What not to get a boy for his 14th birthday

My younger son’s birthday is precisely four weeks after mine. So, in true mum style, you can imagine what I spend a big chunk of my own birthday doing – trying to think of presents for my son.

Teenage boys are not easy to buy for. They’re not adults, but they’re definitely not little boys either. They want things that are fun and practical, not childish or boring. And that’s really difficult. And it’s even more difficult when all the grandparents and aunties are also asking what to buy.

And let’s not forget that we just about manage to deal with his birthday and then it’s only two months until Christmas. My son is not the sort of person who will suddenly think of 10 more things (or even two more things) he wants as soon as his birthday is over.

In fact, he can’t even think of one thing he wants. And nor can we.

My boy likes two things – technology and sport. He has an iPhone, an iPad and a DS. They all work perfectly well and don’t need upgrading.

He’s very good with money and hardly ever spends it. So if he does want something, he always has the money available to buy it for himself. He bought his DS and iPhone himself last year. Every few months he’ll buy himself a Pokemon game and that’s really all he spends his money on.

Last year, we totally nailed it. I must say, my husband is very good at thinking of present ideas. We got him Beats headphones for his birthday and a large beanbag and a Pokemon Go Plus for Christmas. When he’s not doing sport (which he genuinely does seven days a week), he’s up the corner of his room on his beanbag with his headphones on. We’re never going to top those presents. We’re not even going to get close to them.

We had a chat with my son about what he would like and drew a total blank. We gave him some ideas and he rejected them. I am glad he does won’t get new stuff for the sake of it as I wouldn’t want things to go to waste. There’s a lot of adults and kids could learn from his example, but it doesn’t help us or the rest of the family in choosing something for him.

Is this a new DS? No, it’s just the old one packaged differently.

Does he want a new Man Utd kit? No, his old one still fits.

My husband joked that if he couldn’t decide he was in danger of getting all clothes.

‘But not Superdry,’ he said.

It’s not just me that wears Superdry. Our entire family wears it. And apparently my son’s friends laugh at him for it. He has a Superdry jumper on every day and when he takes it off he’s wearing a Superdry Tshirt underneath. My son’s friends find this funny.

So that’s something else he can’t have for his birthday.

It looks like he’ll be getting more money and vouchers that he won’t spend.

Do you find it easy to buy for teenage boys? What do your sons like?

Son, Birthday, Teenager, What not to buy my son for his 14th birthday


Author: Sarah Mummy

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  1. I am lucky, Max wrote a list! How about an experience instead of a thing? Tickets for a sporting event maybe! How are they going to be 14 already?! Xx

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    • I know, 14 sounds so grown up! I wish my son would write a list, but a sporting event is a really good idea. x

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  2. In a similar situation here, so tricky. My daughter already has a full page of Christmas ideas but my son has none and a birthday a few weeks before Christmas too. We tend to go for ‘experiences’ now which he loves. Last year we bought him a Young Drivers experience (Oulton Park but they are at various places around the country). He got to drive a mini. Hill starts, weaving through cones – the lot. He enjoyed it so much that for the next year we bought him the Young Driver Plus and he went on the big race track. As a family we did indoor ski-diving too which he wants to do again as he enjoyed it so much. Good gifts for rellies to contribute to. xx

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    • My daughter is so easy to buy for! Experiences sound like a really good idea. I will look into those young driver experiences, I think both boys would like that. x

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  3. sounds like he wants clothing other than superdry? ask him what brands he likes or take him shopping and let him choose?

    My middle child was 15 in January and I took him to Westfield Shepherds bush, just the two of us. Shopping just for him, he surprised me by not wanting all branded goods, he brought some lovely t-shirts in zara and h&m as well as the usual nike etc.

    Teens tend to avoid anything that the parents wear. So Superdry is a huge no no now as too many parents wear it. I don’t; I’m a boring Boden/Joules mum so no chance of my teens raiding my wardrobe.

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    • I hadn’t considered that kids might not like Superdry because their parents wear it. My 16yo son has never complained. We asked him what brands he wanted and he didn’t even know! He wouldn’t have the patience for shopping, so we just have to guess! Or give him money again…

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      • for lots of teens it doesn’t matter. I have one teen who really couldn’t care less about what brand he wears and who else wears it, but the other would never wear anything that his parents wore, no matter if it was Gucci, Superdry, Nike or Sainsburys!

