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What to do with a high school student who is failing classes?


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#1 YaelAldrich

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 08:11 PM

My son, who is in 11th grade and now homeschooling (again) after being expelled from his private school late last year (for behavioral issues).  He was homeschooled from 1st grade to 8th grade, so I know his intellectual capabilities.  After his 10th grade year, we talked over the summer about his goals (to be a vet) and what he needed to get there.  If he can get into his father's university (a relatively selective university), he can go for free (we'll pay the fees) and be debt-free for any more schooling he wishes to do.

 

I asked him to take a regular online biology course over the summer and then take on the following classes for his 11th grade year:  AP Bio (PA Homeschoolers), AP US Hist (WTMA), US Lit (WTMA), Health (WTMA), and Alg 2 (Wilson Hill Acad).  I thought it was a heavy but doable schedule, especially for a kid whose classmates have all that plus Jewish studies and a foreign language or two. 

 

The Bio class started in May and should have been finished by the beginning of September.  He wasn't working this summer and he opted to spend a month with his grandparents instead of coming with the rest of us on a trip out west.  He said he would get more work done that way.  Instead he got about 1/4 of the course done over the summer.  So he started out behind.  

 

As of last week, he was failing or coming close to failing Bio, AP Bio, Alg 2.  My husband asked me to pull him from all those classes and I did.  Now I cannot see a way to graduate him on time.  He is also due to take the PSAT next week; he hasn't studied at all.  I think he should not take the PSAT, take a bonus 11th grade next year and work part-time this year while taking the two year-long classes and the one semester health class. 

 

He is addicted to his phone and his computer.  He applied for jobs and is awaiting answers.  He's happy staying up until 3am and sleeping until 1pm.  I am trying to get him back to a more normal sleep schedule and away from the screens, but it is almost impossible on the latter so far.

 

I need advice, love, hugs, and whatever else you can offer.  I think I might offer to let him buy Saxon Alg 2 and the DIVE CDs /Art Reed CDs and have him work on it with me on a daily basis.  I cannot do Bio; I have three other kids who are more willing to do the work needed for their homeschooling.  


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#2 City Mouse

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 08:39 PM

It has been a long time, but I don't think that the PSAT is really something he needs to study for in advance.

Have you done anything to address the behavioral issues that led him to get kicked out of school? Counseling or therapy of some sort? Possible evaluation for ADHD? Without knowing him, I would suspect that whatever caused him to have problems in school is still a contributing factor now.

Other ideas - not in any order
Give up on the AP level courses and go with something that is easier but adequate.
Tour the college and have someone there explain the entrance requirements (always helps if it comes from someone other than mom)
Find someone who has gone to vet school to explain the requirements
Take away his phone and computer and sit with him every day for school until he brings his grades up to your satisfactory level.

Unless he buys into an extra year, I don't see that accomplishing much. It might even make him less likely to finish. Once he is 18 you have even less "control" over him. Control isn't really the right word, but I can't think of anything better right now.

Edited by City Mouse, 18 October 2017 - 12:38 PM.

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#3 NorthwestMom

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 08:39 PM

:grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:

 

Is he receiving professional help for his behavioral issues?  That is likely affecting this situation as well. 

 

It sounds like he possibly needs more oversight and being held to a study schedule and a screen schedule.  We were able to simply turn off the data on my DS's phone when he was not going to bed on time; we set the schedule online and his phone had no data 10pm-6am. You can put your router on a timer too. Since he is actually failing classes, at my house there would be big consequences like video gaming systems being removed (if he is wasting time on those or up at night on those) and social outings also removed. 

 

I agree with your plan to have him finish the other classes, get a job, and repeat 11th grade. A job in the animal care industry would be perfect so he can keep his long-term goal in mind. Does he understand how precarious his admission to a competitive college is  at this point? 

 

:grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:  to you, mama. We just want them to be successful and get what they want out of life. 

