nlbostic's picture
nlbostic

Did I fail as a parent?

I have a 15 year old tenth grade son whom I love dearly. He is a greadt kid who doesn't get into any trouble. He is pleasant, respectful and well liked by everyone. My only concern is that he has no interest in school, and that's the one area that I most want him to excel. His teachers give him chance after chance, and he won't take advantage of the opportunities. He knows that he is failing and still won't do anything, promises he will do better and still will miss assignments. It's like he just doesn't care.

I stay in constant contact with his teachers to keep up with whats going on. I check his homework and help him study for tests when I can. The times that I don't help him is when he "forgets" the materials home. I tell him all the time that I can't go to shool and sit in the classroom with him. He does just enough to get by.

I am beginning to feel like maybe it's my fault. Am I not punishing him enough? What else can I do? I talk to him all the time and tell him how important his education is. I get so upset and cry because I want him to do well. I even told him that I would rather die because then he would do well because he knows thats all I ever wanted. I hate to hear other parents talk about how great their children are doing in school.

Is something wrong with my child? Has anyone else had this experience?



gail Hanson's picture
gail Hanson

It sounds like you are saying he is capable, he can already read, write, reason and calculate.  I know that you understand how much impact a good academic record has on his success, financially and in other ways, too.  I wonder if the problem is that he feels like you are too invested in his behavior. 

  I have some experience with this, but my situation was complicated by the fact that my son had difficulty reading and spelling, and his handwriting is pretty bad.  I think there are a lot of parents of sons who go through this, I know we have a neighbor with two sons who passively resist doing their schoolwork. 

nlbostic's picture
nlbostic

Absolutely, he is definitely capable. He is just lazy and unorganized. I don't think he really realizes the damage is is doing to himself. Most students want to do well so they can get accepted to a good college. he talks about the colleges he wants to go to, but his track record will never allow it. How does he expect to get there, by a miracle?

gail Hanson's picture
gail Hanson

I don't know if you have much experience with farm animals, I have very little, but I remember reading that it's really hard to pull  a mule.  The mule is the one that is supposed to do the pulling.  Does it feel like you are doing all the work?

nlbostic's picture
nlbostic

How did you know? It sure does feel that way. communicating with teachers every other day, checking homework, studying for tests, making sure he's wriiten down all of his homework, not to mention all the other things, I feel like I am the student. I just want to feel like I am not alone in this and that this is not the worst thing in the world. I need to know that my son is going to make it in this world after high school. Will he make it to college?...I hope, but I don't know. He won't have anybody to stay on top of him like I do now. I just want him to be successful.

gail Hanson's picture
gail Hanson

OK, I'm gonna ask the tough question.  Prepare yourself!

Let me know when you are ready.

gail Hanson's picture
gail Hanson

I got through this, my son's homework habits now are acceptable.  Not perfect.  Here's the question.  Do you know any successful people who have someone riding herd on them the way you are riding your boy?

nlbostic's picture
nlbostic

Good question, but honestly I don't think I am being hard on him. Actually I don't think I am being hard enough. What have I said that makes you think I am hard on him? I check his homework and follow up with teachers because when I don't he gets completely lost. Any concerned parent wants to know how there child is doing and help them if they are not doing well. I think your question should have been "Do I know of any successful people whose parents weren't hard on them"? My answer would have been...no

gail Hanson's picture
gail Hanson

I didn't say you were hard on him. I said you were riding herd on him. Another rural reference, I'm afraid. It means you hover, like a cowboy trying to keep the calves from going over the cliff. You know, check his homework and follow through on his assignments.  I think you want him to develop self-control, but you don't let him practice because he will fail. And I'm not saying he won't, initially.

nlbostic's picture
nlbostic

Oh...I aplogize. I thought it was a typo and didn't recognize the lingo. I think that if this were something new with him, then I would let it ride for a while and see if he would come to grips. However, this has been going on since grade school. At that time, I didn't "herd" him because I thought he would outgrow it and get serious. He now has 2 years left of high school which is why I am so nervous now.

gail Hanson's picture
gail Hanson

I've got to tell you what happened just now, as I was driving my 16-year old 10th Grade son (who repeated Kindergarten, and struggled (still has some issues)with reading) to bowling.  (Way too many parantheses)  sorry!

    Anyway he asked for my help  at the last minute last night.  He needed me to drive him to Kinko's so he could print a brochure that he had designed at school, and it was on his thumbdrive.  So today, I asked him how that went.  The assignment was a group project, with Power point, 5 page report, and brochure.  J had done the research, given it to the other members of the group, and they had worked on all of them during school, with J responsible for presenting the tech-dependant items on time, which he did.  The other kids hadn't finished the 5 page report. 

   What is cool is what he said.  "I'm going to write the 5-page report, and I'm going to remind them that it is due.  I'm going to turn in my report before the exam next Wednesday."  That is almost verbatim.  His thinking is a little choppy.  Anyway, his intent is to get a good grade for himself, not to go whining to the teacher about how it's not fair, just to do the work necessary, and not curry favor with his peers by sharing the credit. 

   The point is, this would not have happened last year.  Last year (age 15) he would Not have completed his part of the assignment, he would Not have done the research, and when the other kids were also irresponsible, he would have just taken it as normal.  No big deal.    The work he turns in , particularly things like essays and research papers, is not anything you'd see in the big glass case as a shining example.  But they are his work.  And he takes pride in his work.