Writing help for older teens
I’ve been rereading your blog the last several weeks as I am new to Brave Writer. How do you enlist your teen’s interest in becoming a competent writer? My son is almost 17 and sees no purpose in writing because he believes he will not need to use it in his future (even though he isn’t sure what he wants to do). I have tried to persuade him – not in a lecturing way – but he just doesn’t see it. We read a lot. I have read aloud to him for years and he reads on his own, but not much for pleasure because he’s busy reading assigned stuff – including good literature.
I hope that’s enough background for you to answer (if you choose to).
My children and I have recently started having tea time and the really enjoy that – especially my younger two. The older one joins in on his own terms.
It’s pretty tough to get a seventeen year old to see anything that we think they should see. So it may be “too late” for the input to come from you. Is he planning to go to college? If so, he’ll need to write a college application essay. He’ll need to write essays for the SAT or ACT. Sometimes these are motivating enough to take a class or to work on the essay form. He may need to write for an application for scholarships or for an internship. These are real world needs and may be more motivating to him than academic purposes.
Also there is a difference between being motivated and not liking writing. Is it possible that he has never enjoyed writing so he doesn’t know that it can be enjoyable or even satisfying? If that is the case, then we can attack it from another angle. He may need to be given opportunities for writing that are pleasurable.
For instance, does he play online games? There are bulletin boards (forums) where gamers discuss their games. He can read and participate in these.
Perhaps he’d enjoy creative writing prompts or even the chance to use writing to promote his favorite films (through a blog or on his Facebook account).
Writing, for teens, has to be something they choose.
It’s nearly impossible to “get them” to write. So whenever you can, you want to focus on the real world and how writing fits into it. If they still refuse, you can feel good that you’ve made your case and that that same real world will either validate your concerns (and then your kid will suddenly want to write and may ask for help!) or you’ll find out that you were worried for nothing! (I actually had the latter experience with my son. Every time I forecasted doom for his future, his future changed and my dire predictions were false.)
By this stage, the best thing to do for your kids is to support them, give them guidance and then allow them to discover what it is they want and how to get there.