13 Yr Old Frustrating the Heck Out of Us

Updated on March 13, 2008
T.K. asks from Westerville, OH
70 answers

Hi Moms:
Does anyone have any advice on what to do with a 13 year old who is getting F's in 3 subjects in school? All the comments said that he is "missing assignments" and basically things worded that he could care less about the class.

The thing is we know he can do the work. He just really does not care. We have grounded him from everything. He is basically down to being able to eat, breathe, sleep and do anything associated with school. Then what we have done is try to reward him if he brings home a test or paper with a good grade on it. He had been doing that during this last grading period so we had been letting him have privledges, like video games, computer time, phone, etc. Then BAM!!! We get the report card and there are 3 F's in MAJOR subject. MATH, LA, and SCIENCE!!

So now we are fuming, well, I am anyway. I told him he decived us and that is just like lying and he is now grounded again and there will be no rewards unless I have proof that assignments are being turned in and grades are coming up. So I came up with a sheet on EXCEL for him to give the teachers everyday to initial that they received his assignment. At the end of the week if it is filled out he will get a reward. WELL, already he has messed this up. I asked him for the sheet yesterday and asked if all his teachers initialed it. He told me yes it was initialed, BUT, he left it in his LOCKER! OOOOOOOO, now what!!!

Any thoughts, advice, please I just don't know what to do to get it through his thick head that he needs to care about his grades. He doesn't even care about having his privledges taken away. NOTHING is bothering this kid. HELP!! Thanks!!

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C.L.

answers from Cleveland on

Hi T.,
I have a 14 year old son that just done that to me. We think Hes getting good grades and he tells us hes doing better then comes the report, 3Fs. I think I could use advice too bc I am at the end of my rope!!!! Girls and socializing has taken over his life. He is really bright and used to get all a's and b's. I keep talking to him and communicate with his teachers.
Carol

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S.C.

answers from Lexington on

T., you might speak with the school and set up a 504 plan. It's helped my nephew, also ADHD. Good luck!

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L.P.

answers from Cleveland on

WOW, I could have written this email about my own 13 year old! He is making me CRAZY. I have his teachers sign a progress-type report every Fri. so I know what he is missing. He loses privileges, but it doesn't really help.

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B.W.

answers from Columbus on

I also have a 13 year old son with ADHD and he pulled the same thing last year. Do you have a 504b plan? It is an educational plan that make a few exceptions for his ADHD. Jacob was allowed to have his science and social studies books on tape to listen to (at home) while they worked on his reading skills, so he wouldn't fall behind. He is allowed to use the calculator for math to figure, so he doesn't fall behind since they are doing harder stuff like algebra, which he is not that bad at, he just doesn't know all of his facts. I made having his planner signed part of his 504b plan. The teachers sign it, and I sign it everyday. I told him if it isn't done then it will void the 504b plan and they don't have to let him have the extra stuff.

Another thing I have done is bought "I was caught being good" coins from Oriental trader. He gets one for each A.(If it is an A that stays in a notebook, I mark the page so I know I gave him a coin for that already) He can cash them in for 15 extra minutes on the Playstation, or 25 cents each, or 15 for a video rental from Blockbuster (they normally cost 20) or to stay up extra on the weekends, in 15 minute increments. So if he wants to stay up for 15 minutes extra to play Playstation, it would cost him 2 coins.

And the last suggestion I have is to tell him that if he flunks all of the other kids will make fun of him, and the girls will think he is a loser. Around here, what girls think is starting to make a real diffrence!

Hope some of it helps
B.

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S.P.

answers from Cleveland on

OMG, I read this and for a second thought, did i type this or is someone else having the same problems as us! My son is 13 and ADD, does the SAME EXACT THINGS! Got 2 F's 2 D's, a C and an A on his report card. His best grage is in Choir! lol! We have tried everything like you, taking things away, rewarding. He does good for a while then bam, he's back to his old ways. He did poorly the first semester, then the 2nd semester he was staying after ALOT for extra help from his teachers,did a bit better but not good enough. I'm so afraid he's going to have to go to summer school or worse, repeat the 7th grade. So I called his guidance councelor. Now, to back track a tad, he use to be in IEP till the middle of 5th grade. If you haven't asked about that that may be something to talk to your school about, if he qualifies for IEP, then he's get extra help in his classes and he can never fail a grade, and will always as long as he's in IEP have the extra help. They told me back then that they had no reason for him to stay in IEP so going on their suggestion I took him out. Shoulda kept him in! lol! Anyhow, now that they've taken a look at him they are going to do some pyramid structuring. I haven't had my meeting w/the teacher and councelors yet so I can't really tell you what that means but the councelor called me yesterday and he's being taken out of Spanish and unified arts (home ec., career ed., industrial arts etc...) he'll be put in some kind of support classes for LA and Math, those are his worst subjects. He'll get extra help fromt ime to time w/Science and Social Studies. Alot of his problem is he's lazy, most of the time his grades are lower because he's not turning in his homework. My school enables us to check his homework on the computer, I'll ask him if it's done, he says yes. If I ask him to bring it home he does the same as your son...forgets it!UGH! We just can't win with him! So I think you should talk to the school about it and see if they have any suggestions, that's your best bet!

If you need an ear just email me! Maybe we can come up w/some good ideas together!

S.

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K.S.

answers from Youngstown on

Hi T.,
I'm 42 (just turned this week double gag!) Anyway, I have experience as a special ed tutor for kids from grades K-8. One thing that works for kids at this age is goal setting. Their brains get a little scrabled during puberty. Things that they used to do with no problem, suddenly become a problem. Yes, there needs to be consequences like you have been doing. BUT bringing an F up seems impossible to them so they just shut down. Have him write 3 goals every day for himself. You or his teacher have to approve of them. They can be to get 3 initials for turned in assignments or they can be more simple, like packing his lunch without you prompting him. For each goal daily reward him with something very simple, like a sticker (I know it sounds like something a 2nd grader would respond to, but trust me, it works). It gives a daily visual evidence of the progress. THEN after 1 week, give him something for each sticker (in class I used m&m's but a mom could give a quarter, or minutes toward the games) THe MAIN IDEA is not the reward, it's the goal setting. He writes the goal, he accomplishes what he believes is valuable. You can also give higher level rewards (based on his values) to certain goals. Teach him when he writes a goal that it needs to follow a few guidelines. It has to be simple, attainable and measurable. Plus, make sure it is written in first person and it is positve--ex: I will complete all the math homework on Monday. Or I will turn the Math homework on time. Teach him to avoid writting negative goals like: I won't turn my homework in late. Always reinforce the positive thought process. HOpe that helps you. A little more about me. I have been an intervention specialist in schools a total of 3 years. I took about 5 years off to stay home with my 3 boys. They are 11, 9 and 8. My youngest has an autism spectrum disorder but is doing fabulous in school. Hope that helps. Feel free to write me and let me know how it is going. my e mail address is [email protected]____.com up the good work! Kim Salmen Kensington, Ohio

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M.R.

answers from Columbus on

Your Son has ADHD. What you are seeing is the executive functioning problem assoiciated with that, and is often the most debilitating part of the disorder. This is the typical pattern, the executive funcitioning problem may not show up until the child enters the middle years, it is really good news, this means that he has been smart enought to compensate for many years, but it is unfair to exepect him to compensate forever, he has reached his breaking point.

You should write a letter today to your school and request something called an MFE, an IEP (to teach him some organizational skills) and a behavior plan (to support his new organizational skills with positive intervention strategies.) This is NOT just a lazy lying kid. His brain cells don't fucntion like yours or mine, and it is VERY common thirteen year old behavior to simply act like they don't care becasue they can't do anything about it on a regular basis. If he was once doing well, PLEASE DO NOT FALL INTO the TRAP of saying that he should be able to continue to do so. That is a big cop out, and the school should have already done something if they know that he has a diagnosis and is now failing (showing educational need becasue of a disablity.)

