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View Full Version : Making a Maker... anyone succeed in getting their kids interested?



fixerdave
12-25-2016, 08:06 PM
First off, there's an old thread here: http://bbs.homeshopmachinist.net/threads/40125-Suggestions-how-to-introduce-metalworking-to-children

Interesting, but it kind of went sideways at the end and I didn't want to revive that. So I'll very loosely paraphrase:

Kids sitting in the shop notice more than you think
Have projects with results they can take home that day
Wood is a good start, then blacksmith (fire and hammer), then machines.
Taking stuff apart is good.

Then, there's the whole nature verses nurture debate that kind of morphs into the idea that even so-inclined kids still need the exposure, and how to get them interested in that while competing against video games et.all.

So, anyone succeed? What worked? What didn't work?

Me, my kid is now 6. When he was younger and still sitting is a stroller, I could give him a tablet to play with and I'd get an hour of shop time, at least some quiet stuff. I was starting to think my kid believed all I did in the shop was clean ;) These days, he knows that if he complains then we wrap it up, so I get maybe 5 min. I've been very careful to not make "shop time" anything negative. Never forced him to stay. Sigh... it is not going well.

He loves watching videos of trains, books on trains, and he like playing with his toy trains, though doesn't particularly show much interest in running said trains on tracks. I have enough plarail and lego duplo track to go around our entire condo (seriously). He'll stand there at his computer watching a train video while toy trains run around his feet. He's a tough nut to crack.

He has Rubbermaid tubs full of lego... I keep buying it, he barely shows interest. He does like playing with the firetrucks or planes I've assembled for him. The best I can say is that he's at the point now where he will patiently wait, and sometimes watch, and for a few moments actually help, me do the assembly. He has other assembly type toys and fake hand tools that he shows no interest in.

My new tactic is subterfuge... I joined the local model engineer's society and am working on getting him addicted to driving trains... yeah... train pusher I am. I'll admit it. The intent is to get him to, one day, say "Daddy, let's go to the shop and work on the train." He does like driving the train. I might win this one, maybe.

http://i1281.photobucket.com/albums/a507/fixerdave/IMG_20161211_121135_zps3ab4vd3h.jpg

So... should I keep trying the way I've been going or just give up and let him scream in the shop until he learns to like it... or ELSE! ;)

And, yes, I'm a little jealous of Mattthemuppet,

David...

kf2qd
12-25-2016, 08:34 PM
Your kid may not yet be old enough to be a maker. And it is possible that he may never be interested in being a maker. Or it might take some maturity for him to desire to make. In the meanthime, find things he enjoys, and that you enjoy, and enjoy doing those things with him. He is an individual, unique human being and, while he he may not ever take an interest in all aspects of your habby, share with him when he will listen and youmay find that someday later he will want to learn some of these skills.

David Powell
12-25-2016, 09:15 PM
Your kid may not yet be old enough to be a maker. And it is possible that he may never be interested in being a maker. Or it might take some maturity for him to desire to make. In the meanthime, find things he enjoys, and that you enjoy, and enjoy doing those things with him. He is an individual, unique human being and, while he he may not ever take an interest in all aspects of your habby, share with him when he will listen and youmay find that someday later he will want to learn some of these skills.

I am wonderfully blessed, Both my children became interested in their early years, and they still are. My neighbour for 30 years had two children, and despite his and my efforts to interest them, neither of them have the slightest interest in our hobbies which encompass, model engineering, antique car restoration, home machine shop for profit and others as the fancy takes us. The only advice I dare give is, just be yourself,If your son takes an interest then encourage it, if he does not then encourage him to become good at whatever interests him and enjoy your shop time by yourself. Regards David Powell.

fixerdave
12-25-2016, 09:53 PM
... and enjoy your shop time by yourself. Regards David Powell.

CRY!!! that's the whole point. I can't... I have to watch my kid. I'll admit it... I'm selfish. I want him to enjoy the shop so that I can too. I'm lucky if I can get a half day a week in the shop. Right now, I have 10 days off work for the winter break. So, my wife goes full-time at work and my kid's off school, and here I sit. ARGH! The best I can get is banging my head on the computer, learning to draw in Inventor.

I'm sitting here doing the math... 52 weeks a year, maybe 40 shop days, another 8 years before my kid grows up and doesn't want anything to do with me besides being a cash and taxi service... I barely get enough time in the shop to maintain the shop. Motorcycles just sitting there... van and car falling apart. ALL those projects calling to me. Sigh... (Oh, my shop is across town from where I live... makes it worse).

Yes, I love my kid. Yes, I treasure the time we have together. We went for a hike today and it was great. Yes, I encourage him to explore and succeed at the things he shows an interest in. I do try to be a good Dad. Honest. But... am I such a bad Dad for wanting to find a way to get him interested in hanging around the shop? Even if I have to be sneaky about it?

