What are the best gifts for a fourteen year old boy? The answer to this question depends a great deal on the child's personality.
My son just turned fourteen and I know his wants are significantly different than those of his fourteen year old cousin and fourteen year old neighbor. However, there are a few items most fourteen year old boys will enjoy no their personality.
1. Books. There are a few series I highly recommend. "The Dark Matter" series by Mr. Pullman. Excellent fantasy series featuring a teenage girl and boy from parallel worlds who must work together to save all the worlds. The "Abarate" series by Clive Barker. Another fantasy series featuring a teenage heroin and alternate worlds. Another good book by Mr. Barker is "The Thief of Always".
2. An I-pod or MP3 player is a good gift. Giving them an MP3 player frees us to continue to listen to our own music as we drive them all over creation. The first thing my son does upon entering my vehicle is to turn the radio to his station. I do not mind his music, however, there are times I'd rather not listen to it. With the MP3, he can listen to whatever he wants and not bother mess with my radio.
3. Mad magazine subscription. Corrupting, maybe, but there is nothing like a good magazine that possesses a mastery of the spoof. This magazine will also introduce them to political satire and irony as well. Oh how I loved to sit in the school library and read this magazine.
4. Clothing. I understand most fourteen year old boys would rather receive expensive technical gadgets, however, I do not think you can go wrong with a stylish hoodie or a good tee-shirt with a clever saying.
5. Creative computer games. I know most parents want to keep their kids away from the video screen and minimize their time at the computer, I know I do. There are a few computer based games that require the use of creativity and problem solving skills. A few I like are SimCity, Roller-coaster Tycoon, ZooTycoon, A-Train, and World of Warcraft, the latter being an Internet based game.
6. Model building. Good old model airplanes, cars, and trucks. The more detailed and sophisticated the better. Helps with problem solving and increases reading comprehension. I also recommend kits for radio's, transmitters, and other electronic devices.
7. Lego's, Erector sets, and other like building kits. My kids, the fourteen year old included, still enjoy creating towns and vehicles with their Lego's. Stimulate their creativity. An erector set takes this creativity to a new level and incorporates an aspect of engineering and math.
8. Pay as you go Cell phone. It seems that most every kid has a cellular telephone and chances are, the parents are footing the bill for their text messages, web surfing, downloads, etc. I have a shared plan with an additional phone for the "kids". I found that my fourteen year old claimed the shared phone for himself. Further, he asked several times to add text messaging to the phone. A pay as you go phone puts the responsibility on the child. Give them the phone with an initial set of purchased minutes and provide them with a set amount each month. If they want more than what you provide, they will need to purchase more time with their own money.
9. A credit card. It is never too early for a child to begin to establish a credit rating and obtaining a credit card for them, in their name, backed by your income, will allow them to start to learn the value of money, begin to learn and appreciate what an interest rate is and how it increases the price of an item, etc. I believe most major credit card companies have credit/cash cards geared at the teenage population.
10. Role playing games. There are a couple of role playing games that are not video or computer based. One is Dungeons and Dragons; a game very similar to World of Warcraft only not played on the computer. D and D was popular when I was a teenager and it's allure has not diminished. The other is a card game called "Munchkin". This game is more or less a spoof of the D and D, is great fun, and does not last for days.
There you have it, my list of 10 gifts for the fourteen year old boy. As for me, I plan to give my fourteen year old the pay as you go phone, a hip hoodie, a couple of books, and will help him to purchase a snowboard.
He'll get to share the World of Warcraft expansion pack with his brother and sister as well as the Munchkin game.