies in the first hours after their birth - as they were positioned in the womb.

Baby tries to persuade stubborn bulldog to walk, fails

We don't know what he's saying, but this baby has a very clear message for his bulldog pal: let's walk - NOW.

The best toddler gift ever? Nine gender-neutral play kitchen picks

Without a doubt, one of the best gifts for a toddler turning two or three is a play kitchen.

9 easy steps to improve your baby photography

With a few simple tips you can take your images from random happy snaps to lovely clean images that create beautiful lasting memories.



What are your favourite baby products?

The Essential Baby Awards are on now, and we need your help! Have your say on your top picks and you'll go in the draw to win a share of $2500.

Essential Baby and Essential Kids is the place to find parenting information and parenting support relating to conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids, maternity, family budgeting, family travel, nutrition and wellbeing, family entertainment, kids entertainment, tips for the family home, child-friendly recipes and parenting. Try our pregnancy due date calculator to determine your due date, or our ovulation calculator to predict ovulation and your fertile period. Our pregnancy week by week guide shows your baby's stages of development. Access our very active mum's discussion groups in the Essential Baby forums or the Essential Kids forums to talk to mums about conception, pregnancy, birth, babies, toddlers, kids and parenting lifestyle. Essential Baby also offers a baby names database of more than 22,000 baby names, popular baby names, boys' names, girls' names and baby names advice in our baby names forum. Essential Kids features a range of free printable worksheets for kids from preschool years through to primary school years. For the latest baby clothes, maternity clothes, maternity accessories, toddler products, kids toys and kids clothing, breastfeeding and other parenting resources, check out Essential Baby and Essential Kids.