There has to be a way :confused:

David...

danlb
12-25-2016, 10:05 PM
When my kids were young (late 1970s, early 1980s) I managed to play with some of the early consumer grade computers such as the sinclair 80, atari 400, etc. So the kids grew up knowing that you could make them do things. I liked gadgets, so we had CB radios, video games and home computers before they were "the thing". I had limited space and limted budget, so I had virtually no tools.

Fast forward to 1990. Neither of them had any interest in making things, but both had their own computers (which they helped assemble) and were active on the forums of the day.

Today one of them is in the technical field (a computer geek) , the other has become an artist. The artist makes "artisan jewelry" using small baubles from bygone ages.

There is no way to tell how kids will develop, nor what their interests will be.

RB211
12-25-2016, 10:10 PM
I think my son will be, I cannot go into the garage without him demanding to go too. What ever I touch, he has to, and he learns very quickly what tool is used for what just by watching. Unfortunately, my shop is not safe for a 2 year old, too many things that spin with no guards, too many sharp things, too many oily things laying around. At least I put all the poisonous stuff into a cabinet.
http://uploads.tapatalk-cdn.com/20161226/0193f3fd864dfdb8c86a245811ea9bec.jpg


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danlb
12-25-2016, 10:24 PM
Careful with that RB211.

My youngest son (now an artist) was playing with his toys in the garage as I worked on my motorcycle. I was called away for a few minutes, and when I came back he had my wrenches carefully spread out on the floor, sorted by length. Well, all except the one that was now hanging off the bolt that clamped the axle of the front tire to my motorcycle.

Who would have expected a 3 year old kid to be able to back off a 12mm bolt several full turns?

Dan

mattthemuppet
12-25-2016, 10:34 PM
that's a tough one. I only have a sample of 2 - one who loves mechanical stuff, the other who is more girly but still likes making stuff. I'm not sure any advice I could give would be very useful as every child (and their relationship with their parents) is different, but here's how I went about it. First, get them involved in everyday stuff, like RB above. That way it's familiar and tools/ machines are part of everyday life. If something breaks, fix it with them or for them. Second, follow their lead whenever possible, it has to be something they're interested in (presents for mum is a winner in my experience). Third, give it time. I've been trying since Sophie could toddle and it's only been the last couple of Christmases that she's been the driver of the project (she's nearly 11). The rest of the time she's had the idea and I've done most of the work, as she got bored quickly.

As David said, you can't force it. Kids will do want you want to please you, but if their heart's not in it they'll end up feeling guilty for not really wanting to do it.

And I feel for you about the limited shop time. I get an hour a week or so during the semester and then go bonkers during the holiday to catch up. Sometimes I just go out there, drill a hole and then go to bed. Still, at least we have shops! Every little bit helps :)

fixerdave
12-25-2016, 10:57 PM
I think my son will be, I cannot go into the garage without him demanding to go too. What ever I touch, he has to, and he learns very quickly what tool is used for what just by watching. Unfortunately, my shop is not safe for a 2 year old, too many things that spin with no guards, too many sharp things, too many oily things laying around. At least I put all the poisonous stuff into a cabinet. ...

Yeah, I was a volunteer Big Brother a long time ago... we were putting together some soapbox derby cars for a fundraiser and the fairly new baby of another guy was there. One thing led to another and I ended up watching the kid for a while... he was plunked down on the board while I was spinning on nuts (it was a kit-car thing). Within a minute, it was clear he wanted to try... couldn't talk yet, but I got the idea. Within a minute or two, he got my circular pantomime to spin it in the right direction. Another few minutes and he was using a wrench. 5 minutes after that he refused to allow me to do any of them. Yeah... my kid's not like that.

I will say, to my advantage, that my kid is extra careful. The worst he's done to himself is nick a finger while reaching up inside a printer. Well, a few skinned knees over the years. But, he doesn't grab stuff, never burnt himself on the stove. Only kid I know that actually backs off and stares when you say "be careful." Always been that way. It's enough of a thing that I worry my wife and I will get complacent and he'll end up getting hurt on something stupid.

David...

RichR
12-25-2016, 11:55 PM
These days, he knows that if he complains then we wrap it up, so I get maybe 5 min.

Congratulations, you've lost. Your child is now in charge. My friend had the same problem. We would want to go sailing or work on his sailboat
but he also had to watch over his two boys. We started by teaching them that whiners get nothing. If they behaved, we would do something
they wanted when we were done with the boat.

mickeyf
12-26-2016, 12:26 AM
My son didn't really care much about mechanical things until he was in his 30's. But now he takes an interest.

fixerdave
12-26-2016, 12:48 AM
Congratulations, you've lost. ...

