21 answers

12 Year Old "Bored" and Wants Video Games

Hi everyone,

Thanks for taking time to read my question. My son is 12, that's a handful by itself, I know. He is "bored"...bored at school, bored at home, bored in the car, bored at the park, bored at the pool...yadayadayada. No really, his plight is that he wants video games. His friends all have them. Well, he has a DS, Game boy Advance, computer time and I am not letting him "fill his time" with video games. Any advice? He has a 16 year old sister and a 7 year old brother. The sis is working PT at Ralphs, homework and work fill a lot of her time and bro loves crafts, playing school, none of his interests. The only way he seems happy is to have friends over or go to their house. Is it bad to let them get together so much?

What can I do next?

So What Happened?™

Thank you everyone for your advice. I should mention that he is in karate with younger brother twice a week and loves it. I think, like some have mentioned, he just doesn't know what to call it and calls it bored. He also mentioned last night he wants to go out, he doesn't like to be home alot. Maybe it's the new home thing, he wants to go outside of home. Well, he is doing well in school and doesn't have any "issues". In fact, he often goes to a bible study with his BF on Tuesday evenings. I guess I expect him to snot just "lay around" watching TV and playing video games. I think he probably IS fine and thank you all so much!!!!

Featured Answers

My 13 year old would spend most of his free time on video games if I let him. He's allowed to have them, and to buy his own (we OK the ratings, etc) but I do limit the amount of time per day her uses them. We also take them away when necessary. But, when his two best buddies come over, we occasionally let them have a marathon game session, because they're good kids, and that's what they enjoy. Set whatever limits you're comfortable with.

This is how boys socialize. My son is 15 years old now and has been doing the video thing with his friends since middle school.

More Answers

Welcome to California!
Well, at the risk of sounding all prim and proper, "bored" is a word that is not allowed in our house. It's also not up to ME to find something for these kids (or husband) to do. ***Climbing down from my high horse now***
That said, I know being twelve signals the onset of the deep teen malaise that sets in. Time can go by so slowly for some kids. I would definitely let him get together with his friends frequently, but also try to enforce some family time like at the pool and park and stuff. Sometimes you just have to buck up and entertain yourself.
Oh and another thing: boredom never killed anybody. I'm sure. I googled it.

Again-WELCOME to our fair state! :)

1 mom found this helpful

My 13 year old would spend most of his free time on video games if I let him. He's allowed to have them, and to buy his own (we OK the ratings, etc) but I do limit the amount of time per day her uses them. We also take them away when necessary. But, when his two best buddies come over, we occasionally let them have a marathon game session, because they're good kids, and that's what they enjoy. Set whatever limits you're comfortable with.

I think that it is fine to het together with friends but have you thought about doing and sports or anything for hime. Maybe if there is something that one of his friends does he will be more willing to try and then he can get some of the energy out.

I really like Danielle's idea.I wish alot more parents came up with that one. Imagine,how productive homework time could be? They'd jump on that soon as they hit the door.!If they smarted off...cut off the games. : ) I always check the rating on the games,to make sure there isn't alot of violence,but I have come to believe, that alot of the games the kids play now, are educational, and enhance their skills as far as problem solving. Alot of the games,have to do with figuring out how to get yourself out of a situation. I never thought I'd hear myself say that, but I've watched,and read,and I'm a believer now.best of luck to you K. and welcome to Sunny ..smoggy California

Bored kids easily can get into trouble, so take this as his warning to you. If he's bored with everything, then he's not being challenged. Kids who tend to be smarter than their peers are the ones who get "bored."

Make sure he has chores and helps out with family things. Give him important jobs and reward him for them.

What about sports? Guitar lessons? Something? What are his talents or interests. Surely, it can't be just video games and hanging out with friends....they are a distraction.

Sounds like this move was emotionally hard on him. Get him invloved with an organized acitvity, so there is some discipline, rather than waiting for him to get into trouble.

I'd say let him have his friends over as long as your home and can supervise, if their at your house there is no guessing as to what their up to you'll know first hand.
B. B.

