7Th Grader and Falling Grades

Updated on November 05, 2008
K.C. asks from Lewisville, TX
7 answers

I have a 12 year old (he'll be 13 on the 28th) step-son. He is in the 7th grade and is not doing so well. About 2 -3 weeks into the year, he informed us he had a girlfriend. Well the girlfriend got pretty serious. There was major inappropriate conversations going on through texting. His grades started suffering. So we immediately took action. The phone is no longer. It's still hooked up, but he won't get it back until he can start helping to pay for it. WE took him out of football, took away video games, friends. He is pretty much grounded from everything. He started lying about wanting to go places, so that's when he got grounded from going out with friends. Then he started lying about having/doing homework. Would go upstairs and say he was going to bed, but to no avail. he was staying up to play video games. THis is how we got to where we are today. He has been grounded for about a month now, and Well naturally anyone would jump to assume that he's going to turn things around, grades are going to come up, he won't want to be without a life, etc. WRONG...grades are getting worse. I'm not sure he's going to pass a couple of classes this 6 weeks. He comes home and you ask him do you have homework - the automatic every day response is nope.
My question to all you mom's who currently have or have gone through 7th grade boys...will this get better? I'm just at my wits end with this. I don't know what else to do with him. We give him incentives. Get your homework done, you get some of your things back. He does not care.
Any advice/insight as to what else we can do, or do we just ride this out. His pediatrician said last year at his physical this will be a very tough year for him, but I didn't think it would be this severe.
Thanks In Advance. Sorry it's so long...I'm just drained from this.
I'll be prepared though when my 2 year old gets to this age. :)

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So What Happened?

Thanks for everyone's advice. His teachers and I talk on an almost daily basis. I sat down with my step-son last night and wanted to hear from him what he needed from me to help him get his grades up. Of course he wanted to be ungrounded, so we made a deal that once he can prove to me that he can turn in all of his assignments for one week and study for tests, then that weekend I will allow him some friend time or whatever he choses. I did tell him though he is not going to just get his freedom back how he had it. Things will definitely be different. He wants to spend so much time with this girl, and I just told him; you are not allowed to go on dates with her by yourself. I have offered numerous times for the girl to come over to our house and hang out, but she declines the offer every time. So my gut tells me this girl has got a different agenda. From the text messages I read when he had a phone, she sneaks out of her house all the time, and does things I would be appalled if I found out my daughter or son was doing.
As far as his dad handling all this with him, my husband travels for a living and he is VERY much involved in what goes on with our children. Just because the boy is my step-son I don't feel that my husband should just deal with him and I should stay out of it. He lives with me too and we are a family, so to me that would feel like I was outcasting him because he's not technically my son.
I think he will work through this it's just going to take some time.

More Answers



answers from Dallas on

I don't think you should take away all privilages. An when you do punish/ground don't make them for really long periods. Although make sure you are firm an punish when ever he disobeys. Put borders on him to time limit on the cell he gets it back. That is what I have to do with my kid. I take it at 9:00 everynight so she can't talk/text anymore. An my pc is in my room now so she can't get online late at night during school. If she gets in trouble I punish for a few days week most. When we ground for real long times taking too much from the kid. They tend to go an rebel even more behind your back. Mine has done it greatly. My counselor told me this shorter grounding periods but consistant. An reward your kid when he does good encouraging is also good. I was sending a paper to school having each teacher to sign making sure all work is done daily for my kid an she is in high school

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

I have survived two different children (boys) going through 7th grade. I have been quoted as saying that 7th grade boys are the nastiest animals on the planet.......but some are nastier than others.