Honestly, I've thought of that. With most things, he does as he's told and has learned that pulling the little tantrum routine is a fast way to getting everything he really doesn't want, at least with Dad. But, I've been extra careful with the shop... because I want him to like it, not put up with it.

So, I take it your vote is for "or just give up and let him scream in the shop until he learns to like it... or ELSE!" ?

I mean... that is an option. Just give up on him liking it and making him learn to put up with it. If he's got Maker in him, it might just come out if he's bored stiff otherwise. Seriously, believe me, I have thought of it, and it might come to that.

Then again... it is supposed to be his day. I do get my half-day in the shop a week while his mother watches. And, when those thoughts run through my mind, I tend to think if I were divorced and this was my custody day, how would I spend it? Kind of puts things in perspective for me. And, really, I am complaining because I'm only getting a half-day a week in the shop. It could be worse, I could have no day. Or, even worse, I could have all day every day in the shop. Perspective is good,

David...

flylo
12-26-2016, 01:15 AM
I love my sons dearly but they are in the 98% part of Americans that go to work, come home, watch TV or play video, etc & have no time/interest to do anything else. My dad was the same. They were exposed to flying, motocross, scuba, mountain biking, snow machines, 4 wheeling, shooting , hunting, etc, etc.
I've helped several young guys set up shops & the latest young man is just great. My 4 year old Grandson seems to have the same spark as I to "make it happen". He HAS to know why & how things work, his mind is total black & white with no gray area at all & instantly knows what he wants & doesn't stop till he gets it. If you took him to a toy store he would not have to decide on what to get he'd know it when he saw it & then time to go. My goal is to have a business started for him so he doesn't have to work for anyone ever as with his personality it would probably be hard. I hope it all works out. That's my mission anyway, wish me luck!

flylo
12-26-2016, 01:27 AM
Mt Grandson has taught his parents the same thing. He's totally different when he comes to our house. He's well behaved, polite & loves Grandads shop. The only time he throws a fit is when his parents try to take him home as he wants to stay here because we treat him as a real person & not a problem.

nc5a
12-26-2016, 03:07 AM
I have a girl and was concerned about the same things when she was growing up. However, my work situation was quite different than most. I worked in the Alaska bush and was home for 7 days and then gone for 7 days. So there was a whole lot of catching up when I finally got home. By the time she was 6 I was manufacturing parts by the hundreds for one of my inventions. She use to bring me coffee and beer in the shop, the coffee cup was always full but the beer was usually half gone or nearly half gone by the time it got to me, she loved the taste of beer.

When she was between 3 and 6 I would help her make things like stick houses, bird houses made out of junk pieces of wood, airplanes and cars also made out of my scrape pieces of wood. She wasn't thrilled with the shop but it was something to do because I was one of those hard nosed dads that didn't allow video games in the house.

When she was 6 I was deep into manufacturing parts by the hundreds for one of my inventions during my 7 days off. She had been to a few trade shows with me and her mom and kind of knew what was going on. So I asked her once if she wanted to help me in the shop and to my surprise she jumped at the chance. So I set her up at the drill press with goggles cinched up on her head and 700 pieces of 7075 T6 aluminum tubes to deburr on both ends with a special deburring tool running in the drill press. I figured she would peter out in short order but she deburred and stacked all 700 pieces just like I showed her.

She helped me and her mom (a picture framer) many times like that but as she got older it became harder to get her in the shop and keep her once she was there. She is now 31 and wants nothing to with a shop of any kind. I think I burned her out. But all is not lost as I have a couple grandsons now so if I play my cards right I may be able to get them interested in shop work.

I think you might be out of luck just like me. Even a massive amount of shop DNA didn't help me. My dad was a shop guy my wife and I are both shop people. My wifes dad was a big time shop guy (55 model engines, trains, boilers, tractors etc) as was his wife and my daughters great grandfather was a life time gunsmith. So there was no shortage of shop DNA but the kid just doesn't have the desire.

Good luck Dave.

Ron

Chris Evans
12-26-2016, 04:16 AM
I had two girls, now 37 and 38 years old. The eldest girl has never shown any interest but the younger one is proud of the fact that "Dad can fix anything" and will bring her friends to the shop with broken things and their cars ETC.
The eldest girl had twins a boy and girl now nearly 7 years old, the girl is very girly with doll houses and that sort of thing the boy loves the shop and would come in and watch. He would sit or stand whilst I set up the mill or worked on motorcycle always asking questions. He would often say to me how can you see that Grandad ? Now we know why, his eyesight is poor and he will be registered as partly sighted. He will never be able to drive or use any rotating machinery so when I die that will be the end of my shop that I thought one day I would pass on to him.

reggie_obe
12-26-2016, 07:55 AM
Kids sitting in the shop notice more than you think
Have projects with results they can take home that day
Wood is a good start, then blacksmith (fire and hammer), then machines.
Taking stuff apart is good.
[/LIST]
Then, there's the whole nature verses nurture debate that kind of morphs into the idea that even so-inclined kids still need the exposure, and how to get them interested in that while competing against video games et.all.