        My 11 yr old daughter always talked about Superdry and how she couldn’t wait to be big enough for one of the jackets, now she’s at secondary school I offered to buy her one and she said no, because only mums and dads wear them now. 🙁

        It varies so much by region and even suburb as to what a teen calls cool (I’m probably seriously uncool for having even typed cool) so I’ve just found it easier to either give cash, well pay into hi account and use debit card, or take them shopping and discuss budget prior to leaving. I usually add a bit of leeway into that as well. so tell them 75% of the budget so when you go over they think you have been super generous but you know you’ve stuck to your original budget. Sneaky!

        Good luck!

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        • I’ve noticed how it varies between schools. At some kids all the kids wear Hype and at other schools you don’t see a single person wearing it. I’m really none the wiser!

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  4. I have a teenage nephew and he is impossible to buy for…lol My teen is a little hard to buy for but I got her mostly clothes and trainers and she was happy.
    Your boy sounds so sensible…Not getting things for getting things sake.

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    • I’m really pleased he doesn’t just get things for the sake of it. I’m sure my daughter will be easier to buy for when she’s a teenager.

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  5. It really is so tough to buy for teens. My teenage nephew is v similar to your boy and I end up giving him money which he ends up stashing away as he already has everything he needs and isn’t really into labels!

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    • He sounds just like my boy! They’re such a challenge! I like people’s suggestions of tickets or experiences.

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  6. I had exactly the same issue with my 13 year old son this year, he’s really good with money and I can’t think of anything he wants other than FIFA 18 and he bought that for himself! So we ended up getting him a table tennis table. What about a darts board or something like that? A football goal? Gosh they are SO hard to buy for aren’t they? We got him some very expensive football boots last year that he wanted.

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    • Glad it’s not just us! It’s good to hear that your boy is sensible with his money too. We used to have a football goal, I suspect it’s still in the garage! I think we’re looking at a combination of money and onesies at the moment, although I like the suggestions of tickets for something.

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  7. Gosh he’s very sensible! I don’t think I’d give him money or vouchers as he might not spend them then he’ll have ‘no’ present in effect. Others have beat me to it but an experience would be a fantastic idea. Or buy him clothes that are not from Superdry! Maybe that was his polite way of asking you bless him! Nobody wants to dress like their parents at that age do they? Cringe!

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    • He’s extremely sensible! I’m happy to buy him clothes that aren’t Superdry, but he won’t actually tell me what he does like! We won’t just get him money or vouchers, but they may have to feature somewhere in his present!

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  8. Oh dear, what a tricky situation. But I agree with you, he has a brilliant attitude towards material things, not wanting to have things for the sake of it. I guess if he has money and saves it then one day, there will something big he really wants and he’ll be able to get it.

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    • Yep, he might decide he wants a laptop when he starts on his GCSEs and he would probably have the money already there to pay for it. I think it’s a really good attitude not to want things for the sake of it. So many people are constantly acquiring stuff they don’t need.

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  9. My teen is not too bad and he always writes me a list, but I find it far easier shopping for girls. I tend to bulk the teens presents out with the obligatory lynx products and funny socks, which I am sure he rolls his eyes at now. Morgan is also into anime books so his list will always contact some books he really wants x

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    • I wish my boy liked books! Girls are definitely easier to buy for than boys. We definitely bulk out Christmas presents with socks!

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  10. Oh no, where can you go from here if no more Superdry? Jack Wills perhaps? Hollister? Penguin? Lacoste?
    Jack and Jones? xx

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    • I just don’t know! We suggested Jack Wills first and he said no to that. He has got a couple of Hollister tops a family member got for him and he seems to like those. Unfortunately he doesn’t know what he likes himself! x

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  11. I’ve never had a problem with the kids yet, but they do give me a list and I divide it out and get them some of the things on it. An experience or football match would always be on my kid’s list. xx

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    • Experiences are definitely a good idea! It’s good that your kids give you a list. Neither of my boys ever do that. x

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