Senior Who's Given Up.

Updated on May 29, 2009
L.W. asks from Bedford, TX
29 answers

I know that not many of you have children this old...and a Senior in High School is technically no longer considered a child....he will forever be my baby though. Anyway, I've been ill the last 3 years and really so within the last 2 months. My son has also encountered some difficult life problems, nothing illegal (unless someone wants to pursue the issue)within this time frame. He has given up on school. He needs to make up quite a few hours to meet attendance requirements. He also has failing grades in four classes. I try to encourage him as much as possible...without nagging...or so I hope he doesn't see it that way. I have talked to his teachers and counselors (geez! He has a counselor for everything!) but one summed up the situation today..."at his age he should take responsibilty for his actions". I totally agree. What words can I use to convey this to him in a way he can understand?

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answers from Dallas on

I agree with the others who have suggested some kind of alternative school, where kids accumulate credits at their own pace and graduate as soon as they finish. My nephew didn't get much out of his regular high school, but enjoyed the alternative setting very much and finished on time, even after starting out quite a ways behind.

It's also important to realize that the guidance counselor and teachers are right. This is HIS issue. Nothing you can say will make a difference. Just present the facts and the options. Then allow him to make his choices and experience the consequences. If you "make him" (ha!), he will blame or credit you with the result. If HE chooses, he will be more likely to care about the outcome and put some effort into it.

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answers from Dallas on

I work for Winfree Academy Charter High Schools. It's a self paced program. He can enroll in the fall and graduate as soon as he can get his work done. The self paced environment may be the motivator he needs to feel accomplished. Let me know if you want more details.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

Is he trying but still failing? Can his problem be medical.. depression, dyslexia, ADHD, etc? Kids with disorders try really hard and when they still fail often give up. For them there doesn't seem to be a light at the end of their tunnel. My sister has kids that tried and tried and would act out in anger or become completely despondent because they were failing classes and getting in trouble in school. All 3 of her children ended up being diagnosed with ADHD and one with ADHD plus Autism. They are all on meds now and are doing better in school and feel better about themselves overall. Just a thought.

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answers from Dallas on

I am a senior high teacher and have taught for 12 years. This year in particular I am seeing more students than I would like in your son's situation. They slack off for one reason or another, get behind and see not end to the cycle they have gotten themselves into. At this point they give up. What many of these students need is a reality check. At this point in the school year if he is failing 4 classes, he is not in a position to graduate. My suggestion is to enroll him in summer school and/or eSchool (if that is available) to earn his credits. He will not graduate with his peers, but a high school diploma is very important.

When you explain this to him make sure you don't apologize for his actions, make him take ownership. These are the choices HE made this is not something that happened to HIM. Students say, "Why did you fail me?" in reality "They chose to fail!" Make sure that you don't make excuses for his actions and come up with a plan to allow him to graduate and move on with his life. Many seniors who are in his position do not see their future beyond high school and therefore don't have any motivation to move forward. Make sure you allow him to see where he is going and come up with a plan. Boys like to see a solution, so make sure before you talk to him have a solution in mind. Above all, do not enable him, remember these are his choices. Be a caring and concerned mom, but don't let him off the hook.

Hope that helps!


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answers from Dallas on

I have older children and can understand what a struggle it is to watch them make mistakes. I agree that he needs to be accountable for his own actions.

However, I think you need to have a SERIOUS talk with this young man. You are not going to be around to support him forever and he needs to be working toward a vocation. He can't even work in a daycare without a high school diploma or GED.

I would set up a schedule that requires certain things be completed by certain dates. If he doesn't keep the schedule, then he has to move out. You will only allow him to live at home and eat your food and all the other ways you support him IF he is making progress toward graduation.

BTW, I would encourage him to stay in school and graduate, even if it puts him a year behind. GED's are really not smiled upon in many ways.

Perhaps he could do some vocational training in high school, if he likes working on cars, or auto body, etc. If he should be college bound, check out Collin College---they have tests you can take to tell you what occupation would suit his interests.