So, anyone succeed? What worked? What didn't work?

Me, my kid is now 6. When he was younger and still sitting is a stroller, I could give him a tablet to play with and I'd get an hour of shop time, at least some quiet stuff. I was starting to think my kid believed all I did in the shop was clean ;) These days, he knows that if he complains then we wrap it up, so I get maybe 5 min. I've been very careful to not make "shop time" anything negative. Never forced him to stay. Sigh... it is not going well.

He loves watching videos of trains, books on trains, and he like playing with his toy trains, though doesn't particularly show much interest in running said trains on tracks.

David...

You can't make your child become interested your hobby. You can't force you child to become "handy" either. They may go along with it for a while, years perhaps, but one day.....you might hear, "I did did that stuff because you were interested. So we could spend more time together". He sees no fun, no joy in what you do.

Trains and making stuff, those are your interests. What are his?

RB211
12-26-2016, 08:18 AM
Two points I want to make, and I'll use aviation for one, and golf for the other. When I was a flight instructor in Miami, I would get students who were there for only one reason, their parents wanted them to be pilots. The kids were miserable, unmotivated, never wanted to study, and burned their parents money. I would've been fired if I told the parents to stop wasting their money, it was a cash cow for the school. The students would get passed around to different instructors. Aviation is only for people who want it badly.
Second point, I used to enjoy golf as a kid, my dad and I would golf. Then one day as a kid, we went to visit my uncle in Seattle, and he is a golf fanatic. He wouldn't let me play at the golf course or with his friends, guess kids just got in the way. I never enjoyed golf ever again. I think its a stupid game played by elitists, using up large swaths of land that could have much better uses, like farming, hunting, etc. I also make it a point to belittle my uncle about golf every chance I get, and tell him why it is stupid.

Never force your interests on your kids, and don't squash any interests they have. You'll only create resentment, waste money, or worse, create some one who will belittle your interests you love so much.


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Seastar
12-26-2016, 08:55 AM
Four kids, nine grandchildren, one great grandson. Two grandsons build guns (using my shop) my son has some woodworking tools and recently built a very nice casket for their dog - no kidding.
One grandson has always liked woodworking and is at Purdue studying construction management.
Another grandson is a Purdue studying Electrical Engineering as I did (Hooray!).
Yesterday at our Chrustmas family dinner my middle daughter was talking to me about getting a blacksmith set up so she could forge branding irons and Spurs, go figure.
Also, my son is a pilot like me and I have a grandson working on his license.
I guess I have influenced some of them down the dark side.
Bill

A.K. Boomer
12-26-2016, 09:00 AM
I think in the earliest stages lego's and then migrating to erector sets was a good way to go back in the day when I grew up,
My Dad was big on that and was genuinely amazed at what we could build, A parents praise is a huge factor early on,

I do still see the lego's stuff but not too much of the nuts and bolts of the erector set stuff, stuff just seems to be more "pre-fab" and "easy reward" and I don't like that, kids should have to fight for it some and use their imagination too.

You can't "force" them - but you can make everything readily available and make it fun if you do stuff with them,
My Dad was also constantly bringing home mechanical stuff from work, stuff they were going to throw away but that still worked and he would tell us we could take it apart to see what was inside but also stated "only if you think you can put it back together"
half the time he would find it gutted out hidden under his work bench with parts strewn everywhere - never a word about it.

I think the biggest part of the problem today is for the most part technology has "solved" the age old problem of total boredom --- and most people who lack foresight think that's a good thing, well, it's not...
take away all the crap that keeps kids preoccupied and you would naturally see them get more "hands on" with stuff that's tangible... Just the way life works, then they won't be so freaking helpless when they have a flat tire in the real world or something ---- oh but I know - they got an app for that so why bother...

RB with you on the Golf thing, add one of the biggest wastes of water to the list too...

flylo
12-26-2016, 09:13 AM
I never pushed my kids into anything but I did expose them to many things & gave the opportunity to do many things & made it a point to take them most anyplace I went, Rotary, EAA meetings, Oshkosh, working on the plane, etc. Always was a standing offer to get their pilots licence even when grown on my dime. I had a dad that took no interest in anything but chasing skirts & watching TV so I had to work hard to make the things I wanted to do happen. Maybe that way was better but I don't think so. I had a '66 Chevy van, learned to weld building a bike trailer to race at Redbud in the era that you needed a new bike every year to stay competitive, late '70s. Bought my 1st Lincoln 225 Buzzbox & torch set with the small tanks for $99 ea from Aldens. Same with flying, I traded for a ragged out 1940 Taylorcraft, found an instructor that was a student at Western. I was a his first student paid him $10 an hour, learned on wooden skis. In the middle he got a job flying weather Mod in the plains states so I did my 3 hrs night then long cross country back to back in about 8 hrs. Maybe knowing it was always available to my boys was not the way to go. I grew up in a poor area but all my friends seem to have all done pretty good but all had to work hard to get it. I agree with the golf thing, boring. I do enjoy shooting golf balls hung on mason line from 85-200 yds with rimfires. Now that's great fun:cool:

A.K. Boomer
12-26-2016, 09:31 AM
Trains and making stuff, those are your interests. What are his?

