How to have fun with easy child? Ideas and suggestions wellcomed!

Discussion in 'The Watercooler' started by SuZir, Aug 26, 2012.

  1. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    I had a short retreat to our summer cottage, because everyone seemed to be miffed with me and I was miffed with everyone at home. I did manage to relax some and do some thinking. With husband I'm sticking my ground and it doesn't really bother me that difficult child is miffed, he has no reason to be and it is his own business in what timetable he is willing to get over it. I don't have to really deal with it, so that can be. But my sweet little easy child made me think. No, I'm not changing the plans when it comes his school work. He needs to keep up with his homework and I will insist it for now. He will not get a freedom to fall flat on his face just now, just because we had to let difficult child take care of his school work on his own terms in the same age. And that talk about me favouring difficult child is typical sibling rivalry nonsense. That will not get him anywhere fast.

    BUT he did made me think. I can see why he could think I don't appreciate him enough. That I always only nag and demand things from him even when he is doing such a good job with everything. To be honest; I do give him praise. A lot of it. I do tell him how happy I'm with him. But I could show it to him much more. And showing is much more important than telling.

    We have been a busy family a long time. Kids activities really made a challenging timetable and we dealt with it with dividing the responsibilities. Both of our sons did three sports a long time. husband took care of one of those sports for both (the one he liked the best himself, neither of our kids loved it best) and easy child's favourite sport and mostly his third sport. I did take care of difficult child's other two sports, school issues with both and music hobby for both. Now for easy child only school and one sport are left. His last year in music school was more or less forcing him to go through with it. While he did enjoy playing, didn't mind theory or band, it took time and he wasn't willing to practise that much. I wanted him to get to certain level before quitting. He did but that last year I needed to push him some. I tend to be a chore master around the house too. So my interaction with easy child has some time been a lot about demanding him to do something, nagging and pushing. Not like it was, when he was younger and when I played with him, he liked to help me with chores etc. We used to be very close, and while we still are reasonably close considering his age, I do feel we are not having much fun together any more.

    I go to watch his bigger games, but to be honest, he doesn't care (could care if I didn't though.) I also get it that he is busy and when he does have free time, he will rather spend it with friends. But I would like it, if I could sneak in some fun mommy and son time every here and there. And I could use some ideas how to do that.

    So after all the unnecessary chattiness to my point: Dear CD Members, how can I find ways to do fun things together with my lovely, busy, sweet sixteen son?

    PS: My doggie was ecstatic just to see me again and can't help showing his appreciation. Why can't my other men be more like him?
  2. witzend

    witzend Well-Known Member

    What does he like to do? Something unexpected for mom to join him in, I think. Paint ball?
  3. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    I read your post and since I only raised girls but did grow up with 3 brothers I thought to myself, geez, what do teenage boys really want to do with their Moms? My SO raised 2 sons, both of whom are great adult men, and so I asked him your question. His response was funny, "with his Mom?" he replied incredulously, recognizing at that age, their friends are their universe, not us. He then said, "how about taking him to a major league sports game?" Or, "How about taking him out for a banana split, you know, something not healthy." And, then he said, "do something he really likes to do, not SHOPPING!" Well, there you go, for what it's worth, from one guy about another guy............
  4. Andy

    Andy Active Member

    My difficult child is turning 16 next weekend. He will have his own car and keys within the month so I doubt I will see him much any more. I think I am on tap to help with AP History but he has really been pulling away these past few weeks, anxious to get going on his next step in freedom.

    A few years ago, I learned how to play Magic (a card game) so he has someone to play with when friends are not available. He likes me to take him to the game stores where he purchases more cards.

    My difficult child likes to go to zoos, car shows, fairs, pumpkin patches, ect. He also likes walked and bike rides. A trip to the local gas station for $1 ice cream cone is one of his favorites.

    They don't mind not being seen too much in public with mom as they are trying to prove to themselves and others that they are independent. My difficult child is struggling with making mom happy and becoming independent.

    Shopping for his clothes and being supportive of the look he wants to wear will go a long ways. Sporting events as stated above. Community events even though you give him $$$ for rides and meet up later to eat together.

    If he turns down a suggestion, don't take it personally, it is his age, not him speaking. Providing fun opportunities for him to get together with his friends will also have him looking at you as a great mom. At this point in his life, he wants to say, "my mom is great because she lets me.......?"
  5. Hound dog

    Hound dog Nana's are Beautiful

    Hmm. Most 16 yr old males don't want to be seen anywhere near Mom unless she has food in her hands.

