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Seeking Moms with Seventh Grade Boys

I have a son who is in 7th grade. We are having trouble with grades,attitude,and behaving appropiately while in school.When he is at home, he is completely different from what his teachers describe at school. My son says that he is bored and isn't interested in certain subjects that they are learning about. Now when it comes to sports, he is a whiz. He memorizes stats and facts with no trouble. I just don't know if it is the age(teenage years) and also going through puberty or if this will turn into a serious problem. I've talked to his teachers,they were not much help and feel they are not entitled to do any extra help for him. Any suggestions out there?

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Hi, C.,

I've taught teenagers math, English and swimming for over ten years. I think that horomones are overrated as a cause of disruptive behavior as not all teenagers "act out." I am not saying that kids that "act out" are abnormal. I'm just saying that each kid is unique. What I've observed of kids who "act out" and say that they are bored is that they usually are one of the following: (1) bored because they are underchallenged; (2) frustrated because they don't understand the material in that subject (most common category); or (3) have ADD or ADHD. I would recommend the following: get him tested by the school psychologist and a Sylvan Learning Center to determine his strengths and weaknesses; sit in his classes one day to just obeserve the students; stress that he be polite to people no matter what he thinks of them. (Self-restraint will get him far in life.)

Good luck,
L. E

Have you thought about the fact that he might be gifted? My son use to get bored and just do weird things (like cut off an eyebrow!) until he was tested. Now he's attending a school that is soley for gifted children. All is wonderful now. Good luck!

Yes, a lot of it is just his age. Those early teen years can be pretty tough on anybody. Most of it, though, is probably the fact that he's bored. See if there are accelerated classes you can put him in, or even a different school you could transfer him to. (One of the reasons we now homeschool my 7th grade son was because he was tired of waiting for the rest of the class to finally "get it." He was ready to move on long before most of his classmates were.)

The more choices you can give him, and the more that he feels he has a say, the better he'll do. If he hates one math or science or English class, find another with a different focus. It's important that he's engaged in his education. I hated algebra, but geometry made much more sense. Earth sciences bore some people to tears, but they love life sciences.

The hardest part of the equation, though, is undoubtedly going to be his feeling of, "Why do I have to do this, anyway?" One of my now adult children, who is extremely bright, had a very hard time doing any work that she didn't think was "fun," and didn't see why she had to do subjects she wasn't interested in. When she got into high school and had more choices, she did better, because she could pick and choose. She still didn't do her best in classes she didn't like, but she did decent work. After complaining that, "College doesn't sound like any fun," she discovered that there were specialty schools. She ultimately chose to attend culinary school (she made the honor roll, and found a job in her field even before she graduated.)

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I'm new to mamasource, but my email said that you are requesting me in particular to answer you question. If this is correct that you would like me to share my advice in this area, I would be glad to. Just let me know if that is what you want. I'm not sure I could type all that I would say -- maybe a phone call would be better. Let me know . . .

My questions to you are:

1. Has he typically struggled with academics in school??

2. Is he having trouble in relationships at school (ie: kids picking on him, hanging with the "wrong" crowd, etc)?

3. How is his attitude with you as his autority at home?

4. Was he usually bored with school because he understands it and is able to do it easily and he is always waiting for everyone else to get done with it? In other words, typically an advanced student?

5. Definitely puberty factors in here and they do have a major "change" in different-than-their-normal-self ways that they respond and act. Are you able to discern between that and blatant disobedience to your authority?

Just let me know if you want me to respond to this.

N. S.

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Hi Candace,
I have a 7th grade son aas well. He is also very good with sports statistics as well ! His grades on the otherhand leave nuch to de desired. I constantly reminf him that he is bright with unlimited potential. I have been trying to work more with him in the evenings (when I get home from work) and support him in everything he does. We try to balance discipline with praise and to the best of our ability apply Godly principles. I have to CONSTANTLY remind myself that it was God who created him and He therefore has a plan fro his life. Seek God's guidance....He's standing by with the solution. God Bless You ! Tamara

He is just being fairly normal for that age....I coached boys that age in soccer for several years and they all seemed to be on the same page. You really need to set goals for things that he wants and things that he wants to do , trips, movies etc. if he does not comply in class than his life can become VERY BOARING. At that age they have to realize that they have to work for what they want and they have to face the problems that come with not getting theri work done. I have one son with a IQ of 175, runs in my husbands family and all I heard was he was boared and the teachers did not know what they were talking about. In live he is going to have to work in the field with many that do not measure up to his ideas and take orders from people that he may feel are as "DUMB" as his teachers but that is the real way of life and he has to learn it now.

Without knowing your son I cannot tell you if it will be a real problem but I had the same issue with mine when he reached 7th grade. He stopped doing his homework and liked to get up and walk around class and disrupt it and was somewwhat disrespectful to his teachers(previous years he was in GATE, did all his homework and did not get into trouble).
So it was annoying, but we just kept explaining how we expected his behavior to be and we pushed through 7th and 8th grade(he still got OK grades because he could ace all his tests).
We made sure we kept him in sports to take his extra time up, talked all the time to him about drugs and friends and kept a close eye on friends but I also told him" I will trust you until you give me a reason not to and then your life will change drastically and I don't think you want to find out what that may be like" Plus I threatened to take hockey away. He is now a sophmore in high School and his issues seemed to go away as he grew up. He is a GREAT kid, does his homework, is becoming more respectful in general- he spends his time playing hockey and golf and does not hang around the wrong kids. He will be a successful adult.
You have to remember at this age now they are trying to become independant. There is a fine line between allowing some of that independance while still showing you are the one in control. They try and take your control away, but if you are too controlling that backfires too. Always talk about what you expect(don't share stories of yourself at his age if they aren't the right kind). They will take that as a reason to do that themselves.
Then as they approach 16 hanging the car over their head works wonders-we let him get his permit 6 mos before his 16th birthday but then said he could not get his lic until he got a 3.0. He got a 3.2 and he has to maintain it to keep driving. So far so good.
Good luck- it is a very tough age and if he is not 14 yet-thats worse. Also this is a very,very important time to watch his friends and if they change suddenly or completley find out why!!

