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Inspiring a Teenager

Family, children, advice, schooling, finance for children, all things kids.
neversay
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Inspiring a Teenager

#365539

Postby neversay » December 12th, 2020, 10:18 pm

Our 13-year-old daughter has become phone-obsessed during lockdown. In part it is understandable as its a social lifeline with her friends as well as being a full media centre. However all the swiping, liking and messaging, come at an opportunity cost of all the other skills she could be gaining during that valuable time, like reading books, discovering more music, learning an instrument, etc. We do what we can as a family, have walks, talks, generally act as good role models, and provide all the necessary resources she could want, but that inspiration (and hence motivation) needs to come from her.

As I kid I remembered reading Tony Robbins' 'Awaken the Giant Within' which got me really pumped up to do self-improvement, although I don't know whether today's teenagers can relate to it. Has anyone out there been able to motivate a teenager (daughter or son) through a particular book or another approach?

dealtn
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Re: Inspiring a Teenager

#365603

Postby dealtn » December 13th, 2020, 9:47 am

Have you thought about The Scout Association, or The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme?

Itsallaguess
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Re: Inspiring a Teenager

#365607

Postby Itsallaguess » December 13th, 2020, 10:08 am

neversay wrote:
Has anyone out there been able to motivate a teenager (daughter or son) through a particular book or another approach?


Could it perhaps be at least part of the process, rather than you trying to define 'what else she should be doing', to maybe try to tackle it from the other direction at least some of the time, and maybe just identify a few regularly-set periods where you only define 'what she should not be doing' (phone-down time, etc..), and then let your daughter fill those gaps herself, rather than be directly led by you?

If you said Tuesday and Thursday nights were 'phone down' nights, but then step back and not go too far beyond that, and explain to her why it's important that this happens, then might it help her to try to find her own different interests, with your help and encouragement of course? It might start off with a few bored huffs and puffs, but I imagine kicking off the necessary thought processes would soon elicit at least some sort of movement in the direction you're wanting to head towards...

As someone with a son of a similar age, I do sympathise a great deal, although I've also been very encouraged that the vast majority of tech-time this year (phone, Xbox etc..) has generally been peer-group based, keeping in close contact with school and football friends, so I think acknowledging that side of things at this time is also important.

Could it also be worth having a chat with the parents of one or two of her close friends? I'm sure they're likely to have exactly the same concerns as you, and might be struggling to solve them in the same way you are, so perhaps collectively encouraging a regular non-tech shared activity might also help to deliver on your concerns here too?

Cheers,

Itsallaguess

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Re: Inspiring a Teenager

#365648

Postby AsleepInYorkshire » December 13th, 2020, 11:58 am

neversay wrote:Our 13-year-old daughter has become phone-obsessed during lockdown. In part it is understandable as its a social lifeline with her friends as well as being a full media centre. However all the swiping, liking and messaging, come at an opportunity cost of all the other skills she could be gaining during that valuable time, like reading books, discovering more music, learning an instrument, etc. We do what we can as a family, have walks, talks, generally act as good role models, and provide all the necessary resources she could want, but that inspiration (and hence motivation) needs to come from her.

As I kid I remembered reading Tony Robbins' 'Awaken the Giant Within' which got me really pumped up to do self-improvement, although I don't know whether today's teenagers can relate to it. Has anyone out there been able to motivate a teenager (daughter or son) through a particular book or another approach?

Our 13 year old daughter watches a great deal of TV. She keeps in close contact with her friends through her phone too. If I was asked for my opinion I'd say she probably watches too much TV and uses her phone too often. At the same time she does read books, do some art, bake a little and generally potter with other stuff. She has also helped on some of the work being done around the home.

She does well at school and is well thought of by her friends and teachers. I'd like to recant a story if I can. Recently she "overlooked" something. And the outcome of that oversight wasn't great to say the least. It was a genuine mistake. She was being human. She was told she would be grounded for a month. Her access to her phone, TV, laptop and music were removed. Her sleepover was also cancelled. We left her to digest everything for a morning. She was clearly extremely remorseful. There was no acting.

