Sometimes, it’s really hard to think of something to do with a 12-year old boy, especially if you’re trying to find some way to connect with him. Let’s be honest, most boys aren’t interested in “connecting”–particularly with mom. But, I’ve found five ways to do just that with my son…
- Video-Game Day-Afternoon-Saturday Mornings. Ok. I know how this sounds. Kids play video games every day. They’re better at it than their aged parents (maybe), they aren’t playing the kinds of games we all used to play (can I hear it for Mortal Kombat!) and they definitely aren’t too jazzed about spending time with you on the ol’ playstation. But hear me out. If you approach it like a challenge (“I bet I can beat you at Mortal Kombat”) or maybe like a retro-video game afternoon (“Have I ever shown you the ancient games we used to play”), maybe your Boy-o will light-up. Mine sure did. We’re waiting for a night when dad’s got a meeting at work and Lil’ Miss is with the sitter…then we’re on. You can even turn it into something special you share on a weekly basis, like Saturday mornings. Before you know it, you’ll be bonding over Mario and Gallaga.
- Movie Night. Pick something you’ll both like. My husband likes the Cosmos series (me too, but don’t tell anyone, it’ll just add to my nerdiness). But our Boy? No way, Jose. So, if we want to have movie night, we pick something like Star Wars, X-men, or even Brave (he’s 12, not 15, so we can still get away with those “girly” movies). Not a lot of talking is going to happen. But you can pop some popcorn, sit down next to your boy, maybe bring a blanket to share. And soon, he might just lay his head down on your shoulder. You might have a moment. How cool!
- Lego-building. This can be the boring-est activity ever. But if your little man is into legos still or even if he’s not, this can be pretty awesome. Make a space, pull out the box of old legos (you must have some if you have a boy–all boys have SOME) and start building. On your own. See what happens. Your boy will totally want to know what in the world you’re doing. Pretty soon thereafter, he’ll be joining in. Need to have a chat about the birds-and-bees? Start building a birdhouse, that’ll start a conversation. Want to bond over nothing at all, start building a pineapple. Have fun. Your boy won’t be able to resist.
- Unicorn Poop Cookies. Or Inside-Out Smores. Or other “boy-cool” edibles. Try to come up with something a boy can really get into. They want to learn to cook. But they don’t want to be the one to actually have to do the cooking and they certainly don’t want to cook something boring like a roast or spaghetti. So, ask him if he wants to make a unicorn-poop cookie. He’ll love it. Or inside-out smores–again, he’ll think that’s hilarious and maybe, yeah, he’d like to learn how to make that with you…
- The Library. This is something I think every boy should discover–there’s comic books and boy-type-things at the library. Not just a zillion copies of Twilight. Even if your boy doesn’t like to read, they have a ton of other activities that he might just be into. There are DVD’s he can rent, there are lego-building-groups and all sorts of other things to discover.
My son is curious about EVERYTHING. So, it’s not too terribly hard to find something he might like to do with me if I just stop and think for a minute. I don’t mean he’s curious about things like heading down to the lake and trying to fish. Heck, I can hardly be patient enough to do that. He’s curious about things like building robots and making cookies–that kind of thing. Things one might consider “cool”. Exactly that which I am not. But, I can turn somethings into “cool” that we can bond over…so, even if this list isn’t for you and your son (maybe your kid is into fishing–who knows?!), just stop and think for a minute and you might come up with a few ideas just for you and him.