My daughter is also in seventh grade and I am going through the same issues with her. What I've found helpful is a bit of give and take. I outline my expectations of her quite clearly (especially when it comes to grades) and we go over consequences. She knows ahead of time that if she does not follow those rules, she gets grounded. However, if she does really well - she gets rewarded. I bought her some expenses running shoes after she took home all "a" during the first term. I've also enlisted the help of her basketball coach and he is a strong supporter. She's been grounded a few times causing her to miss some games so she knows I am serious. She tries to reason or negotiate, but I stick to my guns - remaining consistent is the key.

Some of it is also posturing at their age. They have to maintain their "rep" and sometimes that "rep" is not necessarily the rep that you want them to maintain. But they do grow out of it. My daughter was very "goth" in 5th and early 6th grade before she got into sports and got out of that stage.

C. - I appreciate what you are going through and I agree with the great advice you've gotten from other moms. Middle school is a challenging time. If your son was previously a good student then his boredom may very well be a reflection of the fact that public schools don't do a good job of challenging brighter students. Also, there are so many other things going on with them personally and socially at this age. There may be some other issues, but it can be tough to ferret them out because if you son is like mine, he won't want to talk about them. I don't know how often you see him interact with other kids, but I know some of my worries went away when I noticed that pretty much all his friends are going through the same stage.

Accademically, we've tried to help him understand that school is his job right now, and you won't always love every aspect of your job but you still have an obligation to do it to the best of your ability. If you have high but fair expectations, with consequences for doing a poor job or not putting in the effort, I think that helps.

Best of luck!

L.

My son says that he is bored and isn't interested in certain subjects that they are learning about. I am curious...what was your response to this? Often kids say they are bored and they are using that term indiscriminately...they've learned that saying "I'm bored" places the responsibility onto someone else or they use it to describe frustration they are feeling when they truly don't understand what is going on in class. It would be worthwhile to investigate what he might mean by this. Also, is there anyway sports can be incorporated into the subjects he is struggling with? Such as reading and writing research reports on sports stars, history of sports, etc. for English or using his knowledge of stats to strengthen his understanding of pre-algebra? You are correct in saying part of this might be typical teenage growing pains...but ultimately he doesn't get a pass on putting forth effort on what needs to be learned. It is after all the knowledge on which his eighth grade studies will be built on. If he balks at your intervention attempts, look into tutoring from an outside source. Keep up the good work staying on top of this....one day, when he's off to college, you'll appreciate all your extra efforts!

C., As a mother of a 7th grade boy as well as a teacher, you should request a meeting between you and the teachers. At my school it is called a student study (SST). Here, there are three levels. The first step in the process is a meeting between all teachers and parents...possibly the principal or assistant principal and possibly the school psychologist. Anyway, this meeting is suppose to be set up to find out the difficulties of your son and determine GOALS that you, your child, and the teacher will be responsible for. Interventions become a part of your sons education. Then there is a followup to see if these interventions are helping meet the goal. If not, you move to an SST II and try new techniques, if these work, it is noted on the SST II follow up they stay in place, if not another meeting takes place SST II).

Ask for a meeting. This is your son's education on the line. I'm not sure if they have SST, but they do have to have some type of plan of action for this type of thing. Has other teachers complained about his behavior in school? Take that into some consideration as well.

Email me anytime: ____@____.com My name is S.

My Mother has been raising my sister's kids since birth. My niece is 17 years old and still in the 9th grade. She failed 9th grade because she didn't care, had no interest unless it suited her and she gave nothing but trouble in school. Her attitude was atrocious.
From what you describe here, all I'm reading is her behavior. My mother talked to her teachers as well. I don't know what it is in today's world, teachers don't give a .... all they can think about is how much their yearly salary is going to be and go on strike when it's not the amount they want. I'm sorry, I have issues here on that subject.
My Mother homeschools her now. I don't know if that's an option for you. It's the best thing Mother could have ever done. Because of this choice, my niece gets excellent grades.
If you want to explore this idea, you can put in the search engine in your computer homeschooling. I can also give you the company which my mother's going through and I'm strongly considering it for my 8 year old son when he starts the 3rd grade in the Fall. I hope this has helped.

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good questions nancy! i'm a teacher and wanted to chime in, but it would be very helpful if you answered those questions. talk to you soon!

quote from bobby's post: "I dont know what your school is like but the school my daughter was in the teachers never contacted me about any of her grades and such until report card time they figure we have edline to check up on them and its our job to make sure they get the work in, what happened to teachers helping when a child needs extra tutoring? teachers arent like they were when we were kids"

we have a similar grading system that can be accessed by parents and what alot of parents need to understand is that your child's success is a PARTNERSHIP. i assume that parents have access to their students grades, so if there is something that the parent wants to discuss in efforts to get their child to perform better in school, then they can schedule a conference. otherwise, we are moving on with the curriculum (especially with high schoolers). i work at a private school and some parents are tooootally content to pay for their children's bad grades, when they can fail out at a public school for free. so i find it ridiculous to put an extra workload on myself for a student/parent(s) that show they don't care.

you obviously care C., so if your son's teachers are not supportive, you may want to involve administration if necessary.