The kid likes riding them - so he better learn how to fix them too, a free ride here and there is fine but when something needs attention I would actually make it mandatory that he is at least a "go-fer"
If he's then all the sudden not interested even in riding them anymore because he looks at it as being too much of a burden then you have far bigger fish to fry then the original concern...

dalee100
12-26-2016, 09:43 AM
Hi,

I have 4 Daughters. We always made sure that there was things available to make things. Doesn't matter what, colored picture, cookies, quilts, wood working projects, to machining/welding. House was a constant mess with them all doing things. But it was worth it. And not all kids have the same drive and desire to make things either. As long as they do SOMETHING, with their hands and/or minds. Just let them choose. And understand that their interests can change quickly and widely.

In the end, while 3 of them settled more to "girly" hobbies, (if there is such a thing), one of them did catch the design and build bug from Dad. She is in the midst of pursuing her PHD in ME. And a soon to be published co-author of her first paper, (shameless brag by overly proud Dad).

Sadly. this Grandpa does not get to spend as much time with all my Grandsons as I would like, (distance and time), I do encourage them to try all that they can.

Dalee

David Powell
12-26-2016, 10:15 AM
Hi,

I have 4 Daughters. We always made sure that there was things available to make things. Doesn't matter what, colored picture, cookies, quilts, wood working projects, to machining/welding. House was a constant mess with them all doing things. But it was worth it. And not all kids have the same drive and desire to make things either. As long as they do SOMETHING, with their hands and/or minds. Just let them choose. And understand that their interests can change quickly and widely.

In the end, while 3 of them settled more to "girly" hobbies, (if there is such a thing), one of them did catch the design and build bug from Dad. She is in the midst of pursuing her PHD in ME. And a soon to be published co-author of her first paper, (shameless brag by overly proud Dad).

Sadly. this Grandpa does not get to spend as much time with all my Grandsons as I would like, (distance and time), I do encourage them to try all that they can.

Dalee

My partner met my daughter for the first time at my late wife's funeral. Their topic of conversation," which rental jackhammer is easiest to use for home renovations ". I have promised to build a steam plant for a model boat for my partner( She is building the boat)and expect to help finance my daughter's next adventure in home renovation ( she outgrew an SUV and trailer so I bought her a full size pickup). Life is never dull for those surrounded with hobbyists, especially those who are hobbyists themselves, no matter exactly the hobby. I hope this is encouraging. David Powell.

KMoffett
12-26-2016, 11:12 AM
I haven't seen anyone mention LEGO's. My daughter and son are now in their thirties. When they were little, LEGOs were the go-to "toy". Nothing was so much material for the young imaginations than a bin of LEGO blocks. Not the theme sets that are now the majority...just blocks. If there were "themes", that disappeared quickly into the bin. Surprisingly, a start in simple math too. A "2" block and a "3" block can work as a "5" block! My daughter would sit with me in the garage listening to the OLDIES (50s & 60's at the time) on the radio while I rebuilt a VW engine. She was also the counterweight on an 8x8 beam lever to drop the engine. My son got into building model airplanes when I was flying. Not kits, but many very realistic ones out of solid pine. Both are now very mechanically inclined. My daughter rankles when they go to Home Depot and the sales people always want to talk to her husband. He can't use a hammer effectively (No offense intended, he's a nice guy). And I don't remember ever "trying" to get them into the world of using your hands and mind to create things. Being a good example is what works best...I think.

Ken

Arcane
12-26-2016, 11:21 AM
Hmmm...kids don't want to sit quietly and watch? Doesn't duct tape and tie wraps take care of that? Just saying...

David Powell
12-26-2016, 11:36 AM
Hmmm...kids don't want to sit quietly and watch? Doesn't duct tape and tie wraps take care of that? Just saying...

My children had Lego from being very small. James has a basement full and demonstrates for the Lego company at exhibitions. He sometimes uses Lego as the basis of things, ( Bridges, trains, trucks etc etc) and adds home machined parts as necessary to improve/ extend function. Not 10 miles from me there is a 15 ton crane mounted on a ww 2 truck chassis the basic design of which was done in Meccano on the dining room table of its builders( Then in their 50s). Lego, Meccano and similar construction materials are the very best toys children can have in my opinion, Regards David Powell.

