Could be the kid "thinks" she will fail in comparison to GM, so doesn't dare or bother to try.
I think fooler may have a point, the kid could well be over-faced.
I do think, though, that "a bit of fashion and some nail painting" plus an interest in gadgets which the GM loathes indicates some interest in something but just the *wrong* interests according to GM and other family members. Get her a sub to Vogue or similar, maybe.
I'm of the mind that you can't force either enthusiasm OR participation in anything. I'm reminded of my mother forcing me to take tennis lessons the summer between 9th and 10th grade. I wanted nothing whatever to do with it, but she insisted. "You're not just going to lie around and go to the beach this summer - you're going to do something!" was her mantra. And "something" that year was tennis lessons; in south Florida, in June, on an asphalt court, at noon four days a week. Yeah, just let me go on out there and freaking melt like the Wicked Witch of the West, doing something I only disliked before, but now, thanks to you, actively hate. When she'd drop me off, I'd wait until she was out of sight, and then hike over to the nearest 7-11 and read magazines and eat candy bars in the air conditioning until 15 minutes before the lesson was over, then hike back. No one was going to force me to do anything. And it certainly didn't endear me to my mother.
The weird thing was, to this day, I still don't know why she did it. What the problem was with the beach, I still have no idea; I was too young to get a job, and all my friends were hanging out there, even the ones she approved of. So the only thing Mom achieved by forcing me into an activity I detested was to instill a love of Almond Joys and a loathing of tennis in me.
The moral of the story is that you and your mother might well do much more harm than good, by forcing your niece into anything. And, JMO, but people grieve differently. You can't know that she should be "ready" for anything other than dealing with her feelings. Counseling might well be an option, and forbidding her the sort of contact you fear she's indulging in on the internet(?) is certainly appropriate for her own protection, but anything else? Let her cheer (or dance, or do whatever the available option is in Germany). Let her play age-appropriate video games. But forcing her into any activity is the one sure way to alienate her from not only that activity, but from those who forced her into it.
Just my opinon. :cool:
Sorry if I misunderstood. I completely agree that no 11 year old needs a smartphone; but then, I think there are a lot of people out there who don't need a smartphone. ;)
And I also applaud your insistence that if the child DOES choose something in which to participate, she must participate and not welsh after the "new" wears off. Would that more children were made to stick to it and finish something they start. :yes:
I'm trying to recall if a "did" anything at 11 or 12. I may have been in ballet lessons twice a week, LOL; at some point around that age I did that for a while, because my friends were in it. That was it for any sort of organized activity, beyond that I ran around the little town with my friends (that was Germany too, coincidentally; Eitelborn, not a whole lot of organized activities there :)
Of course that was pre-gadgets so I had to go out of the house to hang out with friends. But if you'd asked my parents about my "interests", I bet they wouldn't have been able to name anything specific either. I mean, I liked reading, I drew some, I hung out, I liked to swim when someone organized a trip to the pool in Montabaur...I disliked playing the stupid recorder, and after a while I lost interest in the ballet.
But I recall that period as a happy one for me, lack of "interests" and all.
(Not to mention piano lessons can be taken on a $100 used keyboard, so you don't actually have to drop thousands on a new piano).
As for reading - I have a kid who doesn't like to read either. We belong to a mother daughter book club. We sometimes read the book separately, or aloud, or audio tape, or all of the above....then we get together with other girls her age and their moms and discuss the book and then the kids get to play. It's not expecting her to "have an interest in reading" as much as it's helping to create an interest in reading.
As for music, my kids do have to take piano - it's non-negotiable and I don't care if they hate it (which, now that they can play, they don't). That is when you find a fun teacher and push through the first year where it sucks because it's hard. For us - that is like school. But, now that my older dd is 14 and can play reasonably well, she got a guitar for Christmas (including lessons) so that is an interest now.
If she's interested in fashion, then I agree with the poster who suggested sewing lessons or just encouraging learning about fashion in general. Or gymnastics, or cheerleading (why not?). I think it's also possible that she is overwhelmed by the grandmother.
As a parent, however, I have no trouble limiting TV and media time...I think it does take away from kids' ability to think for themselves. And if that makes a kid miserable for a while, that's ok. They will live. That could be when the two of you put in an audio CD and flip through fashion magazines together instead.
But, my kids both took a soccer camp one summer. My younger dd hated it so much I didn't make her finish the week. They also learned to knit, and took a class at a local yarn store, but our "lessons" were once a week and non-cumulative. I didn't make them practice and the teacher didn't care. It was fun for them, and she gave them candy. They can both still knit, but they don't really enjoy it so I don't push it. It was a zero commitment required deal. Other kids we know who knitted with us were really into it, but until they took the class they didn't know it.
Sometimes we just have to expose our kids to things and let it work itself out. Sometimes they do need more of a push, but not a guilt trip about the wasted money if they don't love it. (And for that reason, it's never a good idea to buy the expensive accessories before you find out -- e.g. my younger dd loves horses but still gets synthetic riding boots. Sometimes she loves to ride, other times she loves to groom.)