During the afternoon I spoke with her. She was informed that her privileges would be immediately reinstated and her sleepover wasn't cancelled. I also discussed with her that we all make mistakes and when we do we need to learn from them. And that can start by letting up on our self first. We need to forgive ourselves when we err. Hopefully our response was measured and gave her the opportunity to understand and reflect. We moved on.

It's been a strange year for all.

I suppose what I am saying is that the way "we" motivate is to inform. Every now and again (not to often) she is reminded how fortunate she is. She has food, shelter, warmth and a great deal more on top. She's reminded that her education is free and provides her with an opportunity to become independent in the future.

I wish I could answer your question more precisely and tell you that we found a book or something else which motivated her. She seems to take her motivation from the values she sees around her. She's kind, thoughtful, hard working and torments her parents at times :)

AiY

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Re: Inspiring a Teenager

#365649

Postby moorfield » December 13th, 2020, 11:59 am

neversay wrote:Our 13-year-old daughter has become phone-obsessed during lockdown. In part it is understandable as its a social lifeline with her friends as well as being a full media centre. However all the swiping, liking and messaging, come at an opportunity cost of all the other skills she could be gaining during that valuable time, like reading books, discovering more music, learning an instrument, etc. We do what we can as a family, have walks, talks, generally act as good role models, and provide all the necessary resources she could want, but that inspiration (and hence motivation) needs to come from her.



Unfortunately I do think those activities need to be instilled from a younger age and before the tech arrives. For parents of younger children I'd strongly suggest not dishing out the smartphones before end of primary school (shocking actually how many Y5/6s seem to have them these days), and even until Y8/9 if possible. Our three (now) teenagers had old cheap Nokias initially, not the coolest but they understood they we're for getting hold of us when needed, and they were (although not explicitly stated) of course expendable if trashed, nicked or lost. As a compromise we had ONE tablet at home which could be shared for any apps etc. they wanted to use with their mates. The smartphones have since arrived at the start of lockdown, with a firm understanding that they will be back on their old Nokias if trashed, nicked, lost, data tariff blown up, or suspect internet content consumed. As far as future school work is concerned, you may also want to consider bribery :) - £10 per GCSE grade is on offer (ie. 11 grade 9s = £990, with a £10 bonus to round that up to £1k) which can be spent as desired. I'll be more than happy to watch that be p****d against a wall any mistakes will be theirs to own but they'll learn something about spending their hard-earned I hope.

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Re: Inspiring a Teenager

#365672

Postby kempiejon » December 13th, 2020, 1:26 pm

It's a long time since I was a teenager and I never bothered to grow my own but as a casual observer it's across all ages though perhaps focused on the young. The idea of a digital detox has taken on, several of my peers have tried to go a month without 'gram, twit, bookface et al. Pre lockdown I'd heard of the challenge where a group go for dinner and put their phones on the table agree not to look at them; whoever fails first is to pick up the tab. The Netflix documentary Social Dilemma highlights how the online social platforms are manipulating and creating a dependence. Some silicon valley execs see the harm and have banned/limited their kids exposure
Tech addiction is compared to that of a drug. It pulls users into their devices as a result of tech engineers re-programming the brain to play on “biologic imperatives” eliciting rewardable responses. Strategies such as photo tagging, notifications, and constant refresh, among others, affect users’ dopamine levels. Younger generations, the experts argue, are especially vulnerable. Kids, teenagers, and young adults living online are incentivized to chase false and unattainable images of perfection while hunting validation, leaving people emptier than before the short-term “fix.”
https://thefederalist.com/2020/09/28/ne ... lley-bias/
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wants his children to ‘stop and smell the flowers’ rather than spend all their time on social media

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/family/pare ... -kids-use/

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Re: Inspiring a Teenager

#365684

Postby Urbandreamer » December 13th, 2020, 1:49 pm

Does anyone else find it ironic that we are critically discussing others (a 13 year old) using social media ON social media?