Keith_W
12-26-2016, 12:13 PM
Just a thought for you fixerdave, in your posts I noticed that you refer to the shop as your shop, could be that yes your son come there with you but feels that it is not his space.
Consider setting up a "his area" part of your shop, totally his idea on whats there. You work together setting it up, ask him what tools or things he needs to make it his area.
This would give him his own space to do what he wants, as he is doing "stuff" in his space he could ask you for help in what he is doing, show interest in what you are doing especially if its in his interest area.

Keith_W.

enginuity
12-26-2016, 12:42 PM
I'll like to chime in. We're all home sick :(.

My Dad is a pilot. He absolutely loves to fly, and I went with him a lot. He really wanted me to be a pilot. The problem is I get motion sickness, really easily. Numerous flights (and I've been up well over 400 times in small aircraft) I would get sick like barfing all over. Eventually I told my Dad that I love airplanes, and I really like going to the airport with him, and I'm highly interested in the mechanical engineering of airplanes, I just don't like flying in small planes. He was really good about it. That said, if I get a flight to space I'd take it in heart beat. Barf and all :).

It is a parent's job, in my opinion, to teach kids life skills and protect them as they grow, not force them into hobbies. Just like how elementary school and high school shouldn't force kids into certain careers at an early age. School is for learning life skills. Each child is different, and will grow into their own talents and skills. Some of it is passed on, some of it is not. I love playing the trumpet, but neither of my parents have any musical background whatsoever.

The shop has all kinds of life skills that are useful. I would say 6 is too young to panic, a lot of 6 year old can't ride a bike by themselves, while other kids at 3 or 4 can.

With all that said, as a kid I always 'helped' my Dad (a mechanic by trade). I would get tools for him, and watch him do things. He was firm, but always willing to offer an explanation for something. He always answered my questions, and I had a lot of them. When I asked him if I could do something, if it was safe he would let me, and if not he would tell me it is the job of an apprentice to watch.

As most parenting, it is a mix of love and discipline. Knowing what the mix is the difficult part. I always knew my Dad loved me, even if he was a little frustrated I took off after helping him for a few hours in the garage to go inside and read some books.

fixerdave
12-26-2016, 02:22 PM
... I think the biggest part of the problem today is for the most part technology has "solved" the age old problem of total boredom --- and most people who lack foresight think that's a good thing, well, it's not... ...

Yes... sometimes I don't think kids these days even have a concept of "being bored." It's an issue, especially for my kid. I'll get into that later.


I never pushed my kids into anything but I did expose them to many things & gave the opportunity to do many things & made it a point to take them most anyplace I went...

AHA! You say none showed any interest. So... maybe, despite all our hand wringing to the to contrary, forcing them through "lessons" might not actually be wrong. Might not help, but if they're not going to be interested otherwise, no harm done. It's not like generations of kids didn't get forced to play the piano. Were they damaged in the process? Well... I'd not ask the kids that whilst they're sitting at the keyboard... but they eventually forced their kids to do the same. Sure, most probably never even considered the idea of playing a piano as an adult... was it a waste? Knowing how to turn a wrench, if you really had to, might prove a little more useful down the road.

I'm not the kind of guy (or parent) that's inclined to force my kid to do something that isn't important. But, maybe those "tiger parents" have a point.


The kid likes riding them - so he better learn how to fix them too, a free ride here and there is fine but when something needs attention I would actually make it mandatory that he is at least a "go-fer"
If he's then all the sudden not interested even in riding them anymore because he looks at it as being too much of a burden then you have far bigger fish to fry then the original concern...

Now... this is exactly my line of thinking. Get him addicted, then make him pay ;) I may not naturally be a tiger parent, but I'm not above subterfuge.


... And I don't remember ever "trying" to get them into the world of using your hands and mind to create things. Being a good example is what works best...I think. ...

Yes, thus all the Lego about, and me crawling around on my knees building stuff, but it's back to that lack of boredom thing. It's hard to compete against the box, and my shop is across town.


Just a thought for you fixerdave, in your posts I noticed that you refer to the shop as your shop, could be that yes your son come there with you but feels that it is not his space. Consider setting up a "his area" part of your shop, totally his idea on whats there...

Now I really want to cry. People here prattle on about their small shops. You have no idea. I've got woodworking, metalworking, sheetmetal (tools, no skill yet), welding, automotive, 2 motorcycles... in a rented single-bay garage (and 2 parking spots with some small sheds about). I don't have room for me. I do have plans though.

I've set up a workbench at the condo in a bedroom, mostly electronics (Aruduino and the like), along with some fix-it stuff. My intent is to make a "homework" space for him there. Homework, at this point, being his iPad. The intent being that he has a space where he can at least observe, even if he chooses to not participate. Oh, he's only allowed to use the iPad in the bedrooms. That's part of my plan to get him away from his computer in the living room that dominates his time. Yes, he uses computers way too much.