You need to get tough---being understanding hasn't gotten through to him. He will thank you later.

Hope you are well soon.

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answers from Dallas on


I read the article pasted below just yesterday; it does work, my son went through some serious issues in school as well. We came to the point where we refused to bail him out of his circumstances anymore, we told him what we expected from him as a member of our household and what society would offer him if he didn't finish school. We talked together and found a solution that worked for us, send me a private message if you want to hear what we did. And now, praise God!, my son, a sophomore in college, has decided to get his Ph.d. in his chosen career field. It took alot of prayer and communication to get here. I wish I had read the article 6 years ago. is pleased to welcome Mark Gregston

as a regular weekly contributor to its website.

Mark is the founder of Heartlight, a residential counseling opportunity

for struggling adolescents, located in East Texas.


None of us can see our own errors;

deliver me, LORD, from (my) hidden faults!

– Psalm 19:12

Has your teen figured out that he can live without a care in the world for the problems his irresponsible behavior creates, or the stress it puts on you as a parent? Do you spend all your time worrying about him or trying to figure out how to get him to behave differently?

Whenever I see a teen who is irresponsible, and happy to be so, I know his parents are the ones who are quite miserable. The more they try to take control and change their teen's poor choices, the worse the behavior becomes. It's what I call "the spin cycle," a downward spiral in teen behavior that often results in their life spinning totally out of control or ending in dire consequences. And the whole family spins out of control, too.

The good news is that there is a way out of the "spin cycle." Life doesn't have to revolve around chasing your troubled teen's problems and fixing them. Parents can stop it by handing the problems their teen creates right back to them, giving them responsibility for both their choices and the outcomes of their choices.

Until your teen is given responsibility for the problems he causes, he won't stop causing them.

It's not a mystery. Your child behaves irresponsibly because he is irresponsible. He'll not magically become more responsible or mature, or wise. He won't grow out of it. Responsibility is a learned behavior that comes from facing the consequences of one's deeds -- and the more dire the consequences, the more likely and quickly the lesson will be learned.

It would be impossible to change everything in your teen's behavior all at once, so let me offer one simple example: Say your 16-year-old is failing in math for the second time. You have gone through this struggle before, and you know your son is fully capable of passing his math class (he has the aptitude, but lacks the attitude). So, you begin a process of systematically limiting how your child spends his time, help him complete lists of homework and study assignments, check daily to see his homework is finished, ask for weekly progress reports, and speak with the teacher every other week to make sure your child is on track, with passing grades.

Sounds like a good plan, right? Wrong! When you jump into the "gung ho" mode of parenting, like you had to do when he was a child, you make your son's problems your own problems. Managing problems for a teenager never works! He needs to learn to solve his own problems in life. He'll never take responsibility for his actions if he knows you'll fix things for him.

A better approach might be to try something a little more drastic, but tons more effective. Hand the problem back to him; making him responsible to solve it. First, tell him that you welcome any questions about homework and you are willing to help him if he asks for it (even though you know he won't). But you won't bother him to make sure he's keeping up on assignments, to see that he has passing grades, or to say one word about school for six weeks.

Next, tell him that at the end of six weeks you will check with his teacher to see if he has completed all of his homework assignments and has a passing grade. If even one assignment is missing, even just one, or if the grade has not will park the car and cancel his cell-phone. In fact, until he improves his grade, he can ride the bus to school and he'll have no way to text message or chat with his friends.

You see, the really great thing about how many "things" kids have these days, is that they can be taken away, one by one, as consequences for bad behavior. In my teenage years, I had no cell phone, no iPod, and no computer, so grounding the car was my parents' only choice. And to this day, I still remember the times and circumstances of when my car was grounded.

But here's the point where many parents fail. They cave in. They don't follow through or they lessen the consequences due to sad, remorseful pleas from their teen. They think they are "loving" their teen by doing so, but in this case it's not doing your teen nor your relationship any good. If you don't follow through, you've made an empty threat that will only serve to teach your teen that you really don't mean what you say and that he is not really responsible to manage the problems he creates.