He may have had other problems with ADHD as a younger child, but is now having this one, so please don't waste any time thinking that he is doing this on purpose, or that he just has a bad attitude, OF COURSE HE DOES, and don't let that derail you from getting him the help he needs. You would have a bad attitude too if you could not count on your brain cells to function the way you need them to, and you could not live up to what everyone tells you that you are capable of. They hear it EVERY day...you are so smart, why can't you just (insert what ever you like!). Does it make any sense to say to Tiger Woods...you are such a great golfer, why can't you win the Daytona 500? That is what we do when we tell kids to get thier executive functioning skills together because they are smart. ADHD is not a measure of how smart he is, it is independent of how smart he is and being smart does not make him able to use his brain cells and the neuro transmitters that control them any better than a smart chid with kindney disease can control the cells in his kindney and make them work well.

READ about ADHD on line, anything by Russel Barkley or Mel Levine is great. If you run into difficulties at the school, check out www.wrightslaw.com or www.LDonline.

Do it today, and remember, if it did not happen in writing (with the school) it did not happen.

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J.F.

answers from Cleveland on

Do you think there could be an underlying problem in which taking him to a therapist would help? I have a 14 and a 10 year old (soon to be 15 and 11) and when I take things from them such as games and TV, they bust their butts to get these things back. Now the oldest is ADHD and the youngest is ADD, so they are both medicated so I know that when they have trouble focusing that it could be the meds. However, just missing homework and not caring, isn't an option and if nothing else is working then perhaps it is a depression thing. Kids these days have so many other pressures then we did growing up. It wouldn't hurt! Good luck.

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S.S.

answers from Lexington on

why are you trusting your son with the spread sheet. set up some e-mail communication directly with his teachers. they can e-mail you his assignments every day, the two of you can work on them together, and then you can get an e-mail confirmation from his teacher when it is turned in. don't feel like you are inconveniencing the teacher, this is there job. just like succeeding in school is your sons job. also, what is your son doing with his time when he has lost all of his privileges? if he has no tv etc., why is he not reading, studying, or doing homework?

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W.S.

answers from Cleveland on

We too have tried everyting you mentioned [including a assignment sign book]and are at the end of our rope. We did the same, reward, take away and nothing seems to work well. Our son also has ADHD.
Our son's psychologist [who we were lucky enough to find] suggested setting up a contract with him. He listed things he wanted if he did his assignments [and turned them in] and we listed our expectations. This seemed too easy but really he has responded with some improvement. We all signed the contract, hung it on the refrigerator and when he slips up we point to "no computer time" or whatever. Believe me he is quick to point out when he is on target!
At this age, our son is also 13] it has to start coming from them and I think this is such a struggle too...I guess what I am saying is you are NOT alone! Best of luck! W.

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L.M.

answers from Columbus on

I have a 13 year old also and he was not turn his homework in so what i did, his father and I surprise him at school and and I sat in all of his classes for the day and if the teacher ask a question I would tell her my son have the answer now we are back up on the honor roll.

A little about me: I'm 44 with a 13 soon to be 14 year old son that think his mom is crazy but I like it that way he never know what i'm going to do.

From:L. M.

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L.

answers from Cleveland on

T.,
I think my 13 year old has cloned himself and his clone lives at your house!
my son was also diagnosed with ADHD, and he has an IEP (Individual Education Plan, but even with all the extra help, he still would not get his assignments all done.
We did the grounding too and it basically made things worse because then we had a hostile, poor student.
My advice is,first; if you aren't getting special ed services for your boy, you might want to have him evaluated.
Second,If he takes ADHD medicine, talk to your doc about either a higher dosage or a second dose right after school(or maybe even during school), Third, you don't really call it grounding, but tell him he is welcome to watch TV and video games, ect. as soon as he has shown you his completed assignments. My son has an agenda book that the teachers make sure the assignments are written in. If he forgets it, so sad for him, but he is welcome to watch TV, play video games, ect. when he has shown us the finished work.
We did all that, and still our child got the "does not complete assignments" notes, so I contacted the teachers, then the principal and asked them to follow through with some consequences when the work was not done. They had him serve a day and a half of ISR (some sort of restrictive environment during the school day) and that caught him up.
We also have arranged for him to stay after school every afternoon and work on his homework there, because he is just unable to focus on his schoolwork at home. He rides a later bus home and hubby and I have completely gotten out of the homework wars. One of his teachers told me just today that she is going to suggest he serve another ISR to get him caught up again.
I explained to my son that there will be 7th grade next year, if he chooses to repeat it, and then I give him extra jobs around the house during his "free time", since he needs to practice the menial labor he will have to do in order to support himself if he doesn't finish school.
if you have any luck with any of these suggestions, or any others you may get, I would appreciate knowing about it.
Good luck, people have told me that they get better as they get older.
L.

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L.H.

answers from Canton on

Hey T.-I just spent the last 10 years in youth ministry so I will give you as much advice as I can here....first of all boys are more easy to give in to peer pressure than girls and they HAVE to be liked-this puts a great deal of stress on them-can I ask you how much time you or your husband spend in "personal time" with your son one on one? This can be a big factor in behavior-we live in a very busy society and sometimes our kids just want our attention EVEN if it mean by punishment-please understand that I do not know you I am just telling you some ideas that I have learned over the years...most importantly at this age YOU MUST meet his friends and have them at the house so you know what kind of friends he is keeping-be part of his life-I hope this makes sense-when kids are not listening in school there is a reason-he will not tell you what it is-YOU must find out what it is-stop being frustrated and sit back and pay attention-TEENAGERS ARE HARD!!!! Good luck!! L.

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M.B.

answers from Cincinnati on

T. -
You answered your own question in your description. Your son has ADHD? Is he on medication? Has the level been checked recently? If he isn't on meds and you have depended on behavior modification in the past the hormones of puberty might require a rethink.
It might not be that he doesn't care but that he is having trouble w/ organization etc very common w/ ADD/ADHD children.

I am struggling w/ some of the same issues w/ my ADD 14 year old. We are scheduled for the pediatrician to look at his meds and I am working w/ his intervention specialist at school to make organization and study skills a bigger part of his IEP. Like you say he can do the work... getting it turned in to prove it is a different matter. He sounds like mine brings home good grades on test that get turned in right away and classroom work we see him doing the homework but it never makes it to the teacher and assignments are constantly misplaced or forgotten.

As an adult that now recognizes that I probably have ADD I remember being punished the way you are punishing your son and cringe. It wasn't that I didn't care or that I wouldn't work... I honestly was doing the best I could and didn't know what was wrong.

Don't give up...he sounds like a good kid and you sound like a tired MOM but hopefully some more support and intervention at school w/ a strong plan at home will help.

Good luck

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L.B.

answers from Columbus on

Dear T.,

I know where you are coming from!!! Our son, Matt, is going to be 22 and we had a rough way to go when he was 14-18! He was so rude and uncaring of school and we didn't know how to get him motivated. We went to a wonderful adholescent phycholist for 8 months which may or may not have helped. He told us to do the same thing, take everything away and give him back rewards when he did the right things, like good grades or good attitude. His younger sister even wanted to go away to school because he was so awful to be around!

Finally, we threatened him with military school and took him to Fork Union Military Academy in Fork Union, Virginia for a visit. I think he was actually thinking about behaving more badly so he could just go away. I know that sounds weird, but I believe he had some issues at school and he felt he could start over at a new school. Well, after two more months of the same bad attitude and bad grades, we took Matt out of his sophomore year of high school and took him to Fork Union. Funny thing is he seemed to be happy to be going away!

