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Adolescence That fiery time prior to your child becoming a teenager. Their bodies are filled with hormones and turmoil. How are you coping?

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Old 05-10-2002, 08:39 AM
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Help! My son won't do homework!

I have tried everything I can think of. I know you ladies can help me. My 13 yr old son is in 7th grade. He's very smart. The principal just told me that his IQ is top 3 in school. He's failing almost every class. His test grades are A's. His projects get good grades WHEN he does them. Homework is the first thing both children must do when they come home from school, but what if he doesn't have the materials? Or what if he does the work and doesn't hand it in? I don't know how to motivate him anymore. He says he cares. He seems to listen to us when we explain how important it is. He doesn't have any extracurricular activities. I took away Nintendo and now I am going to take away ALL tv.....and there will be extra chores. (not that he does that many now). I am at a total loss here. I had that on my mind this morning and had a front-end collision with another car. It was the other person's fault but if I hadn't been so lost in thought, I may have avoided it. I have tried making him see how it is going to affect his life....how much it affects everyone else's life in the family....NOTHING works. He acts as if he really gets it THIS time and then....nothing. He swears he's doing better, but his grades do not reflect this. How do I make him care??? Please help. I am at my wit's end.
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Old 05-10-2002, 09:33 AM
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Have you had any conferences with his teachers to see what the problem may be? How is his behavior other than not doing school work? Does he fail to complete other tasks that you ask him to do at home?

The reason that I am asking is because a family member of mine was having the same exact problems and someone suggested ADD- Attention Deficit Disorder (with out the hyperactivity part). I reseached it for them and the symptoms were exact. It affects school work, family life, and relationships with peers. You said he doesn't do extracurricular activities, does he get along well with others his age?

It's not a learning disability, its a biological/neurological problem which causes a child to not be able to pay attention properly. A lot times kids with this have a hard time sitting down and reading a book because it requires so much concentration. Usually a child diagnosed with this is prescribed medication which allows the messages in the brain get to their intended destination.

This may not in fact be your sons problem, but if any of it sounds familiar, you may want to do some research on your own. It may not be a motivational problem, but something he can't control. Good Luck
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Old 05-10-2002, 10:14 AM
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I have a younger son with ADD and we do medicate that. That took a lot of soul-searching, but it has improved his life (and ours) dramatically. DH often says we are medicating the wrong one. However, Nick is able to sit and work for a long time on a project. He just finished reading Pilgrim's Progress, which is not an easy book to get through for a teenager and he loved it. He loves helping cook and will often make desserts for the family with no prompting. He gets along well with others, as far as I can tell. When I see him with his friends, they are quite gregarious and they seem to like him very much. I do have a problem getting him to do things like clean his room, etc...but I usually attribute that to adolescense. He will clean (just enough to get by) and I have to send him back. I have asked about his behavior in class. One teacher said he talks a bit too much in class, but overall there is no inappropriate behavior or disrespect. The principal said he isn't a "goof off" or anything. She feels he has dug himself into a hole academically and now is becoming depressed about it and so has given up. That is not what he communicates to me, but then again, he is a teenager. He loves to write poetry and has had some published. He can write plays, stories and very good scientific articles. He has never been into sports...he's more of a bookworm/computer type person. To be honest, I think it's tv, to a great extent. He is not allowed to watch until homework is done, so I think he rushes through it so that he can watch his favorite programs. So, as a last resort, at this point, I am going to "Unplug". Since Kindergarten, I have been telling to teachers that they must stop referring to his intelligence in his presence. I knew it would eventually lead to this type of thing. He got by on being smart until the middle of last year....then suddenly he went from A's and B's to D's and F's. The principal concurred that many kids get by on "smart" until 7th grade and then it's not enough. I have been telling him this since elementary school and I remind him of our conversations often. He was publishing a newsletter for a while and doing a nice job. I was quite pleased with this, but have had to stop it as I don't think it's right to spend time on his newsletter and neglect his homework. Everyone I speak to, says it is pretty normal and that their kids went through the same thing until high school and then it finally clicked with them, but I can't just let this ride!!!! I feel I'm doing something terribly wrong and I just don't know how to fix it.
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Old 05-10-2002, 10:48 AM
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First, I hope that everyone is OK from the car accident. Take it easy, even if you think your OK it takes alot out of you.
Next, Do you think that Nick is just plain bored with what they are doing in school? It sounds like he's always been at the top of his class so maybe the school is not challengeing enough for him. I would go to his school and demand a conference with all of his teachers and the guidence person too and see if they have any idea on how to reach him. Also I would talk to his Doctor. If he is depressed then maybe he needs help that way. 13 is such a hard age, being smart might be the problem. Maybe some of his peers are teasing him because he's so smart. Peer pressure can be a factor. Just make sure he know's that you will always be there for him no matter what he needs to talk about. I'll keep your family in my thoughts and prayers.
Laura
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Old 05-10-2002, 12:18 PM
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Thanks so much. He is wondering in and out of the room as I type, so I will respond later
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Old 05-10-2002, 07:14 PM
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He sounds like a bright young man. Thirteen is just plain hard, and I agree that maybe there might be some boredom with the classroom routine going on, as well as some "wool-gathering" Both our boys kinda went "ditzey" at that age. I think you are on the right track with the ninetendo and tv, but make sure the parental attention adn acceptance of HIM is there too. I am sure you are already doing this. Kids that age are real sensitive to how others are viewing them, how they "fit in", what their role is.....not to mention just the hormonal stuff. Writing sounds like one of his strengths. Is there anyway to incorporate his writing skills with the other subjects?? Just a thought.

