What does your 12 year old boy do in his spare time? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 02-26-2014, 10:49 AM - Thread Starter
 
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My son is frequently bored.  He is pretty introverted and has a couple friends, but doesn't have a strong desire to spend time with many kids.  We have no kids his age in our neighborhood.  He is frequently, well, bored and has trouble entertaining himself.  So I'm wondering, what do your boys around this age do to entertain themselves?  My son likes to play video games or on his ipod.  He also listens to music and he likes to practice DJing (he has all the setup to create music, mash ups, etc) and he will go outside sometimes and play around on the lacrosse bounce back net.  But he does spend a lot of time on media-video games/ipod games- and I have mixed feelings about that (as does he.  He has told me he thinks he spends too much time staring at media).  But I'm not sure what to redirect him to since he seems not interested in anything else.  

 

Luckily lacrosse season is about to start up and this will take up some of his down time.  I almost feel like he has too much downtime because he doesn't know how to fill it.  Suggestions?  And I'm assuming it's normal at this age for everything I suggest to be met with an eyeroll or a complaint?  He doesn't seem to want to bake or cook, draw, read a book, walk the dog, etc.  


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#2 of 7 Old 02-26-2014, 04:20 PM
 
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My daughter went through a similar experience at this age. She reached a point where she had spent enough time being a kid, it seemed like there was nothing new or engaging to do anymore. She wasn't old enough to do teenage or adult things, either. She is extremely introverted, so she really turned to herself. She developed what she calls her "mind world", a complex story that continually evolves. Now that she's 15, she's starting to do some really cool stuff with all that creativity.

 

I'm not suggesting your son should lock himself in his room for 3 years, just pointing out that what he's doing is probably developmentally appropriate. As much as you have time and resources, maybe you can find ways to show him that there's more out there than he has ever dreamed. Maybe you have things that have always created a sense of wonder in your mind, that you could share with him. Maybe you could have some conversations about what kinds of things amaze him. A lot of kids are excited by the idea of surviving in the wilderness- at that age, he is old enough to take a survival class, and get a lot out of it. If he's interested in video games, he is the perfect age to start learning how to make his own.  My dad and stepmom gave my half brother a trip to Africa for his 13th birthday, to be redeemed before age 19. They didn't plan an itinerary or name a date, just left it open so that he could imagine himself as someone who could go to Africa (he just recently cashed in on the present, to take advantage of a college exchange student program).

 

My son is 12, and he just started school for the first time. This probably won't help your son, but the idea is the same- he reached a stage where he was ready to move on from childhood activities and start finding his place in the "real" world.

 

I think this is a good age to get the creative juices going, to find a passion and pursue it. The problem is trying to continue choosing from the same old activities.


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#3 of 7 Old 02-27-2014, 07:48 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the reply!  You're right about the surviving.  We have watched all the Survivorman episodes (my younger girls like them, as well) and some Doomsday Preppers.  Son actually put together a Survival Bag in his room.  It's a spare backpack with his swiss army knife, toilet paper :lol, crackers, bottles of water, etc.  I think what is happening right now is that he gets "touched out" at school.  It's overwhelming and noisy and full of people all day.  So he comes home and doesn't want to do anything else because he needs to decompress.  So I guess it is age appropriate and "introverted-appropriate".  Lacrosse is starting so that will be good because he likes that and he's on the team with his good friend.  I'm trying to find out his other interests and I do look for things he can do within those interests.  He is really struggling in school right now so he has a pretty negative attitude about anything new.  It seems like a chore to him to learn anything at all.  We're actually planning on doing the opposite.  Son wants more say in his learning and has a desire to come home.  So we're planning on homeschooling next year.

 

He does love video games, he might have fun learning how to program and design basic games.  He's a good writer and cartoonist, but those interests are waning.  

 

Thank you for letting me know your experience.  I'm glad this is pretty normal, in your experience, for this age.  


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#4 of 7 Old 02-27-2014, 08:58 AM
 
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My son is a bit of a lug lately at 13. My daughter was too at that age. This is a good age for structured activities as it insures they'll be out and about for at least part of their day. For example, my son takes piano, karate and plays on a rec basketball team year round. It's not intense club sports or anything but it breaks up the after school slump he is capable of. Every once in awhile we "require" a book. He does enjoy books when he reads them but it's never an activity he thinks of on his own. We found it passed pretty naturally at 14 with DD. We'll see how it is for DS. 