 


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#4 RootAnn

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 09:04 PM

I remember your son's story. I'd highly suggest counseling if he isn't already going weekly. Addiction, yes. Behavior, yes. But, possibly also depression. I'd start making calls tomorrow if he doesn't already have a counselor.

 

And yes, I'd also definitely plan on an extra year for him. He can take the PSAT as a sophomore or you can just skip it this year. But, he needs to get his mental health in order and I believe, based on your past posts & this update, that is an important piece of the puzzle that is not getting the attention it needs.

 

If you don't have time to help him, I'd also look into getting a tutor, preferably a male, who comes two to three times per week to check on how he's doing in the classes he's still enrolled in and actively helps him. 


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#5 TKDmom

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 09:20 PM

:grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:

 

I don't know your backstory, but as one mom in pain to another, I just wanted to reach out and send some virtual hugs.This parenting thing is hard. Especially when you add homeschooling multiple kids to the mix.


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#6 Lilaclady

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 09:43 PM

(((Hugs))). I would advice looking into a way to block the WiFi from after 11pm if it will work for all the family. It is hard to get him to do the work if he won’t and you will really need his buy in if you want to extend his high school another year.
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#7 YaelAldrich

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 10:04 PM

It has been a long time, but I don't think that the PSAT is really something he needs to study for in advance.

Have you done anything to address the behavioral issues that led him to get kicked out of school? Counseling or therapy of some sort? Possible evaluation for ADHD? Without knowing hm, I would suspect that whatever caused him to,have problems in school is still a contributing factor now.

Other ideas - not in any order
Give up on the AP level courses and go with something that is easier but adequate.
Tour the college and have someone there explain the entrance requirements (always helps if it comes from someone other than mom)
Find someone who has gone to bet school to explain the requirements
Take away his phone and computer and sit with him every day for school until he brings his grades up to your satisfactory level.

Unless he buys into an extra year, I don't see that accomplishing much.it might even make his m less likely to finish. Once he is 18 you have even less "control" over him. Control isn't really the right word, but I can't think of anything better right now.

 

 

:grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:

 

Is he receiving professional help for his behavioral issues?  That is likely affecting this situation as well. 

 

It sounds like he possibly needs more oversight and being held to a study schedule and a screen schedule.  We were able to simply turn off the data on my DS's phone when he was not going to bed on time; we set the schedule online and his phone had no data 10pm-6am. You can put your router on a timer too. Since he is actually failing classes, at my house there would be big consequences like video gaming systems being removed (if he is wasting time on those or up at night on those) and social outings also removed. 

 

I agree with your plan to have him finish the other classes, get a job, and repeat 11th grade. A job in the animal care industry would be perfect so he can keep his long-term goal in mind. Does he understand how precarious his admission to a competitive college is  at this point? 

 

:grouphug:  :grouphug:  :grouphug:  to you, mama. We just want them to be successful and get what they want out of life. 

 

 

I remember your son's story. I'd highly suggest counseling if he isn't already going weekly. Addiction, yes. Behavior, yes. But, possibly also depression. I'd start making calls tomorrow if he doesn't already have a counselor.

 

And yes, I'd also definitely plan on an extra year for him. He can take the PSAT as a sophomore or you can just skip it this year. But, he needs to get his mental health in order and I believe, based on your past posts & this update, that is an important piece of the puzzle that is not getting the attention it needs.

 

If you don't have time to help him, I'd also look into getting a tutor, preferably a male, who comes two to three times per week to check on how he's doing in the classes he's still enrolled in and actively helps him. 

Thank you all for responding so quickly and compassionately.

 

To answer your collective questions.  We had found him a therapist (who takes our insurance - like finding hen's teeth, even in a large city like Boston.  We've had no trouble finding someone for our marriage counseling!).  He went for about eight months and the therapist told us that our son is very confident about his abilities and goals, but without concrete ways to get to those goals and he was unwilling to figure out how to get there.  He was resistant to family therapy.  About a month ago our son told the therapist that he wasn't interested in talking to him anymore and stopped talking to him.  The therapist told us if he isn't going to talk, it isn't worth his or our time/efforts to get him to open up.

