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as a teen what IS there to do? - Page 2

post #21 of 35

I agree. I did some dumb things in my youth, including that entire pre-25 window. My choice of husband the first time around wasn't great. But, I was married at 23, and a mother at 24, and taking care of my responsibilities just fine. DS1 had classmates who had a baby at the end of grade 11, and I see them sometimes. Admittedly, they're getting help from his mom, but they have a solid relationship, are making good choices about their futures, taking good care of their daughter, etc. I've known plenty of people in their 30s and 40s who demonstrate considerably less maturity and responsbility than these two have been consistently showing since conception (not long after they each turned 16).

post #22 of 35

I and my 2 brothers started a band.

post #23 of 35

Moving to preteens and teens

post #24 of 35

I know some teens through my little sisters - probably an atypical bunch, because they're homeschoolers and mostly Christian. For the most part, they seem pretty busy. Several have part-time jobs, and most of them are into music. One of my little sisters entered with some friends into a chamber music competition, two years running - it was sort of "school"work and sort of social/extracurricular. Hard work, but they had fun and did well. Because they homeschool, academics and socialising kind of blend together. They do classes with friends in (between them) cello, piano, Latin, writing, worldview studies, art and science, plus my sister has done a few "taster" courses at Polytech (cooking and chemistry, I think?).

 

When I was a teenager I was unbelievably busy. Started Uni at 16, and had two part-time jobs to pay my way through (ice cream shop and arthouse movie theatre). Took up medieval martial arts. Had church stuff. Had a boyfriend, who eventually became my husband (I got married at 20, which despite my subpar prefrontal cortex has worked out pretty well so far!) Watched a TON of movies and read a ton of books. Socialised... a bit. 

 

Looking back I'm faintly surprised I managed to get through it all without a nervous breakdown, but it was a good, productive busyness. I liked the academic life, the concrete goals of essays and exams, the satisfaction of earning my own money... 

 

That's not to say I was a happy and well-adjusted teen, per se. :p But I wasn't snorting coke off the hood of a stolen Corvette, so, y'know... go me? And I was a geek... and geeks, in my experience, tend to find things to do.

post #25 of 35

There is a ton for teenagers to do.  Of course just like with younger kids you need to seek out the activities.  Whatever that particular child is interested in.  There are art clubs, church clubs, hiking clubs etc.  Our library just cut funding - again- but that was across the board, not just teen programs.  Teens have the option of taking early enrollment classes at the University, lifeguarding,  working, 

 

OP- you kiddo is still very young.  Still in elementary school, possibly the first year of middle school.  She is just starting to transition to a tween/teen.  Don't rush the transition, don't borrow trouble.    My 12 yr old still loves to be a little kid many days.  Other days I swear he is a full blown teenager.  He is involved with competitive swim, has lots of house chores, school work, loves art etc.  In the next couple years I see him getting some sort of outside job. What I'm not sure. I also see him taking more college classes and spending more time doing swim club.

post #26 of 35

I haven't read the rest of the replies but my teen keeps busy. Her stuff is largely theatre related because that's what she loves. I won't bore you with the details but her theatre activities in this area range from playwriting groups, youth event planning for professional theatre companies, performing, part-time teacher's aide, seeing shows, ect. At the moment, she's just completed adapting a Shakespeare play for young audiences that goes for a table read next month and will then be produced for a small middle school tour in the Spring. She's using her teen theatre friends. Theatre eats up most of her time as you can see.... both fun and connect her with like-minded kids.

 

What does she do outside of "activities?" She spends time with friends most weekends. They'll take the trolley to the beach or to various tourist destinations in our area. There always seems to be a goofy project in place like learning how to play "Muggle Quiditch" or writing a collection of parody songs. They have lots of movie/TV show marathons... we've hosted a few as have other families. They've done a few dress-up and/or mystery dinners. Basically, they make their own fun and seem pretty good at it.

 

I suppose you could say this is an atypical group... theatre kids usually are. My nieces and nephews did more "typical" stuff like go to the movies and hang out at the mall but that costs money and with so few teen jobs in our area, most kids don't have much. DD goes to a different sort of school and I'm pretty amazed by what some of them do outside of school (like teaching art, being a small craft airplane pilot, ect.) Lots of kids are doing great things... it's just a matter of connecting your kids with those who are exploring the world.

post #27 of 35
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by zebra15 View Post

OP- you kiddo is still very young.  Still in elementary school, possibly the first year of middle school.  She is just starting to transition to a tween/teen.  Don't rush the transition, don't borrow trouble.    My 12 yr old still loves to be a little kid many days.  Other days I swear he is a full blown teenager.  He is involved with competitive swim, has lots of house chores, school work, loves art etc.  In the next couple years I see him getting some sort of outside job. What I'm not sure. I also see him taking more college classes and spending more time doing swim club.

oh this really hasnt anything to do with dd. 

