Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Teen vs. Mom: Life Priorities

I had a short talk with my son recently which revealed this. I double checked on the order today and figured this may make an insightful blog post.

The 15 year old's priorities at mid-year 10th grade 2012-2013:

1) girlfriend

2) friends

3) participation with varsity sport team (his main social outlet)

4) academic learning (homeschooling)

5) FIRST robotics competition team (a secondary social outlet)

6) Boy Scouts (this Troop is not a good fit for a social outlet)

Health is not on the list as he takes good health for granted and thinks he will live forever no matter what he eats, drinks, or doesn't eat or drink.

Mom's priorities for the 15 year old:

1) physical and mental wellness

2) academic learning (homeschooling)

3) robotics team (engineering or STEM is his desired career field and it's a social outlet)

4) participation with varsity sport team (fitness and a social outlet)

5) Boy Scouts (leadership, good clean fun, and is supposed to be a good social outlet)

6) friends (anything left over after doing all the other social outlets)

7) girlfriend (Note: she is a really good person and I like her a lot - so this is not personal - I'm thinking of my son's life as a long range plan and if any girlfriend now or in the future gets in the way of academics, I have a problem with that.)

This discrepancy between my son's list and my list surprised me but then I remembered that most teens, including my former teen self put friends and boyfriends above schoolwork and extra-curriculars. I thought maybe homeschooling and having a love of learning would put academics closer to the top but I am incorrect. I formerly thought that my hatred of school when I was a student was the cause of me putting friends first. According to psychologists putting friends first is a normal stage in development that is about separating from the parents to make one's own identity and part of the growing up process in the teen years. As to my son not loving all academic subjects or formal school learning methods: this kid has struggled with some aspects of learning and it is hard work for him, it's not easy and it's not fun and games. Who can blame him for enjoying doing things that are more fun which he achieves success at more easily?

Not yet on the list is a job. My son wants a job right now but can't figure out where he'd have time to do fit it in the schedule, so it is absent from his list at the moment.

1 comment:

Deborah said...

This is a great post. I read it to my 19-yo daughter (as she was working on a woodcut for her printmaking class) and she said "I like the son's list...I guess that's because I'm 19".