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Why can't my kid behave himself in school?

Why can't my kid behave himself in school?

Postby moosebane on Fri Sep 19, 2008 11:39 am

I just got yet another call from yet another teacher, to let me know that my DS is being disruptive in class and was sent to the office. Again. He has had trouble in school since middle school, and he's a JUNIOR, for heaven's sake! He's difficult at home too. The principal wants to meet with my DH and me about this. Scheduling that meeting is going to be a problem. Both DH and I work full time and just aren't graced with boatloads of time off. And before anyone blasts me for not wanting to take the time to address a problem my kid is having and how he should be more important than my job, let me just say that we have been having this issue for YEARS. At what point is HE going to be expected to shape up and behave in school so I don't HAVE to have these meetings with the principal??? This in only the fourth week of the school year!!! I can't do this all year. I have no idea what to do any more. My biggest fear is that he will drop out of school.
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Re: Why can't my kid behave himself in school?

Postby cnnplus5 on Fri Sep 19, 2008 12:00 pm

oh my - I feel for you..we have one that thinks school work is a complete waste of time even though he's quite capable of doing it all - just doesn't think its necessary.

I don't know what I would do - my dh always reminds me that a boys punishment needs to be really uncomfortable - meaning hard. So when he thinks of acting up he will maybe/hopefully think of the consequences.. Since our kids are too old to spank now we enforce pretty miserable groundings. Like...you can't do anything...except help mom! :) Its worked for all of our kids except the one I mentioned above so maybe this isn't good advice after all! :(
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Re: Why can't my kid behave himself in school?

Postby moosebane on Fri Sep 19, 2008 12:25 pm

Thanks. That sort of thing works very well with the other child, but this one just refuses to respond to it. He actually is grounded for the rest of this month, but since we are at work when he gets out of school, it's hard for us to enforce this. It's ridiculous to think your 16-year-old kid needs a babysitter but that's what it feels like! I would recruit my in-laws to help, but my FIL was recently diagnosed with cancer, so they really don't need this additional burden. I think your DH is right, though--whatever his punishment is going to be, it's gonna have to hurt. Worse than taking his skateboard away (it's currently in the back of our truck, not waiting for him at home) or postponing getting his driver's license (he may be 20 before that happens). Obviously, he's too big for me to spank!
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Re: Why can't my kid behave himself in school?

Postby cnnplus5 on Fri Sep 19, 2008 12:40 pm

What about work? If you could rack your brain for something for him to do that doesn't require your transportation? Are you close to anything that he could ride his bike or walk?
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Re: Why can't my kid behave himself in school?

Postby mrsbluebear on Fri Sep 19, 2008 12:42 pm

Please don't blast me for this, but does your school have a social worker? If so, he/she has probably seen this before and may have some great ideas.

Another thing is, there has to be a carrot to go with the stick. Have you tried an incentive? Like, I know you've gotten into x pattern of behavior, and it's hard to change bad habits. Since I want you to be successful in school and in life, y is the reward we're offering you if you do z for 2 weeks? (or the rest of the quarter?) Then at semester make it a bigger deal if he can "stay clean" for the entire semester....

Not that you don't need a big stick...it's just if they "feel" like they're "always" in trouble, sometimes they quit trying altogether.

Of course, I don't have teens yet! Just some nice theories from Child & Adolescent Psych and Social Problems classes. I'm sure I'll have a kid blow me out of the water eventually...

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Re: Why can't my kid behave himself in school?

Postby cnnplus5 on Fri Sep 19, 2008 12:47 pm

Not that you don't need a big stick...it's just if they "feel" like they're "always" in trouble, sometimes they quit trying altogether.


oooooo....I'm likin' this idea....incentive...I'll have to think on this one - we've tried small amounts of money but maybe we need to think of something more incentivey (is that a word?) :)
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Re: Why can't my kid behave himself in school?

