son doesn't want to have friends over/ call friends to hang out Age (almost 12) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 19 Old 02-07-2013, 01:40 PM - Thread Starter
 
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#2 of 19 Old 02-07-2013, 02:56 PM
 
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Times are different. Kids are busy. My own kids 16 and 12 don't hang out with kids from school. They have friends there but they are just for eating lunch with and sitting by in class. The kids they consider close are from their activities and they see them largely AT their activities or before and after. They all tend to be very busy and don't have a lot of time to just "hang out." I'm not passing judgement on whether this is good or bad, just letting you know that it's not "your son." It's all our kids in general. 

 

My kids don't really love to have people over. It means scrubbing their rooms, pressure to entertain, figuring out what to feed guests (we are vegetarians and their friends are largely meat eaters and don't always love what we make,) ect. The money thing does play into it a little. We have a nice home but it's very "normal." We have an old Wii and a smaller TV where they have friends that have actual movie theaters in their homes (I kid you not!) Mine prefer to go out and do things with friends in public places. I sort of enjoy this as I don't love having people outside the family running around the house either. So, I'm the "drive around" mom as opposed to the "come to the house" mom. I'll drive them to the beach, the park, run around the mall with them, whatever. Other families do the sleep-overs and such.... but again... these are kids OUTSIDE of school, not from school.

 

I guess what I'm saying is, if your son is happy and feeling connected, I wouldn't stress the playdates. If he seems unhappy and actively avoiding peers, maybe look into some interest based activities that will bring him closer to kids he has more in common with.


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#3 of 19 Old 02-07-2013, 05:07 PM
 
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It could had more to do with wanting to hangout away from siblings. My dd's friends all have much nicer homes and they want our one bedroom apartment because there are no other kids interrupting or crying about not being included. Having him invite a friend somewhere might be more effective.
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#4 of 19 Old 02-07-2013, 09:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi what's next and onegirl...

 

yes, I think it is a combination of just being comfortable here in his home and it is his "down" space and not wanting to entertain here... and wanting separate space from siblings.

 

We do do trips with friends and stuff... visit the science museum, go to the movies, shows and stuff... go to parks, etc. but that has its own challenges.

 

But thank you for your input!


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#5 of 19 Old 02-08-2013, 02:54 PM
 
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Maybe he has reached an age where he has realized he doesn't necessarily have much in common with his school friends, that they are friends of convenience more than people he really wants to spend time with. My 11yo has been more reclusive, lately. He doesn't want to hang out with younger kids, as if the age gap between 11 and 8 is much bigger for developmental reasons than 10 and 7 (the younger age being that of a cousin with whom he played a fair amount last year).

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#6 of 19 Old 02-08-2013, 05:36 PM - Thread Starter
 
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thanks, 4evermom!

 

what is weird is that it is just the opposite... he didn't have many friends in early elementary school... and just started at a new school. Now he has a *ton* of friends... kids he really likes and talks about all the time. I think one of the problems is that he is a kid who needs *a lot* of down time (after school he is pretty much ready to just hang out and not be social)... and his school is a city wide magnet, so his friends live all over the city.

 

He actually did invite several friends to a new exhibit at a museum... it just took him awhile to warm up to it and ask. These are all new friends (except for his one best buddy mentioned in the OP) so it just takes him awhile to warm up to it.

 

4evermom, it is interesting that you mention the developmental differences between 9 and 12... 12YO DS is really good with his 3 yo brother, and 6 yo sister, and even the baby... but just does not get along as well with his 9 yo brother. I think this has a lot to do with development, and oldest DS has gone ove rthe wall of puberty, while 9yo DS is still very young.

 

I guess my fear is that he will end up spending more time at others' homes when he is in highschool (his school goes through 12th grade) and get into trouble... I got into quite a bit of trouble as a kid... and don't want him to do the same. His school gives him a lot of freedom and responsibility... and I know there may be some marijuana, etc. but I really fear drug use. So it is looking down the line.... maybe I am jumping waaaay ahead of myself... and we do have a good relationship and talk about a lot of different stuff. He spends a lot of time with his dad, too-- who is a very open and honest parent.

It is really interesting to hear about how other kids connect with peers, and transitions! So please keep sharing. :D
 


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#7 of 19 Old 02-09-2013, 07:38 AM
 
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Ah, I was thinking if he were in the same classes as kids he had been with since K, he may just be growing apart...