 

He has become less oppositional at least with me.  With his father, he still butts heads more.  I can get him to talk a little bit.  I can see he is stressed by our marital issues (separate, but enmeshed with his issues, and thank G-d, getting much better with our own therapy).  I do tell him that we are using therapy to help our marriage and that it would have been helpful if he had used therapy to do the same with his life.  

 

He has toured the school (and the previous university at which my husband worked) so he knows exactly what he has to do to get in.  What he doesn't know is that the university is more lenient with faculty dependent admissions, but at a monetary cost.  They can get in on a probationary basis, take classes at another institution (at parental cost of course) and then with good grades get into the university fully.

 

He got into a vet high school program at our region's vet school this summer and the admissions people told them what they have to do to get in (10% admission rate!).  He was surprised when Mom was right!  LOL  

 

He owns and pays for his own phone.  He got it without our permission many months ago.  I offered to get him one over a year ago, but he demurred because it would be under our control.  I offered the same offer last month when my DH and I moved to smartphones.  I do have control over the computer router and it does turn off at midnight for him.  I did get him to put away the phone and computer at 11:30pm for the last week or so to segue way to bed by midnight.  But when I don't ride herd on him, he won't.  

 

I've offering to have weekly (or more) mentor meetings.  He won't take me up on them.  Men around us who love him have offered to help him and mentor him, nope.  

 

I'm willing to be the baddie, but how do you take away the phone and computer of a kid almost a foot taller than you?  I got him to trim his usage but take it away?  I want him working, working out, doing good someplace and then fun stuff, preferably with good kids/people and/or his family.  I've jettisoned the idea of him re-discovering religion again, and have enrolled him in an expensive but terrific cooking series with lots of unkosher foods.  He has a love of cooking so he is enjoying the series, but I am loath to spend another $500 on a six week class if he cost us time and money in all these classes we just dropped.

 

Honestly, I told him to drop out and study for the GED (or whatever it is called).  I'm not sure how that would affect his admission possibilities, but if he doesn't want to do high school, this is one way to finish.


Edited by YaelAldrich, 16 October 2017 - 10:14 PM.


#8 Arcadia

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 10:08 PM

If you don't have time to help him, I'd also look into getting a tutor, preferably a male, who comes two to three times per week to check on how he's doing in the classes he's still enrolled in and actively helps him.


I agree. To remove all screens could you buy the Saxon book and have once/twice weekly tutoring sessions? For biology, the Miller Levine Biology textbook is easy to self study and does not need any screen time. For AP Biology, Campbell textbook is really thick and just reading it would occupy his time. You could hire a weekly tutor for biology too to look over his work.

My DS11 gets distracted on screens and even with me being home, it gets tiring to redirect him back to work. So we print out the assignments and he turns on his laptop mainly to type in the answers or to upload a scanned copy of his homework.
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#9 YaelAldrich

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 10:20 PM

I agree. To remove all screens could you buy the Saxon book and have once/twice weekly tutoring sessions? For biology, the Miller Levine Biology textbook is easy to self study and does not need any screen time. For AP Biology, Campbell textbook is really thick and just reading it would occupy his time. You could hire a weekly tutor for biology too to look over his work.

My DS11 gets distracted on screens and even with me being home, it gets tiring to redirect him back to work. So we print out the assignments and he turns on his laptop mainly to type in the answers or to upload a scanned copy of his homework.

Hiring a tutor isn't a bad idea.  In fact, to complete his 10th grade year with the school in which he was expelled (they were kind enough to let him finish the year at home and get grades for the year), he was required to get a tutor to finish Judaic studies.  We made him hire the tutor.

 

I'm not sure he could get the credit for AP Bio without the labs.  He could read for the test but could he get a good score without the labs?  