Hi there, First off, get rid of all the video games. I understand them on the East Coast, where it's cold, but this is So. Cal, and there are a ton of outdoor options. Has your son tried sports of any kind? Martial arts? Re the friend thing, I think it's GREAT that he wants to have them at your house. Keep an open door policy, and a closed mouth reality. You'd be amazed what kids will say when they don't think you're listening. At this age, all they way is their friends, and I'd prefer they come to my house, than anywhere else!

Personally, I am anti-gaming system. What ever happened to going outside to play..like when we were kids. I think that you should find out what he is interested in by observing him, or by just asking. Getting him involved by joining a sports team, art class, or some kind of activity may fill his needs for entertainment. If that doesn't work, then maybe using the gaming system as a reward, rather than right, may work. He can earn "minutes of playing time" by doing homework, chores, playing outside, etc. Thus, he can use his earned minutes to play. This way, he is still playing the games, but he has to earn it, and you have more control over the situation.

Hi, K.,

As a teacher to thousands of teenagers over the last 15 years, I have heard "bored" more times than I can possibly recall. "Bored" seems to be a multi-purpose word to describe anything that a kids does not like. I have always told my students that it is better to be bored than excited if "excitement" means what it means in a lot of countries--running from bombs and gunfire, foraging for food to avoid starvation, etc. I also have told them that if they are bored that they should recommend a "fun" activity to me in writing. (I've known kids who've started their own investing companies, so teenagers are old enough to take charge of their lives, e.g. find healthy ways to address their boredom.) If doable, I will replace one of the "boring" activities with one of the suggested "fun" activities. Have you considered allowing him, possibly with friends, to try a very wide variety of extra-curricular activities, such as sports he's never thought of trying, following the stock market--websites and books for teenagers on the subject are widely available, or participating in a volunteer activity (of his choice)? Some of my students and classmates have done very interesting things that I wished I had thought of doing when I was a kid. I would suggest trying a few of these activities before he settles on playing video games a 100 hours each week. Having said that, although I'm not a video game fanatic, I can't say that video games are all bad. One of my classmates in business school has done quite well in his video-game related career, which he got into because he loved playing video games.

In deciding how often to let a child get together with his friends, I would ask myself a few questions. Is my child getting enough sleep? Is he allowing himself enough time to do the best he can academically? Is he helping around the house? Is he staying fit? Is he participating in family (your family's) activities as often as you think appropriate? What are he and his friends doing? Are they doing something healthy or unhealthy (vandalizing property, using drugs, etc.)?

It seems that a lot of kids become less bored as they switch from middle school/junior high school to senior high school, so you will likely hear "I'm bored," less and less over time.

L. E

Hi K.,

I live in Aliso Viejo and have 2 boys, one 7 and the other almost 14. I have lived here for almost 4 years, but I am originally from PA as well. I would love to have coffee with you and share some suggestions about boys and video games. I have been there. I can be reached at ____@____.com or my phone at ###-###-####. I am leaving for a convention today through Saturday evening, but wanted to respond in some way. I look forward to hearing from you. V. W.

My husband was and still is like that. He gets bored easy if he's not actively doing something. In school, he was always done with his work before everyone, so he'd get into trouble for messing around in class. His 5th grade teacher got smart and sent him running around the track when this happened. It worked out so well that that teacher passed on that gem of wisdom onto his 6th grade teacher. By the time my husband reached jr. high, he was ready for the track team. Haha. He also got into skateboarding and video games. I must say that video games have kept his sharp mind sharp. He's one of the best drivers, and I believe it's from video games. He's also very awesome with direction, which I know comes from his video games. So, there are benefits. However, there are guidelines. Video games shouldn't take the place of good exercise, his schoolwork, religion, or family time. And, you need to make sure that the video games he plays are age appropriate. I don't see the harm in him playing any educational games, either. Just be sure to ALWAYS be aware of what he's playing and who he is playing with.

First off this happens to most of us at this age. We aren't the little kid anymore and the embarrased thing is going off in your head, but you are board with just visiting like adults. My daughter does the same thing. She is also 12. I think Friends are great as long as you know the parents & what he is allowed to do at their house. As long as they aren't doing anything bad and getting into mischief or drinking. He needs this time to figure out what happens next. Try to be more involved take him and his friends to the skate park or roller blading, paint balling or movies. Help him to find things to do as an older kid while teaching him to stay out of trouble.
Good Luck! J.

