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Lifestyle

December 15, 2013

Off the couch and off to the gym ... with a little luck

Dear Doctor,

I am not sure how many parents face this, but we have a 16 year old who is a real couch potato. He is not badly overweight, but he is not in good shape. He does not think he is physically attractive. We think this is not at all true, but he needs to take better care of himself and get some exercise. Would seeing a therapist help him?

Active

Dear Active,

I am not certain I would try psychotherapy as my first strategy. Try something else first.

Since Christmas is coming, why don't you give him a gym membership? Think it through and try adding some bells and whistles to your gift.

First, find out which gym any of his friends might be attending. Teens travel in packs and love to have company when they work out. Set up your program at the preferred gym. find out which gym any of his friends might be attending. Teens also travel in packs and love to have company when they work out. Set up your program at the preferred gym.

Second, check with the gym and find out which trainer works well with boys his age. Add three training sessions to your gift and set up the first appointment.

Third, don't lecture or push. Do not make the gift a negative. "We thought you needed this, Dear." "This should get you off the couch."

Fourth, jazz up the role of gym athlete. Add some apparel he might really like. You have to look the part.

Finally, after you do this bit of parental engineering, try to say nothing. It is hard, but keep quiet.

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