 

I wouldn't let him look at the math videos unless he was having a hard time with the lessons.  He did Saxon with good results until he went to high school...



#10 hornblower

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 10:33 PM

What does he say?  Are you able to have a conversation which is essentially a version of "you are here...... you say you want to be there. What is the plan?" 

Does he have a plan, any plan for getting from where he is now to his goals? A pared down plan? Or no plan at all? 

Does he recognize that his time management skills are lacking and that he needs some outside discipline for his screens? I would suggest apps such as  Cold Turkey or Freedom which lock you out of certain websites (but let you whitelist sites you need for school) . Forest Offtime and Rescue Time are some other similar programs.

Is he willing to work with you? Or just beside you? Like if he has a desk and headphones near you for a set time every day and he'll just work on his courses? 

I don't know what else to advise other than the obvious thing that your relationship is damaged and I imagine this grieves you all and will take time to heal. My kids have taken a much longer / slower route to independence. I think I'd put a precedence on relationship over academics but I'm not sure that's the right decision for everyone. It worked for us but I can easily imagine it not working for others. 

I know you said he's Gr 11 but how old is he? 


Oh &  :grouphug: 
 


Edited by hornblower, 16 October 2017 - 10:34 PM.

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#11 YaelAldrich

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 11:05 PM

What does he say?  Are you able to have a conversation which is essentially a version of "you are here...... you say you want to be there. What is the plan?" 

Does he have a plan, any plan for getting from where he is now to his goals? A pared down plan? Or no plan at all? 

Does he recognize that his time management skills are lacking and that he needs some outside discipline for his screens? I would suggest apps such as  Cold Turkey or Freedom which lock you out of certain websites (but let you whitelist sites you need for school) . Forest Offtime and Rescue Time are some other similar programs.

Is he willing to work with you? Or just beside you? Like if he has a desk and headphones near you for a set time every day and he'll just work on his courses? 

I don't know what else to advise other than the obvious thing that your relationship is damaged and I imagine this grieves you all and will take time to heal. My kids have taken a much longer / slower route to independence. I think I'd put a precedence on relationship over academics but I'm not sure that's the right decision for everyone. It worked for us but I can easily imagine it not working for others. 

I know you said he's Gr 11 but how old is he? 


Oh &  :grouphug: 
 

That conversation was rather...one sided.  We explained what was going on, showed him the grades, explained that he would have to get 99s to bring his grades up to a B-grade level.  That his GPA at the end of the 10th grade was 2.9 and that it had to get a lot higher to get into his father's university and Fs were not going to raise that GPA.  We asked him if he still wanted to be a vet.   We asked him how he planned on getting to his goal.  We asked him if he wanted to take an additional year to graduate (he had told me many times that he wanted to graduate with his class). 

 

His response was silence and then a couple of grunts.  I think he thinks he is on his way and doesn't get yet that he is not.  Now that he only has two real courses for the year, he cannot tell us that he needs to be on the computer all the day long.  I asked him to work near me but he doesn't want to without his phone/computer blasting music all day long since his siblings work at the same table with me. I asked him to take his work to my husband's office at the university where it is quiet and he doesn't want to.  He can't stay on task without outside help.  Do I insist on being that outside structure and accountability even though is 16 - just two years away from 18?  I'm happy to do that job and I have never been a helicopter parent, so I think I can do a good job of staying involved without being overbearing.  If he goes with my husband, there will be more fighting, but he would be in an environment that is his goal (college so he can be independent).  How/is is possible to create or enforce this kind of structure with a kid this old?  It's not like I can take his Lego away or his Sunday playtime.


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#12 Jean in Newcastle

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 11:12 PM

Some universities will not accept a GED. I would check before considering that route.

Edited by Jean in Newcastle, 16 October 2017 - 11:30 PM.

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#13 Jean in Newcastle

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 11:14 PM

He sounds a lot like my son with ADHD. I would look into a neuropsych evaluation.


