“How do I help my son enjoy summer when he refuses everything?”

Hi, welcome to Tips on Teens. My name is Kent Toussaint, licensed marriage and family therapist,
coming to you live on Facebook from Teen Therapy Center in Woodland Hills, California, where
we answer your parenting questions every Wednesday at noon. Today's question is, here we go.
My 12 -year -old son refused to go to summer camp this year, and now he complains that he is bored
all the time. We put restrictions on video games, but that's all he wants to do How do I help him
enjoy his summer when he says that he wants something to do but refuses everything? This is a
very common problem for many of my clients right now that I I work with It's pretty common. So
he's refused to go to camp. You want him to go to camp. You thought he had a great time He plays sports
do arts and crafts be in nature meet new friends But yeah, he doesn't want to do any of that. All
he wants to do is do this, right? So first of all, why doesn't he want to go to camp? A few different
reasons, I'm guessing. This

is just my speculation, just generalizing here. A couple reasons is he's scared. A lot of kids
are scared to go to camp because they're scared of that new environment. What if I'm not accepted?
What if no one likes me? What if I don't have fun? It's out of their comfort zone. They've never
experienced it. A lot of kids are really having a tough time with stepping out into new environments,
into trying new things, because they're scared that they can't control it. Because you can't
control new things. You have to be able to adapt to new things. Video games, you don't have to
adapt. You can always control. So they stay home, and they don't want to go hang out, and they
don't want to experience new things. And it's a problem. And we need our kids to experience new
things. And you may say, well, all right, if you're not going to go to camp, hang out with your
friends. They say, well, I am trying to hang out with my friends online, that's where my friends
are, on Minecraft, or Call of Duty,

or wherever that is. And then there's another problem, because that's not really engaging.
That's playing a video game while, you know, laughing at your friends, but it's not really a
face -to -face connection, communication, it's not really dealing with stuff. So you may say,
well, go hang out with your friends, and they say, but that's not what they're doing. No one wants
to do anything but play video games, which is not true because every client of mine who I talked
to about this I asked them if your friends asked you to hang out. Would you go and they said absolutely
But I'm not initiating it. And so a lot of kids don't have the experience of initiating social
contact I think it's something we need to help nurture with our children and a big part of it is
the fear of rejection for example story about me when I was about five years old we had just moved
to the San Fernando Valley and our next -door neighbors Mike and Todd were brothers were about
my age and we would hang out a lot in

the summer because we moved during the summer. One day I walked over to Mike and Todd's house
knocked on the door say hey can Mike and Todd play and they're like uh we're busy we're doing something
else. I was devastated oh my gosh they don't want to play with me I ran all the way home crying told
my parents you know my mom helped me you Mike and Todd's parents helped me and kind of helped me
realize they didn't hate me They just they were doing something else and it was my one of my first
memories of Feeling rejected but not because I'm a bad person but because they were doing something
else and it wasn't in the world They were still my friends. We hung out for years and years after
that. They were my friends But what I want to say why I'm bringing this up is it's important that
we have those experiences of reaching out into new Situations and finding out that someone
else can't hang out with us and we can we can survive that that's okay We can go to summer camp and
survive Someone not

liking us there or not being best friends with someone there We can survive these things and
it is important for our kids to Engage with this stuff and with if your kids at home because it's
probably too late to get him in camp He may need help in engaging with his friends. You may need
to get that parents phone number say hey my son wants to hang out with your son, how do I make that
work? Because maybe that mom is saying, yeah, it'd be great to get my kid off the computer. Let's
do this. And so your kid may feel uncomfortable with that because they've never done it. They're
so afraid that it's somehow going to lead to them being judged, criticized, and we have to help
our kids kind of break through that. So help your kids connect with other friends. Because no
more than likely, when they're saying, I'm bored, I'm bored, they want some kind of human connection.
And you say, I'm available. I'll hang out with my kid make sure that if you are trying to do something
that your kid's interested

in Doesn't have to be a video game. I know you're writing everything my kid only wants playing
video games It doesn't have to be a video game. Let me teach you how to play poker. Let's take the
dog for a walk Let's make a cake. Let's go on a hike, you know anything and even you're with your
kid says no Keep offering keep offering There's an American writer and philosopher named Robert
Peirsig. He wrote the art of Zen motorcycle maintenance. And one of his quotes is, boredom often
precedes a great sense of creativity. I'm kind of paraphrasing that. I can't remember exactly
how it is, but basically boredom precedes creativity. And we have to also let our kids be bored.
It's okay for them to be bored, even though they're uncomfortable and they're unhappy. Boredom
is okay. Boredom is a good skill to learn, because we're all bored at some time. There are times
when we don't have our devices to keep us company. And we need to be able to withstand that and
find new ways to adapt. And we always

have a screen in our hand. We don't learn to adapt. So hopefully this helps. Hopefully this experience
will help your son realize next year, maybe camp's a better idea. And you may want to get him involved
early next year in the planning of, hey, what are things you'd like to do? Would you like a coding
camp where you go and learn how to code, you know, computers, that may be an option as well. Find
something that is up his alley. What are his interests? Just because you think it'd be a fun camp
doesn't mean this. I mean, he thinks it's a fun camp. So, that's our question for the day. Again,
there's a lot of different avenues we can go down this road, but we only have a short time to talk
about it. If you have questions you'd like us to answer here on Tips on Teens every Wednesday
at 12, email us at tipsonteens at teentherapyscenter .com or just direct messages right here
on Facebook and we'd love to hear from you. I'll see you next Wednesday at 12 o 'clock. Bye bye.

For more info and past videos, please visit www.TeenTherapyCenter.com or join the conversation in our Facebook group @TipsOnTeens What do your kids do during the summer to keep busy? Are they trying to play video games all day long? How do you regulate it? This week’s #TipsOnTeens addresses this question as a parent is concerned about her 12 year old son’s refusal to go to summer camp while complaining about being bored. Here’s the question:

“My 12 year old son refused to go to summer camp this year and now he complains that he is bored all the time. We put restrictions on video games, but that’s all he wants to do. How do I help him enjoy his summer when he says that he wants something to do, but refuses everything?” To contact us by phone or email, please visit http://www.TeenTherapyCenter.com/Contact-Us

Tips On Teens is a vlog that our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint, hosts every Wednesday at 12:00pm on Facebook Live.  He will be answering parenting questions submitted to us by you to our email at TipsOnTeens@TeenTherapyCenter.com.  Send us any questions you might have about parenting kids and teens and Kent will be answering them every week!

Head on over to our Facebook page every Wednesday at 12:00pm to watch LIVE!  Check out our page here – https://www.facebook.com/TeenTherapyCenter/

If you have more questions or would like more information, please contact our Clinical Director, Kent Toussaint at 818.697.8555.