;-)

HSma
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Old 05-11-2002, 12:27 AM
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Thanks so much for your concern and support. (Everyone involved in the accident is fine). I appreciate your listening and your advice. I have thought and it's been suggested that he's bored, but I worry about making too many excuses for him. I do think that has a lot to do with it. It all comes pretty easily for him, except for the remembering part. I'm feeling better, less hopeless about it today.....largely thanks to you guys. I was a bit overwhelmed yesterday with life in general....so I appreciate the new perspective you have provided me and the gentle reminder to make sure he knows he is loved and accepted. It never hurts to hear that. I just dropped him at school (it's 4am ish here) for a band trip. (I guess that's extracurricular, huh? 2 concerts a year, I forget about it). There's something about dropping that big ol' boy off to get on a chartered bus that suddenly reminds me of first field trips, first days of school. He's a special guy. I just really want the best for him. I just need to remember not to make him miserable in the process. Thanks for telling me your kids got ditzey.....I needed to hear that.
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Old 05-11-2002, 08:43 PM
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Hi Mom to 2 boyz!

My son, in grade 6, was becoming very lazy...was even told so by teachers, yet he certainly was smart enough....soooo, we told him if he wanted our help in anything, we'd be there, but he has to do the work himself, not us. When his 3rd term report came out, he was extremely upset at some of the marks that had dropped considerably.....after seeing that in black & white, so to speak, he smartened up & brought every one of those dropped marks right back up & then some..It may be that your son needs to "fail" abit to realize he has to work at school....just another idea to think about, & gl!

Hugs! Jacquie
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Old 05-11-2002, 08:59 PM
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I personally don't agree with all the homework the schools send home now.
We are a family of 4. Me + 3 kids ages 5, 6, 11.
The 11 yo and myself are diagnosed ADD, the youngest two will be too, with the youngest having the H added in.
I make it as painless as possible. I give them the answers, dictate whatever just as long as it is done in their handwriting.

Funny thing is they seem to understand their work better when we do it this way as opposed to the old way where up until grade 4 I made my son struggle through it. After all how was he going to learn?

All his marks have gone up, including test results, he is absorbing it this way.

I am concerned that we are creating a nation of white collar workers who will all take their jobs home with them. Where will family time go? I want to enjoy my kids after school, ease them through the transition, not keep them working.

I do understand when they have to complete assignments not finished in school that could have been or projects (I really enjoy helping with those). It is sending home extra work to be done on their family time that irks me.

Sorry bout the rant, KC
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Old 05-12-2002, 07:07 AM
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My son is also 13 and in 7th grade. Very smart and always bored in school. When he started Kindergarten, he knew his ABC and could count and could do simple addition, so he was bored and automatically labeled. I finally took him out of the school system last year and homeschooled him. It works out great. We have a good level of communication and I know where his strengths and weaknesses are. He doesn't like to write, so I try to make it as easy as possible - test are simple and essays can be typed. The only problem I have is he likes to sleep. I talked to the councelor at school last year and she agreed that pre-teens and teens need sleep. My son's bus would come at 6:50 if he went to school. So I let him sleep as long as he wants and when he gets up, sometimes 11:30, we do school then. He can also do it on the weekends. He's a much better child. All I can say is if you are in a position to homeschool I would do it. Even if it's for a year. Oh an he is an only child use to getting that one on one attention that the teachers can't give because they have 22-25 students in a class. They would just as soon label a kid ADD (which they tried and I've had him tested) then take the time for the individual attention. Oh and I don't agree with all the homework either. I can see it for research papers but most of the homework is because the class gets interuppted do to assemblies, bomb threats or what have you. All that material can be covered in class. Hope this helps.
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