 

I went to a school farther away from home at that age. I just didn't see school friends after school at all, just for weekend parties or the occasional sleepover. It was just normal to not do things after school. There wasn't really time after taking the bus home, anyway. I was always the one visiting other people, as well. I guess my friends were happier being in their own homes than being in other people's. Also my mom was more willing to drive me someplace than my friends' parents seemed to be.

 

Having a good relationship and talking about a lot of stuff should go far in his navigating the teen years safely and responsibly.


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#8 of 19 Old 02-09-2013, 09:21 AM
 
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We had a mix of having kids over, and the kids going elsewhere. The older they got, the more they liked to spread their wings a bit and spent more time elsewhere. My son had a few good friends, so getting together was usually a group of 6 or fewer. They were all artsy, so spent time listening/playing music, etc. My daughter? Much more social, with a much larger group if friends - and get togethers were more parties than not.

 

Yes, there is "stuff" going on elsewhere. I know kids smoked, drank and had sex at the parties my daughter went to. I know she had some drinks. But she's always been pretty good with knowing her limit (she doesn't like being out of control), and would not get behind the wheel of a car after any of that. She'd stay over, then come home and tell me who hooked up with who, etc.

 

Keep talking to him about what's important to you. And remember - if all his friends are at your house? THEIR parents are worrying like you are now. Do you allow drinking, drugs & sex? Or, uumm.... maybe not. Based on my experience. It's why you want to keep those lines of communication open.

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#9 of 19 Old 02-09-2013, 08:03 PM
 
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I wouldn't worry too much about what is down the line. Just deal with right now, which is usually enough.

 

I suspect that having so many younger sibs is why he likes to hang out else where, and I can't blame him. Do you know the other kids parents? I've tried to keep getting to know my kids friends parents, which has gotten more difficult over the years, but it helps me stay comfortable. Its nice to know their friends are also hearing from their parents' about underage drinking and such.

 

I think it is really normal for kids this age to worry that their own family/living situation isn't quite "normal."  Just like they sometimes worry about their hair or noses or other things -- its a self conscious age.
 


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#10 of 19 Old 02-12-2013, 07:23 AM
 
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We had a similar problem....I think it's smart that you're thinking long-term about what can happen if your son spends his high school years hanging out at other kids' homes (kids/parents you may not know well). 

 

Our apartment is small and boring--we don't have x-box or cable TV or any fun gadgets.  My daughter's friends houses are big with finished basements full of Wii, x-box, karaoke machines, giant TVs, etc.  It's hard to compete.  Like you mentioned, I think you'll have to find ways to take your son and his friend(s) to museums, movies, maybe things like paint ball or sporting events?  That way you get to know the kids and their parents... and you'll feel more comfortable when your son is at their house.  If you get the feeling that a particular kid is one that you don't want your son around, you can try to subletly discourage the friendship. 

 

As far as you helping him to make connections, I found that offering to give kids a ride home (whenever possible) was sometimes an icebreaker.  For example I'd tell my daughter to ask the kids at the after school event if anyone needed a ride...or I'd even ask kids she knew if I saw them standing in front of the school -- Of course I'd tell them I needed to call their parents to make sure it was okay--then I'd call on my cell phone and introduce myself and offer that it was no trouble to swing by their neighborhood.  Then I'd make sure to walk the kid to the door and introduce myself in person--sometimes that's all it would take to make a connection.  My daughter made some of her closest friends because of my connection with a parent.   (and it's amazing what kids will talk about in the back seat when they think you're not listening --I'd be softly singing along to the radio and they must have thought I was deaf LOL...it was a real eye opener and helped me figure out which kids I definitely didn't want my dd hanging out with!)

 

Also, one birthday party at a movie or museum or arcade (might be out of your price range but...) could make a lot of connections.  Have your son invite 6 or 7 friends.  (do boys still do those kinds of parties at 12?) and include your email on the invitation or e-vite.  Offer to pick up kids who need a ride...

 

Whenever possible attend school events (plays, concerts, open houses, sporting events, etc.).  I'm sure that's not easy for you with the younger kids --but it will help you get to know the other kids and parents.  I'm really shy and private by nature so it wasn't always easy for me to try to make those connections but it usually paid off. 

 

Good luck!