What's worse, if you don't follow through, his behavior will likely deteriorate, and after a few "feel good" minutes, hours, or days of happiness for letting him off easy, the poor choices will return. So don't make a threat if you can't follow through with it — to the letter. No remorse, and no letting him off easy. The first few times need to be the whole nine yards.

Once your teen realizes you mean what you say, and that sooner or later you intend to hand him responsibility for every part of his life, then your life will improve as well. Your teen will know that you keep your promises, and a simple reminder about the "math" incident might be all it takes to help your teen remember that he is responsible to solve the problems his behavior creates. More importantly, your teen will learn from his mistakes.

To summarize, don't step in to fix the irresponsibility or poor choices of your teenager. Instead, help him realize that his choices always have consequences that may even drastically change his life. It is totally up to him whether the results of his behavior will be good or bad.

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answers from Dallas on

The book that is TRANSFORMING my relationship with my teenager is
Who's in charge here? by Robert G. Barnes

I'm able to love love love him and connect and be pleasant while holding him TOTALLY accontable for all his actions and failures, and sets him up to succeed. And there is peace.

Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Dallas on

It really sucks, but maybe it is time for you to step back and let him fail.

You have tried to help, talked with him (probably until you were blue in the face), given him opportunities, encouraged him, tried to help him out of problems that he created for himself...

It is time to let go. He will most likely fall on his face - just let him know what you expect of him, and that you will be there for him when he is ready for your help.

It is a horribly scary thing to do. Sometimes you just gotta do it though. Good luck. Guard your heart...

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answers from Dallas on

Look into Winfree Academy, or even the KEYS program at HEB school district:

The truth is, school is not for everyone (at least the public school model) but that does not mean he can't meet the requirements and receive a diploma. In my experience, school counselors just aren't great at addressing more than the average scheduling dilemmas and planning for college. The two of you need to go to a counselor together, either through your health plan or at church. He may be depressed, or just simply not one of the kids that school works for. Let him know you are on his side, and you believe he is able to finish school, but you are willing to explore other ways to get that goal met. Then, the two of you check out the alternatives. I am surprised the counselor didn't mention some alternatives, especially since the KEYS program is right there in HEB.

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answers from Dallas on

L., It would be a good idea for both of you to seek counseling. It sounds like he has some anger issues he is acting upon. It is a good idea for him to take responsibility for himself but some kids cannot-not yet. They are so busy dealing with their feelings that there is no room to "grow up". I do think if he does something wrong there needs to be consequences and you shoud not bail him out from those. He needs to understand that there are ocnsequences for every action we take. Seek counseling.

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answers from Dallas on

This kid is going through a lot. Family illness is hard on teenagers. Also remember the teen brain is developing at a rate that is likened to a baby's brain which is why they make such bad decisions!

School, public school, is pretty awful. I took my child out of the system several years ago and homeschool him. The difference is like night and day. If he is interested in getting his degree , there are online courses, self paced and you have gotten a lot of valuable alternative school advice here.

What does he like? That is the bottom line. Everyone likes something. What you can do is network for him. If he likes animals , find a pal who has a vet friend and needs help. He can go work for them, even a few hours a week to get a sense of purpose.
If he likes to play video games all day, maybe he would like to create his own one day.
There are degrees now, in video game design, Yep, who knew?
If he likes to cook, he can help out in a restaurant, again find a pal who knows someone, Dallas is the biggest little town in the world.

If he is not a "school" kid, there is nothing at all wrong with that. Getting out there and "doing " something that will make him feel worthwhile is worth more than all the therapy in the world.

Can you get him to volunteer? That is a great way of getting "in there" and meeting people, using talents you had no idea you possessed and feeling self worth.

School does not have to be completed according to plan. Sit down with him and have a talk about how he wants to "construct" his plan. It is HIS life. Does he want a career? Does he want a nice car and nice clothes? Does he want to afford to go on dates? Ok then get a plan together with him. Be his advocate but empower him to address his own situation.