One of my daughters use to read a lot as a teenager, something that I think very important. She also use to write and post fan fiction. She used a laptop to do that. Lot's of people read books on a smartphone, though it's not the best hardware for doing so. I bought both my daughters a Kobo and had an ebook bookshelf full of books as well as shelves of paper books.

I'd like to question if "screen time" is really the issue or if it's actually the content on the screen that we should think about.

Not sure if the book "The ship who searched"* influenced her, but now in her 20's she's not phased by managing her share portfolio herself.

*It's a SF book in a series, rightly critisised for attitudes to disability. However in addition to piloting a space ship the POV character invests and makes a mint. Books introduce you to many different ideas, even in fiction.

neversay
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Re: Inspiring a Teenager

#366100

Postby neversay » December 14th, 2020, 2:41 pm

All - thank you for your replies. We were on a family walk yesterday and I didn't get notification of responses, so apologies for the delay.

dealtn wrote:Have you thought about The Scout Association, or The Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme?


@dealtn - she was a member of scouts all the way through but has dropped it during the pandemic, but probably will return and most definitely will be doing Duke of Edinburgh. She also plays for a good football team with Monday training and Saturday matches. She will also go for socially distanced walks with friends where they cover some miles, plus she likes to cook and bake. So she's not without activities, but as the scope of opportunities has narrowed the boredom, no, 'lack of direction', has crept in.

Itsallaguess wrote:Could it perhaps be at least part of the process, rather than you trying to define 'what else she should be doing', to maybe try to tackle it from the other direction at least some of the time, and maybe just identify a few regularly-set periods where you only define 'what she should not be doing' (phone-down time, etc..), and then let your daughter fill those gaps herself, rather than be directly led by you?

If you said Tuesday and Thursday nights were 'phone down' nights, but then step back and not go too far beyond that, and explain to her why it's important that this happens, then might it help her to try to find her own different interests, with your help and encouragement of course? It might start off with a few bored huffs and puffs, but I imagine kicking off the necessary thought processes would soon elicit at least some sort of movement in the direction you're wanting to head towards...

As someone with a son of a similar age, I do sympathise a great deal, although I've also been very encouraged that the vast majority of tech-time this year (phone, Xbox etc..) has generally been peer-group based, keeping in close contact with school and football friends, so I think acknowledging that side of things at this time is also important.

Could it also be worth having a chat with the parents of one or two of her close friends? I'm sure they're likely to have exactly the same concerns as you, and might be struggling to solve them in the same way you are, so perhaps collectively encouraging a regular non-tech shared activity might also help to deliver on your concerns here too?


That's a good suggestion on the inversion of time. We always eat together with no devices and do a family movie on the weekends. She and I just watched the Unabomber and OJ Simpson Trial series on Netflix which has been good for stimulating discussion.

You are also right on the peer group. Her friend group has had some difficulties, there's no doubt in my mind that's due to clumsy communication through devices and the absence of other channels of friend time. She has been let down by a couple of once-trusted friends and I think the pressure of wanting to be connected and involved, while not wanting to miss anything is driving some of the compulsion.

AsleepInYorkshire wrote:Our 13 year old daughter watches a great deal of TV. She keeps in close contact with her friends through her phone too. If I was asked for my opinion I'd say she probably watches too much TV and uses her phone too often. At the same time she does read books, do some art, bake a little and generally potter with other stuff. She has also helped on some of the work being done around the home.

She does well at school and is well thought of by her friends and teachers. I'd like to recant a story if I can. Recently she "overlooked" something. And the outcome of that oversight wasn't great to say the least. It was a genuine mistake. She was being human. She was told she would be grounded for a month. Her access to her phone, TV, laptop and music were removed. Her sleepover was also cancelled. We left her to digest everything for a morning. She was clearly extremely remorseful. There was no acting.