As background before I get shot down for this... my son is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. Yup, pretty much like me. High functioning, though he has issues with language, even though he was a very early reader. He does get a great deal of good out of using his computer, and he's very good at it. Discussing the pro's and con's of computer use is a constant theme in the family. Turning the computer off is an option, though a painful one.

It's yet another reason to get him to at least be in the shop once in a while.


... It is a parent's job, in my opinion, to teach kids life skills and protect them as they grow, not force them into hobbies. Just like how elementary school and high school shouldn't force kids into certain careers at an early age. School is for learning life skills. Each child is different, and will grow into their own talents and skills. Some of it is passed on, some of it is not. I love playing the trumpet, but neither of my parents have any musical background whatsoever.

The shop has all kinds of life skills that are useful. I would say 6 is too young to panic, a lot of 6 year old can't ride a bike by themselves, while other kids at 3 or 4 can.
...
As most parenting, it is a mix of love and discipline. Knowing what the mix is the difficult part. I always knew my Dad loved me, even if he was a little frustrated I took off after helping him for a few hours in the garage to go inside and read some books.

I absolutely agree with the above. I routinely take my kid to the music store because he loves guitars. He has his own ukulele, a small guitar, and my (now his) guitar that I never did learn to play. He likes going to the music store to strum the $4000 Martins... no idea how he picks them, but he's got expensive tastes. I've even rented him a violin as he showed some interest. Right now, I'm converting over a thrift store Drum Hero to work with MIDI.

Me, I was the 3rd kid in line growing up. My brother did the trumpet, my sister the trombone. When my turn came, my father said "no. Here's a wrench, go take a car apart." So, even though I've tried (I did buy a guitar, etc.), I've zero musical ability. My son likes music and singing. Go for it kid. I'm not shutting him down.

Any interest he shows, we support as much as possible.

So, yes, I'm sitting here trying to figure out how to expand his interests. Do I push the shop thing, treating it like life lessons, and maybe push him away? Do I wait for him to grow some more to see what happens? Are there other ways to use subterfuge to get him interested? Life as a parent, I guess.

Thanks for all the feedback,

David...

P.S. In thinking about this... it might be worth forking out the $300 or so for a 3D printer, something he could watch make a part... running back and forth between the print and some game he's playing on the computer. He could pick an existing model, maybe edit it to put his name on it (he's big into that right now), and watch it print. That might actually work. Yeah... more subterfuge.

edit: I had intended to make myself a little CNC/3Dprint rig... but there's so little shop time it will probably take years. Chicken and egg thing... maybe just buy the egg.

RichR
12-26-2016, 04:08 PM
So, I take it your vote is for "or just give up and let him scream in the shop until he learns to like it... or ELSE!" ?

Right message but I would use a softer tone. The approach we used with my friends boys was they each brought along some toys to keep
themselves occupied on the sailboat. Usually a Gameboy for the older one and something like Legos or Matchbox cars for the younger. Whether
sailing or working on the boat, neither was required to participate. They were free to stay in the cabin and play until we were done, then they
would get to do something they were interested in. Although the older boy never really took any interest, the younger one eventually started
coming up on deck. When we were working on the boat I would let him be my helper. Not just fetching tools, but working a screwdriver, socket
wrench, cordless drill, etc. Allowing him to participate as opposed to just observing kept him interested and occupied. If he got tired of helping, he
was free to go back to playing with his toys. My advice:
1. Tell your son you're both going to your shop so you can do some stuff you want to do.
2. Tell him when you are done, you will do some stuff with him that he wants to do.
3. Bring some toy or activity he enjoys to the shop to keep him occupied. If he's bored, you'll both be miserable.
4. If he shows some interest in what you are doing, allow him to get some hands on experience right away. Give him a quick "be careful" and
"watch your fingers" but don't kill the spark with a 20 minute safety lecture.
5. It's been said but it bears repeating, don't try to force him to be interested in what you are doing.

Baz
12-26-2016, 05:45 PM
Even having hobbies is a new concept and only for the richer world.
In the beginning girls learned cooking and picking berries by observing their mothers, boys learned hunting and fishing by being with their dad this is an human instinct necessary for survival. This continued for most developing into more complex farming, weaving, sewing, plumbing, carpentry even dynasties of doctors,lawyers, and politicians right up to the sixties. Only comparatively recently have we been able to have both a job and a separate hobby. The same heritance still applies - children will for the most part instinctively copy their parent when present but now internet/TV/magazines/separation from parent by schools provides an alternative that can grab the attention. It is evolutionarily necessary for a % to reject the parental example and branch off.