There could be a lot at work here, depression over your illness, hormones for sure which we both know can drive you nuts, basic teen angst and worry about the future. Teens have an awful lot on their plates and it can lead to a sort of paralysis. It's easier to sit in a dark room watching tv than to go live life. So, take a different tact. Don't worry about school, he will finish, at some point, in a way that works for him. Meanwhile, brainstorm, network, and expose him to opportunities he is not seeing. Think out of the box. He is not even listening when people say "be responsible" , "you should do this" "you are old enough to do that", What a turnoff. Speak to his heart. Find his passion. It's in there, somewhere. You just have to go on a treasure hunt to help him find it. Once he does, he will see what is required to get there, and it will fall into place.



answers from Dallas on

In this case, I'm not sure I agree with the other moms. You didn't really say if he was uncaring with you and totally self-absorbed or if he has saved acting up for school only. I will respond as if he is still showing love and empathy within the family.

Have you talked with your son and told him "I'm really worried about you. It would really help me fight this illness if I didn't have to worry what is going to happen to you so much. So I don't have to worry...Please tell me how you plan to get by without a high school diploma." You may not need to say anything but you should have an opening to say that you really wished for better for your son, but that would need a diploma and vocational training, etc. Avoid asking him about his feelings and stick to what he will "do." Telling him your concerns may be enough emotion for the situation.

Guys don't handle strong emotion well so it could be that he has wigged out. I would first make a connection to let him know that you love him and understand he is having a tough time. Then, a couple days later if that's more appropriate, be sure that you reassure him you love him but XYZ are your expectations for him to live in your home.

You are right that he is at the age where you can't make him do anything. You can set expectations and he can choose to meet them or not. However if you have connected and perhaps find out what motivates him you can set your boundaries from there.



answers from Dallas on

Hi L.,

What some Teacher fail to see in these kids is that they didn't chose to be where they are. It's the situations that we live in that create what we live out.

The blame game is useless, it will not help. What needs to happen is talk with your children, not at them. They are grown people and can make decisions of their own, but if they feel like you have given up, they will too.

Children need to feel loved, know love so they can give love. Acting as if it's their problem and not yours will only make things worse. You might need a train person that will help you learn to communicate with each other.

One thing parents forget is that our children have a mind of their own and that's Ok, likes and dislikes, That should be respected. Our children may or may not be who we would like them to be, but they are who they are. Don't judge them, listen to them with an open mind.

Our children didn't just become this careless person, something brought them there. That's what needs to be figured out and worked on.

Ask your child to sit down and talk, have an open mind and listen to what they are saying, there is some truth to it. Even if you didn't do what they feel you did, they feel you did, so find out why, but with an open mind. If your child feels that your making excuses, they won't talk to you, they will fight with you. We sometimes don't see what's right under our very own nose.

I've worked in the school system as a sub and I've talk to the kids, their issues start at home and make their way into the school because that's where they get the attention they crave, negative or otherwise, they are getting it.

Find out what your child wants, don't put it off on them, your the parent. I'm not in anyway putting the blame on you, but I am saying that we need to talk to our children and hear what they are saying and then you can more forward. If your child won't talk to you at this point, then find someone they can trust to talk to and then you can work in the direction of having some kind of open communication with them.

To many people, including school's don't take this seriously enough, they want to blame the kids.. Give your child a voice and respect it.

Favorite Quote: Healing may not be so much about getting better, as about letting go of everything that isn't you - all of the expectations, all of the beliefs and becoming who you are. By-Rachel Naomi Remen

I hope this helps, G. Hudson



answers from Dallas on

We had similar issues in our family when the kids were teens. The traditional school setting just did not work for them. In fact, it provided access to some less than ideal situations. My kids didn't really drop out of school. The school system just lost them.