During the afternoon I spoke with her. She was informed that her privileges would be immediately reinstated and her sleepover wasn't cancelled. I also discussed with her that we all make mistakes and when we do we need to learn from them. And that can start by letting up on our self first. We need to forgive ourselves when we err. Hopefully our response was measured and gave her the opportunity to understand and reflect. We moved on.

It's been a strange year for all.

I suppose what I am saying is that the way "we" motivate is to inform. Every now and again (not to often) she is reminded how fortunate she is. She has food, shelter, warmth and a great deal more on top. She's reminded that her education is free and provides her with an opportunity to become independent in the future.

I wish I could answer your question more precisely and tell you that we found a book or something else which motivated her. She seems to take her motivation from the values she sees around her. She's kind, thoughtful, hard working and torments her parents at times


It's useful to hear other experiences. We shouldn't complain really - our daughter is straight-A student, has never been in trouble, is a nice personality and grateful for her lot. It's our first 'teenager' though so we have adopted the brace position! She's excited about choosing GCSEs and asking questions about career choices... although we still have some way to go when she asks "Dad, is £300,000 a year a good salary?" :)

moorfield wrote:Unfortunately I do think those activities need to be instilled from a younger age and before the tech arrives. For parents of younger children I'd strongly suggest not dishing out the smartphones before end of primary school (shocking actually how many Y5/6s seem to have them these days), and even until Y8/9 if possible. Our three (now) teenagers had old cheap Nokias initially, not the coolest but they understood they we're for getting hold of us when needed, and they were (although not explicitly stated) of course expendable if trashed, nicked or lost. As a compromise we had ONE tablet at home which could be shared for any apps etc. they wanted to use with their mates. The smartphones have since arrived at the start of lockdown, with a firm understanding that they will be back on their old Nokias if trashed, nicked, lost, data tariff blown up, or suspect internet content consumed. As far as future school work is concerned, you may also want to consider bribery - £10 per GCSE grade is on offer (ie. 11 grade 9s = £990, with a £10 bonus to round that up to £1k) which can be spent as desired. I'll be more than happy to watch that be p****d against a wall any mistakes will be theirs to own but they'll learn something about spending their hard-earned I hope.


You are spot on. However we are guilty of being more liberal with the tech and our house is jammed full of the stuff. :oops: In normal times the balance was good with plenty of school activities, family outings and the whole family on a good routine. We have been fortunate she has always done her schoolwork without question and so far it has been a 'walk in the park'. My broader concern was whether she had found it too easy and that having to face some adversity would help her develop fortitude. I still like the bribe idea but at present she's on track to fleece me for the £1k, but there's still a long way to go.

kempiejon wrote:It's a long time since I was a teenager and I never bothered to grow my own but as a casual observer it's across all ages though perhaps focused on the young. The idea of a digital detox has taken on, several of my peers have tried to go a month without 'gram, twit, bookface et al. Pre lockdown I'd heard of the challenge where a group go for dinner and put their phones on the table agree not to look at them; whoever fails first is to pick up the tab. The Netflix documentary Social Dilemma highlights how the online social platforms are manipulating and creating a dependence. Some silicon valley execs see the harm and have banned/limited their kids exposure


@kempiejon, you are right with these observations. We watched the Social Dilemma with her, and I always go on about privacy concerns, but while she 'got it' the message was like 'water off a duck's back'. The reason being that kid's social lives are so highly connected that the fear of missing out appears to be excruciating. I guess on that front there are two extreme responses - either (i) to make them go cold-turkey which can backfire, make them want it more and be resentful for the social exclusion, or (ii) to saturate them such that eventually the whole pointless stream of garbage and drama becomes boring and they grow out of it. This has happened to a couple of neighbour's children who just got bored of it.

Urbandreamer wrote:Does anyone else find it ironic that we are critically discussing others (a 13 year old) using social media ON social media?

