March 28, 2008,
C.J. asks from Ventura, CA on February 27, 2008
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?
1 mom found this helpful
L.E. answers from Los Angeles on March 28, 2008
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.)
L.W. answers from Los Angeles on February 28, 2008
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!
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S.Z. answers from Reno on February 28, 2008
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.)
N.S. answers from Los Angeles on February 27, 2008
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.
1 mom found this helpful
T.H. answers from Los Angeles on February 28, 2008
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
M.K. answers from Mobile on February 28, 2008
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.
L.B. answers from Los Angeles on February 28, 2008
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!!
P.L. answers from Las Vegas on February 28, 2008
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.
L.N. answers from Los Angeles on February 28, 2008
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!
S.S. answers from Las Vegas on February 28, 2008
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!
S.S. answers from Los Angeles on February 28, 2008
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.
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