Since your son is almost 18, I'd recommend that you encourage him to get his GED and just be done with high school. He then has the diploma he needs and can move on with the next stage of his life. That's what my kids did. The older even ended up finishing school six months ahead of her class.

When we were going through all those changes, finishing school became such a huge obstacle to overcome that kept getting bigger and bigger. It was like life got put on hold while we tried to figure out what to do. For my husband and me, the situation was unfathomable. We're both college educated. He almost finished a master's in math, and I have a master's degree in social work. I couldn't imagine how our kids could not have excelled in school and why they just hated it. We survived though.

Both kids have good jobs with a future. One has two children of her own now. One has almost graduated college. The other took some college courses and decided she's more of a hands-on learner. For both of them, community college was more suitable to their needs and very affordable. It allowed them to try on different paths and choose the one they wanted. One liked learning. One liked working and making her own money better.

With the GED, they were able to jump over that obstacle and become adults. They've made good lives for themselves. They just hated the big impersonal high school environment with its social structure. They were outcasts among most students and had no interest in living what the students considered a normal life. "Normal" was not something they wanted to be. Extraordinary is what they are.

From what you write, you have a chronic illness and have been through a recent acute episode, but you don't specify the illness. For a teen on the verge of adulthood, the possibility of losing their beloved parent is terrifying. They're anxious to be out on their own, but that scenario does not include visiting mom at the cemetery.

If you haven't already, I'd recommend talking honestly with your son about your illness and your prognosis. He may just be terrified that he'll come home from school some day and find you dead. On the other hand, he may be making choices that keep him away from home, so that he can pretend that what is going on at home isn't happening. If you go away, what happens to him? How is he going to survive on his own without you to lean on and guide him? What happens when someone dies? Are you going to die soon and leave him on his own?

Making connections with family and friends who will help him through life and through your illness will help him to know that he is not alone. You have people in your life or care about you and who also care deeply about him.



answers from Dallas on

I had my son at 42 and he is now 17, my daughter at almost 44 and she will soon be 16 - that said, my son is a mess - truancy, failing school - all kids of legal issues - he is bright but not smart....I have tried it all and it doesn't work so now we will see what the courts do as I no longer protect him....on the other hand, my daughter is goal oriented, involved and successful - choir, drama, cheer...both have medical issues but hers are huge as well as LDs....I am single and disabled from MS....unless 18, your son is not an adult and I am not sure they really are until around suggestion is to let him suffer the logical consequences of his actions, whatever they may be and stay on top of it so he knows you care what happens to him (it is not nagging but parenting)....I really have no answers, just ideas - some work for some, some don't...



answers from Dallas on

"I want to see you succeed at something YOU love. What can I do to help you be proud of yourself for your accomplishments?"

"I will always love you and support you, but I can't do the work for you. I want you to know you can ask me for anything and while the answer might not always be yes, we can figure out the answers together."

"Don't give up on yourself. You will always have at least one person in your corner, fighting for you, and that person is me. NO MATTER WHAT."

"Wherever you are at right now, don't think of yourself as lost. You aren't lost, but maybe just on a detour. What are you learning right now? Is there anything you want to change? You can't control everything in your life, but you can control yourself. And I know that you are strong enough to do it. And I will always be your support if you need it. Let's talk about it some more."

I really hope you are able to connect with your son. Bottom line, if he knows you love him, he'll figure it out. Maybe not in the timeline you wish for him, but eventually. I can SO relate to the pain you must be feeling, watching your child make wrong choices. But just keep praying for him and leaving the door open for him to talk to you without pushing him too much.