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#11 of 19 Old 02-12-2013, 04:03 PM
 
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I agree with everything that i have read in the comments above. It sounds like u have a very natural little , he loves building and constructing , boys seem to have a natural sense of practical thinkig haha and also a natural competitive nature let be siblings sports , or a social invironment. This is a genetalision true but i have found it very relevant in my experiance with my children.
My son who now is 17 , tried
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#12 of 19 Old 02-12-2013, 04:12 PM
 
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My son is 16 - just and has only started going out with friends or hanging out with other folks in the past two years at most. Friends have been calling on him for years and he'd just open the door to them and say no thanks. I'm amazed that these guys persisted with him for so long to be honest! I'd have given up if he was my friend!!

 

I think for a long time school used up his social energy and he just needed to come home and be on his own to rebalance himself. He has got better at managing his need for solitude and his ability to cope with lots of social activity but he still has days when he just hangs out at home and communicates via facebook rather than face to face.

 

We don't actually have space to entertain older teens in our house so he does hang out at other people's houses a lot. I know where he is and I know where their houses are and have picked him up from parties or dropped him and his friends off to places (we have a 7 seater) so it's not like I don't know anything about any of them. He has done some stupid things but still not quite as bad as his older brother who was way more sociable than him and constantly out with friends. He is now a sensible almost 20 year old and he works hard in his job and has a good group of friends around him.

 

Watch and wait and keep listening to him and talking with him. A lot changes between 12 and 16 and he may be someone else entirely in four years' time.
 

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#13 of 19 Old 02-12-2013, 04:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Caliope View Post

I think it's smart that you're thinking long-term about what can happen if your son spends his high school years hanging out at other kids' homes (kids/parents you may not know well). 

 

Overall I agreed with your post, but not this sentence. Kids who really want to smoke pot will figure out a way. Knowing the parents of the other teens they are hanging out with can provide a sense of comfort, but realistically, kids do things in their own homes that their parents don't realize they are doing, and sometimes our social connections with other adults can lead us to believe another family is normal when they are really a bit crazy.

 

Reality is that the older our kids get, the more difficult it becomes to know the ALL the other parents and to know them well, and the less appropriate it is to tell our offspring who they can and can't be friends with. (my youngest is in highschool).

 

Although I agree with everything else in your post and I think you offered GREAT advice for nurturing relationship with other families, at some point, we need to be able to trust our teens/young adults to make good decisions, or at least call us to pick them up if they end up in a situation and realize it isn't somewhere they really want to be.


but everything has pros and cons  shrug.gif

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#14 of 19 Old 02-12-2013, 04:41 PM
 
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Oops pressed the rong button and sent it before i was finnished.
My son who now is 17. I tried so hard when he was a young fella to get him interested in sportd , socca , footy , even though im not sports minded myself, he was never interested and it wad a constant battle . Socialy he would be interested at times othertimes not and would oftern spend alot of his time by himself in he room creating new and wonderful things with his leggo and such. Iv become
Although i think because of work iiv become socialy impedant when i became a single dad when the marriage fell apart found it healthy to get involved in school events , art , music , altjough felt like an outcast , met parent , and rulr of phumb as a young fella never let him over some ones place without meeting the parents first.
As a parent it realy sounds yr doing all u can , and doing well at that. My tthree children all have there natural on social make up in growth , and found influences are great but there going to socialy develope when there ready.
Please dont be worried about materialistic things , yr natural love as a parent will overcome anything else, and children sometimes with complants do except. I founds relevance in yr question with my own son , he is his own person , lol , and that is a good thing
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#15 of 19 Old 02-12-2013, 06:29 PM
 
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My mom used to try to push friends on me when i was that age and I hated it. It's just not cool for your mom to help you make friends. If he has one good friend who likes him for who he is and they can spend lots of time together, then just leave him be. One close friend is better than 5 acquaintances  He prob also likes that he go hang out at this friends house and have some space to be himself and become himself, separate from his family. I also grew up in a small house with with several younger siblings and was always trying to get away from them and have some space with my friends.

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#16 of 19 Old 02-13-2013, 06:25 AM
 
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Overall I agreed with your post, but not this sentence. Kids who really want to smoke pot will figure out a way. Knowing the parents of the other teens they are hanging out with can provide a sense of comfort, but realistically, kids do things in their own homes that their parents don't realize they are doing, and sometimes our social connections with other adults can lead us to believe another family is normal when they are really a bit crazy.

 

Reality is that the older our kids get, the more difficult it becomes to know the ALL the other parents and to know them well, and the less appropriate it is to tell our offspring who they can and can't be friends with. (my youngest is in highschool).