It's the age. Jr. High kids are trying to figure out their roles as their bodies change & their hormones take over, so they try to fit in with each other- usually through rebellious behavior. Keep him accountable for his actions, and let him know you are always there for him & willing to listen to his point of view. One mom said yesterday that she would take her kids for rides in the car when she needed to have a talk with them, because no one could walk away from her & she could just keep driving for as long as it took to get everything talked out. I thought that was brilliant.

I am a foster parent. My own two chidren are grown with families of their own. Currently we have only one child. He is 12 in the 7th grade. He is also 5'9" 255 lbs. He is much as you described your son (except for the size!) But due to his size, we found that he was having issues with some boys at school and was feeling very self conscious. We got him involded in sports - he chose basketball. We ended up with a wonderful coach who not only teaches the game, but has developed a team that encourages and supports each other no matter their skills or lack of. This has helped tremendously. In addition, he now has a therapist who is more of a mentor. We had to go through three to find the right one.

I suggest getting your son physically involded in something, such as sports. And it wouldn't hurt to get him some therapy or counseling. Even healthy, well adjusted people benefit from that.

Make sure he is not being bullied at school, teased, pestered, sometimes kids at that age, do this to gain the attention when lacking friends at school, how better else to get noticed by other kids,act up. All it takes is one time, and he noticed the attention he got from it. If none of these reasons are the problem , maybe getting him into some sort of sport soccer, baseball, youth teams at the park, does not cost hardly anything, and the season last about 4 weeks. Since he loves sporots why not use sports as an incentive if his grades and attitude improve reward him with taking him to a live sports event. Or sign him up on a park team.
Good luck

Hi there, You didn't say if your son has friend etc, but have you considered getting him a good therapist? At that age, you're the last person he wants to share his issues with, and maybe something else is going on, he's being bullied etc. Also, have you had him checked for learning issues? Intelligence and being able to memorize have nothing to do with it, but I've found, that while some kids who say they are "bored" really are, others are just getting shut out from the learning process. Good luck!

Hi C.,
I have an 8th grader with ADHD who's been like this since 4th grade and I've taught junior high in the past, so I understand both the frustrated parent and the teacher perspectives. You have already received a lot of good feedback. I would like to emphasize the following:

1) This too shall pass. Your son will ultimately be fine. I know this because you took the time to pursue his teachers and to seek out help from this online community. For most students, the most important determinant of their success in school is the degree of parental involvement (there are a multitude of studies that show this).

2) Continue to monitor your son. I use a daily report form that I created for my son because the school's form did not meet our needs. It has a line for each teacher with four questions - did he treat you with respect? did he treat his peers with respect? was he on task? did he turn in his homework? The teachers rank him on a scale of 1-5 for each question and then sign their initials. Then there is a space for them to write comments if they so desire. I sign under their initials each night so they know I read it (this sends the message that I am willing to invest the same extra time that I am asking them to invest and that their time is not wasted because I do look at the form every night). The important thing is to keep the form as simple as possible so the teachers can easily fill it out in 30 seconds near the end of each period. However, tell your son to give it to them at the start of class so they can make notes and do it at their convenience.

3) Link consequences to his actions (positive and negative). For example, if my son earns a 1 or 2 on his report, I take away privileges (t.v., computer, etc.). If he doesn't get his homework done, he has to catch up on his work instead of getting to go to track practice, for example. If he earns a 5 I reward him (praise for one day, ice cream at Cold Stones for all week, etc). Let your son help determine the consequences - you will get more of a sense of what motivates him and more "buy in" from him. Notice there is no consequence from me for 3 or 4, this is because I expect this level of behavior from him (small errors, not perfection) and his consequences are thus simply the good grades and relationships with teachers and peers that naturally come from this.

4) I've found "I'm bored" means one of three things:
First, it can mean "I'm tired and don't feel like getting started" (procrastination). Second, it can mean "I don't understand this work and don't feel like trying to figure it out." And third, it can mean "I don't find this subject very interesting and don't feel like doing it." You need to teach your son how to identify which "I'm bored" he's feeling in each situation, and strategies for overcoming it. For example, the only way to overcome procrastination is to "just do it!" that's right, exploit popular culture like Nike if you have to. I find that if I help my son get started on an assignment, once he gets going, he will usually finish up on his own without needing much pushing. A popular strategy used by teachers is to get kids started on homework at the end of the period for just this reason. If he consistently doesn't understand the work (the second "I'm bored") then he's either missed a foundational step and needs remediation or he lacks study skills. In either case, he needs tutoring, either after school with the teacher or at home with you or a hired person or center. Make sure the tutoring focuses on the actual root cause of the problem: missing foundational knowledge or study skills; and does not focus on the content he is learning in school right now. Finally, the third "I'm bored" (lack of interest in the subject) requires a very important realization on your son's part - he's not always going to like or be interested in the things he has to do, but he's still got to do them; and no one wants to hear him whine about it. Once he understands this, you can teach him strategies for how to make boring things more interesting. The best way to do this is by finding something about the subject that's relevant to him. For example, my son thought cell biology in 7th grade was so boring until I started showing him websites about cancer and pheromones. Unfortunately, only the very best teachers are skilled enough to make their subjects and assignments interesting to all students - so you're going to have to step in and pick up a little of the slack here. Another strategy is to make a game out of the work. When my son was younger and the math was more straight-forward practice, for example, I used to divide his assignments into equal segments and then time him on each segment to see if he could beat his previous record. Eventually, he started developing his own self-motivation (with a little guidance) and now sets small goals form himself like, "I'm going to get a snack when I finish my first assignment. I'm going to play a round of Mario Brothers when I finish my second assignment."