At his new school, he had to be in a dress military uniform at 5:30 am and was cleaning the floor with a toothbrush if he didn't do what was expected of him. He found out that we weren't as bad as he thought we were and he begged to come home in daily emails. I missed him sooo much, and I hated to think of someone verbally harassing my son, but I was also tired of him verbally harassing me!

Well, Matt did better in school there, mabye because they do one or two subjects for a certain period of time and then they do the next one for the same time period. He got a B in 3 classes, and the teacher said he could have gotten A's if he had put forth just a little more effort. I thought Matt was going to become this whole new person, but it's not always that easy.

After Matt came home for Christmas, he refused to go back. We drove 9 hours and he wouldn't put on his uniform. Then when he got there, even the leaders couldn't talk him into getting out of that van. We could have had them forcefully pull him from the van and we could have driven away, but I was afraid he would hurt himself. So we drove all the way home, fuming and telling him he would not be getting his driver's license anytime soon and we would be taking the $ in his bank account to pay for the military school that we wouldn't be getting a refund for!!!!!!

But the story gets better. His high school teachers said there was a 200% turnaround in attitude and Matt seemed happier and more cooperative. It still wasn't perfect, but then he was a teenager. We still struggled with the usual things like laziness, bad attitude, drinking and skipping school, but it was like having our baby boy back in a way.

And Matt graduated from high school. Oh I had to have a tutor for the last month and a half, and I was determined to have him be at graduation. And he was!!! And that's still not the end of it. He got his girlfriend pregnant, they had the baby and they stayed together for 4 years. Matt is a wonderful father and loves to play with his daughter. He is so patient with her and I am so proud of him. He goes to Columbus State full-time and works part-time and we help him so he'll get his college degree.

But the most wonderful thing is HE GETS IT! He finally gets that he has to work hard for what is important to him! So he will turn 22 this month and it has been a long uphill road, but I wouldn't trade it for the world. I am very close to my son and we love and respect each other very much. He just bought a house 6 houses away from where he grew up and he loves that his daughter could go to the same school that he went to.

This is my story and I don't know if it will help you. But I know setting goals for short term and long term can help your child see where he wants to be and what he has to do to achieve those goals. I read somewhere that amazingly enough, people can go through college and even grad school and never have clearly defined goals of what they want to do in their life. If we have no goals to strive for, then what do we work for.
Good luck for the next 5 years I hope things get better for you and your son.

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J.G.

answers from Cincinnati on

I definitely can relate to your problem. I have a 13 year old daughter. She is doing well in school now (almost straight A's) but up until about a year or so ago, we had the same trouble. We tried grounding and just about everything else. My advice is stick to your guns with the spreadsheet. Also, make sure all of his teachers know the situation and know about the spreadsheet. I did this with my daughter when she was in 5th and 6th grades. I e-mailed her teacher weekly and asked what assignments were still out. I had the teacher send new copies if we didn't have them at home. If our daughter didn't bring home the work, I went online and downloaded free worksheets that went along with what she was doing in school. Soon she realized that she might as well bring home the work and do it, or she would be doing my "homemade homework" as well as having to eventually do the mountain of regular school work that she let pile up. We found that grounding her was not successful. I think it was because of the ADD. So the rule was, if she had missing work, she had to spend an hour doing homework every night until it was caught up. Hope this helps.

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K.T.

answers from Toledo on

Wow, this sounds just like my 15 year old son with ADHD. We have started taking him to counseling to figure out why he doesn't care about his grades and takes the easy way out of everything he can. Fortunately I am able to get online and check his grades daily. He goes to Northwood High School. I am having some problems to get the teachers to participate in signing things or working with me because they say he should be more responsible by high school. We too have takin everything away other then the air he breaths and what food he needs to survive. It has really but a huge strain on our relationship. It horrible to not respect your son. I have brought my family into the situation(grandma, grandpa, aunts, uncles) and they ask him on a weekly basis on his grades are. I too use t.v time and computer time as an incentive for completing assignments. We have been talking a lot about integrity, I have him looking words up in the dictionary and then writing the definitions of them and writing an essay about what he is going to do to show that he deserves respect and that he is a man of integrity. Anymore ideas let me know.

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K.T.

answers from Cincinnati on

This is a common problem, more so with boys than with girls. I've read some studies (and also had experience as a teacher) and it's largely an organizational issue. My suggestion would be to help him get organized. Ask him to dump out his backpack, and you'll likely be amazed by all the loose pieces of paper. Get three ring binders for each class and a small hole-punchers, one for each binder. (Get the kind that hook into the binder.) Get file tabs for each binder labeled "Class Notes", "Tests and Quizzes", "Handouts", and "Homework". Insist that EVERYTHING gets hole-punched and placed in its appropriate location. Items should be hole-punched in class, the second they are handed out. But make it a nightly ritual to go through, looking for anything that hasn't been punched. Also, get a fresh, new homework notebook. When he sits down in the evening to do his homework, he should look at his homework notebook and write 1, 2, 3, etc. next to his assignment so he knows the order he will do them in. As he finishes each assignment, he should place a check next to the number. (He should NOT cross out the assignment. This makes it more difficult to go back and see what the assignment was.)

This can take awhile to really get the kid onboard, but I've found that after organization issues get taken care of, students often start to do much better.

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S.S.

answers from Cincinnati on

I have a soon to be 13 yr old son and have gone through the same thing for years. I thought I tried everything also. After many meetings with his teachers, and talking with his dr, I finally understood that my son is at a point in his life that he is going through a lot of changes. His mind wonders off all the time in class and always forgets stuff no matter to what extent we've tried everything. I remember what its like to be a kid bored out of their mind sitting at a desk with a book all day long. (BOARING!!!) My son did better in a class that was more hands-on and real life. His troubles were in the other areas such as reading, math, ect. His focus and concentration was not there. It was a battle for years. After I gave in and listened to the teachers who recomended talking to his dr, the dr decided to put him on meds for ADA. WOW!!! What an improvement! He's participating in class, getting his class work done, coming straight home and doing his homework completely and correctly, and bringing home A's and B's on class work and tests. He has really stepped up to bat, and taking responsibility for himself. It is such a relief and stress-reduction!
Good luck.

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C.W.

answers from Cincinnati on

Have you discussed this with his doctor? You do say he is ADHD. Have they tried different meds?
I can tell you this my son was the same way. He was youngest so the order of birth has nothing to do with it. He honestly only graduated because I made a fool of my self. I cried at his last (senior) parent teacher conference. They were going to hold him back and I knew he would never graduate because the were adding the science test to the senior proficency test. It would have been 5 years since he had science.
He still at 25 drives me nuts. He refuses to get a full time job. A friend of his (his landload- at least he finally moved out)wants him to train to be a welder. He could make $25 qn hour starting out with the training. He makes half that working part time doing deliveries for a company who supplies carbonation for eateries.
He came by last night and REAL TICKED me off. Let me give you a bit of personal info. My husband (his dad) hasn't worked in 4 years. Cannot get disability. Still fighting it. Since May I threw my back out, my husband had another stent (6 now), broke both ankles in July, went into renal failure and almost died twice in the ER before they found out it was his kidneys, before he recouped from the ankles I had emergency by pass surgery (4 major blockages) but they had to wait to get my diabetes under control. I was at 700 in the ER and it peaked at 1000. I truly should be dead. Now I am under control and doing much better. Well my business (I was self employed as a seamstress for interior designers) has offically closed. I lost work over the past 6 months or so and it just has not returned. I cannot pay the bills doing one small job a week or bi weekly. So I started a babysitting business and was going okay until without warning lost one of my charges. Dad's work hours have changed and I am no longer needed. Well because of all this we have lost our house. It goes up for auction on the 14th, 7 days from now. We will be moving in with our oldest son's house with his family. We have the most wonderfulest daughter in law and 2 grandkids. Okay what Gregory did. He had the nerve (he knows all this) to stop down last night to ask if we want to invest in his tatooing business he wants to try to do. Yes he is artistically talented but I HATE tatoos. He is covered in them and now has piercings all over and wants more. I have told him it is disrepectful knowing how I feel coming in my eyesight. That's how I was raised and tried to raise him. I also told him last night I was highly offended he asked for money. I make $120 a month and we only receive food stamps from the states and that may stop when we move in with the kids. So may my discounts I get from Hamilton County though the tax levy.
I don't know what to tell you other than if you get too firm about things he may snap. Our son was watching a program with me once (what some parents are driven too with their kids- those school/ camps) He told me if we had sent him somewhere like that he would have came back and killed us. That's scary. Be prepared he walks to his own beat and you may never understand him. Hopefully as he ages he will mellow.