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#14 hornblower

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 11:23 PM

So.... I think there is a LOT of growing up that happens between 16 & 18. Heck, there's a lot of growing up that happens between 18-25. 

I have an essentially tomato staked 19 yo. Do I love this? Nope. But that's where we are. It's this or nothing would get done. This way, things get done and you know, I have faith it will get better. 

My oldest one doesn't need me much but she was staked for long, long past 16.  Call it staking, call it hands on extreme scaffolding - it's what needs doing now. 

Honestly, I think 16 is just a baby still.

 

I would just do it. Get him great headphones. We use super noise cancelling super over the ear headphones because the 2 college kids (plus me! I'm back in school too) all use the same area to study. We're right beside each other. We can see each other, can see when we're goofing off, can laugh and point and say "dude, wth? Turn your Cold Turkey back on" to each other.  Even my now really independent oldest still spends the majority of her studying time right beside me. 

My philosophy for years has been to say to my kids this: "if you can think of a better way or a different way and can demonstrate it's working, go for it. Otherwise, you're on my treadmill and I'll get you through your schooling even if I have to drag you through it. At some point you will either start moving your feet on the treadmill or you'll fall off but I won't let you fall off until you get some sort of credential."  Dd is now running on her treadmill. Ds is walking on his so long as I walk behind him with a sharp pointy stick. That's just how it is. I'm sure he'll get his feet under him at some point. 
 


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#15 YaelAldrich

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 11:34 PM

So.... I think there is a LOT of growing up that happens between 16 & 18. Heck, there's a lot of growing up that happens between 18-25. 

I have an essentially tomato staked 19 yo. Do I love this? Nope. But that's where we are. It's this or nothing would get done. This way, things get done and you know, I have faith it will get better. 

My oldest one doesn't need me much but she was staked for long, long past 16.  Call it staking, call it hands on extreme scaffolding - it's what needs doing now. 

Honestly, I think 16 is just a baby still.

 

I would just do it. Get him great headphones. We use super noise cancelling super over the ear headphones because the 2 college kids (plus me! I'm back in school too) all use the same area to study. We're right beside each other. We can see each other, can see when we're goofing off, can laugh and point and say "dude, wth? Turn your Cold Turkey back on" to each other.  Even my now really independent oldest still spends the majority of her studying time right beside me. 

My philosophy for years has been to say to my kids this: "if you can think of a better way or a different way and can demonstrate it's working, go for it. Otherwise, you're on my treadmill and I'll get you through your schooling even if I have to drag you through it. At some point you will either start moving your feet on the treadmill or you'll fall off but I won't let you fall off until you get some sort of credential."  Dd is now running on her treadmill. Ds is walking on his so long as I walk behind him with a sharp pointy stick. That's just how it is. I'm sure he'll get his feet under him at some point. 
 

OMG Hornblower.  You are scaring the crap out of me.  Really and for true.

 

I never, ever thought I would have to even ever consider this.  By my son's age/grade, I was living away from home at a boarding school I had gotten into.  I met and started dating my husband by this point.   I worked and went to school and played sports and had fun (and even had access to the fledgling internet!).  I cannot wrap my brain around a kid who cannot/will not get his crap together to do 50% of this.

 

With all the other stuff in my life right now, I am hard pressed to figure out how to make this happen without me going off the rails and into the looney bin.  I have so little bandwidth to deal with out of the ordinary right now. But I guess I have to start praying really hard for even more help than I have ever gotten before.  G-d help me.



#16 Jean in Newcastle

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 11:46 PM

I was at boarding school at age 11. But my son needs scaffolding that I didn't need. He's intelligent. He's a good kid (ok young man now- who has grown up so much since was 17). But you have to parent and teach the kid you have.


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#17 YaelAldrich

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 11:51 PM

Hornblower, you cannot get any new messages.  Can you message me please?



