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encouraging 10yo to be more creative/imaginative?

post #1 of 12
Thread Starter 
Any help?

I have a (nearly) 10yo dss. He's a great boy, very smart, and well-behaved.

The issue is, he can't think of a single thing on his own. Nothing he likes is because he liked it on his own, he saw someone else like it and up and decided 'well, I'm gonna like it too'... I know that probably sounds like 'well, you have to be exposed to something before you can like it', but that's not it. It's very hard to explain.

When I first moved in with SO and dss, they drank alot of Diet Coke, and well Diet Coke only. I drink other things, and the only soda I like is Sprite. Dss hated Sprite, but before I knew it he started drinking all of mine, and now won't even touch Diet Cokes. This is one LITTLE thing, but a small example.

Also, last year, we watched American Idol on television. I liked one singer, but did not mention it. Dss mentioned one night liking a singer, and we started talking, and he asked who I liked. I said 'I like so and so, but the others are good too'... He then really quickly says 'oh, yeah, I didn't like the person I said, I like who you're talking about'... *sighs*

Now, don't get me wrong. People keep saying I should be flattered, but ya know what. I'm not. I don't project that feeling on him, but I get very frustrated with anyone who simply refuses to be their own person, let alone a child.

Now, he's given my DD's best friend's name to the dog his mother just got...

It's just over and over. He cannot come up with a single thought or like on his own. Nothing. He refuses to be creative or use his own imagintation.

It frustrates both SO and myself, but we don't know what to do. We're getting tired of dss constantly asking 'what should I do?', and SO generally ends up snapping 'you're 10 years old! You can decide what to do on your own'...

I know that this is kinda how he was raised by SO, and biomom and SO's family... We can't change the past though... All we can do is work from here..

Anyone else with a bright child who simply refuses to be their own person?

I'm worried with him getting older that he'll end up the follower throughout high school, and get in alot of trouble simply trying to be like someone else... SO voices this fear alot too, as apparantly this is something he went through, and ca see dss on that same path...

Any advice?

I'm not looking for someone to tell me to stop worrying etc. I'm not looking for advice on my feelings about this, or my and SO's concerns etc... I'm simply looking for advice on how to encourage imagination and creativity in a 10yo...

post #2 of 12
Thread Starter 
I should probably also add he does not do ANYTHING by himself or on his own accord. (other than using the bathroom etc... those basics...)

He will not pick up a puzzle or book, or game or anything unless someone else initiates it first, or suggest it to him. He does not play on his own at all. He will sit and watch television alone, but that is the only thing he will choose to do on his own.

He constantly has to have someone else tell him what to do, or give him an idea about what to do. He will not think on his own to do something.

When I mentioned he will ask what he should do, and SO will tell him to come up with something on his own. 99.99999% of the time, he will sit down and watch television until someone brings up something different that could be dine.

It's very frustrating, but honestly, it's very sad to me. He's a smart child, but it seems he does not have his own brain at all, he needs someone to constantly be entertaining him or telling him exactly how to entertain himself...
post #3 of 12
{hugs} I could've written that post. I'm having the same exact problem with my 9 1/2 yr old DD. She loves to draw, but she insists on someone telling her what to draw. Or if she sees a picture she likes she wants to draw that picture, and if it doesn't look exactly like the picture she gets mad. I've tried and tried and tried to explain that it doesn't have to be exact, that she can out her own spin on things. I've tried to encourage her to think of her own things to draw, etc... nothing works. Same with writing. She loves to write stories, but always has to have someone tell her exactly what the story should be first. Or she'll copy a story from a book/magazine... never anything on her own.

DD is very much a follower right now. If she sees something on TV that is considered *cool* then that's all she'll like. But then if a *cool* kid at school says they don't like it, DD won't like it anymore either.