 

i have been trying to figure out the next level of parenting which brought on thought about things to do for teens. 

 

if your child does not have a hobby then really there isnt much to do for just hang out or be. i was one of those kids who didnt really have a hobby as a teen. not much to do except go for movies or hang out in someone's house. 

 

yes our library was cut too but thankfully they still have 2 or 3 activities for teens which are sadly once a month activity. 

 

the teens in my apt block also are not involved in any activity. inspite of lots of hw, they have a bunch of free time on their hand. some end up spending their free time at the library. some are forced to turn to solitary activity. 

 

i hear 'boring' from the new teens all the time. some are in piano lessons and a language class. but they are not really into them. due to a myriad of reasons those are the classes they can take and not others. 

post #28 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post

 

i hear 'boring' from the new teens all the time. some are in piano lessons and a language class. but they are not really into them. due to a myriad of reasons those are the classes they can take and not others. 

 

Oh Honey, "boring" is the mantra of teens and preteens everywhere. They don't even have to be bored. They are just cooler if they say they are "bored." I've taken my nieces and nephews to theme parks, watched them run-around like crazy people with a friend, laughing, only to pile in the car and hear one say "that was OK but I was kinda bored" Um, yeah.... right lol. If you are trying to gauge what teens do based on some neighbors who say they are bored, I'll tell you now, you aren't getting the whole story.

 

To address your other point... aren't we ALL bored without a hobby or interest? Don't we all just "hang out" without a personal purpose? Because my kids are following passions and interests, the majority of kids we know do as well. They are quite adept at "making their own fun" as opposed to needing to be "entertained." 

 

I'm not sure what you are asking really. There are tons of things for teens to do... TONS of things. There are scores of volunteer opportunities. There are parks, beaches, museums, malls, movies, libraries, theme parks... all sorts of places to explore. There are bikes, hikes, skateboards, roller blades, scooters, basketball hoops, swimming pools.. all sorts of physical experiences to be had. They can read, sew, knit, write, film, photograph, pick-up an instrument... endless things to learn and enjoy. They just have to be open to it. Kids with personal interests and passions tend to be more OPEN to doing a wide variety of things. Kids who close themselves off, worry about appearances, well, they are CHOOSING to be bored. 

post #29 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by meemee View Post

in other words is it important for teens to have an interest to keep them from getting into trouble?

 

so they should not really do alcohol or drugs as teens, perhaps even sex (depending on their attitude and maturity).

 

 

As a teen, my "interest" was mostly reading in my bedroom. I had part-time jobs but I was an introverted nerd. So I didn't consider myself as an athlete and I was too shy to join any clubs. I didn't do alcohol or drugs or sex. Therefore I'd say being involved in activities or hobbies, which is what I think you mean by "have an interest", isn't necessary to avoid risky behaviour. OTOH, I don't think I had the healthiest lifestyle either. I think I missed out on a lot of fun. 

 

DS was very involved in music as a teen. He played in school and community ensembles and in a few garage bands. His bands played in all-ages venues where he probably had access to alcohol and drugs. He chose to avoid recreational substances but that was likely a result of family influence and his own healthy attitudes rather than the kind of activity he was involved in. 

 

DD has done a fair amount with a theatre group, she takes acting gigs now and then, she's a volunteer at the city zoo, she babysits when she's asked. She'd like to find a more regular part-time job.  This fall, for the first time, she has no regular weekly extra-curricular activity and she's rejected my suggestions. I think she might be going through a period of rest and internal reflection and that's probably actually a healthy thing for someone who has always been out-going and involved in a heavy schedule of activities.

 

I think I'm rambling a little and I'm not sure if I've addressed the issues. I have noticed how tough it can be to find volunteer or paid work positions.  I think there are opportunities for teens to find something to invest themselves in. I think sometimes it takes some practice to get out there and try joining a club or group. It helps if you've tried out a few activities when you are a younger child or middle-schooler so it isn't intimidating when you are a self-conscious teen.

post #30 of 35

I haven't read all of the responses, but when I was a teenager, I had a part-time job, did several extracurricular activities, had a lot of homework from AP classes, read voraciously at home, and still had enough time to drink occasionally and have sex.

 

Most of the athletes in the 2 different high schools I went to were also in AP/honors classes and had part-time jobs too - and were the biggest partyers I knew.  

post #31 of 35

After thinking about this overnight, really, is a 'teen' any different than say... a 7 yr old?  The issues are the same.  If a 7 yr old has no interests then what is a parent to do?  If a 4 yr old doesn't like sports, creative classes, family volunteering the same problems will arise.  So honestly, it doesn't matter if the person is 4, 7, or 17 or heck, 32 years old.  The individual needs to want to be involved in something.

post #32 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by zebra15 View Post

After thinking about this overnight, really, is a 'teen' any different than say... a 7 yr old?  The issues are the same.  If a 7 yr old has no interests then what is a parent to do?  If a 4 yr old doesn't like sports, creative classes, family volunteering the same problems will arise.  So honestly, it doesn't matter if the person is 4, 7, or 17 or heck, 32 years old.  The individual needs to want to be involved in something.