5) Finally (I promise) realize that his hormones are making him very moody and while these strategies may work well sometimes, other times he will be totally beyond reason. When this happens, give him space. When he's "rational" again, get things back on track. Sometimes when my son gets into the car after school and I ask "how was your day?" I get screamed at. I've tried all kinds of different responses to this and have found the best reaction is to just keep silent in the car; then when we get home, I tell him, "I do not appreciate the way you just talked to me; I'd like you to go rest in your room until you feel more in control of your emotions." If he argues, I calmly repeat myself, until he does as I ask. Often he falls asleep for an hour or so (children, even teenagers, need 10 hours of sleep per night - especially athletes - and often don't get it.) After his rest, he is usually more reasonable and receptive to me and to getting his homework and chores done. He even apologizes on occasion for screaming at me and will hug me and say, "I love you Mom." Now that's something to be grateful for!

Good luck C.; and I sincerely hope these comments help!

Aloha C.!
I too have a son in 7th grade that is not always doing his best work at school. I think part of it is.... the pedagogy at his school and part of it is.... his age. The preteen years are just plain tough. He is my fourth and I know from past experience that this age is a constant battle of hormones, identity issues, and a constant reassurance from me that they are loved for who they are. I feel that due to the age being so impressionable I really need to be there for them which is not easy at times, because I go to school full time and I work. I'm quite stern yet I want him to know how much I love him so I try to spend one on one time with him as often as I can. Time with him seems to work the best.....if he knows I love him then it is easier to take the sternness when I need to lay down the law. At times I find myself raising the bar w/ him when I feel their is more goofing off than studying. But don't be too hard on yourself......I once read a joke that helps me when times are a bit tough with the kids. God said about Adam and Eve...........I asked you not to Partake of the fruit..........but they did......and when he asked them why? They said I dunna know........What do you mean you don't know? Sound familiar? So God said to the rest of the world if I failed with my first two kids......what makes you think you are going to get it right the first time :)
Good luck! E.

Hi! your part right, hormones are raging and sports is good keep up the good work there. Some children are not all scalers so we as parents have to work with this but continue to encourage him along. Also read up on some of the great sports player most of them this age where bored and even later on in life until they found their nitch in life , it can be very exhausting for parents especially parents that have a dream that their child will grow up to do the things that they themselves never got around too. Just teach them most of all to respect them selves and others and be the best they can be.Liston to them and get their feelings on the subject and help guide them in a positive direction meeting on neutral ground with the teachers and family involved. I had 5, and 3 had photogenic memories, two did not and the youngest child has ADHD and has gone to therapy and many other things to determine how we as teaches and parents can help her be the best she can be! and sports is where she shines and school work not so well and I am so proud of her because I know that we did our best to help her.Each child is different so knowing each child is where a good parent becomes the best they can be. God bless.

Hi Candace,

I can understand your concern as a parent. And I also remember being a bored student--I got stomach aches. Fortunately, I was skipped half a grade and the problem went away. (Much later, I realized I was angry that I was bored, and took it out on myself--often a female way of dealing with problems.)

As a Certified Family Coach here in Mar Vista--and not a mom of a 7th grader--I support all family members in taking action consistent with their values, goals, dreams and vision. So for your son, I would suggest that he can learn to make choices regarding his attitude, beliefs, assumptions and behavior at school that bring him success. I'd ask him lots of questions, like: What IS success for him academically? What can he do, proactively, to create interest/excitement, rather than boredom? What is it about sports that he values? What are his goals? Where and how can he use his power in this situation? And is he willing to?

It sounds like you have a pretty neat son at home....and there may be things you (or you and your spouse/partner) could do to enhance his chance of success.....does he feel he can trust you with his real feelings and thoughts? does he feel understood by you? There are some dynamite communication techniques kids and parents can learn that foster taking responsibility and self-learning.

Let me know if you'd like to talk. I'm at ###-###-#### or you can email me at ____@____.com.

--R. Gurse

Hello C.. It is so coincidental that I happen to see your request as I also have a son in the 7th grade that is having the same exact trouble as your son. I've taken him to counseling (not working out as he won't inform the counselors what the problem is/what's bothering him) and it's actually wasting their time, although may be different with your son. My son has been diagnosed with "ADHD" and is currently on medication (not my choice) although it doesn't seem to be working so now I again out of luck. I've done all the things you have done and come up with no solutions. I'm not sure what location you're at, although I live in the South Bay Area and got this counseling recommendation from the school. You may want to ask the school where your son attends and I'm sure they can advise. Please keep my posted on your responses as I can really use them too and maybe we can meet in person to discuss our situation. :) I'm very sorry that you're going through this as I know it's very difficult.