WRT LEGO (there is no 's' the plural is still LEGO) it is desirable to wean them off this pre-school toy to Meccano or Erector set "proper" engineering at an early age. Then rather than take the easy way out of buying more at birthdays etc introduce them to making their own in plastic, then aluminium, then steel. The logical end to this is making custom parts and finally full engineering models unconstrained by the Meccano holes etc.

justanengineer
12-26-2016, 08:53 PM
Dont mind me, I'm stuck between figuring out what a "maker" is and the concept that kids have choices and free will.

When I was a kid I HATED being out in the shop weekends and summers but my father's business needed work done and he insisted. Rather ironically, about the time I started becoming really capable ~12-13 I got into cars, bikes, and offroad toys, and consequently I really started enjoying it and working on my own projects besides. On a related note, two of my siblings were really good at finding excuses to avoid shop work. Today neither are into DIY or working with their hands.

No, I dont have children yet but work regularly with FIRST teams, university SAE/ASME chapters, and supervise our interns. Big kids are fun. :p

RB211
12-26-2016, 08:59 PM
I grew up with a full blown wood shop, technic lego's, veggie garden, and a garden tractor. My dad was a dentist, but also an inventor. Guess we were makers before anyone coined it for the mainstream. Oh, my son today, came into the shop. In less than 20 seconds, he managed to remove the knee handle on the BP, hit his head on the knee lock, and sit in a large puddle of way oil destroying a nice pair of shorts. I really want him to take full advantage of the shop, but I can't for his safety.
As far as Golf is concerned, I could watch it all day long on TV if it involved land mines.


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

fixerdave
12-26-2016, 09:13 PM
... WRT LEGO (there is no 's' the plural is still LEGO) it is desirable to wean them off this pre-school toy to Meccano or Erector set "proper" engineering at an early age. Then rather than take the easy way out of buying more at birthdays etc introduce them to making their own in plastic, then aluminium, then steel. The logical end to this is making custom parts and finally full engineering models unconstrained by the Meccano holes etc.

I'm still trying to ween him ON to Lego. And, yes, I was a Mecaano kid. But, besides all that, things actually have changed. Lego goes a lot farther than it once did. Seems like Lego kits have pretty much replaced the model building of old. Stores that sell actual plastic models you glue together and paint are probably more rare than blacksmiths shops these days. Then, there's the Lego Mindstorm side which is getting into full-on computer-controlled automation. Lego creations these days can get pretty wild.

Besides that... engineering these days IS closer to Lego than Meccano, especially on the electronics side of things. It's a snap-together modular world now. We've all been Lego'd.

Then, the next level is to get into 3D printing AND Lego together, which opens up a whole new range of possibilities. And, yes, I just pulled the plug on that. I'm near $400 poorer (CAD), and Amazon will be shipping me a 3D printer and spool of filament in the new year.

I'm going to set that sucker up a few feet from his computer monitor :p I'll let that thing whir and rattle for a couple of hours... see how much he can concentrate on his video/flashcard/game while a toy is slowly being created. The noisier the better :cool:

It's supposed to be a halfway decent entry level printer, but that's not really the point. The point is to get him into the idea that he can pick something on his computer that gets printed. The next step is to modify said before printing, and then eventually get him into creating his own. Doesn't have to be amazing quality to accomplish that.

Wish me luck,

David...

thaiguzzi
12-26-2016, 10:20 PM
Good thread!
Lots of interesting positive posts, very little negativity. Love it.
My boy is 11 now, and i'm building 2 identical ty250 mono Yamaha trials bikes - one for him, one for me. Hopefully this will encourage him into my motorcycle world, and we can ride off road technique together.
Lego Technics - he's got a lot of the big (read expensive) build kits bought by my Dad, and he's very good at them. I am truly impressed with the quality and design of the engineering involved in the kits and how they learn how it all works. Cranks, rods, pistons, gears, diffs etc etc - marvelous stuff!

thaiguzzi
12-26-2016, 10:22 PM
Oh, and the person most interested in my machine shop and watching stuff be made on machine tools and different types of swarf (chips) is his 13 y/o cousin. And she's a girl...

Puckdropper
12-28-2016, 01:19 AM
My grandpa would fit in just fine here. He and I were very similar in a lot of things, and had a great time talking about this or that. My dad, OTOH, heard a different call. His mechanical ability was more learned and less talent, and he really didn't care for doing a lot of this kind of stuff. He is still the man I regard as the most intelligent man in the entire world. He would take interest in our interests (even if they weren't really his) and spend time with us. He'd also share his interests and passions (he was an amateur musician like most of us are amateur machinists).

So my point is sometimes the passion skips a generation. Even if your passion isn't theirs, the best thing you can do is spend time with them.

flylo
12-28-2016, 05:06 AM
My 4 year old grandson when it's warm & I have the big shop doors open loves to go outback where I have a couple hundred plastic milk crates he calls "Grandpa's Big Legos" & builds & builds & builds. I bought about 500 for $50 & split them with a friend.