Postby mrsbluebear on Fri Sep 19, 2008 12:54 pm

oooooo....I'm likin' this idea....incentive...I'll have to think on this one - we've tried small amounts of money but maybe we need to think of something more incentivey (is that a word?) :)[/quote]


Yeah. We're "positive discipline" schmucks...We use a lot of bribery and blackmail.

Not that the "negative reenforcement" isn't in the toolbox. We just try, very hard, not to let it be primary.
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Re: Why can't my kid behave himself in school?

Postby moosebane on Fri Sep 19, 2008 1:17 pm

That's a great idea! Especially breaking it down into small chunks. I'm pretty sure "incentivey" isn't a real word, but I don't care. I work with lawyers and they are notorious for creative English.

As for a job--well, he was supposed to get one this summer. Didn't happen. A new skate shop opened up near us, and he spent the entire summer hanging out there. He hoped to get a job there, but when that didn't pan out, he just never tried much else (he did put apps in all over town, but nothing materialized). I'm not crazy about his friends, either, but there's no way I'm going to try to pick his friends for him.

He still maintains that he wants his driver's license, but as long as he's acting like a punk, he's not getting one. He hasn't shown us that he is either mature or responsible enough to drive.
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Re: Why can't my kid behave himself in school?

Postby ub_ on Fri Sep 19, 2008 1:57 pm

It's hard to say without knowing all the specifics, but I'd say if this has been going on for 3 or 4 years it's pretty serious. If you don't take care of it now, you could very well end up with a high school drop-out who's living in your house for the next 20 years. Again, I don't know specifics but I've seen that happen to very nice families. It could be something as simple as he's hanging around with the wrong crowd. If that's the case, can you change that situation without making it worse, with him wanting to be with his friends even more because you are forbidding it?

Definitely meet with the principal and set up a system of communication with the school administration as well as school counselors or a social worker. That can be as easy as e-mail or checking a school website. Depending on the situation, it may require that your son to see a therapist of some sort.

On the positive side, find your son some activities or job that reflect his interests. Definitely reward him appropriately for positive changes.

P.S. I think incentivey would be a great word!
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Re: Why can't my kid behave himself in school?

Postby amyyma on Sun Sep 21, 2008 2:53 pm

You may want to check your employee benefits at your respective companies and see if you have an Employee Assistance Program. An EAP is a (rarely used) benefit that can offer free assistance - and direct you to community resources. High school principals, and counseling staff are typically able to meet you on a Saturday morning, or after work. Reach out to them, as well as his teachers and explain you are very busy at work, but at that same time your son is your top priority and you need every single person that touches his life to help you right now - to get this kid on track.

At this age, I would say a lack of self-discipline/self-control is an issue that is critical - and I would treat it as such. It's a big deal - and this may be near to the last shot you will have to have an impact on the overall direction of his life.

If you really want your son to change, you have to draw a line in the sand and make it very clear that it stops now, today...and then be unwavering in your follow up. "Creative motivation" works well with younger children, but this age is really close to being an adult.... I'd draw some very black and white rules, make it clear the only thing you are required to provide is food and shelter - until your son chooses to step up to the plate he gets food and shelter...none of the extras. Period.

True change (and I think that is what you are hoping for) takes work - and mom and dad have to force it without exception. Determine the consequence for the next time a mis-step occurs and then follow through. Punishment and correction must be timely, tied to the behavior and of a serious enough impact that it motivates the child. Would it be possible to have him handle chores for your father-in-law? Of course you would deliver all this with a message of love, but I wouldn't be too afraid to lose his "liking you" for a while.

If the problem has been going on for years, no amount of cajoling or rewards systems are going to work at this point. Your son needs a startling discovery into how his life will change if he continues to act in this manner.

Does your district offer an alternative high school? I'd ask for a tour...and let your son know it may be his next stop... When my son was acting like a clown, I ordered information from Wentworth Military Academy and had it mailed to the house. I had zero intention of really sending my son there, but it sure got his attention when he saw me reading the brochures...
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