My son was just like yours. He's 15 now but when he was in 7th grade my well-behaved son started acting up in class, becoming the class clown, disrupting others and his grades started suffering. It wasn't an issue of him having other things to do to get energy out because he already played sports all year long. Football, baseball, wrestling. It was after having conferences with all his teachers I found out that he completes his work faster than other students, gets frustrated when questions are asked and other students didn't know the answers so he'd just blurt them out. He'd get good grades on his tests but wouldn't do homework because he said it was too easy. Well, after having him tested we found out that he was in classes too easy for him and he wasn't challenged enough by the teacher or his peers and subject matter. We moved him to a private school where he is challenged and where they tailor to gifted children. He is thriving now and the behavioral problems have stopped. He still blurts things out sometimes and tells me he gets frustrated sometimes but it's not a problem like it was.

You're not alone. I have a lot of friends who, including me, can relate to your 7th grader. I have an 8th grader. I've volunteered at his Middle School and have seen this behavior a lot. As they enter the teenager years, they will test and test and test you some more, but if you don't give up and stand your ground it will pay off in the end. He needs to know you're mom and you're in charge. It doesn't mean you won't respect him and talk about concerns, but that you make the final decision. My son knows his limits and that's very important. He knows when he's crossed the line and that both his dad and I are on the same page. He also knows there's consecuences for the bad decision he makes and I'm very consistant with that. Yes, he also loves sports, but that's because he likes it. My son doesn't like school at all, but he knows he still needs to do his best even if he doesn't like it. It's good to keep the communication line between his teachers and you open--it'll help you understand how he is in class, but it doesn't mean that's how it'll be at home. I have to remind my son, sometimes daily, that home is not school and he can't talk to me, his dad or anyone else disrespectfully like he hears kids do at school. We're not his peer friends, but his parents and adults who are responsible to train him how to be successful in life. If you don't give up on him, it won't turn into a serious problem. It's not easy--Hang in there and I hope this helps you some. A caring Mom.

i have a 7th grade boy and an 8th grade daughter. they are so opposite in certain ways. my son is more the opposite of yours. the attitude comes out at home. he is very quiet at school and has always gotten good grades. what i have noticed is he does seem bored with school. nothing really seems to excite him. he hardly has homework and not sure if he does it when he has it but stays on honor roll.

so i guess my point is, maybe the work is too easy or just doesnt intrest him. i think this is often the case and not that they cant do the work or are bad kids. keep incouraging the sports and remind him with out the grades and behavior he wont be able to continue with the sports.

i have had the problem with the school not being concerned. just keep pushing the school until they help you. most have ways you can daily monitor there work and other programs available, you just have to keep pushing for the help.

good luck. be patience and consistant with him. i keep reminding mine that im here for him to talk to if he needs anything. and its always best to use your words.

Hold ON! He will get through it. I was administrative staff for a K-8 school for 8 years. My job the first few years was with the middle school program. I truly believe that this is one of the hardest years for boys. I am the mother of two boys now 21 and 17. They both had very difficult years in the 7th grade. 8th got a little better. My suggestion is that you have clear and reasonable expectations of him and even try asking him how you can help him get through the year and enjoy it. Find those thing you can praise him for, like the sports knowledge and if he plays sports, keep encouraging him there. Good luck and it's not to early to help him start looking at colleges and even going for a college tour or sporting events to keep him looking forward.
S.,
Santa Barbara

This is a tough age. I have three growen children. I remember that middle school was a time of transition for my kids. This is where they are tested, tempted and tried like none other. Peer pressure is intense and acceptance is a big part of their idenity. My suggestion is to encourage him to talk about sex, durgs, relationships with you weather you agree or not. Keep the door of communication open. You may not agree with everything.

How are his grades? A lot of times, if kids are acting out or saying they are bored at school, it can be that he is actually having trouble understanding the work. It does not shock me that he does fine with sports...he is interested in that, right? If he acts well at home an not at school, try quizzing him about stuff he is learning at school at home, to try and "test" if he is really getting it..or running away from the work... I am an ed therapist, by the way... hope this helps

I have a 12-year-old who will be in 7th grade next year. His school is from K-8 and it being a small, Christian school he seems to be staying on-track pretty well so far. We switched him in 3rd grade from a public school in which he had nothing but problems. The environment made a huge difference. He didn't want to switch schools (he didn't know any better) but it was a really good choice (even he would say so now). Not that I'm suggesting that for you (just background). At home we have a routine of daily chores which take a 1/2 hour to an hour, maybe a bit longer on weekends (yard work). He's in sports, which I think is good for being well-rounded and learning about being a team player. So between chores & sports he's pretty busy. All down time seems to go toward TV, computer and video games. So, to keep him in line, if the chores aren't done and one of those things is on - he loses it for that day and the next day. Being the age he is, he can sometimes lose TV several days in a row. I actually love this, because then he reads and organizes things in his room & other constructive things. He knows I feel this way and therefore, behavior remains in check so that he can also have the TV, computer, games that he wants.
What I've heard about teens and the hormone rush that you seem to now be experiencing is that you have to be patient & understanding. Their bodies are really going through a lot and it does make teens irrational and a bit crazy. I talk to my son about this now, although I think it's 6 months or so away for us. So he can kind of understand what his body is going through. But that doesn't mean he can back talk or slack on the chores or school work (we require a B average). It's a constant struggle to always be understanding & supportive, but I'm trying. Everyday I try to give him some positive feedback on something I'm proud of.

