Teenage Inspiration


Well-Known Member
Hi Folks, I'm after some ideas to help motivate my 15 year old son. He's just started his Gcses and is fairly academic, but just does enough to get by. When he's at home, he's either on his Xbox or his bmx. He has a bit of talent for art, and knows his way around a computer, and graphics/web design would be the obvious route, but he doesn't really know what he wants to do.

A lot of you are at or just out of Uni - what, if anything, inspired you at that age? Are there any books, dvds, or online stuff you could recommend to help? Are there any sites out there that are a helpful guide for which route to follow?

Any advice would be welcome before I resort to the usual combination of bullying and bribery! :icon_smile:
Haha. The bullying and bribery route might be the way to go.

When I was 15 or 16 I was fairly academic then my parents thought I'd "failed my GCSEs" (1 A, 4 B's and 10 C's - clearly had higher expectations). They sat me down and had a printout from a college BTEC Graphic Design ND course and were like "Look, if you hate school and don't want to do it, how does this appeal? We know you like your computers/designing things etc" (at the time I was really into making computer generated art etc).

So, that worked for me. Took the step, went to college, onto Uni, graduated, started to set up my own business. That's all there was to it.
Link his interest in the Xbox/BMX (teenagers, huh? - it was girls and guitars when I was a kid) to graphic/computer generated design.
From your post I can relate to your son as I was the same at his age BMX & xbox, parents pushing me to 'do something' with my life (they called it encouraging but that's not how it was from where I was sitting). If you sit him down and ask him what he'd like to do with his life, does he grunt an shrug his shoulders? That doesn't mean he doesn't know or doesn't care but more likely he feels like you've already decided on the correct answer and you'll belittle his thoughts on the subject. Don't push him to do something you think he might be good at but encourage him in what he's already doing and let him feel he can have his own ideas on the future! Focus your time on taking an interest in his interests & being proud of his talents and achievements, rather than stressing yourself and him out with bully tactics (they really don't work). If he's riding BMX what about encouraging him to enter a competition or two? He might do well or he might break his leg but at least he'll feel you're being supportive of him he might open up to you a bit about his ideas on his future.

At the end of the day, He's only 16! He's got another 50 odd years to carve his way in life.

btw... ask him if he's seen the Dane Searls video Giants of Dirt. you might enjoy watching it with him.
For me at actually WAS the games that got me into graphic design. I used to mess around on games, got into an online gaming community, and started making logos, forum sigs, banners etc. They were dreadful of course but from that I found out more about graphic design and here we are. so just embrace it, and work with it. Nothing cooler than a parent who takes an interest in their kids hobbies rather than trying to alter them.
Good post.

I did A-levels, German, I.C.T, Art and Design Technology. At that point I didn't really have any idea what I wanted to do. I was good at German and I.C.T, and enjoyed Art and Design Tech. I think at 1 point I thought of being a German IT Technician or something stupid.

After A-Levels I took a year off and went to Australia. I assumed that whilst I was traveling, it would hit me. It did not. A year later, I got back, had no job and no money so my mum took me to the job centre, and good god, if anything will make you make a decision about what you want to do with your life, it's being sat in a job centre, surrounded by lazy deadbeats you went to school with. I mean these people were suspended on a monthly basis, had kids at the age of 14, smoked, did drugs etc..

Before it even got to my turn, I stood up and walked out. Later that day I enrolled onto a BTEC National Diploma in Graphic Design. Good decision!
Haha Arrivals! I hear ya bro! The job centre is the waiting room for hell. I signed on last summer (you might as well get free money while you can't find a job) and it just made me so determined to never have to rely on that crappy system.
The GCSE is a stepping stone. Try and make him realise that by getting past that stepping stone (and not having to waste time retaking) he'll be one step closer to doing the things he'd really like to be doing (and enjoying a decent quality of life). I know - easier said than done.