R.L. asks from Anna, TX on February 02, 2008
When I ask my teenagers what they did all day they say, "nothing." When I ask them what they like to do, they say "nothing". When I ask them what they want to do or be, they have no answer. I know they are not just avoiding the questions they really truely do not know. I want to know how to figure out what they might like and or be good at and encourage them to do it so they will develop an interest or hobby or something so that they will be able to carry on a conversation with an adult. Am I crazy?
So What Happened?™
I recently started working at Subway during lunches and I talked to my kids about my job duties and other things that went on at work. I took them there and they met everybody and saw it from the workers point of view rather than the customers point of view. I told them I wanted them to learn about what it was like to work at a real job so I assigned them special projects that I thought they could do and would like, one photography, one oral interpretation and one piano. Last year at easter time we studied the passover feast and actually held one at home. It really made an impression with them and they are looking forward to it this year. I told them that this year we would use the passover psalms, psalms 113-118 as the theme and I would assign them special projects. They would have time sheets they would have to turn in to get paid. They would have employee evaluations (mini recitals) each week to receive feed back from each person in the family on thier progress, and then one big presentation at Easter time. One kid will illustrate the Psalms with photography, one will give an oral interpretation and one will provide a sound track with piano music. We had our first "employee evaluation" it was a little rough but I think they took to it and are proud and confident about the undertaking. I think this will open up encouragement and communication in our family.
S.B. answers from San Antonio on February 03, 2008
When my children were young I got them involved in different things in the summer it was swim teams, fall football, league swimming, photography in high school, FFA, mechanics, welding
horseback riding, dance,life guarding, etc. the only condition was they had to do it for a year or for however long it lasted. This helped them to explore and build there self confidence. There are all kinds of opportunites offered in the schools. Hope this helps.
D.W. answers from Houston on February 06, 2008
I can relate well with your dilema. My oldest that is now 22yr.old has never in my mind "found his niche". He never really was interested in much of anything(not even video games, that was a good thing). My youngest has had a life plan since he was in the third grade, and at 19 yrs. old is fullfilling that dream. The only advice I can give is to maybe try different things yourself with your childeren on a one to one basis. Maybe something you can introduce them to will wake something up in them. Some new stuff may work as a group, but I found with my boys it became such a competition that if one did not do so well at something he would give up on trying something else. Good luck and I hope you get something to work with from others.
S.W. answers from Waco on February 06, 2008
Oh this one seems like everyone goes through it no matter what the age of the children. The secret is to not ask what their doing or what they did in school. You have to ask the questions to where it would seem interesting to them to answer. Example: not what did you do in school today but ask a question about a certain subject or class. asking what happened at school is such a wide range or area it sometimes seems impossable to pinpoint what your asking. I have 2 grown daughters and yes it was same thing What did you do in school tody. Nothing... I also have a 7 yr old son who after having the girls i learned it is more rewarding to get a good answer if you ask the better question. Seems simple? just ask a more specific question. I also found it was easier if i became involved in my girls everyday things while they were in school. Who there friends were, what boys they liked what classes they enjoyed. See it goes on and on. The better the question the better and more the answers you will recieve. Try it ...good luck
S.V. answers from Houston on February 02, 2008
I have a 11 yr old son and a 3 yr old son. I used to work at a high school in Houston, Texas. I can tell you that by talking about your teenage yrs and about friends you had and have will help them talk to you about what they like to do or what to be in the future. I would tell my kids at the school about places I went to and concerts I went to with my friends and they like to hear that at one point I was cool just like them. That makes them want to share things with you and maybe concerns that they might not know how to deal with. It will help you understand them and give them the trust they want to share things with you. I hope you understand my point and hopefully it will help you some. Good luck!!!!
R.L. answers from Houston on February 02, 2008
You can't ask a teenager and open ended question like those. They just won't have an answer. It's better to ask specific questions. like how are you doing in math, do you like your english teacher, what day do you have gym, what songs are you singing in chorus....etc etc. You will get a much better response with specific questions. I'm sure you have an idea of what they are interested in, video games, comic books, a specific musician, sports person, actor etc. Read up on those topics and that will also be a good way to start a conversation. Teens like to talk about what they are interested in.
T.H. answers from Denver on February 05, 2008
Just a thought: Are you asking them these questions when your at home, or are you taking them somewhere?
If possible, it's always best to get out on your own with one of them, have fun and then you can ask some questions during that time.
They may not seem receptive to the thought at first if you haven't been doing this for awhile. Just look for something they might like (it may not be the same thing you would choose, but you usually can't go wrong with fast food and a movie of some sort).
If they aren't interested in that, try just getting involved in their world first, sit down and play a video game with them (again, this may not be your favorite thing to do, it's getting into their world).
Also I agree with the open ended questions. Very hard for teens. Once you've gotten into their world a little bit, you'll be able to sculpt your questions a little better.
Hope that helps. :)
N.B. answers from Houston on February 02, 2008
Try and get involved in what classes they sign up for in school. Make suggestions like "you would be good at acting, maybe you can take that theater/acting class" or "I think you would really enjoy taking that photography class". There are many different classes that lead to extra curricular activities. Like for example getting involved in a theater class might encourage your teen to try out for the school musical or play. There are so many classes offered at schools these days that lead to other activities such as sports, the outdoors, music, etc...