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J.F.

answers from Cleveland on

I am just wondering if the ADHD has anything to do with it. Have you ever spoken with a teacher or someone about getting him an aide? My mom is an aide for Amherst schools for a boy who has severe ADHD and she has helped him out immensely. I don't know if that is something you would be inerested in or not, if it is, you could call your school admin building and they can tell youwhat you need to do. I will tell you it is robably going to be a struggle because the schools have to pa for the aides and they dn't like to unless they are really needed. You will need to be very strong willed to get what he needs.
If it is not his ADHD, we had a similar situation with one of m husbands children, he has custody, so it was mostly me dealing with it. We also did the sign sheet from all he teachers daily. We decided that "lock down" was the best thin that worked for us. Granted this was a long struggle, however, we finally prevailled! We too, took everything away also. if the paper was left in the locker then we added on to the punishment, she sat at the dining room table from the time she came home from school until she went to bed. She did homework at the table and she could get up to go to the restroom and go to bed. If it wasn't homework then she sat at the table and did nothing. We also got an e-mail address for all the teachers so we could double check up on her. The table situation hapened 3 times and that was it. The paper came home everyday and the grades went up. NO priveledges were returned until report cards came out, not interms, the actual report card. It was als known that if this happened again the punishment would resume. You have to stick to your guns, and boy is it hard inthe beginning, but believe me, it gets easier!
Good Luck!
Jenn.......

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S.G.

answers from Columbus on

Find someone who he hates to disappoint. I was having the same problem with my son years ago. He hated disappointing his grandmother. I took him over to her house to do his homework and assignments. He would do them because he loved her that much.

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M.B.

answers from Louisville on

Does he have a cell phone? Take it away. It has worked for me. I have 4 children. 16, 14, 10 and 8. The only way my kid get a cell phone is if they make the Principals list in Middle School. If they get a C in any course, I take it away until I get an e-mail from the teacher that the grade is atleast a B minimum. I also take away all computer usage and no friends allowed over until the grades reach our accepatble standard. It's difficult, but we stick to our guns. It is their future at stake. We also don't talk down to them about it. We make sure they know that we know they are better than that they can make us proud. Good Luck . . . I don't know what I would do if my plan did'nt work.

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B.D.

answers from Toledo on

I have gone through difficult children. My oldest is 24, and I have a 22,20,17,14,12,10,8,& 2 year old. My number one advice is to smile at him many times a day. Ask God to help you to really love and like your son, even while going through this. If he feels unloved (don't count the manipulating "nobody loves/likes me" to get their way), you have little basis to work from. The very best of the best that helped us are 2 books - "Jumping Ship" and "To Train Up A Child". The former more for older kids, and the latter for younger. Author is Michael Pearl for both. Don't dismiss them because they are written by a home educator. These books can be used by anyone to gain their children's hearts, thus your children actually want to please you. We had trouble with a 14 year old and 8 year old. I was at the end of my rope. These materials were life changing. Until you get a copy (available on e bay or from nogreaterjoy com)I would actually say lighten up on him, smile, smile, smile when he's around, be happy to see him, talk about non confrontational issues, encourage AND participate with him in what interests him (even if it's not your favorite topic/activity), then read the book and DO it. You will probably be astounded at the changes. It isn't necessarily going to happen overnight, but stick with it. He will have to see you different before he changes. God bless you!

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A.S.

answers from Toledo on

As a teacher of 13 year olds, I can totally understand your situation from the other side! You seem to be doing a lot of the worrying and he needs to start taking the initiative in his own schoolwork. The Excel sheet was a perfect way for him to start to be responsible (we do something similar with student's agenda books). I would contact the school and ask how late the school is open. Due to sports and custodians working, our building is open pretty late. I have had parents in the past bring their child back to school--even at 10:00 to pick up something that they have said they've left at home. Eventually, kids get the picture that you mean business. Our principal has even told parents to call him at home and he'd open the building for someone. Another thing you could have him do is to bring every homework assignment home--completed or not to have you check. Same thing, if he leaves it at school, bring him back to get it--or early in the morning. As much of a pain it is for you, he'll start to see you mean business. I'd contact his teachers, too. If they have email, they could shoot you a weekly update via email so that you can keep track. Good luck! As a teacher, I appreciate all of your efforts at home. Don't give up!

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S.L.

answers from Lexington on

My 13 yr old also went thru this phase(?), we had a meeting with him and his teachers and found out that he was bored with the general classes but he did not want to be put in the honor's classes because of friends, so we compromised - he stays in the general classes and now that he knows what the problem was he is a straight A student. He even helps his 16 yr brother with his homework and is tutoring other students.
We had also tried the groundings and all but it made him more stubborn sonce we had this meeting in October his whole attitude has turned around.
My 16 yr old had ADHD too, so he struggles a bit but once we discovered this his homework issues got a little easier to solve.
I hope that this might give a little insight. Children who are bored tend to fail in school because it does not hold their attention and once they find out (or rather think) they are smart is seems to fall into place for them.
Good Luck!

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K.T.

answers from Lexington on

My son (as are all of his male friends) are facing the same problems in middle school. My friends and I are convinced it is a boy thing. Since peer acceptance is such an important part of their lives, embarassment might work better than punishment. Tell him you are going to "visit" his classes to see why he is missing his assignments. And do it...clear it with the administration and his teachers, but show up for his problem classes so you can see why he's unable to make a decent grade. And walk in with a big smile...

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E.M.

answers from Cleveland on

Hi T.
My name is E. and I am a mom and a middle school teacher. I have to commend you for all that you have done so far for your son. You have done a great job! I think at least once a month a mom comes to me with this problem. I have a few suggestions for you. My first suggestion to you is try a reversal on the rewards. For example: Say he likes to play video games. Create a chart that has a certain amount of minutes/hours he can play. For every time he doesnt bring home his signed sheet, he gets a certain amount of minutes/hour taken away. A lot of times, kids start to feel trapped and end up not caring because they have everything taken away. Sometimes a swith can help. Secondly, I am sure you met with his teachers but if you haven't that would be a good idea. Maybe there is something going on in school that is making him not care about anything and hate school. Keep open communication with the teachers and ask them to kind of keep on eye on him and see if they notice anything. Lastly, really try and talk to him and allow him the chance to see if he could also help create a new plan. He may open up to you and it allows him to take an active role in his schooling. Hope this helps!