#18 jdahlquist

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Posted 16 October 2017 - 11:57 PM

Is it possible that on-line classes are not a good match for him?  I think many 16-year olds would have trouble getting through all of their work independently for online classes.  Would he respond to a schedule where he went to the university two or three days each week and met with a college student tutor which gave him semi-weekly accountability to an outside person?  

 

I would not stress about the PSAT.  The outcome of the PSAT is only important for a handful of students who are in the running for national merit status.  For most students the benefit is practice in taking a standardized exam and seeing where some strengths and weaknesses.  Going in cold and seeing how he comes out will give you (and him) some idea of where he really needs to work to get his SAT scores up for college admissions,  I would also back off on AP classes; if he scores high enough on the SAT that will be what is important for college admissions.  

 

Is it important for him to be awake during certain hours of the day?  When he gets to college, he will find that his schedule isn't much different than what many college students keep.  If it is a goal to have him up in the morning can you schedule outside activities and tutoring for that time of day so that he sees a reason for getting up?

 

 


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#19 hornblower

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 12:24 AM

Hornblower, you cannot get any new messages.  Can you message me please?

 
I can't message you either until I clear out my inbox which I can't do tonight because it requires brain stuff (I'm hoarding Moira's messages so I can't just do a mass purge ...) and I'm crashing. I probably won't be back online till tomorrow night but I promise I will touch base with you then. 


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#20 YaelAldrich

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 08:18 AM

Is it possible that on-line classes are not a good match for him?  I think many 16-year olds would have trouble getting through all of their work independently for online classes.  Would he respond to a schedule where he went to the university two or three days each week and met with a college student tutor which gave him semi-weekly accountability to an outside person?  

 

I would not stress about the PSAT.  The outcome of the PSAT is only important for a handful of students who are in the running for national merit status.  For most students the benefit is practice in taking a standardized exam and seeing where some strengths and weaknesses.  Going in cold and seeing how he comes out will give you (and him) some idea of where he really needs to work to get his SAT scores up for college admissions,  I would also back off on AP classes; if he scores high enough on the SAT that will be what is important for college admissions.  

 

Is it important for him to be awake during certain hours of the day?  When he gets to college, he will find that his schedule isn't much different than what many college students keep.  If it is a goal to have him up in the morning can you schedule outside activities and tutoring for that time of day so that he sees a reason for getting up?

Thank you for your reply!  Online (but synchronous courses except for AP Bio and Bio) classes were the only choice I could make work.  Our public school is failing, and wouldn't take his courses from the so-far unaccredited private school he attended.  I was not paying 35-45K for the acceptable private schools he could attend.  So with these classes he has accountability.

 

His PSAT score from the 10th grade were good but not outstanding.  So I think he will not take it.  But if he won;t work for the PSAT, I'm not seeing how he will work for the SAT/ACT.  His GPA is not good enough to get into his father's school right now.  He has only one extracurricular.  He has to do well in some area to even be considered.  AP or SAT is what I can see doing that.

 

I don't think he needs to be up at 6am and go to bed at 10pm, but I think keeping regular enough hours that you can attend your classes/job and interact with other humans is a good thing.  Right now, he wakes his family up banging around the house at 3am, misses his classes unless someone else wakes him up and holes himself up on his computer and phone the rest of the time.  That is not the ticket to success and independence as far as I can see! He has a 10 am class MW; is that not enough reason to get up?



#21 YaelAldrich

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 08:25 AM

 
I can't message you either until I clear out my inbox which I can't do tonight because it requires brain stuff (I'm hoarding Moira's messages so I can't just do a mass purge ...) and I'm crashing. I probably won't be back online till tomorrow night but I promise I will touch base with you then. 

I 100% understand - I wish I had more of my sister's emails.  :(

 

Or you can email me at yael.aldrich at gmail dot com

 

Thank you!