Good Luck and God Bless!



answers from Dallas on

Your son is obviously done with High School. Stop trying to make him want to do that and help him understand he must have an education to do more than just survive in the world today. Help him find an alternative program like night school, the local community college or a program to help him get the credits he needs or a GED. Then let him choose courses at a community college that interest him and not worry about the "required" courses for the first semester or two. The counselors will want him to take the basics first but he is in charge and can take whatever interests him to help him relearn that education is interesting, exciting and generally a good thing instead of the boring routine most public schools are stuck with supplying. If he makes the course choices he will be a lot more likely to continue. Good Luck to you both.



answers from Dallas on

Hello L., My youngest child is a senior in college, a boy or rather I should say a "young man". (I also was older when he was born, 34. I am now 57.) In the eyes of the law no matter what happens when a child turns 18 they are considered an adult. My son was diagonsed as bi-polar when he was 17. That has created many episodes of impulsive behavior of which he has had to pay the consequences. With your son, you may want to tell him that as much as you would like to shelter him for the rest of his life, legally, you are soon not going to be able to do that. You did not mention his age but I am assuming that he must be of high school age. If it were me, if he is old enough to work, I would tell him that he will have to find a job of some sort to fill his time if he isn't going to go to school. Additionally, make him responsible for getting his education. Tell him to enroll in GED classes and get a job. The only way he will learn respect for himself or for you is to demand it. My son is doing very well, he is a senior at a university in a very tough major field but he continues to get speeding tickets, etc. Everytime he has to figure out a way to pay a $200 - $300 fine it makes an impression. My grandmother used to say, "An experience bought is learned well." I am not sure that any of the things I have mentioned really apply to your son but maybe hopefully there is something that will be helpful. I have read that until a person reaches the age of about 22 - 23 they REALLY don't have the capacity to understand consequences. The part of the brain that is required to truly understand consequences does not fully develop until that age. Thus, my son is almost there. He is 22 now and what a difference that is making. The best to you. Let me know if I can be of any assistance in any way. Hope this has helped a little. S.



answers from Dallas on

sometimes we as parents have to step to the side allow children to fall on their face. by allowing them to falter, they will hopefully learn from their mistakes and not do the error again. as long as you child is not in harms way... let him pick up his own pieces and move forward. all you can do is sit on the side line and say here's my suggestion... do what you will be i feel this would work better. good luck.



answers from Dallas on

Have you thought about Winfree Academy?
There's no charge & it's great for kids that don't like conventional school.


answers from Dallas on

L. - Yes your son should take responsibility for his actions, but you must remember he as never been down this road before. He is only doing what he know to do at this time. I feel a lot of what is going on is he's acting out due to your illness. Sit him down and talk with him about your illness. Give him as much information as possible, he's scare and he need to be re-assured that things will be okay. Continue to talk with him about getting an education. Let him know you want him to be successful and you have confidence in him that he will. Set goals for him to reach. As simple as going to school and completing all of the assignments for that day. This may seem elementary but he's needing a helping hand to get back on track. Everyone is different and we mature at different times. Lastly, give him all of the hugs and kisses he can stand you are never too old for hugs.



answers from Dallas on

Since you mention counseling, I suggest It works and will make a difference, save his life and it works!! Good luck!!! There is a teen program or the Basic 1 is good for 18 and up.



answers from Dallas on

Depression is based in anger and the idea that his "rights" have somehow been violated. This message is celebrated among boys his age in our society of entitlement these days. He is showing his displeasure that his expectations are not being met. His actions are an expression of defiance. So don't be confused by the sluggish behavior - it is rooted in defiance. Think: "If I don't get my way I'll drop my anchor and pout" So far, it seems to be working for him. You are much more concerned about his "problem" (that he is creating) than he is. Now there is a herd of school counselors taking responsibility for his actions too! This defiance thing is working pretty good, huh? Now his future is everyone else's problem to solve. He can simply sit back and do whatever HE wants. This is pure manipulation of the teenage kind. The one counsellor was exactly right: "at his age he should take responsibility for his actions." Teenagers often have poor problem solving skills and his future is a big problem that he doesn't want to solve. His solution is to do nothing and let somebody else solve the problem...i.e. you and the school.

