How do you get a 12 year old boy to care about something.

Cindy - posted on 02/22/2010 ( 10 moms have responded )

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My 12 year old is a nice kid. He is pretty bright and has a pretty good attitude. He is polite. I have heard great things from neighborhood parents. From the outside looking in I have really nothing to complain about. But... all he wants to do is play computer games, video games, stay inside, watch TV. We have put him in all kinds of team sports. He's not really athletic and that is okay, but he doesn't even try. His teammates and friend get frustrated and he doesn't really care. It doesn't seem to bother him that he is letting people down. He takes karate and does pretty well with that while he is there, but won't practice at home. He is a green belt, but could have easily been a higher rank if he cared to. He doesn't want to excell at anything. I don't care what he cares about as long as he will care about something. He won't practice anything. Even his computer stuff - he is always looking to cheat the system and get something for nothing. He is a b student, but imagine if he cared to do his homework or study for a test. He waits for the very last minute to do projects and I find myself bailing him out so he doesn't look foolish. I told him this was the last time I would help him catch up and I would let him fail next time. I hope I can keep strong. I really dont wants him to fail, but I don't really know how to teach him to 'want' to do well as something.
Is this typical for a 12 yr old boy. Any suggestions would be great.

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Nicole - posted on 04/09/2012

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Okay, I could totally write this word for word. My son is 12, and was diagnosed with ADHD and dyslexia in 5th grade. He did get his black belt, but it totally took me pushing him as I was not going to let him quit and regret it later. He is no longer doing TKD. He tried all sorts of sports but has shown no interest in doing them on a competative basis. I even tried seeing if I could get him involved in a Jr. Golf program as he plays with his dad a lot and is pretty good, but he just doesn't want to get in a competition with anything. He is a straight A student, but a lot of that is because dad and I keep nagging him to get things done. Unfortunately with ADHD it is harder for him, and he also has a serious dissability with forming words into sentences, so he needs our help. He has gotten better about knowing when things are due etc. But, outside of school, he has had no interest in hanging out with friends (but somehow he has them at school to have lunch with). His only interest is watching videos on you tube to see how to beat a game and playing games. I do create computer/gaming free times and he ends up just playing with his younger brother and sister outside, so I can't argue with that either. We thought he would enjoy football as that is what his friends are into, but again, nothing. It is very frustrating when you have tried to show them different opportunities or tried to encourage them in finding an after school club or go to a friend's house and they show no rhyme or reason of wanting to do any of it. I hope and pray that he will grow out of it and that we are doing the right things.

Vicki - posted on 02/28/2010

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I think this is pretty typical of teenage boys. I have 3 boys: turning 12, 13 and turning 15. They are all really good kids, but lack the drive you are talking about. My oldest found his drive this school year when he entered high school. He absolutely loves JROTC and running. He is on the cross country and track teams. He loves the JROTC drill team. Until this year, he hadn't found the thing that he really wanted to spend time mastering. My middle son was sitting with me reading your question. He suggested offering many different activities until your son finds the one that he really enjoys. My middle son has ADD, so it is difficult to find something that he can focus on long enough to really enjoy and put his whole heart into. We are still struggling with getting homework done on time every day. He does enjoy playing baseball and he LOVES to read. As he matures, I'm sure he will find something that really motivates him also. My youngest has more difficulties socially. He will never care about the team sports and things like that, but he is an excellent artist and loves computer animation. There is such a wide variety of things for your son to be passionate about. Give him time and plenty of opportunity to discover what he likes. Until he finds something to get him fired up, he will just go through the motions. That is when you know that it is time to keep looking for something else. In middle school, the boys are trying to figure out where they fit in. A lot of what they do is because their friends are doing it. As they mature, they will all find things that interest them and become more of their own person. Their interests will become more developed and they will become more passionate. In the meantime, keep fostering your son's attitude. Make sure that he stays respectful and polite. Let him fail with his projects occasionally. He will learn that he needs to get them done on time or get a bad grade. Take away his screen time when he fails. He will figure it out. That is the only way he is going to grow as a person. Boys are a challenge, but a lot of fun. Good luck.