DD is very smart, but totally lacks independant creativity. I have no idea how to help her though.
post #4 of 12
I do think some people have this in there personality. They need to be secure in relationships before they can move past them. Building interdependance before they can move to independance. Be thankful he is following you.
post #5 of 12
Thread Starter 
Originally Posted by Marsupialmom
Be thankful he is following you.
I'm not sure if that's supposed to be sarcastic or what? *shrugs*

Anyway, it's *NOT* just me. he follows his 14 year old aunt, and gets very angry with us when he does not get the same priviledges as she has (we try the whole, her parents are not your parents. we're different etc etc)

He also copies interests of kids at school. And I'm not just talking games etc, but, see this is hard to explain. He's been copying attitudes of friends who just, well, honestly aren't that nice. Says things we do not like to hear from him etc. I don't want to go into exact things, cause the attitude on this board seems to be 'oh, I wouldn't have a problem with MY kid doing that, why do you??'... No offense, but I'm not looking for that 'help' right now...

I only gave the examples of him copying me (as honestly, I have MAJOR issues with this, ANYone, not just him. I like being my own person.), but it's not just me. It's pretty much anyone he's around for longer than a few minutes.
post #6 of 12
I'm sorry I don't have much advice for you, I just wanted to respond because you're so upset. If it's any consolation, my brother did that to some extent when he was younger but grew out of it around his mid to late teens. He is going on 32 now and is very much his own person. I think some kids are just more prone to follow the pack than others (I was the anti-follower so my mom was concerned about my brother too ). Maybe just keep encouraging him to do his own thing and hope he grows out of it? Sorry to not be much help.
post #7 of 12
Thread Starter 

Ya know, that actually did help...lol I'm very anti-follower, and so is my DD naturally... That's probably why it does concern me so much...

SO worries about dss getting into the same kind of trouble he did (drugs etc) being the follower. And honestly, we also worry about him settling for a less than stellar partner in the future, and well, just basically ending up how SO did with the biomom..lol (biomom was big on drugs, even well into the marriage, and it ended the marriage. She eventually chose drugs over parenting dss, which is how I got into the picture.. I'm the parent, she's the fun weekend mom).

So, we worry about him following in both their footsteps.. And for me, it's kinda like, what even makes being a follower tempting? lol I've never understood it...
post #8 of 12
Sounds like normal identity searching to me. Just encourage him to be himself. Find something he truly enjoys and help him seek more info about it. Once you and he have researched it together, perhaps he can break off and enjoy it on his own? Maybe he still needs you right there, guiding him in his interests. Help him build his confidence in himself as a whole person.
post #9 of 12
Thread Starter 
It's just getting very hard to encourage him, especially while being so frustrated with it.

His only 'own' interests are guitar, which he was given for xmas 2 years ago, and also given weekly lessons. He doesn't do it on his own though, only when we tell him it's time to practice, so it's no longer even really an 'interest' anymore, just pretty much a chore

He likes knitting and crocheting, however, these are things he liked when he would watch his grandmother do them. He WILL do these on his own though, and when I saw that I went out that night and bought him tons of yarn and some new needles etc. I really have been trying to encourage that, as I know it really is an interest to him.

When we see an interest he seemingly has, we try to jump right on it. We will go buy him the 'tools' needed for it, or help him learn about it online etc. We do try. It just seems there's next to nothing that interests him alone...
post #10 of 12
I have a younger sister that was very much like this at your dss's age. It always seemed to me that it came from a sort of insecurity, like she was afraid to commit to an opinion unless it was the "right" opinion. She did grow out of it in her late teens. I would just keep incouraging him. Try to help him find interests by doing things with him (swimming, rock climbing, going to movies, etc.). Look for and appreciate all of the great things about him and ignore the rest.
post #11 of 12
I didn't mean that "be thankful he is following you" as sarcastic. I would want my child (step or bio) mimicing me rather mimicing the kid down the road. He is learning to be a better person by following you, even though it is driving you nuts.
post #12 of 12
Originally Posted by Marsupialmom
I didn't mean that "be thankful he is following you" as sarcastic. I would want my child (step or bio) mimicing me rather mimicing the kid down the road. He is learning to be a better person by following you, even though it is driving you nuts.
I'm really just lurking this forum, but this makes a lot of sense to me. If you and your SO are irked with him, well, there will be other people who will step in to order him around. The unsavory influences you were talking about.

Could you begin with baby steps? Offer him a choice of two things to do so that he is doing a little bit of deciding?

In my imagination, kids get this way because that's how they were taught. You are a really good kid at school if you are able to cool your heels until the teacher tells you what to do. So, in his mind, he is being exactly how he thinks you want him to be.
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