Lay out his options. Walk through the way each option would work: Another year to graduate, GED, job, military, or on live your own. Let him pick. Stop trying to solve HIS problem for him and lovingly back away. Let him fail if necessary - he may choose to test your resolve. Then again, lay out the same options and back away. If he chooses not to do anything, it is time for him to move out on his own. A good phrase to help you with this difficult situation is, "Let me know what you are going to do about that..." A month's rent, bag of groceries, and a big kiss, and well wishes may be necessary to get his attention. Life will do the rest. has lots of articles and helps for this kind of behavior. I know this all sounds hard and I know it is. We dealt with the same problem with our oldest son. He is now in the Army and learning to be a responsible man. I sympathize with your hurt over this and I realize it is easy to take it on ourselves and feel guilty that we have somehow failed. However, these are choices that our sons are making. It is our job to motivate them to make better choices. There is no more effective motivator in the world than a big slice of real life consequences. Hang tough and he will be fine. It will just take some tough love and growing up to get there. Be patient and let God work in his life.



answers from Dallas on

You don't mention what he is doing besides school. Does he have a future plan? Is he just fed up with the system? Is he helping around the home or does he have a job? These answers will tell you how bad things are. He is old enough for responsibility and if we keep enabling our kids (I have an 18 yr. old), it doesn't do them any good. If it is just frustration with school, another school won't help. The GED is a great alternative. It is no longer seen as bad. People who pass the GED outperform 40% of high school graduates. 98% of colleges accept the GED. He can take the GED in Carrollton anytime throughout the summer or even next school year if he doesn't feel ready. As another member said, school isn't for everyone. The other thing is that college is completely different from what Texas Public school is like and if you continue to push to get a degree, he may not continue his education. Don't let people tell you that the GED is a bad thing. Once they start college, whether he got a GED or a diploma won't ever matter again. Good luck.



answers from Dallas on

I'm sorry, it sounds like he might be a little stressed and possibly bored. I'm not sure what you could say that would make him want to change. does he have any hobbies or interests, something that he is good at or has always wanted to learn? My brother got into carpentry when he was in high school- he was always building different things, a bookshelf, cedar chest, beautiful formal table. Maybe if you can get him to volenteer someplace, When you focus less on yourself and more on others it makes your problems seem not so bad.
What about art? does he draw or paint? Music? if a kid is involved in something outside of themselves, they learn to push themself to get things done. '
Again, I am not sure how to approach talking to him about this so as not to push him away, maybe by just recognizing his talents and really getting him to use them.
If you are not involved in a church, see if you can find one with a great youth group. They have ones that meet during the weekdays for different activies and don't push you to come to church on Sundays- they are there for a safe place to fellowship these kids and help them on the right path no matter what they believe.
Good Luck!



answers from Dallas on

You should explain to your son that failure is not an option. That is what my mother used to tell me. This is his last year and now all of a sudden he wants to give up. No way!! He made it this far, why not finish. I am pretty sure he is smart and has plenty of talents. You as the parent should not feel that you are nagging. My mother stayed on my behind plenty of times and I hated it but I am glad that she did because I not only walked that stage and got my diploma, I also recently received my bachelors. There is just no excuse, if he doesn't do it for himself at least let him know that you would like him to do it for you. Stay firm and sit him down and talk to him. Don't be his friend be his parent and let him know that he does not need to give up now..:)



answers from Dallas on

Hi L.,

I don't have any different advice to give you, but if you are looking for a different educational solution for your son, perhaps I can help. I don't want you to feel like you're being solicited, ok?

We homeschool and I've found a fantastic secular (non-religious) K-12 distance education program (TOTALLY ONLINE), which offers all the courses that you will need to issue your own high school diploma.* This software company also offers GED test prep and AP courses. I want my kids to use this program, but in order for me to be able to contract with the company, I must have a minimum of 10 students (I've already got 2!). Although I could make a profit offering these other 8 spots, I just want to fill these spots so that my kids can use this program. If you join me in this adventure, you will only pay COST for the curriculum this year! So, in effect, we could help each other!

We are currently using this program, contracted through an online school. Although we really love the curriculum, we aren't that pleased with their customer service. So, we decided that if we could find 8 other friends to go in on the deal with us, we'd be able to manage it ourselves.

