Reply To: Son has no interest, no motivation. I’m out of ideas.

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I agree with a lot of what the others have said here but would like to add one more thing: I think that many times these kinds of issues (him preferring solitary time with video games instead of social activities, sports, etc.) are not “problems” for the kids, they are just problems for us parents. And until something is a problem for him (i.e. when he gets results or consequences he is not happy with), he will not be motivated to change or do things differently. The desire to change has to come from within him.

I know you want the best for him and you are just trying to help him. But remember: you are not always going to be around to “prod him” or control things in his life. It’s important that he learn how to motivate himself and make choices that get him the results he wants in his life. Will he fail if you don’t prod him about things? Maybe. But if he does, think of it this way: that’s how he will learn and grow to become an independent adult.

I think the best thing you can do for now is keep your relationship with him strong (find things to like about him, spend time together doing things he enjoys, etc.) so that when/if he gets to a point he wants to change something in his life, he’ll respect you and trust you enough to go to you for help and suggestions.

And in the meantime, you don’t have to “feel awful and helpless”. How you feel is a result of your thoughts so there is a way to feel better despite what he does or doesn’t do: by changing your thoughts. For example, instead of thinking that something is “wrong” and has to change and that you have to be the one to constantly prod him or to fix things, or that his life is going to be horrible if he keeps going the way he’s going….try thinking, “this is just him and when/if he’s ready, he’ll change.”

PS I had similar issues with my son when he was a teen. No amount of prodding etc. changed things. Years later, I asked him about it and here’s what he said, “Mom, I just had to get there on my own, in my own time.”

Hope this helps!

Joyce Mabe
Parenting Coach, school counselor, mom of adult son with ADHD, author