Katrina - posted on 08/10/2013

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Hi, I also have a 12 year old boy that only seems to be interested in screen time. He won't get involved in any activities except for video game playing and watching movies. Every one loves him and gets after me for being the failing parent. But I don't want to keep harrassing him. Things definitely aren't always what they seem.

Noora Al - posted on 08/11/2013

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i believe yes this is typical for a 12 yr old boy, my nephew is like that and recently he has been changing and started to be more passionate about horse riding, And my 12yo son is responsible and he is very ambitious. i suggest you to help him on the first step is join his territory enjoy the video games with him, try to be more interested in his games. slowly ask him to play other things with you or whole family try to make him realize that socializing and playing outdoors and with people are more fun. !!! NEVER FORCE A CHILD to do anything because i believe it makes a child stubborn take it easy and approach him slowly. reward him with things that he would enjoy more than video games. d

Julie - posted on 02/23/2010

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home work is one thing that i made clear was done before anything else. if its a project thats due in for a week then do a bit each night untill its finished. then you can play your games but wouldnt you like to have a few friends over the game would be more fun playing with a friend or watch a movie in your room. he might not be out but at least that way he is still socialising. does he like music. maybe he would prefer to play the guitar or something. my son loved the guitar so we bought him one for his 13th birthday and he and his friends set up a band. figure out what he likes and go along with that and help out if you can. i look back on the days theband were in my house and it sounded rubbish to me but he was happy socialising doing what he liked.

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Aliaa Dwain - posted on 10/28/2012

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My son is the same, I feel as if I read my own story , we tried all kind of sports , swimming , karate , football, music and drawing , he's only fond of computer games he can spend hours infront of his computer talking to nobody, many times I forced him to go out and be with his friends in our neighborhood , although he is doing great at school but he has no interest in anything except for computer .

Susan - posted on 02/28/2010

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My son is 13 and is almost exactly the same. Only has no interest in school period and won't even go for sports, maybe karate again. He did excel in that. I know how frustrating it can be. I've started taking those things most important away from him, only slowly and very minimal amounts, I am finding that this is slowly changing his attitude. Some kids have this naturally and are good at these things but ar efar ahead and tend to get bored easily. I also found spending more personal time with him helps, although it is hard to do these days. It isn't much but I hope some helps.

Terri - posted on 02/27/2010

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My 12, almost 13 year old, was a lot like this. Very passive-would sit on the computer or watch TV all day if I would let him. We just have time limits per day and turn it off.

He has all the athletic potential in the world, but he doesn't take advantage of it. However, he's begun increasing his interest in running. Not because he necessarily wants to-but he's noticed huge dividends in his weight and stamina (particularly among peers in PE) and he's found some like minded acquaintances who think running is cool and are also participating. Since he's part of the school track team now, he seems to be coming more and more out of his shell-and caring more about his performance. It's not a radical change-but I can see the baby steps.

As far as his school work, I quit micromanaging in 5th grade-I let him fail a couple times, it happened again in 6th a couple times-and you know what, now that he's in 7th grade, it doesn't happen any more. He did lie to me about studying for a pre-algebra exam and doing well on it-when I checked the online grades and found that actually made a D, we simply put restrictions in place-said nothing more about it. The D has not reappeared.

He has to find his own footing and his own comfort level. He needs to decide what to participate in and to do his own homework/projects. Sooner or later, he will bring it up to where it needs to be.

Vanessa - posted on 02/27/2010

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My thirteen year old sounds just like this, this looks as though I typed it myself. I am having a very hard time too. I believed his started after my father died. Have you guys lost anyone close to you lately. All in all I believe its their hormones changing and Pray that it gets better, also bullies at school don't help the situation either. Good luck

Amber - posted on 02/23/2010

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My son was doing this same thing. And it was harsh and very hard for me to do but any time he asked for something I asked what he had done that day. "Can I have ice cream?" My answer, "What did you work on today?" If the answer was nothing, then he got nothing. He also was not allowed TV, video games, computer or any like devices until after dinner. And only for thirty minutes at a time. It's amazing what they will do when they get bored enough. Also, finding something that stirs his soul is a good idea. An instrument, or art, or just anything. It may take awhile to find it, but I'm sure there is something that will just grab him. Good luck, I hope it all works out.

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