My son is in 8th grade now and began the wonderful puberty journey last year. He is in all honors courses and his grades fluctuated soooooo much. The key for us was constant nagging, punishment (i.e. taking away privleges), checking his grades weekly. He could usually raise all grades by report card time...but before that time, they were all over the place. This year is a little bit better...except now he's into girls. Puberty sucks and so does the attitude that goes with it. Hang in there and be sure to choose your battles wisely :-)

Oh my, sounds just like me with my 7th grade boy too....Unfortunately ( and I know it shouldn't be an excuse) my 13 yr old has also lately been getting into trouble at school because of his attitude, lack of interest in certain school subjects. Just last month I had a parent/teacher meeting about it. He's pretty goog at memorizing movie lines, skating & playing some sports. He's a complete different person at home, but once at school, another story. He sais he's got a "girlfriend" who i think I should start blaming, the non-stop phone calls etc. My husband ( who's his stepfather) says it his testosterone rising, not to mention he's going through puverty.....I dont think i experienced with my now 19 yrs old son. I do several things to make sure he's staying out of trouble, as well as doing all his classwork. For instance at the meeting last month, he was not to use the phone for a period of a month, nor could he use his Playstation 2, and to make things worse, we disconnected the cable from his TV. This made his life miserable, but as parents they have to know where the line has been drawn. Currently he's attending tutoring classes 3x a week, and i definitely hope this helps bring his grade score up. He gets upset when i have to constantly tell him what to do ( his bed, homework etc) but until he starts behaving like a young adult, he will still be treated like a baby I tell him.
Good luck, and have lots of patience....
D.

Hi, C.,

I've taught teenagers math, English and swimming for over ten years. I think that horomones are overrated as a cause of disruptive behavior as not all teenagers "act out." I am not saying that kids that "act out" are abnormal. I'm just saying that each kid is unique. What I've observed of kids who "act out" and say that they are bored is that they usually are one of the following: (1) bored because they are underchallenged; (2) frustrated because they don't understand the material in that subject (most common category); or (3) have ADD or ADHD. I would recommend the following: get him tested by the school psychologist and a Sylvan Learning Center to determine his strengths and weaknesses; sit in his classes one day to just obeserve the students; stress that he be polite to people no matter what he thinks of them. (Self-restraint will get him far in life.)

Good luck,
L. E

i have a 7th graders. Some days hes goods other he has a bad atitude and talks back to me. I think some of it is hormones, and influence at school.Just keep strong and dont let him get to you. Still be a parent and give him guidance and advise

Hi C.,

My son is 13 and in 8th grade but we "solved" this problem so I thought to share my experience with you. Get him a video camera! Seriously. My son started Video Production at school in 6th grade. This is a 3 year program and he is now in Advanced Video Production. He anchors the morning news on campus. He now understands all of the ins and outs of creating a broadcast for school. His video production teacher noticed the young men on campus were bored with the usual classes and started a program teaching them everything from writing news copy to editing stories for broadcast, to using the teleprompter equipment, lighting, and all of the computer equipment involved in putting on a 5 minute program each day. The boys alternate between audio (they love to pick the music) and producer and director and sports anchor and so on....My son is sooooo excited about school now. He wakes up early to be on campus early and he is allowed into the broadcast booth early to prepare for his "show" each morning so he almost feels like a celebrity! He is excited about the quality of each program since the teacher gives the boys full credit on screen and he will even wear a shirt and tie for some shows! Now my son wants to be a movie director when he grows up! Amazing. Prior to this program he was a bit bored with the cirriculum and didn't have a "niche". Now he has a "home" on campus and it has made all of the difference. See if you can find a "home" on campus for your son. If he has a "niche" that is all his own and one that he loves....he will be excited about school, his future and everything else. My son must maintain his 3.50 GPA to qualify for Video Production each year so that is his motivation. I never have had to bug him about homework since he entered the 6th grade! This Video program did all of the motivation for me. Try to find out what your son may like. Music/Dance/Drama/Band/Sports. Once he has his niche and understands how keeping his grades up allows him to take advantage of the "fun" programs...then he will be motivated to keep his grades up on his own. He may be the next best sports announcer!

Good luck,
Keep us posted.
T. A.

well I dont have a boy but i do have a 7th grade girl... she has had her share of issues with school I even had her in sylvan.. The only thing I can think of to do is take privlidges away it seems to help I know you probably feel like a broken record as I do when I have to either ground her or take the pc or something else away that she loves or likes to do when she dont keep her grades up or behave right..I know the teenage years are a tough battle at times... I dont know what your school is like but the school my daughter was in the teachers never contacted me about any of her grades and such until report card time they figure we have edline to check up on them and its our job to make sure they get the work in, what happened to teachers helping when a child needs extra tutoring? teachers arent like they were when we were kids.......I wish you luck... does your son have any sports he is involved in or anything that you can take away till he pulls his school work up?

Have you thought about the fact that he might be gifted? My son use to get bored and just do weird things (like cut off an eyebrow!) until he was tested. Now he's attending a school that is soley for gifted children. All is wonderful now. Good luck!

I have raised four children (now 23 to 36) and our youngest son suffered from some of the same challenges and was also a gifted athlete who played baseball through 3 years of college.

There are so many elements to his turmoil in school. There is no simple answer to your question. For my son it was a combination of food choice, emphasis on the importance of education, helping him find his passion that superceded baseball, personal discipline and responsibility that we required and demanded from him. Some of that came early, some came later.

I wish I could be more precise, but there is not one answer that is going to help. It is important for you to know that your role, as his mother, will have a greater impact on him than you can imagine. Wishing you peace and strength as you grow together.