#22 NorthwestMom

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 09:13 AM

That conversation was rather...one sided.  We explained what was going on, showed him the grades, explained that he would have to get 99s to bring his grades up to a B-grade level.  That his GPA at the end of the 10th grade was 2.9 and that it had to get a lot higher to get into his father's university and Fs were not going to raise that GPA.  We asked him if he still wanted to be a vet.   We asked him how he planned on getting to his goal.  We asked him if he wanted to take an additional year to graduate (he had told me many times that he wanted to graduate with his class). 

 

His response was silence and then a couple of grunts.  I think he thinks he is on his way and doesn't get yet that he is not.  Now that he only has two real courses for the year, he cannot tell us that he needs to be on the computer all the day long.  I asked him to work near me but he doesn't want to without his phone/computer blasting music all day long since his siblings work at the same table with me. I asked him to take his work to my husband's office at the university where it is quiet and he doesn't want toHe can't stay on task without outside help.  Do I insist on being that outside structure and accountability even though is 16 - just two years away from 18?  I'm happy to do that job and I have never been a helicopter parent, so I think I can do a good job of staying involved without being overbearing.  If he goes with my husband, there will be more fighting, but he would be in an environment that is his goal (college so he can be independent).  How/is is possible to create or enforce this kind of structure with a kid this old?  It's not like I can take his Lego away or his Sunday playtime.

 

I agree that it is nearly impossible to force a 16yo to do something they don't want to do. All you can reasonably do is set up structure and consequences and hope they make good choices. 

 

Right now it is pretty clear that he doesn't want to do what he needs to do to be successful. I understand that he doesn't understand that his way does not work, but all you can do is let him learn from the consequences. It looks to me like he he engages in a lot of escape behavior trying to avoid doing what you want him to do. I would set up clear expectations and consequences. You really can't control if he does his work or not, but you can say  "We expect you to have no missing assignments in your online classes, and you will not have access to the car/video games/whatever until you are up to date." and stick with that. 

 

I don't know his backstory from last year, but since he is no longer participating in counseling alone, I would encourage family counseling that he ideally attends too. It sounds like you and DH could use support and guidance in dealing with him for the next few years. Good luck! This parenting thing is NOT for the weak!  :grouphug:


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#23 CaliforniaDreaming

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 09:14 AM

For another perspective- sometimes people just have to learn the hard way. So if he becomes a high school drop out and struggles for a while at life, working and trying to pay his own bills, he may come to value the education later. Then he may be willing to do the work. I know that is a really hard truth and none of us want to 'give up' on our kids. I do think sometimes you just have to let go and watch them stumble and fall and make terrible choices for a while. Because they are determined to do things their own way even if it is the wrong way.

He has to buy in and be willing to do some work here. It sounds like you have tried so hard to make him happy and he doesn't seem to appreciate anything you are doing. I am sorry you are going through all of this. If it helps any, I was totally that kid and I made it through ok to the other side of adulthood. I threw away a lot of opportunities and made a lot of bad choices first, but I did eventually learn from those mistakes. I wasn't going to listen to anyone back then though so they all just wasted their breath, lol. No one could do anything with me as I was fiercely independent (and thought I knew everything) and I moved out young rather than listen to anyone. I did eventually figure things out on my own. Hang in there!
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#24 perkybunch

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 09:17 AM

Gently, you may need a different plan for his immediate future.  He does not seem to be willing to do the work to get into his father's selective university.  He may not be willing to put in the effort to get into vet school.  That doesn't make him a bad person.  That just means his goals needs to be more in line with his what he's willing and able to do.  (I, too, remember his story, and I wonder if the mono is still affecting him.  It takes a long time to get over.)

 

Can he go to community college?  Is he just done with school because he's burned out and overwhelmed?  Think of some options and discuss with him.  Not in a "you failure" kind of way, but in an "actions-speak-louder-than-words" kind of way.

 

((hugs))  Isn't it interesting when we get kids that are so different from us?  I have one of those, too.  