Hopefully it will pass. middle school is tough for most people, but everyone is different. Generally if you had a great kid up to about the age of 9, they will come back to you. But if you take away EVERYTHING he loves then you aren't giving him much motivation. I believe in consequences, but if they are too harsh the child will give up and butt his head against yours even harder. You could create a much bigger problem than what you have now. Don't try to over control him, just try to keep him on track. Give him some room, and let go of some of your control while staying involved. You have probably seen this advice before, but go buy the Love and Logic books by Jim Fay and Foster Cline.
Consider offering rewards, rather than taking everything away. Good Luck!



answers from Wichita Falls on

I went to a Parent Teacher Conference and began daily communication with the teachers. When I picked him up at school every day, if he did not have all of his books for the homework that I already knew he had (from his teachers), we walked back into the school and got them. That only happened once.

If this is your stepson, I'd have my husband do it were I you. It's his place, and his job.




answers from Dallas on

It sounds like you need to get some assistance from his teachers. Find out what his assignments are and when they are due. Have him sit at the dining room table for homework and monitor him until it is done. He won't like this, but his behavior is asking for it. If he wants to act like a baby, treat him like one. No, this won't be fun for you, but he'll get his work done and his grades will come up. I bet his teachers would be more than happy to help, but you need to meet with them to make the request.

Good luck!



answers from Dallas on

My son is in 7th grade too. He talks to girls and plays football. I still talk to him EVERYDAY. I ask him what he did in school, what he ate for lunch, and other questions.

I sit down w/him and WE study for tests. I feel like it is important for the two of us to work together sometimes. Maybe you should try to do that too! Not saying you don't already. It is just helps you spend one on one time w/your son (you can "x" the word "step" out of the conversation).

As you said he is a part of your family. So try to be open and show him you care by sitting down w/him.

Good luck to you and your family!




answers from Dallas on

I asked my 13 year old son his opinion and he said you took away everything and that just makes you not want to do anything because you are so depressed about it already and have nothing to lose now.
That is also how I see it.

He couldn't give anything on the incentives not working. Here is my take on them not working.
He is already down so he has no fear of being there now.
He doesn't want to bring anything to you now because he may be punished. (been there)
As for the girl, there would be no exception for me on that. My son doesn't have a phone yet and he is not allowed to date yet. I told him he has other things to do and enjoy and to get used to hormones before that will happen, yadda yadda.
We both totally disagreed on taking football away, meaning school football. (no offense meant by our opinions, just meant as maybe insight and help) They have standards in place to make sure they adhere to rules and keep their grades up and was probably a total blow to his ego. The only excpetion to that for me would be if he failed for two consecutive six weeks, he would have to quit.
I have made him earn things back and when I was wrong I gave something back and appologized after reading advice on here one time. I told him we were both starting from scratch and that if he wanted more freedom he had to be more responsible and if he wasn't, he would lose it. The most important thing I did was to reward him when he did what was right, on anything.
As for not doing work, This is what I told my son. If I have to, I will go to your school and get you everyday and go to each of your teachers to make sure of your grades and any homework, or have you get a note signed by each of them each day telling me the same. lol I actually had this conversation with my son last night when he forgot to bring something from band home and let me know about it. You are old enough now to remember things, are your teachers going to have to start putting a sticker with a note on it for me again like they did in pre-k? he laughed and said he would try better next time.
good luck



answers from Dallas on

A teenager is not going to think the way you would expect them to think. He is probably going through some stage of the begining of puberty which makes it worse. I wonder if you took so much away he is thinking "why bother". Maybe he needs more of a strict schedule. When he gets home he has to do X amount of homework then he gets X amount of video games. If video games are not completely forbidden, he will not need to lie to use them. And he is a teeneager, he will use them with or without your permission. I agree that for awhile the teachers need to be involved in making sure you know what the homework is, most are pretty good with that stuff. You will not be the first to make that request. After awhile he may start doing it on his own just to avoid you talking to his teachers.

As far as the girl. I think at this age all "dating" type situations should be adult monitored. And my daughter is required to put her cell phone out of her room after 8pm. If she forgets she loses if for a couple of days. That way she is not up all night texting.

GOOD LUCK....remember, God made teenagers so that we are not so sad when they move out of the house some day!!!!!

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