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Y.B.

answers from Columbus on

hi T.,

first...you did the right thing in all that you have done thus far. now what you need to do is get the school involved. i have a 15 year old who went through the same thing at that age so in turn i set up a meeting with the school counselor who in turn arranged a meeting with all of her teachers. what i found is that there is always two sides to every story. remember...it's a different world in school for our children, their teachers see a side of them that we don't. so utilize them, have them become your eyes and ears, have them especially your guidance counselor help you come up with a game plan. get your teachers e-mail address, numbers etc. continue on with the assignment sheet and let your teachers know what you want to do. once your child see's that you are all on the same page and genually care and want to see him succeed, he may start to open up. hope this helps!

Ms.b

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D.B.

answers from Columbus on

Sounds as if we're in the same boat. Everyone tells me it's a typical boy thing. I too have tried harsh tactics and I end up feeling bad. I try to ook on the bright side, my son has morals and does have interest it just is not pertaining to school. I know he will survive this world but I cannot help to feel he is cutting himself short. I simpathize with you.

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F.R.

answers from Columbus on

T.,

Sorry you are having a hard time with your son, but I think you need to calm down. Seriously, I think you are being way to hard and only adding to his preassure. Have you tried a study facility like Huntington? He may have some type of learning disability that makes these subject harder for him to grasp. Instead of treating him like a failure, get him some help!

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T.R.

answers from Columbus on

When my son was around that age, he had a hard time getting assignments done and taking tests. We started off doing the same thing that you are doing, but didn't get very far with him. So we decided to look into the Sylvan Learning Center because this is what one of our friends did and they were very pleased with the results they were seeing from their own son.

I don't know how much that you know about Sylvan but first you make an appointment and they will evaluate your son. The evaluation will be able to tell where is his weakness such as; reading, writing, organizational skills, etc.. Then you will go back for a follow-up meeting to see his results. Our son did not do very well with his writing and organizational skills so we opt to put him through a program to improve upon his organizational skills. If you think about it, once a child is better at organizing his tasks and other items, he is more likely to succeed in just about all other areas.

Our son learned a lot by going through Sylvan's organizational skills classes. Since we put him through this program when he was 12 or 13 yrs old, it not only improved his skills but better prepared him for high school and college. I know that Sylvan can be expensive however if you only do one course, remember that you are preparing your child for his future and that is worth a lot more than anything. However, if you are unable to afford Sylvan, contact your local schools to see how you could get a tutor setup to help your son with his subjects. There are always high school students wanting to tutor other kids, so check with your local school first if Sylvan is not an option.

Good Luck to you and your son..........T

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J.M.

answers from Columbus on

hi!

it sounds like you need to get to the root of the problem. i suggest taking him to the huntington learning center to have his skills tested. they will be able to give you an independent assessment of his skills (the skills he uses in every subject).

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P.S.

answers from Dayton on

Hi. When I first began reading your post, I wondered if your son was ADHD. He sounds exactly like my now 14 yr old who is ADHD. Then I read further and realized your soon was too. Have you considered changing his medicine? We decided to take my son to a psychiatrist, because we felt his medicine wasn't working properly (in fact, we had taken him off of it). The psychiatrist has done wonders with our son. He has been on a much higher dose of meds for about 18 months now. It has made a world of difference. One thing we noticed with the grounding was once we had taken everything from him, he felt like he had no real motivation to do anything. So he gave up even more. So when we started him with the psychiatrist, we started fresh. He has to do his homework as soon as he gets home. We also had an agenda that his teachers had to sign each day saying exactly what his homework was (he wrote down his homework and his teachers signed it). Then, he had to show it to us when he got home. After his homework was completely done, we signed the agenda saying we saw him do his homework. That helped a lot also. It helped him become organized and made him accountable for his school work. We talk with his teachers on a regular basis to make sure things are getting turned in. He went from making straight F's to only have one D on his report card. All of the others were A's and B's and I think he had one C and one D. Hope this advice helps

A little about me:
I am a 34 SAHM to a 16yr old stepson and a 14 year old stepson a 5 year old daughter in Kindergarten and a 18 month old daughter

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R.B.

answers from Dayton on

maybe you should make a contract with him for example, if he works harder in school and get better grades then you will let him get more phone time or more privacy, but if he doesn't then the contract is over no more phone privileges or less privacy. so try that.

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A.B.

answers from Dayton on

His problem is the ADHD. Is he on medication? If not, that is the 1st place to start. He simply can not focus. All the dicipline in the world is not going to work. He will also need counceling. Not only is it stressful for you, it is also stressful for him. He also will need a school with a small classroom size. When he does his homework, let him take a 10 min.break every 20-30 min. Sylvan learning will help to catch him up on what he has missed out on. Support from you and his father is alot too. But be consistant and firm in a loving manner.
I hope this helps
A. B.

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M.F.

answers from Dayton on

As a former teacher (pre-children life) I have a couple of questions.
1) Does your school participate in an online program that parents can use to access grades on a daily basis?
2) Does your school have any type of intervention process - this is a meeting between all teachers, a guidance counselor, and adminstrator parents and student. The meeting outlines strenghts and weakness for the student and creates a school-based plan of action that can be followed at home too?
3) Who is in his classes? Sometimes the peer male-up of a class can impact (pos., or negative) educational outcomes.

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A.C.

answers from Louisville on

T.,
Are you sure my child hasn't been living with you? LOL. He is the EXACT same way and I have tried the same things you have. He is allowed to eat, breathe and read. He was grounded for 6 weeks like this and then brought home a good report card, then I let him off grounding and BAM, right back to problems at school. He is very smart and we know he can do it as well, but just won't turn in assignments. Bottom line, I think he is bored with school. He tells me he is. I homeschooled him for part of a school year and it may have made him worse. He was doing pretty well with it and we were progressing academically. Two years later in school, they were going over the stuff we went over two years earlier. When he reads, he chooses encyclopedia type information to read and can tell you everything he reads. He comprehends it all well, so why can't he do well in school? He just doesn't want to. What is the solution? I have no idea. Just wanted to let you know that I understand. Only my child is 11. I also think it could be a boy thing. It seems to take more to hold their interest. People tell me to put him in advanced classes. They don't understand that the school will not put him in advanced classes when he is getting bad grades in his regular classes. Of course, the school labels him ADHD, but I know better. He does fine on things that he is interested in. I think that someday, they will find something that interests them and they will be fine. Hang in there.

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C.H.

answers from Dayton on

hey T.. listen to what mona b. has to say. she is a very smart mommy. i didn't read all the responses, but she hit the nail on the head.

i have a 23 yr old, that at the time was just like yours. back when he was in school they just labeled him a "problem". he ended up dropping out his senior year. he was never diagnosed with nothing but a touch of adhd. touch or not, it was devastating, and i wish things were as advanced as they are today. i have a close friend who is going thru the same thing and a nephew. unless these kids are properly diagnosed, and meds to help them, nothing else will ever matter. it will be a nightmare all thru school. these kids are unable to have the organization skills and concentration that other kids have among prob a 100 other things. i don't even understand it all. that is why mona b. sounds like a great person to listen to, as well as maybe some of the others. please don't label him a bad child, as it is something completely out of his control. and deep down inside he probably really does feel bad for it, and might even be developing a complex because of it.

take care, and i truly send you my best wishes.

C.

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T.B.

answers from Lima on

Hello, and sorry to hear about the problems. I dont have this problem (yet) but my brother has and what he did was found something that his son liked, eg. boyscout. and that helped in school. I think that when the time comes when my son gets to this because from what I hear most all kids do this they are bored. I will try karate so that way he will get wore out hahaha, so I suggest you try to find something outside of school that he can express a passion for and maybe he will grow appreciate school as he would about what ever extra he does. Also its a good vise if he messes up you can always use it as "You will not do that this week if you dont complete or be good" its a thought, GOOD LUCK.