My son just turned 13 he loved video games also he said that is his time to just relax and that's how he would relax, remember their bodies are going through changes and they don't know how to deal with it yet, also my son plays ice hockey and that's his time to hang with the guys.HE LOVES IT.

Bored was always a bad word in our house when i was growing up. My dad would tell me, "well, if your bored you better find something to do, because if you don't, I will and I guarantee that whatever I find for you to do, you are not going to like." He was referring to chores like laundry, washing the car etc. I know I sound aweful, but I would tell him the next time I have to hear how "bored" you are you will lose your video games for 3 weeks and join me in all my errands and then you wont have time to be bored. I just can't stand the whole video game thing. I went through it with my son as well. He knows he's not allowed to play Monday thru Friday after school. and even then, I limit it to 1 1/2 hours a day. he also know that I keep tabs on him and if I find out he was playing video games at his firends house then he can't play his video games when he comes home since he already used his "time". Good luck. I know it's not easy.

Hi K.,

My recommendation is to try sports, I myself have 12 and 8 year old boys. Since they have started playing baseball they dont have time for much. With their busy schedules of practice, games and daily homework they seem too busy to complain about being bored.
So not only do they get to exercise daily but they dont realize that their day has gone by so fast that there is no time for video games and friends!
Good Luck and Welcome to Southern California.

Don't worry K., I have a 13yr old the same way. If he had it his way he would play video games non stop. All in moderation, nothing wrong with playing video games with friends as long its not hours on end. Do you have him in a sport? Even if he doesn't want to go in a sport you should enroll him anyway. Both my kids didn't want to, I gave them the chance to pick a sport and when they didn't, I enrolled them in one. They both love what they are doing now. There is always music, bible study youth groups, and riding a bike, skate board, or scooter. Just some thoughts for you, if you need anymore help just ask:) E.

Hello K.,

Don't feel bad, I also have a 12yr old boy and he's BORED all the time. So I sometimes tell him to pick his nose:) Anyway, he loves his game boy and play station, he now plays 30 min if he behaves in school, that's it. Other times, he's cleaning his room, restroom, picking up dog doodoo. Yesterday, he was bored again and my husband and I, had him pull weeds by hand. That worked, it took up half day and he was out in nature. When he's done with the project, he'll be planting seeds and grow his own tree or plants.

Some kids these days feel that life has to be 100% fun at all time and if they're not playing their games, they are not happy. We always tell our son, that's not reality. If they had their way, they would be playing their games 24/7. We've tried sports and he's not competetive. He loves reading, but then he gets bored after a while.

Hello K.,
I have a son who also enjoys video games and who will be 12 in August. I feel it's okay for him to play video games with his freinds. He does well in school, he's well behaved and very athletic. He understands he has limits and is able to play in moderation. Naturally, I would prefer him to not take up such a hobby, but I have no choice in the simple fact that he just plain enjoys video games. He tells me that after a long week of school & sports, it helps him & his freinds unwind. And at least it's an activity they do at home. In allowing your son to develop into his own person, (he's not his sister or his brother) maybe it's not so bad he play video games with his friends. He'll still be developing social skills and he'll learn how to set limits to enjoy in moderation. He could even do household chores to earn money to pay for the games. Good luck.

This is how boys socialize. My son is 15 years old now and has been doing the video thing with his friends since middle school.

Hello, I too am from PA, where are you from, I am from Allentown, I am here for about 3 more years. I also have a 12 year old son and he is bored all the time too. I also home-school him which is hard. My son is in a lot of sports so not to be too bored, but he does like video games but not to an excess. He gets bored with those too. He also stated to watch TV which he has never done before, I think through this "change" of growing up, they tend to do things not usually like themselves. I let it happen but watch the time allowed. My son is also only happy around other kids. I think that is normal too, they are trying to become more independent and that is the first stage, being with friends. My door is always open to kids. Another thing is that my husband plays some of the video games with him at night and this is a time of bonding for them. Nothing bad just baseball games. This time of growing up is so hard for them and us, I hope it gets easier instead of harder but I doubt it. I also have an almost 15 year old girl. I hope this helps.

As long as he keeps up on school there is nothing wrong with him having fun with his friends.

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