About me:

I am a mother of four children ranging in ages from 23 to 36. I am self-educated in nutrition and currently represent a health and wellness company that distributes pure, safe, and beneficial products internationally. Our focus is broad based and includes inner and outer health (skin care, hormone balancing, weight management, and supplementation with whole food vitamins – for children to mature individuals).

I am also the author of “Diamond Moms, A Mother’s Guide to Raising a Baseball Player” available on Amazon. While it educates mothers about the sport, it is also a book on parenting and the importance of being a strong, disciplined, and loving mother. Don’t ever leave yourself out of the picture!!

My son is now in 9th grade and is doing better, but there is still some struggle. He was always a very good student, but when he hit 7th grade he became very much what your son sounds like. I've heard it is just something many kids go through. They say boys usually start in middle school and girls in high school. Some of his teachers were very supportive and others were not. He is also very into sports and we decided to use that to help motivate him. As soon as we got notice of poor grades and lack of participation we sat him down and went over the rules with him... homework to be done before playing, t.v. watching, phone, etc. Grades must be at least in the B range. If a C showed up we talked about it with him first and then with the teacher, after all for some kids certain subjects are just harder for them. If the C wasn't due to lack of homework or poor participation then it was okay, but we worked with him and the teacher to figure out how to make things better. I found the key to teachers that don't seem interested is to just stay on top of them. Most of them, if you show them you are truly concerned and are not going to drop it then they are more willing to take time to help you. And if not, don't be afraid to go to the councelor or principal and be prepared to show that you have made many attempts to approach the teacher. Finally, my sons participation in sports is directly related to his grades. In order to participate in after school activities he must be actively participating in school. If he is missing homework or doing poorly on tests or in class with attitude then he does not go to practice which usually affects his play time in the next game. When he brings home great grades on tests or report cards he is rewarded with going to a sporting event of his choice. He loves baseball so we often go to Dodger games. Now that he is in high school he is doing much better because he is at risk of getting kicked off teams for missing practices. From the beginning we have always kept his coaches informed of what our policy is and they have all been supportive and many even ask him about his homework and grades. It is hard on us to constantly be up to date on his assignments and making the constant phone calls or e-mails, but it has really improved his progress. In fact we just recently rewarded him with a cell phone for bringing home straight A's for the first time ever!!! Of course in order to keep the phone he must maintain A's and B's.

C.,

I read through many of your responses but felt that I still needed to respond.
I want to bring up the Multiple Intelligences and how they might be important in this situation. First off I think that you should have your son tested so you know if he is placed in the correct classes, difficulty wise. Then talk with your son about the 8 different intelligences that there are (I have handouts about this if you are interested. I can scan and email them to you. I was a director for a youth program for a while and we used them for our kids and volunteers to learn more about how they are uniquely made to be...themselves.)
It is obvious your son has a very high Bodily-Kinesthetic Intelligence along with possibly Logical-Mathmatical Intelligence because of his love for stats. I have found that if a child is low in an intelligence they can learn more by using the intelligences that they are high in. Such as learning about Math by using Sports.
I think it helps for kids to know that their intelligence is no less important than just the "book learning" intelligence and possibly will even be more important as they grow up and use it in the adult world.
Here is an excerpt from one of the handouts-
"All the Intelligences work together in complex ways. They do not 'stand alone' but rather are always interacting with each other. For example, when playing a ball game the child needs bodily-kinesthetic intelligence to run, kick and catch, spacial intelligence to become oriented to the playing field and to anticipate the trajectories of balls, and linguistic and interpersonal intelligences to successfully argue a point or shout out instructions to teammates."
In middle school they are just becoming aware of who they are. Let you son know that he is uniquely made and there are special things about himself that his class mates do not have and vis versa.

Hope this helps.

Evelyn

It is not just 7th grade boys. All kids are smart and use that line. I learned this from watching several grow up. Letting them get away with the line "I'm bored" is not acceptable. If your child is not acting the same at both school and home then he/she should be treated accordingly.
No money for anything, make them take bag lunches. No fun, nothing.

School is the most important thing kids have to do. If you want a well adjusted adult after 18 years then make sure they know that School is not an optional daily activity. Sports and TV are though and those optional activities can be taken away because he/she are not doing the one thing in life that is their "JOB".

I have friends who let the excuse "I'm bored" be ok and it is not. If he/she is bored then why arn't they getting A's and at the head of their class. One friend has a son that was "Gifted" and because of the "I'm bored" thing, he made it out of high school by the skin of his teeth. Now he is working at the mall and not using all those smarts he started out with. We as parents have to be the strong one in the family and push the things we know are right for our children even if they don't like it. Yes, we would like our children to think of us a cool and easy to get along with. Well.... don't you think they should bring something to the table also?

As you can see this is something I have lived with. My own daughter (now 20 going to City College and teaching in a after school program and saying she wants to be a teacher. I laugh because it took me walking around with my foot up her butt for 4 years to get her graduated. Can you imagine how I looked? lol) is now a well adjusted adult. So something must have worked. Don't give up, if you have to yell, cry and use guilt. All is fair in love and making sure you do are proud to say "That's my kid".

Good luck, every parent needs it. That and to stay one step ahead.

C.,

I, too, am a teacher and a mother of a 20 year old. I have been on the parent end and the teacher end. I can tell you, that as parents, we often want to point the blame on someone else (not that you are) for our child's problems. Sometimes, we take all the blame.

