17 answers

My Child Refuses to Do School Work. - Colorado Springs,CO

My son is 14 and he won't do anything related to school work. He loves school. He is very social. But he fails every class. I have taken everything away from him and he doesn't care. I've tried every punishment I can think of. I've offered him everything I can think of to get his grades up. I have offered money, time with friends, freedom, a ferret... all things he is constantly begging for but he won't do anything to get them. Talking to him is a waste of breath. I have talked to him his teachers and counselors have talked to him and I've had other family members try to get something through to him. He won't do anything and he just tells you he wants to be nothing. Does anyone have any suggestions?

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

It sounds like there is something going on emotionally or mentally. I think you need to get him to a therapist pronto. It could be nothing, but it could be depression. The fact that "he wants to be nothing" is scary and startling to me. I hope you can get this resolved quickly and good luck!

3 moms found this helpful

Things you could try. 1.) Let him fail. INSIST that the school have him repeat the grade he fails. If he enjoys school for the social aspect, it will get old real fast when he is sitting in a classroom of kids 1-2 years or more younger than him. as his friends go off to high school. He stays with younger kids. He may at least be motivated to keep the company of his own peers, or not want to fall 2 or more grade levels behind. That's embarrassing, it would probably not make school so much "fun" 2.) Take away everything, and I mean everything. Strip his room down to a mattress and pillow and just enough basic clothes of the week. He has to earn it all back, tv and video games, and time with friends. And start having him do CHORES, nothing fun, just chores until he puts forth effort into school. 3). Have him volunteer at a homeless shelter. Have him see first hand how people live who want to be "nothing." I'll bet he is really a smart kid, maybe right now just thinks he can outsmart the adults and authority in his life. Hopefully, this is just a phase, and he will decide it isn't worth it to not work at school. It sounds like, though, it will have to be HIS decision. So I'd stop nagging, and calmly demonstrate what actually happens on the path he seems to be going down. No free rides. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

More Answers

short of homeschooling, i would quit punishing and start treating him like the adult he clearly thinks he is. if he doesn't do homework and fails, he has to repeat a grade. and while i wouldn't punish, i would also make sure not to reward. no cell phone, no Xbox, no fun trips with friends, no new shoes.
being nothing will get old pretty fast if he's as smart as he seems to be.
but underlying all this seems to be a lack of excitement, and a need to be intellectually stimulated and challenged. traditional school requires a lot of conformity and rote learning, which just bores a lot of bright kids to tears. i'd be looking for a different educational venue for this kid.
khairete
S.

5 moms found this helpful

It sounds like there is something going on emotionally or mentally. I think you need to get him to a therapist pronto. It could be nothing, but it could be depression. The fact that "he wants to be nothing" is scary and startling to me. I hope you can get this resolved quickly and good luck!

3 moms found this helpful

Is he a freshman in high school?
That can be a really, really tough year for kids.
He may be finding it difficult and doesn't really know what to do other than throw his hands up. Talk to the guidance counselor at school.

If he's in the 8th grade, he may be afraid of starting high school. It can be pretty intimidating. Maybe subconsciously, he'd like to stay behind and not go to high school. Again, I would talk to someone at school about it.

My daughter was very social and super intelligent. But, unfortunately, I guess she got it in her head that she could get by on her looks or something because she went through a phase where if she didn't feel like doing her homework or assignments, she just didn't do it. If it was something that interested her, she'd get an A plus extra credit. But, if she wasn't interested in the subject, forget it. She too, didn't care what I did to punish her. She didn't care that her grades tanked.
However, she wanted to be a cheerleader and brought all the stuff home for me to give permission. I told her no way. It cost about $250 if I remember correctly and I wasn't going to pay it for someone who wouldn't do her homework. Well, she went to try outs anyway. To her horror, right in front of all the other girls, she was asked to leave and that her grades didn't warrant her being there. She was humiliated and devastated blah, blah, blah.
But, guess who jumped on the homework bandwagon after that?
Nothing I had said got through to her. But that worked! She kicked butt and went back to getting good grades when it cost her something she really wanted. Plus there was no more hiding it or getting by. She was called out in front of all the other girls.

I don't know what you can really do other than truly let him face the consequences of his actions and get him in to talk to someone.
He may not care now about his future, but he'll regret it if the only job he can get is mopping floors or cleaning up unhappy messes at a hospital or something.

I wish you the best, I really do.

2 moms found this helpful

Well does he have any learning problems/dyslexia/needs glasses etc.?
Any behavioral issues that have been suspected or diagnosed formally in him?
If so, then ask the Doctor.... for possible solutions.

If not, just have him go to school without his schoolwork.
He will fail, his grade level.
DOES he want to.... be a 'flunkie' and have to repeat his grade level.... when all his other friends go on to the next grade?

How are his friends? Good or bad influences?

Is he capable of doing the work?
If not, then maybe get him a Tutor...

Apparently all of the educators/school Counselors cannot get through to him.
I doubt, that punishments will work either.

Does he have emotional problems? Depression? Peer problems? Self-confidence issues? Anxiety? Stress?
Some kids, ignore responsibilities, when they have these... because they cannot 'cope' with daily life.....

What does HE think the problem is? Has anyone asked him???
Then, if he knows... what would be HIS solution to it???

all the best,
Susan

1 mom found this helpful

He needs some counseling of some sort. He sounds depressed. Is there
something going on that no one knows about. Get him some help asap.

1 mom found this helpful

Let him choose his path.... let him fail.
BUT let him know that since he won't be working towards his future, you won't be helping him either! Nothing besides meals....
No money what so ever!!! That means on all levels, clothes, games, anything fun, I would also take away TV, computers, cell phones EVERYTHING.
Because if you don't do this now, it WILL be his life later with no education. He will have nothing!
Better for him to see what nothing is now, while you can be there to watch.
But also let him know you are more than willing to help him out with all those things again, once he tries again...

On a side note make sure he doesn't have a learning disability such as dyslexia or something along those lines. Issues like that can be easily treated!

1 mom found this helpful

Maybe it's too hard for him and he would rather act like he doens't care than risk looking "stupid". It's kind of a normal attitude for a teen to gravitate towards if they are having problems.

1 mom found this helpful

Things you could try. 1.) Let him fail. INSIST that the school have him repeat the grade he fails. If he enjoys school for the social aspect, it will get old real fast when he is sitting in a classroom of kids 1-2 years or more younger than him. as his friends go off to high school. He stays with younger kids. He may at least be motivated to keep the company of his own peers, or not want to fall 2 or more grade levels behind. That's embarrassing, it would probably not make school so much "fun" 2.) Take away everything, and I mean everything. Strip his room down to a mattress and pillow and just enough basic clothes of the week. He has to earn it all back, tv and video games, and time with friends. And start having him do CHORES, nothing fun, just chores until he puts forth effort into school. 3). Have him volunteer at a homeless shelter. Have him see first hand how people live who want to be "nothing." I'll bet he is really a smart kid, maybe right now just thinks he can outsmart the adults and authority in his life. Hopefully, this is just a phase, and he will decide it isn't worth it to not work at school. It sounds like, though, it will have to be HIS decision. So I'd stop nagging, and calmly demonstrate what actually happens on the path he seems to be going down. No free rides. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

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