How can I help my young friend?
June 19, 2006 9:35 AM Subscribe
How does an adult start a meaningful dialogue with a pre-teen boy?
posted by pornucopia to human relations (63 answers total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
I'm a little worried about a pre-teen boy in my extended family. He is somewhat troubled. He has low self-esteem, and never wants to apply himself to anything whatsoever. Video games and TV are all he cares about. He has no friends at school... except for the boys who make him humiliate himself and laugh at him.
He's a second child with an older sister who is always the center of attention. The boy's father has told me that he really can't understand his son. I identify fairly strongly with the boy myself. Since he seems to look up to me, I thought it might be helpful to try having an earnest talk with him. I just don't know how to go about it without sounding all preachy. I know I hated preachy adults when I was his age.
Can anyone suggest approaches I could use? My current plan is to simply talk about life and school for a while, ask him about how he's doing with things, and then slowly try to sneak in some preachiness. I'm thinking of saying something like, "I hope I don't sound like I'm lecturing you. I hate being lectured, and I'm sure you do too. These are just some things I wish I had known when I was your age..."
Some things I'd like to impress upon him:
Video games are not everything
You really should try to learn stuff in school
Your parents aren't perfect, but are trying their best
You're approaching some very difficult years, but it gets way better after this
School is going to be a popularity contest pretty soon, and here are some ideas on how to handle that
God is dead and we are all alone
Ok, not that last one. Anyway... Please, let me know if you have any suggestions for relating to a young man in a non-preachy way.