One of my daughters use to read a lot as a teenager, something that I think very important. She also use to write and post fan fiction. She used a laptop to do that. Lot's of people read books on a smartphone, though it's not the best hardware for doing so. I bought both my daughters a Kobo and had an ebook bookshelf full of books as well as shelves of paper books.

I'd like to question if "screen time" is really the issue or if it's actually the content on the screen that we should think about.

Not sure if the book "The ship who searched"* influenced her, but now in her 20's she's not phased by managing her share portfolio herself.

*It's an SF book in a series, rightly criticised for attitudes to disability. However, in addition to piloting a space ship the POV character invests and makes a mint. Books introduce you to many different ideas, even in fiction.


That's the thing. Our daughter was an avid reader through her junior school days and into secondary school. I can understand now that she just wants 'down time' after school and homework, plus to keep in touch with friends, but it's generally directionless. Now she has got access to all the ebooks she could ever want to read but we're struggling to re-create the days of when she devoured all the Harry Potter books, Maze Runner or the Hunger Games trilogy. Thanks for 'The ship who searched' tip. I feel that sooner or later she'll find such a title that will have an effect on her.

The original question here was about finding a spark to reignite her passions for reading, hobbies or any other interest. Much of which has arisen because of the malaise we have all experienced while dealing with the constraints of this unusual year. We have done our best throughout to make it special - outdoor movies, camping in the garden, marshmallows, you name it, games nights etc. - but running out of new ideas and even the 'special' things have become a bit mundane now.

So a corresponding question I was going to ask is really what 'family life' is like for everyone these days?

It's a first-world question as, we are very fortunate to be in a safe, healthy and moderately 'wealthy' position - and this is certainly not a complaint. But while we are afforded all the media, food, gadgets, accommodation and everything else, the inability to travel and the absence of social events has made it all a bit flat - despite our extreme efforts. Are other families experiencing this fatigue?

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Re: Inspiring a Teenager

#366122

Postby Urbandreamer » December 14th, 2020, 3:55 pm

neversay wrote:That's the thing. Our daughter was an avid reader through her junior school days and into secondary school. I can understand now that she just wants 'down time' after school and homework, plus to keep in touch with friends, but it's generally directionless. Now she has got access to all the ebooks she could ever want to read but we're struggling to re-create the days of when she devoured all the Harry Potter books, Maze Runner or the Hunger Games trilogy. Thanks for 'The ship who searched' tip. I feel that sooner or later she'll find such a title that will have an effect on her.

The original question here was about finding a spark to reignite her passions for reading, hobbies or any other interest. Much of which has arisen because of the malaise we have all experienced while dealing with the constraints of this unusual year. We have done our best throughout to make it special - outdoor movies, camping in the garden, marshmallows, you name it, games nights etc. - but running out of new ideas and even the 'special' things have become a bit mundane now.

So a corresponding question I was going to ask is really what 'family life' is like for everyone these days?


We only have one "child" left at home. He is 16 and rarely seen, so I can't offer you a comparison.

Books and series to re-kindle the spark?

Well my youngest daughter liked the Casandra Clare books (though I couldn't see what she saw in them).
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lady-Midnight- ... 152&sr=8-1

Gail Carriger writes several series and off shoots set in a steampunk Victorian London with Werewolves and Vampires. Some are for younger readers
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B00 ... kin_p1_i10
and some, you may just want to vet first.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/gp/product/B01 ... tkin_p3_i2

To be honest there is a ton of good or even just enjoyable books out there.
How about getting her started with a novela or short story.
ie. here is one
https://www.amazon.co.uk/Penrics-Missio ... 161&sr=8-2

Finally, have you considered sharing an Audiobook?
In my opinion there are many that could be enjoyed by parent and young adult.
Ie
https://www.audible.co.uk/pd/Under-a-Gr ... 4X63HHH0NZ


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