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ideas to engage with a "lost" teenager

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#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.

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