When my child was in middle school, we had a very difficult time. Honestly, it was a constant battle. Middle school is when they are testing us, the teachers, and trying to make a "name" for themselves. They are not sure what name that's going to be...It's a difficult time! (My daughter now tells me that that was her worst time...she didn't much like herself then, and was trying to "fit in" in many different groups. She was trying figure out who she was going to be.

As for school, I find that the really smart students often are bored in middle school. It's more of an social adjustment period than an academic period. I teach 5th grade. In elementary school my gifted kids (like my daughter), got by easily, with good grades and minimal effort. School comes easy to them. But the problem often is that parents don't check up on them ( homework, classwork, etc.). We just see the end result...good grades and assume they are doing well. But, unfortunately, these students haven't learned the study skills that they will need for middle and high school. As teachers, with the way we are REQUIRED TO TEACH subjects now, we practically feed everything to them. I think it's that way in everything from video games, TV, and life skills. There are no lessons in how to "think" to solve problems. But, still, these kids do well in elementary school.

Then comes middle school. Everything changes. These "bright" students still think they can get by without study skills and their grades start to drop. They say it is because they are bored, and that IS probably true, but they don't see that "they have to apply themselves now to get good grades." They have to "think" for themselves.

Don't worry, they will eventually figure it out. Sometimes, the teacher CAN do more for a child...and, I'm pretty sure that most would like to do more for a child, but that child has to "want to do more for themself" or it will never work. That is the most frustrating thing to a teacher, and it happens all the time!

As a parent, I teach my child to bug the teacher for help until she gets it. If need be, go to another teacher. If a child approaches a teacher with questions, I don't know of many teachers that would turn them away. I always appreciate a child taking the initiative. I always appreciate a parent coming in with the child to figure out a way we could ALL help the student. Keep pushing...That's your job. He'll keep testing you (and the teachers)...that's his job. That's how he learns right from wrong. My personal advice...stay consistent with your expectations and stay understanding. Good luck!

BTW: My daughter is now my best friend!

hey candace, i have a seventh grade son w energy to burn. have you thought about having him tested for honors??? my sons teacher told me he knew how to be disruptive w/o makin a sound. he would touch others papers or slide stuff across the desk. he was in gate in elementary, but failing his jr high classes. he was bored w some strugglin in others. he applies himself now and we have incentives.

Good Morning Sunshine!!
He must be a wonderfull boy , your son! ... and some of the things he says - lead me to wonder :
Have you heard about an EQUiVALENCY - Test ?
Children need to be recognized for their genius -
that'swhy we have equivalency tests ... please
ask the school ! It might be to early , my son is in 11th grade & will take one this march ....
GOOD LUCK !

To tell you the truth, I really do not have much advice but just wanted you to know that it sounds like a typical 7th grade boy. My son is now 15 and a sophomore in high school. My husband (who I married when my son was 9 and in 4th grade) is a teacher. He started out teaching middle school and now teaches at the high school that my son attends. He would tell you this is normal also. My son did very well in elementary school but when he started middle school, each year he got a D on one class each year. At this time, we did not have our daughter yet. We now have a 14-month old daughter so she was born when my son started high school. He now has a grade point average of about a high C to low B and we have had to take away all distractions during the week including I-Pod, t.v., computer (except for homework), Play Station, X-Box, Guitar Hero, etc. He conceded that these toys were distracting him from doing better work in school.

It sounds like your son is trying to become independent and has the hormones going. Maybe try taking away the toys during the week if he has been allowed them during that time and have your or your husband go over his homework.

Hey C.,

I am actually a middle school teacher at a school for twice exceptional kids. We here versions of this same story ALL THE TIME. Look up 2e or Twice exceptionality and see if this description seems to fit. Your son may be bored because he is really smart! He may have difficutly with organization or writing or other "academic" types of things and might be getting lost in a 30 kid classroom. Teachers - especially at Public Schools are pulled in a million directions and I have to say I don't know any teachers than are not overworked and underpaid. They aren't left with the time, patience and resources they need so unfortunately, most teachers that don't have any training in learning differences (because most don't) are at a loss as to what to do for a kid who learns differently than "mmost" kids. Whether it is because they need an extra challenge or extra help or, usually, both.

Let me know what you find out and think in regards to whether this fits or not.

R.
Bridges Academy

Yes, a lot of it is just his age. Those early teen years can be pretty tough on anybody. Most of it, though, is probably the fact that he's bored. See if there are accelerated classes you can put him in, or even a different school you could transfer him to. (One of the reasons we now homeschool my 7th grade son was because he was tired of waiting for the rest of the class to finally "get it." He was ready to move on long before most of his classmates were.)

The more choices you can give him, and the more that he feels he has a say, the better he'll do. If he hates one math or science or English class, find another with a different focus. It's important that he's engaged in his education. I hated algebra, but geometry made much more sense. Earth sciences bore some people to tears, but they love life sciences.

The hardest part of the equation, though, is undoubtedly going to be his feeling of, "Why do I have to do this, anyway?" One of my now adult children, who is extremely bright, had a very hard time doing any work that she didn't think was "fun," and didn't see why she had to do subjects she wasn't interested in. When she got into high school and had more choices, she did better, because she could pick and choose. She still didn't do her best in classes she didn't like, but she did decent work. After complaining that, "College doesn't sound like any fun," she discovered that there were specialty schools. She ultimately chose to attend culinary school (she made the honor roll, and found a job in her field even before she graduated.)

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