 

Although I agree with everything else in your post and I think you offered GREAT advice for nurturing relationship with other families, at some point, we need to be able to trust our teens/young adults to make good decisions, or at least call us to pick them up if they end up in a situation and realize it isn't somewhere they really want to be.

 

Agreed. And even knowing the parents doesn't guarantee that they will not turn a blind eye to some things. I knew parents of my kids' friends. And some of them simply ignored the fact that their kids/friends had older siblings (or parents in some cases) buy booze for them. Others? Openly provided the booze. Those at least had the sense to collect keys and insist that those who came, stayed the night.

 

Could I have forbidden my kids from going to those homes? Sure. But I have no doubt that they could have figured out a way to be there. I knew too many of their friends who lied to their parents about where they were, who they were with, and what they were doing. I preferred to know those things, and trust in their judgment. It seems to have worked out pretty well.

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#17 of 19 Old 02-13-2013, 11:17 AM
 
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Overall I agreed with your post, but not this sentence. Kids who really want to smoke pot will figure out a way. Knowing the parents of the other teens they are hanging out with can provide a sense of comfort, but realistically, kids do things in their own homes that their parents don't realize they are doing, and sometimes our social connections with other adults can lead us to believe another family is normal when they are really a bit crazy.

 

Reality is that the older our kids get, the more difficult it becomes to know the ALL the other parents and to know them well, and the less appropriate it is to tell our offspring who they can and can't be friends with. (my youngest is in highschool).

 

Although I agree with everything else in your post and I think you offered GREAT advice for nurturing relationship with other families, at some point, we need to be able to trust our teens/young adults to make good decisions, or at least call us to pick them up if they end up in a situation and realize it isn't somewhere they really want to be.

oh, yes...I didn't mean to imply that 'known' parents/families are always 'safe' ones.  I have a few acquaintances who have teens--and I discourage dd from hanging out at their houses because of the parents behavior.  The parents are fine people, but they keep a lot of alcohol in the house and are pretty lax about supervision...dd and I talked about it and she agreed that she wasn't entirely comfortable there when the parents are drinking .   I suggested she and her friend hang out at our house when the parents are likely to be drinking (typically weekends).  We've talked about drinking A LOT...there is alcoholism on her father's side of the family.   

 

and now that dd is 16 there are kids she hangs out with (her boyfriend, even!) where I've never met the parents.  In those cases I try to get to know the kid as much as possible and I talk to dd about needing to be smart and observant about other kids AND adults.  I tell her that when there's no adult in charge of her, she has to act as the responsible person in the situation --even if kids and adults around her aren't being responsible. 

 

I want to know as much as I can about her friends, their parents, etc.(less so the older she gets, of course)  It's helped me to know when to start certain conversations... For example when dd was 14 and  I overheard her friend talking about an appt. to get birth control (friend's appt, not dd's), I waited a few weeks and then started a casual conversation about birth control (not our first conversation about such things!), healthy relationships, being pressured to have sex before being ready, etc., etc.  I never mentioned what I'd overheard...actually it came up in a movie we were watching --but I'd been waiting for an excuse to start the conversation.

 

I guess what I'm saying is that until you think your child is old enough to be capable of making good decisions 100% of the time, you need to covertly assess potentially troubling situations (as much as is reasonably possible), friends, other parents, etc. and give your son or daughter the knowledge or tools to be safe. 

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#18 of 19 Old 02-13-2013, 04:15 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My mom used to try to push friends on me when i was that age and I hated it. It's just not cool for your mom to help you make friends. If he has one good friend who likes him for who he is and they can spend lots of time together, then just leave him be. One close friend is better than 5 acquaintances  He prob also likes that he go hang out at this friends house and have some space to be himself and become himself, separate from his family. I also grew up in a small house with with several younger siblings and was always trying to get away from them and have some space with my friends.


Please understand that I am not trying to "help him make friends." These are friends he has already made at school. I am just checking in with other moms of preteen/teen aged kids to see what they do and mostly just make sure if I am doing everything I can to facilitate the friendships. Thank you for your comment.


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#19 of 19 Old 02-13-2013, 06:50 PM
 
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Please understand that I am not trying to "help him make friends." These are friends he has already made at school. I am just checking in with other moms of preteen/teen aged kids to see what they do and mostly just make sure if I am doing everything I can to facilitate the friendships. Thank you for your comment.


No, I didn't think you were. Just trying to emphasize that it is normal and that he likely wants/ needs to figure out these friendships on his own as he is growing up and defining his identity.

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