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C.P.

answers from Toledo on

Have you just tried to sit down with him everyday after school and help him with his homework? Talk to his teachers and have them send your son home with all of his books everyday...maybe then he will start bringing home what he has to do after he realizes how heavy all of his books can be. Set aside a homework folder that his homework goes in and have his teachers write his homework assignments in an agenda planner. When he gets home from school help him with his homework and put it back in his homework folder.

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K.P.

answers from Cleveland on

T.,
Good luck this is a hard one. I have an 11 y/o with ADHD, and we go through this constantly. Now instead of the initialing of teachers (many different forms over the years) we have gone to emails. The teacher's are aware of the issues, and if he doesn't turn in an assignment, or if he rushes though it just to get it done (another issue), I get an email from his teacher(s) before he is even home, often with the assignment attached so I can make sure it gets completed even if he "forgets it in his locker!" We have amazing teacher's this year to keep us informed about every move, and this is the best year yet! We've finally gone from the D's to the A's we knew he was capable of.

Good Luck!

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C.C.

answers from Columbus on

Have you heard of the Total Transformation Program? It is a series of CDs and DVDs designed to help with problems that you described. I purchased the series about a year ago, it helped me A LOT. I have a 4yr old, a 2 yr old and a 18yr old step son and 15yr old step daughter. I really cannot say enough good about this product.

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S.H.

answers from Cincinnati on

I have gone through something like this with my sons. Over the years my husband and I have learned to stop and ask question about their teacher, the teacher's teaching stye, the students in the class. I have even asked my son how he can improve his grades. Asked, is the work to hard, or is he bored? Stop and look at your expectations for your son, and in return remind him a C would be better and less painful then getting a fail grade. As a mom of twin boy, freshman in high school, I have learn that instead of fight that failing grade, I remind them they can improve. Video games are only played on the weekends, that seems to work in our house. I remember going up to middle school one year to empty out my son locker to find out where all his homework was and then I ask him to organize his work in a manner so he could find it (not to please me). We still have problems; however, they are learning social lessons as well as how to make the grade. You son may act like nothing is bothering him, but I promise you it does. He doesn't deep down want to fail or to be in trouble with him Mom and Dad, trust me the last people he wants to disappoint is him parents. If it's possible take the pressure of yourself and your son, tell him how much you believe in him and that your fight with him for better grade. Ask if he would like a tutor, just for a short time one of the subjects. In other words find positive step to empower him to feels good about himself as an individual. Rewards are over rated and short lived. Tools to deal with school, homework, missing assignment, difficult teachers and teaching styles are the true rewards for our children. Hope this helps you.

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L.C.

answers from Columbus on

Hi T.,

I am a former 6th grade teacher and dealt with situations similar to this one all the time. Have you asked your son what motivates him? Is he motivated by video games, food, things or undivided attention by you or some other person in his life? Get your son involved in developing a plan. Help him to set reachable goals, encourage him to meet them and then set bigger goals. Get all of his teachers on board. Kids with ADHD need structure. Does he have a set time every day to do his homework? Does he have an environment where he can study that is free of distractions? Could he benefit from one on one tutoring? Many kids with ADHD are very smart just like your son, but they need the one on one support to help them stay focused. Does your son have a 504 plan with the school district? I hope this helps.

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E.W.

answers from Cleveland on

I really feel for you. I have a 25 year old that was just like that. Boy was it hard. I have 2 other boys and now am realizing there is an epidemic with our boys. There is a great book you should read by Leonard Sax called "Boys Adrift". Are you consulting a psycholgist who specializes in ADHD? Have you had him tested by the school psycholgist? YOu need to talk to your pediatrician about a ADHD specialist. A psycholgist helps these type of kids think things through and also plays the mediator to help diffuse the situation. My friend is going through the same thing you are describing with her 14 year old. She is also contemplating sending him to a school that specializes with ADHD. I don't know where you live but Cleveland has a great school for kids like this.

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C.S.

answers from Cleveland on

Hi Tony,
I knew your son had adhd right away...I too have a daughter that did the same thing...she was in 5th grade when we finally got her on meds and it was like night and day. She was so much more alert and on her game when she was on her meds. She is almost 17 now and the summer before last she was told she could wein herself off the meds. I was so proud of her and all she had been doing, so I helped and then encouraged her. She did awful last year. She was not doing her homework, doing it and not turning it in...etc...She almost flunked out of 9th grade. She didnt want to start taking the meds again. I didnt want to make her. Once the year was over and we looked back at how hard it was for her well then she realized she might should try one more time with the meds. I can honestly say she is doing soooooooo well this year. She has a "B" average and can really tell a difference when she takes her meds. If he isnt on them maybe you should look into it. I know some people say that it makes their child sluggish..it does not do that to her. I really think this was a life saver. I prayed for a long time about this before we gave it to her...and I am so glad God had me go this route. I am praying for you!

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K.C.

answers from Lexington on

My stepson also has ADHD, we tried meds but hated the side effects and how they made him look and feel, he lost tremendous weight and had horrible headaches. We took him off of the meds. You have legal rights through the state to get him assistance in school. He should have a special ed teacher assigned to him to help him with every class and assignments. My stepson's mother had to go over the head of our principal and called the State to get this help, so you might have to fight for it, but legally the school is supposed to help you with this. Talk with the principal or anyone else you can to get information and the steps you need to take.

My Stepson is now 16 and has been doing wonderfully and making A's and B's. He even received an award at one time for the highest grade in one of his classes. He accomplished all of this without medication. But every child is different and the effects of the medication is different on every child. Talk with your school officials or school board and see what your options are.

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E.R.

answers from Cincinnati on

I also have a teenager with ADHD. I go throught this as well. Have you asked him why he is struggling with these calsses. I have found if I sit down and talk to my son, without yelling, arguing, etc. he responds more to what I am saying. I give him a chance to tell why he is doing the things he is doing in an ecvironment that lets him speak his mind without getting into trouble. Then we try to come up with a solution together. Your son really does care about his grades. It is easier for him to act as if he doesn't. It is very challenging for a boy with ADHD to be organized, and to remember to do everything he is supposed to do, but it can be done. Does he get any extra help at school? If not you may want to look into that for him. I have found it does not work to punish kids with ADHD for problems in school. They will take the easy way out no matter what. He does have to have consequesces for bad behavior, and I have made a punishment chart for my son, with my son. He knows what is going to happen to him if he does something wrong. Since we made it together he can't say I am being unfair. He helped. I hope this helps.

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D.C.

answers from Dayton on

I have a nephew, who also has ADHD. His mother became very frustrated with him, because he too was failing most of his subjects with the exception of Gym. My husband and I had him move in with us for a year. He was enrolled in our school system and we took and active part in his education. One of the biggest things I learned is that, children with ADHD know they are not the same as the children around them. He mad every effort to fit in, and learn in the same setting as the other children. He was still failing. We met with the Teacher, Principle and the disabilities counselor and in that meeting the IEP that was developed was for him to have one on one lessons with the counselor. Her primary focus was to re-emphasize the day lesson that was taught in class that day. She also administered all his test. After about 2 months of seeing her during school hours, his grades began to improve. So my telling you the entire story is to say this, if you haven't already; get an IEP (Individual Education Plan) and try having one on one lessons with an educator to help him with recall (That was my nephews problem, he use to sasy I know it I just have a hard time thinking of it when I need to). During the classroom setting it was very hard to my nephew to focus enough to recall the lessons, but one on one he did a great job. I think the classroom distractions played a very big part in him not getting what he needed from the teacher to be successful. Being forgetful is just a side affect of the ADHD. Be patient with him, because he is just a frustrated as you are. When he came to stay with us and learned to trust us, he said his mother couldn't understand what was going on with him, and neither did he. The fact is he had so many things frustrating him because at that age, he was trying to fit in as well as going thru puberty and that plays a big part in the growing stages including education, so when you say he did not care about the punishments that came as not surprise. We went thru that too and it is easier for them to accept the punishment at home, then it is to be punished by their peers at school. Please Please be patient, also seek help from outsiders they will prove to be a valuable resource for your family. In our area the Salvation Army has free tutoring with teachers and principles with one on one you may want to look into that.