    Depends. You have a cabin. Does he like to hike or fish or something. Autumn is a nice time to spend in a cabin doing outdoor things.
  6. InsaneCdn

    InsaneCdn Well-Known Member

    Teenaged males and Moms... Yes, I have a teenaged boy.

    Is he open to cooking together? If he helps with supper, or breakfast, or whatever meal you share, it provides good "chat" time too, in a non-pressured atmosphere. AND he learns (if he doesn't know already) skills he will need to look after himself when he leaves home.

    A friend of mine did this: Once each child reached 13, they got taken "out" once a week by Mom, for a mutual treat - Dairy Queen, the local coffee shoppe, the mall food court - anywhere to get a "drink and dessert" sort of thing. It provided an hour of uninterrupted "Mom time".

    Depending on how packed his schedule is, if he still likes music but just doesn't want to be on the performing end, can you take him to a good music concert - something that both of you like?

    In our house, the dogs belong to the kids - so, working together on a dog-grooming session is also good chat time.

    Does he get stressed out? Are you good at basic massage? Mine loves a good foot massage at the end of a long day, and enjoys chatting in the process.
  7. SuZir

    SuZir Well-Known Member

    Yes, for 16-year-old boys spending quality time with mom isn't in general very high in the list: 'Best ways to spend my time.' I get that, that is why I asked how to sneak some fun time together to his schedule. :bigsmile:

    It really doesn't help that he has a packed schedule as it is, so I can forget everything regular or big time commitments. Sports are also mostly out. We really don't have that kind of big, popular spectator sport leagues around here, where going to game would be so cool that it wouldn't matter it is with mom. We have one or two kind of spectator leagues, for other the tickets are quite cheap and easy child goes to games with friends when they have time. For the other one he can get free tickets easily and also goes with friends. And really, it is not that cool just to go to the game any more when your brother is one of the players and you know many others too. There are more irregular sporting events, that do have more cool factor and we do go as a family to many of those. But they often clash with easy child's own sport schedule and he can't come any more. For example there is one big one next weekend we have often attended, but easy child got himself selected for junior national practise tournament for the weekend, so now we have an extra ticket in our hands and will ask one of our godchildren instead.

    We do cook together at times, mostly to teach him skills and that is nice at times. At times it is a chore and to be honest, he isn't that often home, when cooking should be done. Music is something I could try. While he didn't want to continue in conservatoire any more, he still does play at times to amuse himself and his taste of music is wider than he usually would admit. If you ask, he tells he likes Mac Miller and DJ Khaled like all his friends but when they are not present he does listen also many other styles of music. He did play classical guitar and he does like especially more contemporary classical guitar music and other contemporary or interdisciplinary classical music. We do have a lot of small concerts of those and there is not much dread of being seen with mommy by friends in those, so maybe I should actively check anything he could be interested of and that would not clash with his schedule and ask him to join me. I can make it out as favour for me ('it's not fun to go alone and dad always threatens to fall asleep in these') and do some small bribery (his favourite restaurant afterwards or something.) I think I may well be able to sneak one or two that kind of events to his schedule during a fall.

    I also think I try to more actively invite him to have a coffee and snack with me in some café or other place when I pick him up from somewhere or bring something to him during the day. Most of time he probably will not have time or he doesn't want to, but the boy likes to eat. I'm sure I will catch him hungry enough to feel tempted to join me at times. Our kids are not allowed to drive before they are 18 and while he uses a public transportation and his bike a lot, we do also drive him to places and I could probably more actively offer to drive him instead of husband (who does most of that for him.)

    Thank you for ideas. More are still welcomed!
  8. recoveringenabler

    recoveringenabler Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Just to minimize your concern about time spent with your son, I was reading your post and remembering many years ago when my daughter was about 15, we ran into some "teenage snags" and we both went to a therapist trained in teen issues. It was very informal and different, since teens will often sit there sullen and indifferent while the parent is so earnest and involved. I can look back on it now and smile because now I know a lot more and that "face" they all seem to perfect, particularly the girls is priceless. Anyway, I was concerned because we were no longer spending "quality" time together, after being so close before, this teenage landscape didn't seem to have much room for me in it. The therapist told me to just try to sneak in a little time each week where she and I could connect, just like you are thinking about now. She said, at this point, provide her with a harbor where she knows she's moored but can safely venture out from. It allowed me to let go, something I now realize is so much a part of parenting anyway.

    I like the idea of going out for coffee and a snack when the timing works for both of you. Those impromptu moments which arise naturally are often the most treasured in our memories with our parents and children. Driving him to his events is another opportunity for that connection, I see that with my granddaughter who is also 16. Every now and again we have one of those moments where it all clicks in and she is available and engaged and we really connect. Those are very special for me.