DEAR HARRIETTE: Usually I put my son in summer camp, but I didn't make him go this year. He wanted to have less structured time, which I understand. He has been oversubscribed for most of his life.
The problem is that I can hardly get him to do anything. He is sleeping a lot and claiming he doesn't feel well whenever I ask him to do something. Contrast that to when he wants to hang out with his friends and he suddenly has energy. What can I do to put some structure around his summer? -- SUMMER FREE
DEAR SUMMER FREE: You went from one extreme to the other with your son's summer. Now it's time to sit down with him and map out how he will spend the next few weeks. Look for some kind of extracurricular program in your city that he can attend. Often there are events that last for a week, or even single-day activities for young people that may be of interest. Sign him up for as many of those as you can.
Create a schedule that includes reading and prep for school. Most schools provide vacation reading lists, so he should be working on those assignments throughout the summer. You should check to make sure he is doing them.
Finally, make it clear to him that he has to do things that you arrange if he also expects to do things with his friends. The penalty for bailing on you is being prohibited to hang out with them.