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M.H.

answers from Cincinnati on

I've heard wonderful things about the book: "Discipline That
Lasts a Lifetime" by Dr Ray Guarendi. I've heard him speak on all sorts of issue including one like this. I would try to get the book, and check his website drray.com. He does call in shows. He is very entertaining. God Bless, M.

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J.A.

answers from Columbus on

Whatever you do...stay involved with the school & what they are doing to help. My son, also ADHD, ended up being asked to leave or Pickerington would expel him. (He was bringing down their "report card") We did computer schooling (Yea, try doing this with an ADHD kid) He ended up dropping out after 9th grade. He was so "lost" in school & they move so fast. They don't care about kids who can't keep up. Once he was so far behind, he started skipping & didn't even attend most of the classes. He's almost 19 now & is just trying to work on getting his GED. You can't make a child see the world through an adults eyes. Ask your school system if they have any special programs for kids with ADHD. Your son may get more interested if he's with kids who are also "lost" & moving at his speed.

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T.N.

answers from Cleveland on

Sometimes using paradoxical psychology helps. For instance, you can tell him "honey, I was thinking, your old enough now to take care of your studies so I am going to let you do just that,,,good luck with everything and if you need help Im here". If you suddenly leave him to deal with the "natural consequences" (failing, being excluded from activities at school with friends) due to his lack of effort then he might decide school is worth it. Asking the teachers to do more of the disciplining might take the pressure off you as the bad guy as well. This of course is not a majic wand remedy but I have seen it work with kids his age. When no one is interested anymore (especially a very active concerned parental figure like yourself) in his poor effort he might decide HE is worth it.

T

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D.C.

answers from Tampa on

T.,
I know that you are going through a rough time and although I don't have an adhd preteen right now, my brother was adhd and what helped my mom was actually having him put in sld classes. They take a slower pace with the adhd children. In addition to this, they put him on some medication to help him concentrate. Your son may have a hard time concentrating on the task at hand due to the adhd. We know he is capable of doing the work, but is he capable of sitting for long periods of time to apply what is in his brain to what needs to be done on paper? You might check into getting an eeg done to see if anything else is going on in the brain. We had that done with my brother. Also, you might look at having regular parent teacher conferences or having the teachers e mail you weekly with a progress report on him. Once he see's this, you might see a change in him. Another idea would be to look into Sylvan Learning systems or a tutor.
Good Luck!
D. C

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T.L.

answers from Toledo on

Have you tried watching him do his homework and then checking the homework when he is finished?

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N.G.

answers from Cleveland on

It sounds as though your son is either getting side tracked at school, thus forgetting things (maybe, being overwhelmed), or is having undisclosed issues with classmates, making him upset which again, might be causing him to forget. My suggestion, would not be the take-away/reward process, but to actually go to his school on a daily basis to make sure he is bringing home the correct assignments. If he forgets then you take him back to school to pick up what has been forgotten. In the mean time reminding him that if the process was done correctly the first time, he would not have to have you go to the school, or return for missing work. This repetitive process should cause a little more responsible behavior, for lack of wanting to be escorted, or returning to school. It may be a little rough on you at first but if followed through it should show some progress. Good Luck!

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L.H.

answers from Cleveland on

Hi T.! I have a 16 year old son w/adhd. I also have a 12 yrear old son and a 4 year old daughter. We had to bring my 16 year old to Huntington Learning Ctr. This is what switched him around. Also, we take things away. I have done "searches" of his room as well. (make sure you rule out drugs and Depression). We also had him in counseling. ADHD kids are usually super intelligent, but it is a learning dissability. See if you can have an IEP done on him in school, then go from there. They can help him more than you think. Let me know if you need any more info. L. H.

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K.J.

answers from Cincinnati on

I am so sorry that your family is struggeling with this. My son also has ADHD, but he is 9. I hope I am not peering into a window on the future. You did get some excellent responses, especially the one explaining ADHD. I have read many things by Dr. Levine and visited his website. He is awesome! PBS also did a documentary called Misunderstood Minds that dealt with families facing these issues. I would highly recommend it, at the very least it made me feel that many others struggle with this issue. It on their website.

I too, would recommend starting the IEP process with the school. It is hard, but try to remember this is part of our children's disorder. Organization is a huge part of the problem. And many people assume that it comes naturally with age, not to our kids. They need a highly systemized and simple approach to things.

My son carries one binder all day, no matter what the other students are "supposed" to do. We have worked this system out with his teachers. He cannot carry seperate folders for each subject, etc. They get lost, end of story. All assignments are written in the binder also. He has a method of note taking designed to help ADHD kids. Etc., etc. Your school can help with a system that works for your son.

I'm not saying it's fool proof but, it works well for my son. The lack of a highly structured environment (not strict- structured, there is a huge difference) in middle school is most likely the enemy for your son. Bells, lockers, different folders, notebooks, etc. In lower grades the teachers set up the structure and the students follow it. When the kids get older we expect them to take more of a responsibility for that. Most kids can, ours need help setting that up, and sometimes sticking to it. Organization is a huge issue for them because they have trouble prioritizing tasks and determining order of importance-which is why ADHD kids are distracted by things.

It's hard for us to understand ADHD and we live with it daily, keep trying with the school. Many people think it is just that the kid is "hyper". That is definately only a part of this disease. Get the school guidence person involved if you can. They are usually very helpful.

Also, I tend to want to give consequences for things alot too. But keep in mind the goal is to solve the problem, and grounding hasn't achieved your goal. (I'm not saying no punishments ever)He will stumble at first, it is new and our kids hate change. Give him room to make it work. Good luck.

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T.T.

answers from Cincinnati on

T.
I have a 12 year old son, who fortunately does well in school. It was a different story for my soon to be 29 year old son. Has his ADHD been addressed at school? Children with this have a very hard time focusing any task at hand. My 7 year old grandson has this and is taking Concerta for it and it's working wonders for him. His parents were as frustrated as you sound. Is it possible for someone to work one on one with him to help him develop ways to concentrate and prove to himself that he can do the work? Hope this helps. Keep us posted.

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J.R.

answers from Cincinnati on

Hi T., Sorry to hear about your son. Now,,, you can take away every thing, and he still might not get his work done.
Try telling him about how he will want to drive the car soon. But you will have a hard time trusting him with the car if he can't be trusted to get his grades up.
This sounds so much of what I went through with my son. My son is almost 21.
We had so much trouble and his grades were only the beginning.I finally gave up on the grades. Told him it was really not any of my business since I've already had my schooling. When I backed off about the grades, he finally took notice. Sometimes we have to let them take the fall. And be ready to help when asked. But you have to take the "Back Seat" first.
About me I'm 51 and have a daughter 22 and a son, soon to be 21.

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S.S.

answers from Cleveland on

Hi T.,
This is only the 2nd newsletter I've gotten, but I can totally relate to your issue. My son is 16, now and we started the same way in 8th grade. The angrier we got, the angrier he got and things kept getting worse. Everytime we pushed he pushed harder. In 9th grade he went to school every day, but did nothing (refused to take tests, do homework...). I was getting phone calls every day. I finally decided that home schooling may be the way to go. We had a lot of dicussion, and the psychiatrist did not agree with our decision, but is was all about the power struggle. I really couldn't deal with it anymore. The stress was more than any mom should deal with. I realized that attending e-school at home, put him in charge of his education, and got him away from the everyday teen problems in high school. It has been just over a year now, and he is much happier and doing better, not great, but better,and has a much better attitude toward us. If you want any more info on e-school, I'd be happy to help. Good luck to you.
S.

