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View Full Version : Lack of hobbies/interests



lcarlson90
04-20-2018, 07:01 PM
DS is 13 and has no interests/hobbies other then watching You-tube and playing video games. Growing up he played baseball, football and basketball. He was never really great at sports so when he stopped wanting to play I assumed it was because he became aware that the other kids were better then him. He was part of the chess club in grade school and really liked it until about 6th grade when he lost interest.

He has been in cub scouts since 1st grade and is now a boy scout and always seemed to enjoy that and now he wants to quit. I hate the idea of forcing my kid to stay in scouts if he doesn't want to, but I think it's good for him and it's really the only social thing he does. Does this sound like normal teen boy behavior is are these signs of depression? I'm just afraid if I let him quit he won't have any outside social activities.

ged
04-20-2018, 07:11 PM
I think that's not abnormal behavior for a teen boy. But I dont have boys, so other will be more qualified to chime in. All I can think of is my girlfriend who said they had a horrible trip abroad bc her son (also 13) was so addicted to a video game that they basically did no sightseeing, could not go out to eat, etc. They spend a lot of their time in Tokyo at the 7-11!! I couldnt believe it, but I kinda could :/

hbridge
04-20-2018, 07:24 PM
I have a child about the same age who wants to try EVERYTHING once; it rarely sticks, but DC will try it, so take this as simple advice...

Could you voice your concerns to him and let him know the importance of activities outside of school? Then, see what he wants to try. Let him know he needs one "activity" and let him determine what that will be. If he doesn't have any ideas, but prepared with a list of possibilities that you have researched: farm programs, rock climbing at an indoor gym, a woodworking/pottery/masonry class..

georgiegirl
04-20-2018, 07:39 PM
Does he have a decent amount of friends? Friends who he hangs out with in real life? Does he have any passions (other than video games)?

As a kid, I didnít do many activities, in part because my parents both worked full time and couldnít drive me to anything during the week. It really negatively impacted my self esteem and social life in middle school and high school. I never stayed in things like chorus or band (those I could have done without my parents having to drive me anywhere), and now I wish I would have. My DD is 12 and Iím adamant she have a few activities. Sheís in swim team, chorus, and band. She wants to quit band (teacher this year is mean), but I wonít let her.


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bisous
04-20-2018, 08:13 PM
On my recent trip I ran into two of my former roommates with VERY different lives, both had boys that were 14 (like my DS) and both of them had a very similar complaint. The kids didn't want to do anything at all or even ever leave the house. They both also only ever wanted to do video games. DS1 hasn't quite reached this level yet. I think I kind of determined that SOME KIND of activity would be required and that if my DS didn't have a pick it would be working with a service organization.

So yes, I think it is very normal. I also think it is okay to require at least one activity. He can pick if he can come up with an idea, otherwise you get to pick it. That would work with my DS but would not work with some kids so take it with a grain of salt.

mom2binsd
04-20-2018, 08:41 PM
Both of my kids are completely the opposite and all of their friends are also very active, either in travel sports or rec sports. The teen age boys we know are all into video games to some extent too, but it's a situation where they play for a bit when they are home when not playing one of their sports.

I guess my question would be what type of social interaction does he have? Does he hang out with his classmates, neighbors? My kid's closest friends are either through sports and they both have a best friend (who happen to be same age brother and sister as mine) who lives 3 doors down so they are always hanging out.

As long as he's getting some physical activity (does he bike ride/swim in the summer for fun/go to trampoline parks/skateboard?) and has some social interaction I wouldn't worry, but I do think kids need to have some socialization other than video games.

SnuggleBuggles
04-20-2018, 10:20 PM
At that age, my kiddo has friends, swam (mostly in the summer but some lessons in the year) and loved video games. When he got to high school, he joined more activities including the high school swim team. Now he does 2 swim teams, marching band, musical and tennis. He has friends and never even has time for video games most of the week. So, donít despair. Do encourage activities though. :)


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petesgirl
04-20-2018, 10:41 PM
I think that's not abnormal behavior for a teen boy. But I dont have boys, so other will be more qualified to chime in. All I can think of is my girlfriend who said they had a horrible trip abroad bc her son (also 13) was so addicted to a video game that they basically did no sightseeing, could not go out to eat, etc. They spend a lot of their time in Tokyo at the 7-11!! I couldnt believe it, but I kinda could :/

I realize this is judgey of me, but...just no. Cant the parents be in charge and take away the electronic devices or something??

SnuggleBuggles
04-20-2018, 11:44 PM
I realize this is judgey of me, but...just no. Cant the parents be in charge and take away the electronic devices or something??

Totally with you!


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KrisM
04-20-2018, 11:51 PM
My DS1 will be 14 soon. He spends a lot of time on video games and You Tube as well. But he has quite a few activities that keep him busy enough. He's not into sports as much, but does like joining various things. I think I would make him do something, whether it's a sport, music, academic type thing or whatever. I think once you are doing none of those things, it can be hard to jump in and join.

I don't know if it's a sign of depression or not, but I'd work on finding something that holds his interest.

KrisM
04-20-2018, 11:57 PM
I realize this is judgey of me, but...just no. Cant the parents be in charge and take away the electronic devices or something??