 

I think part of it is just puberty being exhausting. My kids were/are so tired (DS was a later bloomer and DS in the throws of it now.) All that growing and changing takes it's toll. 


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#5 of 7 Old 02-27-2014, 09:11 AM
 
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I think some boredom is good for kids. Many kids are so booked all of the time that they really don't have to time to be bored, think about random things, or explore creativity. At that age, my own kids usually had 1-2 hours of homework after school, were involved in either dance or sports, had chores around the house, and we did things as a family. They did and still do, play their share of video games (mostly my son). My girls are always listening to music or chatting with friends.

 

My kids are now 18, 16 and 13. My 16 year old prefers to busy all the time, She plays basketball year round and has a part time job at a yogurt shop. She also has about 2 hours of homework every night and some on the weekends. My 13 year old girl is very academically oriented and social. She spends HOURS in her room writing, making posters, talking to friends and reading. I've seen them all go through these stages where their minds are active even if their bodies are not.

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#6 of 7 Old 02-27-2014, 09:20 AM
 
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My 13 year old daughter has started getting "bored" frequently lately. She used to be involved in so many activities, but now it seems all she does is watch movies and text on her phone. I've come to a point of believing this is age appropriate, and just a phase. But I told her this morning that next week we will do an experiment - no TV/movies for a week. We can read, draw or sculpt (she used to like art), walk the dogs, play Magic the Gathering, or whatever. Just things to stimulate our minds and bodies, not vegetative in front of the TV. For 1 week only. But she's not enthused, this is all "boring".

My 11 yr old son is quite good at entertaining himself. He struggles in school due to high-functioning autism and ADHD. Yet, he hates watching TV or movies because to him that is "boring". It means just sitting there. He also doesn't like reading, because it too means "just sitting there". Everything he does is mentally stimulating - building and role playing with legos, drawing, telling stories he made up, playing video games (which can be stimulating in that they present puzzles to be solved). He has few friends and activities, but he has a very rich imagination and inner world.

I tend to also feel we spend too much time as a family "staring at media", as you said. But that in itself isn't always bad, as some video games and TV can be mentally stimulating and educational. But I'm also at a point of wanting to stretch out a bit, especially with my 13 year old. It just gets harder and harder to peak their interest in other things.
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#7 of 7 Old 02-27-2014, 09:41 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Mar123, I always thought some boredom was good for kids, too.  But he seems bored in this apathetic kind of "don't know how to get out of it" way.  He isn't interested in alleviating his boredom.  He'd much rather watch DJ videos on Youtube (DJ *is* one interest he has that he hasn't completely given up but these videos usually promote passive watching rather than inspiration to actually DJ or play around on the equipment he has), or play Clash of Clans on his ipod.  But it's like he uses staring passively at media as a crutch because he doesn't know what else to do.  He has voluntarily given his media things to me- computer, ipod, tablet and said "Mom.  Don't let me play with these." But then the habit slowly creeps back up.  He also avoids homework like the plague and he is not really interested in exploring creativity.  

 

Kythe- replace watch movies and text on the phone to "play Clash of Clans on his ipod and text on his phone" and you and I could be talking about the same kid!  Even if it's just a phase, that's a good experiment.  My husband goes for a run occasionally and has tried getting my son to come.  He's not interested.  I walk the dog and he's not interested in either keeping me company while I walk or in walking the dog himself.  I've tried offering other activities and he isn't really interested.  AND... he doesn't seem interested in initiating anything on his own.  This is a really frustrating phase.  I think if he was doing things on his own, that would be fine.  But he's usually complaining that there's nothing to do and rolling his eyes at any suggestion I make.  

 

I work online and take classes online.  So I do stare at media a lot.  I try to get off when the kids get home from school.  I talked to my husband about not coming home from work and popping open his personal laptop.  I might go back to enforcing our no media during the week policy we had when they were younger.  It's also the end of winter but it's not spring.  So it's just that we're all sick of the cold and so we are not outside as much as we could be, too.  It really is hard to pique my son's interest in anything.  Maybe I'll talk to him about experimenting exploring interests and see if he's open to that.

 

It is nice to see other bored 12 and 13 year olds.  


Married, part time work from home mom to DS (13 and homeschooling), DD1 (11) and DD2 (9) and a giant dopey newfoundland, a crazy border collie mix, 3 black cats and a cute rat.
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