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D.F.

answers from Dayton on

Hi T.! At 13, I am assuming he is in middle school. The school usually provides an "agenda" type of book for assignments, etc. Much like your Excel sheet. I would strongly suggest getting together face-to-face with the teachers. You are dealing with one 13 year old; they have to deal with lots of them. And I'm sure they've dealt wtih this issue many, many times. They will probably have some suggestons for you. Take a deep breath!!

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M.R.

answers from Cleveland on

Hi T.! My ears perked when I saw the part about the chart! You have the concept, however he needs instant gratification. I went through this with my daughter and her teachers and I helped create the chart. I am sure what you used is just fine, however at first you should reward him every day. They don't have to be big things, maybe at first you can buy him a download on ITunes, a CD ... things that he would enjoy, that are big enough to him but also won't break you. When he does these things and gets rewarded for them today, he will be more inclined to do them. For us, a week isn't that long, but for a kid, especially one with ADHD, a week is like 5 years! By that time, he's already forgotten about it and doesn't care. You wouldn't do this forever, you would start to wean him off and make the weekly rewards better to where it can become monthly, etc. OH! and we also didn't set an unrealistic goal of 100% of her assignments. If he turned in 4 out of 5, he still did a really great job and should be rewarded because he's progressing, well if he only turned in 2 out of 5 there's another problem. Just figure out what you think will be best for him at first ... later he should be held more accountable, but it should just be baby steps at first. You just need to get in his mind for a little bit and see what a struggle these tiny things are that aren't such a big deal for most. I hope I helped!!

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K.P.

answers from Louisville on

Here's my idea. Your profile didn't say if you were a stay-at-home mom or worked outside the home. I use to threaten my son/kids that if those daily reports didn't come home, I was going to school with them the next day and sit in their classes with them (embarassing). Of course, I didn't want to do it, but I would have. I made every effort to make sure I didn't have to go to school (I would have ran your son back to school to get the paper out of his locker). Our family rule is no TV, video games, etc on school nights. That leaves plenty of time for school work, talking to parents, reading, etc. One last thing, a lot of time, kids do poorly because they are unorganized (not because they can't do it). Teach him to use one binder with sections for each subject. Homework goes in the front of that section, returned papers in the back. He should be using a planner and have the teachers sign the planner each day that he has the assignments written down right. All you have to do then is check that he has his planner and then you know what is due. Make sure he puts that homework in the front of each section so he knows right where his homework is when he is in class the next day. It takes some work on your part but if kids aren't organized, they will not make it through high school.

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A.G.

answers from Cleveland on

I have the same situation. Our 13 year old (my step-son) does the same thing. We have something set up with his teachers where they are supposed to initial each period and write homework assignments. Either it doesn't get signed or he forgets it. He has received horrible grades for mjaor classes, doesn't care attitude,etc. I am just as frustrated as you and I am a teacher! I am eager for suggestions also. You are not alone.

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B.K.

answers from Toledo on

Have you tired meeting w/ any of his teachers for their input? I have a 13 yr. old son also. He is very "forgetful" about school. I think the peer pressure of his friends being on honor roll & merit roll started to get to him. He is starting to do much better. He also has 2 little sisters that I think is part of the issue as well. I think he feels they get the attention & all he gets is negative attention (because of the grades & the "forgetfullness" about school as well as chores at home. My husband & I have tried to change that & he is slowly making progress. It may come down to it just isn't important to him yet & in time things will change. Goodluck.

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A.M.

answers from Cincinnati on

I personally would meet with his teachers if possible. Also do a homework check. Sort of a journal that the teacher has to sign and you have to sign. This will kep you and the teacher on the same page. ( So I think that is a step in the right direction). Maybe you and the teachers could also set up that you get and email of the assignments and communicate that way as well. He could be thinking that he is pulling a fast one, or he really is forget things. You might also want to look into seeing if he really is struggling with something at school. It could be something minor that would be seting him in this pattern. It might be simple for you to say do your homework but something that he is really struggling to keep his focus on. I don't know what degree or when your son was diagnosed with ADHD. But have you told the school that he has been diagnosed. The school is suppose to give you some support with him and to help him. And again I would contact the teachers so they know you are on top of this as well. It might bother him that you are contacting his teachers. Also I would not just contact the three he is having probelms with I would sit down with all his teachers. This might light his fire. hopefully these thoughts will help you.

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J.C.

answers from Columbus on

HI,
I am wondering if he has any accomodations because of his ADHD. Perhaps the assignments are too much for him. WHat does he say about not completing his work. I would start their and ask him what he thinks. Has he thought about what he wants to do in the future. DOes he have any idea, because you could have someone older, male, highschool or colloege student explain to him what it takes to succeed. Just a thought. I tosunds like you are really caring and concerned. Can you e mail his teachers??
J.

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B.R.

answers from Columbus on

T.,

I am a middle school teacher and a parent of 3 previous teenagers-one which was a boy just like you and others have described here. :) It sounds like you are doing everything you can in this situation.

Sometimes nothing works.

Sometimes it's just your child's personality. If you're lucky, it's a phase he will grow out of. I'm not saying give up, but don't let the situation at school ruin your family life! You can't always be punishing and taking away everything and having a stressed relationship with your teenager every day, otherwise everyone just ends up hating each other (or something that looks and feels like it, even though of course you love him.)

After doing all the positive and negative, rewards and consequences things, you may just have to let him take his Fs and face the consequences. I know from my own parenting experience that you can't force your child to do better in school if he's determined not too. When my son was 17, with only enough credits for tenth grade, I finally said enough of banging our heads against the brick wall. I let him get his GED and it was the best thing for everyone. Now, at 29, he's got a year of college completed toward being a chemical engineer and is happily married with a son. Everyone has their own timeline, I guess. :)

At 13, you've got to try to keep moving forward, but you may have to accept some things just how they are if he's not motivated. Try using a time allottment instead of the completion of an assignment, so you're not fighting the whole night every night over studying, etc. Say, work or study for 45 min. (or whatever), then you're done. After that, try to be a happy family.

Is homeschooling/virtual online schooling an option with you? He might love it or he might decide he likes going to school...or he may just do absolutely nothing at home. Good luck!

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L.P.

answers from Louisville on

If he has ADHD, maybe he actually needs some extra help with his assignments. Maybe he's embarrassed to admit that he's struggling and pretends he doesn't care. You should schedule a conference with his teachers, him, and any resource people at his school, and maybe even talk to his doc about adjusting his meds if they're not doing what they should be doing.
If his capabilities really aren't the problem, he may just be going through a rebellious phase, and if so, it sounds like you're doing everything right (staying on top of him). 13 year old kids just don't care because they don't get it, they are young and dumb. Getting a job someday means nothing to them, they think getting their own apartment someday is the only thing they have to aspire to. Try breaking down your finances for him in a realistic way, as in: if you don't get good grades and go to college in a few years, you'll be making $6/hr maybe working 40 hours a week, but a mortgage is this much and a car payment is this much, etc. and let him see what he has to look forward to if he doesn't try harder. He still may not get it, but it's worth a try.
Whatever you do, don't give up, he really wants you to care. Keep him grounded and keep talking to him like an adult, with respect. Find out if he needs extra help. Stay calm! He'll probably be fine, all teenagers have their difficulties.

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