 

Yes, I'd say a teen is quite different from a 7-year-old. A 7-year-old might not have personal interests but they also don't have nearly as much (if any) unsupervised time. The amount of trouble they can get into is limited (more being trouble for others than harm coming to them.) A 7-year-old may not be interested in outside activities but they are still very interested in attention from mom and dad. Lots of 7-year-olds really don't need much more than that. 7-year-olds still tend to seek the approval on their parents over the approval of their peers. That can start to shift in the teen years. Teens are rightfully pushing for independence. They may resist trying something new when it can seem their peers are already quite skilled. They want to go in their own direction not necessarily the direction mom is offering. Many are going home to no adults and so having nothing they like to do can result in poor connections and choices.

 

Basically, a 7-year-old with "nothing to do" is not as high risk as a teen with "nothing to do." Personally, I don't think teens need a ton of activities as long as they have some personal hobbies and self-control. I have no issue with a teen that is going home alone and reading in their room for hours. I have more issue with the teens who spend hours in front of the grocery store begging for money (in their fancy shoes and high quality bikes... they aren't homeless or neglected.) Those kids have no focus what-so-ever and that generally causes problems. Being involved in things isn't a promise of a clean life but it can certainly help and it can make those natural teen mistakes a little less serious.

post #33 of 35

I think it's important that parents help kids explore things to do so that when they become teens, they have some options. Our son is 11, just started middle school. We encouraged him to run cross-country this year and he's fallen in love with it. I'm thrilled because that's a sport that will carry him through high school. He's played soccer and basketball, but frankly, he's not good enough to make the team in high school. We also encourage him to do one "intellectual thing" which for the past couple of years has been the Battle of the Books. I suspect it'll be something else in high school. He's also required to volunteer for some programs at church, and takes part in youth group activities. That's enough.

 

One really interesting way of looking at what kids need comes from the Search Institute. They've argued for a set of Developmental Assests that helps children and teens succeed. The more of these assets a child/teen has, the more likely they are to succeed. (it's backed up by some pretty solid research.) They have one whole category for "Constructive use of time", including: creative activities, youth programs, religious community, time at home (i.e. not out with friends with 'nothing to do' more than two nights a week). Obviously, there are a lot more things that kids need, but having constructive ways to use time is important. http://www.search-institute.org/content/40-developmental-assets-adolescents-ages-12-18

 

If your daughter doesn't have some interests, now is a good time to try out a few things to see what she might like.

post #34 of 35
Quote:
Originally Posted by whatsnextmom View Post

 

Yes, I'd say a teen is quite different from a 7-year-old

 

 

yep. 7year olds play, they use toys and art supplies and such. During the teen years, that mostly stops. 7 year olds are pretty easy to control and tend to like input from the parents. A teen's primary drive is to separate from their parents and make their own choices. From about age 12, I noticed that both my kids could hear things better when someone other than me said then -- which is normal and healthy. (we are close family with good relationships, and this still happened)

 

As Lynn alluded to, the standard for skill level to continue in many activities raises, so those kids who aren't the best drop the activity. Pretty much all seven year olds can play pretty much any sport -- but by the teen years, only a few can. Partly because the level of competition has risen, and partly because by their very nature, teens aren't keen to take on new things that their peers have already mastered.

 

7 year olds are pretty limited as to what sort of things they can do which would really screw up their lives. Teens aren't. They have lots of options for things that could have a massive impact on the rest of their lives.

 

Teens in our culture are developmentally really out of whack with what our culture allows from them. Like the volunteer jobs discussed up thread -- it is difficult for teens to even find places that will let them do MEANINGFUL volunteer work (impossible for younger teens).  As adults, we really have a lot more options of fulfilling ways to spend our free time.

post #35 of 35

My kids are 14 & 16. The younger one is preparing for IGCSE next year and older one, for the IB.

 

They don't have much free time.

 

Weekdays, they leave for school at 7:15 and get home from school at 4:20. They have a bit of time to relax, do their house-work, then homework. Supper at 7 and either more home-work or study until lights out at 9:30; or some relaxation (reading novels, looking at funny things on the internet; or for my son, playing w/ building stuff).

 

Older one also has some sports at school on Tuesdays & Wednesdays. Younger does rock-climbing on Saturdays.

 

Some kids in their schools do seem to have time and desire to drink & mess around, but so far, not my kids. That's fine w/ me. I do know my daughter is looking forward to late spring and summer 2014. She will have finished her IB and be old enough to go to pubs w/ her friends.

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