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Old 01-14-2017, 07:11 AM
Location: NY
149 posts, read 93,986 times
Reputation: 64


I have two teenage sons, 14 and 16. I am pulling my hair out over their laziness. Let me clarify, their lack of enthusiasm for anything basically. They were involved in one sport each (they quit) and are in a couple of AP classes (but due to lack of effort, wont take AP Exam or get AP credit) and are doing minimal work for the other classes. They will do their household chores, but just really want to sit around on a video game (with friends online). Though that time is limited or has conditions, their free time is basically sitting around. Not going out, not on talking on the phones, not asking to do anything. Their mom and I try to get them to join us in bike riding, or mall walking ( for example...for which they always got a treat of some kind), but they just lack enthusiasm. I call they lazy. Rant over.

Question: Is this in the typical teenage scope? Any ideas how to motivate these guys?
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Old 01-14-2017, 07:30 AM
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
39,314 posts, read 37,896,251 times
Reputation: 74107
Please don't call them lazy.

They ARE doing things; they're just doing different things than you.

They're doing chores, they're playing with friends online. Stand your ground on one or two family activities a month, but other than that back off and let them figure out who they are.
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Old 01-14-2017, 08:56 AM
329 posts, read 274,096 times
Reputation: 784
I think what you described is very normal.

What works for us (at least some of the time, lol, we struggle with this daily), is to set our basic expectations then give the kids free reign to make choices within those parameters. For example, you need to pick 1 club at school and participate regularly. It can be any club you want, but you need to show commitment to it for college purposes. You need to participate in 1 sport (if the kid likes sports - my daughter picked marching band instead of a sport) so you can get some exercise and it can be any sport you want and any level. You need to keep your grades above X and take 1 AP class (can be your choice) along with taking the test each year since this helps save money for college.

For us we try to keep these house rules pretty few and basic, then have natural consequences. If your grades and club commitments fall then you lose internet because that means you need to learn how to manage your time better. If you don't take the AP/course test then maybe the kid has to pay for that course themselves in college or take out a loan.

The other thing that works is instead of wanting the kids to do what we want is to do what they want and really take an interest. So my husband plays Madden football with my son, I watch animae movies with my daughter and watch football games with my son. My daughter (15) loves to go out to lunch so that's our special time, she picks the restaurant within reason, but the deal is that she leaves her phone in the car and we hang out together. So maybe your sons would like to go to the gym with you instead of mall walking or want to watch sports together.

I am in no way saying I'm perfect, and this is a hard transition, but these are what has worked for us.
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Old 01-14-2017, 09:14 AM
12,936 posts, read 19,849,086 times
Reputation: 34052
Not measuring up at school or home? Lazy. Stop the money train, and tell them they need to get part-time jobs to finance their video games.

The 16 yr old needs to be thinking ahead to getting a license ( car? insurance?), as well as college if that's in the cards. And if it isn't, a well thought out plan B.

I would back off on the family activities, lots of teens find them tedious. But I wouldn't be on board with kids sitting around all day either.
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Old 01-14-2017, 10:00 AM
303 posts, read 326,466 times
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I have two boys who are 13 and 16. The 13 year old is involved in sports and does have an active social life but does like to play video games but not too excessively . My 16 year is the one who we were having a problem with. He sounds just like your boys. He did play baseball pretty consistently but other than that the only thing he wanted to do was play video games online with his friends and that was it!. What finally got him off his duff was us making him get a part-time job this Summer at our local grocery store. He worked his way up to cashier and now he works about 20 hours a week while taking a pretty tough course load in school. He likes to gritch about having to work but I think he actually doesn't mind it too much because he's stuck with it which has frankly surprised me. I think having this job has been good for his self image and has given him some self confidence. It has also helped him be more responsible as he has to be there on time and take direction from a supervisor etc. It has also forced him to interact with the public, make eye contact, smile, make small talk, etc. This has been good for him. He sees tons of moms and dads that he knows from our neighborhood because everybody, I mean everybody shops there and he also sees lots of kids from the hood and his school and he seems to get a kick out of that. The best part is that it has forced him to limit his time playing video games! Hoorah!

I know some people don't want there high schoolers working during high school but for us and our son it has been a really positive thing.
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Old 01-14-2017, 10:40 AM
Location: Brentwood, Tennessee
39,314 posts, read 37,896,251 times
Reputation: 74107
My oldest two LOVED working part-time and not having to ask us for spending money. It really does become motivating for them. My youngest can't wait till he is old enough to work LOL.

Sometimes you don't know what will motivate your kid until they try something that they enjoy enough to become self-motivated. I know what DOESN'T motivate most teens: dismissing their interests and calling them lazy.

Most of this is typical teenage apathy. Fortunately they do grow out of it.
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Old 01-14-2017, 11:08 AM
303 posts, read 326,466 times
Reputation: 420
Yes, the money aspect has been interesting. At first my 16 year old had no idea what to spend his money on (no girl friend yet lol!) But then he decided he wanted to make his own computer (gaming one of course) so we did let him spend a big chunk on that and he and his dad had a nice bonding experience building it. Once he gets his license in March the money will go towards gas and car insurance. He also gives us money for his cell phone and buys dinner for the family on occasion (pizza, take out Mexican or fast food). It has been fun watching him grow into a young man. He has always been my Peter Pan (does not want to grow up and who can blame him!). This job has helped him take baby steps toward that.
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Old 01-14-2017, 11:35 AM
9,147 posts, read 3,746,333 times
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get them interesting in taking care of horses?

they will learn to be responsible, build strength, and be respectful (horse will kick them if they aren't) and giving horse riding lessons is a fun part time job where you learn to be in charge
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Old 01-14-2017, 12:08 PM
4,583 posts, read 6,160,231 times
Reputation: 5233
Boys need to be raised to be men. For the 16 give two months to get a job and the money train stops. For the 14 year-old. Chores and an allowance and at 16 it stops.

Not directly saying anything against your sons but you are looking at the potential fathers of your potential grandchildren. Train them up....

Yet today your situation is a common one. Not a bad one but normal.
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Old 01-14-2017, 12:18 PM
1,067 posts, read 945,834 times
Reputation: 1305
Get them off the Video Games.
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