I agree. That would not fly here.

Myira
04-21-2018, 12:28 AM
I have no experience with a teen boy yet, so no frame of reference regarding whether itís normal or a sign of depression. But based on what experts have to say about virtual reality, I would be concerned it can spiral downward into depression and isolation. Also, Iíd say having a passion or hobby is something that would come in handy later in life too even just as a stress buster, so Iíd be inclined to restrict video/screen time and encourage him to pick one/two interests and pursue it.


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DualvansMommy
04-21-2018, 01:59 AM
I think to start off; restricting some screen time may be a good idea. Insist your kid find a club, sport or regular activity to join. You can help him find one, and it may be painful to go through the steps, but I think itís a very good idea for kids but especially teens to have a good friend, set of a group to hang out. You didnít indicate whether he has a friend he can lean on or a group of friends?




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briarrose
04-21-2018, 05:52 AM
This sounds like my DS exactly. He just turned 14. We could never get him into sports. When the weekend hits he logs on and plays games while talking with his friends (mostly from school). We don't normally allow video games during the school week. I think if we didn't make him shut down from time to time he'd play straight through the weekend. I do feel like it is an addiction which is why we make him shut down from time to time even if it's just to go on a walk as a family. It is a bit of a debate in my head because at least he is talking to his friends from school as well as friends that moved away recently. It just boggles my mind that they rarely feel the need to hang out in person. When they do, it's usually because one of us parents pushes it. The summer becomes more difficult because then he thinks he can play from sun up to sun down. I will probably have him do volunteer work this summer as well as online computer classes. He also does a week at summer camp with no electronics. We do make him stay in his martial arts class twice a week. He complains about going but he likes it when he is there. He does escrima sticks, bujutsu, and self defense with a lot of boxing. This summer they will be able to do archery again also. It's not your typical martial arts class. He also doesn't want to do band next year in high school. I told him that was fine, but he'll have to pick another instrument for music lessons. I think he'll start guitar this summer. Playing while on vacation is a hard no here. He pulled out his phone while we were in Florida and started playing. We took it away so he could look around and be present. He got it back at night when we were in the hotel room. I guess all this to say that I do think it is typical, but maybe try to find a balance. He may complain, but work with him to find an activity he can tolerate. I really do feel like video games can become an addiction.

You're definitely not alone.

Barb

lcarlson90
04-21-2018, 11:15 PM
For those of you who have asked about friends...he does have about 3 friends that he hangs out with at school but I wouldn't call any of them a "best friend". He doesn't really hang out with them outside of school but he does talk to them on-line while playing x-box. He is on meds for ADHD and I feel like he is kind of withdrawn when he is on his meds. On the weekend when he doesn't take them he is more friendly and talkative.

mom2binsd
04-22-2018, 10:36 PM
I would say it's important that he have friends that he actually sees out of school, not just play online with. Those face to face social interactions are so important.

I would really try to see if you can't foster some in person contact with the other kids, either have them over, get them to go bike riding, go to a skatepark, hang out at your house.

It makes me wonder what these kids who just play video games without having regular friendships are missing out on.

So, to be honest, I would be a little worried and work on seeing how you can get him engaged in socializing with peers. Does he/has he been invited to birthday parties in the past. I realize that at 14 they don't do these as much, but I know DD's male friends still hang out with their buddies and go to movies etc.

I am grateful that my kids are very outgoing, have many friends and spend a lot of time away from screens playing outside, exploring, biking to a fishing pond, cooking (DD and her friends love to cook) etc.

I think it's awesome that you are giving this a lot of thought, and hope you can come up with some ideas from this thread.

SnuggleBuggles
04-22-2018, 11:07 PM
My ds1 used to have his friends over a bunch and theyíd all bring their gaming consoles and monitors so they could play together. Have him invite his friends over. Ds1ís crew back at that age was all about sleepovers. They had a blast!

ETA- mom2binsd, Iím not as worried as thereís a good chance plenty of face to face socializing happens at school. I think itís ok for friendships to be connected through playing video games together- theyíre just as real as kids who go out and do sports together. Iíve listened in (hard to avoid) to ds1ís end of conversations during game play and itís exactly what my friends and I did on the phone every night growing up. Even more social though as the whole group is chatting at once.

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JustMe
04-23-2018, 12:53 AM
It is hard to know if it is depression or normal teen boy behavior. My ds is 12. He does club soccer and track; so very busy and very active--when he is doing those things. At home, he is very good about getting his homework done. However, when he is not doing one of those 3 things...he wants to be playing video games. It is a battle here because I do restrict (or try to ) and it is surprising how many parents don't restrict. All that to say, many tween/teen boys are spending much of their free time playing video games or maybe even watching youtube too.

On the other hand, loss of interest in activities that are usually pleasurable to that person is one sign of depression. How is his mood? Any change in appetite or weight that would be unusual? Any sleep problems? I would also ask how his self-esteem is, but most teenagers don't have great self-esteem. Does he seem to enjoy himself when you do a fun family activity/outing?

I am wondering if there is anything that can be done about him being more withdrawn/less friendly when he is on his medication. What does he say about this? I wonder what he is experiencing that changes his behavior in this way.