*We are working toward accreditation with SACS (Southern Association of Colleges and Schools) so that we can issue the high school diploma as an accredited school.


This is an individualized and customized curriculum for K-12th Grade students. All your son needs is a computer, high-speed access to the Internet and he is able to learn. There are no textbooks to buy – everything he needs is online. The software company has been in business for 28 years.

Since there are no teachers with this program, what would your son do when he needed academic assistance? He would log on to, an online provider of unlimited, 24/7 assistance with math, science, language arts, essay writing, proofreading, and social studies. Tutors are carefully screened experts and include certified teachers, college professors, graduate students, select undergraduates from accredited universities and other professionals. They are based in the U.S. and Canada.

All you will need to do is proctor your son: keep him on task, assert that he is the actual person doing the work (required for all final exams) and provide light technical support if he needs help with his computer.

Curricula: Traditional K-12 titles (includes GED Test Prep); for an additional fee: 20 AP courses plus 4 specialized electives, College Readiness and 31 foreign languages (through Rosetta Stone).

Go to
Teacher: See sample reports and lessons; LOGIN IS: Teacher10; no password needed, just hit Enter after typing in the login.
Student: See sample high school lessons; have your son work some! All lessons will look and feel like these, for most grade levels. LOGIN IS: Student 10 (note the space between the word and number); no password needed, just hit Enter after typing in the login.

We are looking to fill 8 spots. The first 8 spots will get the curriculum and other programs at cost! The rest may enroll for a slightly higher fee (we will manage the program for you). The prices listed below are cost. The only required cost is the Traditional K-12 School Program. The rest may be added, if you wish.

Price Per Student -- 12 Month Contract
Traditional K-12 School Program (includes GED Test Prep Course) --- $769.50 (that's just $64.13/month!) ($100.00/month) --- $1,200
Certified English, Math, History & Science Teacher to grade essays/projects/experiments ($100/week; based on a 4 week month) --- $4,800**
Rosetta Stone Foreign Language Package -- $95
AP Courses --- $329 per course, per student
Specialized Electives --- $299 per course, per student

**We might be able to trade out grading amongst ourselves, if we have enough people to cover all the subjects, thus removing the need for teachers.

I can send you course lists and descriptions, detailed program features, and answer any of your other questions. Please email me!

And email me if you're interested in getting in on this awesome opportunity! Remember, the first 8 people who sign on, get their curriculum at COST!

W. in Carrollton
[email protected]

P.S. Please feel free to pass this along to:
--any other homeschoolers
--friends whose kids are in a private school, who just want some additional courses, summer school, or need credit recovery
--other support groups (even internationally - because it's Internet-based!)



answers from Dallas on

Take him to a homeless shelter and tell him that this is in his immediate future if he doesn't shape up. A "scared straight" scenario at his age is probably the most vivid way to get the message across. I don't think nagging will work. That implies you are pleading with him. Nope, as Joe Friday used to say, "give him the facts maam, just the facts." One day you'll be too old to care for him. He better learn to care for himself. He's got 2 good legs. It's time he stood on them. And that means get a good education-Sylvan, private school, home school, whatever. By the way, I have 5 kids. My twins were born when I was 39. They are now 18. One summer I had them working at Mission Arlington to see the other side of life and it did indeed make the desired impression. Now one has a job and the other is still looking. Responsibility is possible.



answers from Dallas on

Have you considered whether he might have depression? I have taught high school and college, and it seems like every semester I end up with one young man who seems like a total slacker. He'll go awol and blow off assignments, and not even care. Then, I'll find out that he has depression.

Needing to take responsibility doesn't mean that he can, if there's depression going on.

Consider having your son evaluated for this. Depression doesn't always look the way we expect. With him having been sick a lot, having an overwhelming amount of work to do, and having had problems, it could have led to depression. Treatment could totally change his life.

I wish you and your son the best. It's so hard to be the M. and watch your child be discouraged and troubled.

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