Does Your 13-Year-Old Son Not Want to do Anything?

Does your 13-year-old son not want to do anything? If this is the case, it can be pretty concerning as a parent. there are many things you can do to get him more active. At this age, he should be the most active he has ever been in his life, learning and exploring new things every day.

This is typically a symptom of your teenage son not finding anything he truly enjoys engaging in. If you are interested and engaged in something, it wakes you up in the morning, you think about it throughout the day, and you even push through things you don’t like because you’re excited.

Many teens, especially ones that don’t try new things, have a much more difficult time finding things they enjoy or are passionate about.

Finding Something That Interests Him

If your 13-year-old son does not want to do anything, he needs to first start by finding something he is interested in. It could be action figures, a sport, or an instrument. An easy way to find out what you enjoy doing is by asking yourself, “what activity makes the time fly by?”

Chances are if you try to start a conversation like this with a 13-year-old boy, he’s going to want you to leave him alone. If that’s the case, you are going to have to find out yourself what he enjoys doing.

This can be pretty tricky, specially if he does not engage in regular activity. The two simple ways to find what interest him is to watch his behavior, and talk with him about certain topics.

Talk With your 13-Year-Old

If you get a teen talking about something they are really interested in, they will talk your ear off. This is a good way to find out what get’s your 13-year-olds heart rate up. Talk about sports, politics, birds, everything. See what get’s them to open up.

Here is a fairly comprehensive list of things that could interest them at that age.

  • Sports
  • Food
  • Playing an Instrument
  • Art
  • Computer programming
  • Reading
  • Film
  • History
  • Traveling
  • Science
  • E-Sports (Competitive Video Games)
  • Animals
  • Religion
  • Skateboarding
  • Philanthropy
  • Climate Change
  • Entrepreneurship

This list could be infinite but those are the most common ones for teens today. If you’ll notice, a few of them are bolded. I’ve bolding some of these activities because they are both engaging to teens and it will benefit them in the future.

Have conversations with your teen about which of these activities sparks their interest.

Does Your 13-Year-Old Son Not Want to do Anything

Get Them Involved

An even better option than just talking with them to find their interest, you can take it a step further. Get your teen involved in as many activities as possible. How is he going to find out what interests him if he does not try different things?

Every opportunity he has to try something new, encourage it. Hear there is a chorus group forming at his school, get him signed up. Debate team signups? See if he is interested. Anything that really breaks the boring norm and gets him doing something new.

Some students get into this boring rhythm of school 5 days a week then video games and tv on weekends. Rinse, repeat. There are countless amount of activities to break out of this norm, find one that your son will enjoy and get him hooked.

Create a list of activities you can do with him every week. It is your job to make sure he is stimulated in different ways every week. This week, go hiking with him, next week take him to a young entrepreneur conference, week after that go on a minivacation. Your 13-year-old son needs his life to be interesting again.

Speaking of traveling, traveling is one of those activities that really opens a teen’s eyes. When you’ve only been on the earth for 13 years, chances are you will be pretty narrow minded. They just haven’t seen much or experienced much of the world.

St. Augustine has a beautiful quote about traveling, “The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”

Traveling can be difficult for families on a tight budget but traveling does not have to be expensive. Watch this detailed video on how to travel with a family on a budget.

It is a Phase

My daughter when she was 14 did nothing for 2 years but go to school, study, and watch an ungodly amount of Netflix. At 16 she started going out with her friends and being more active. It could just be a phase they are going through.

If they are absolutely refusing to get involved in age-appropriate activities, you may just need to give them space to get through this sedentary phase in their life. Just make sure they are watching their health and safety as some teens become obese during this “phase” in their life.

Final Thoughts

Although it may feel like your 13-year-old son may not want to do anything but, in reality, they just haven’t found anything worth doing. They may be tired of doing the same things over and over without a single activity that really inspires them.

As parents, it is our job to encourage our teenagers to look for their passion. We can facilitate this by getting them involved in as many activities as possible. Before you know it, they’ll find that one thing that they simply can’t get over or away from.

Some teens experience depression during these ages at that may be the reason they don’t want to do anything. If that is the case please contact the SAMHSAs National Helpline for professional guidance on what steps to take if you believe your teen is depressed.