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#25 Junie

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 10:12 AM

If AP or dual enrollment courses aren't a good option, you may want to look into CLEP tests.  You can look up the schools he is interested in to find out which tests they accept and the scores that are needed.  There are study guides available for each of the CLEP tests.


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#26 jdahlquist

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 11:01 AM

 

I don't think he needs to be up at 6am and go to bed at 10pm, but I think keeping regular enough hours that you can attend your classes/job and interact with other humans is a good thing.  Right now, he wakes his family up banging around the house at 3am, misses his classes unless someone else wakes him up and holes himself up on his computer and phone the rest of the time.  That is not the ticket to success and independence as far as I can see! He has a 10 am class MW; is that not enough reason to get up?

Some 16 year olds still need someone to wake them up in the mornings.  Having a child that sounds similar to what you are describing, I found that it was helpful to focus on one or two things at a time.  I think there can be a lot of processing going on (and growing up) in a teen's head that is an important part of their development even when it looks like they aren't doing the things they need to do to be successful and independent.  In the case of my child, taking away electronics was not very helpful in getting the things accomplished I wanted the child to accomplish.  It can be hard for a teen boy to be up and interacting with other humans when they are homeschooled and do not have a broad social network locally.  (Interacting with mom and siblings just isn't the same as interacting with peers.)  Could he go to the campus with his dad on certain days just to be around more young people?  (this made a big difference with my child)  Or, if he is interested in veterinary science, is there a local vet he can do an internship with?


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#27 Matryoshka

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 11:04 AM

My dd16 would be doing just this if I had her signed up for APs and a rigorous schedule.  She has the smarts to do it, but she has no will to do it.  And doing things like taking away her phone or trying to limit her 'me time' as she calls it, just makes her double down.  She will shoot both her feet off rather than do what's in her own best interest if she doesn't want to do it herself.  Expectations, consequences I set, do nothing.  Worse than nothing, they backfire and we end up in a worse place.   All summer long she went to bed probably at dawn and slept till 3pm.  At least now that the semester has started she's getting up around 10 for classes or work.

 

She's taking most of her classes at the CC (she tried the local, very rigorous ps first and lasted just a few months).  For classes she won't like (most of them) I find her teachers at the CC that will keep her GPA from being ruined.  She still managed to get C's in both her science classes (because she did.not.study. for the tests.  And one class even had open book tests!  You still have to look over the notes!).  She has to pay for C's she didn't work for.  This is one consequence she hasn't fought.  The CC seems to be a better fit for her because she can take less classes per semester (though she's taking 4 now, 2 are art classes), and that gives her much more free time.

 

That did help a bit.  But I'm just trying to get her through high school with a GPA that won't kill her. Checking the minimal boxes.  She's getting a Graphic Design AA.  Lots of art classes that she gets A's in are saving her from those two C's.  She wants to go on to a 4-year for a Business/Marketing degree.  I can't imagine that she won't flunk out after a semester.  BUT she'll at least have an AA if she does, and who knows, she will be two years older and may surprise me.  She did love and do well in Intro to Business and will try Financial Accounting and Economics while she's at the CC to see how she likes them.

 

She isn't taking math at the CC because I know she'd bomb the tests there.  She took Derek Owens Algebra 2 and PreCalc and managed to get an A- in both working about an hour a week.  :glare:   She was so smug. But then when I asked to her take the CLEP, she didn't remember enough because you can't retain that level of math doing an hour a week even if you're a smarty-pants.  So now she's restudying PreCalc with a tutor to prep for the test, and we will likely take the same route with Calculus.  She needs someone to sit down and watch her do it - but it can't be me.  

 

If it makes you feel any better, my older dd19, who is a perfectionist and no slacker, dropped out of AP Bio with AP Homeschoolers halfway through the year.  She could not stay up with / be motivated by the asynchronous online class and was sinking fast.  This was a girl who got an A in a very rigorous Honors Bio class at the ps.  She ended up self-studying for the Bio AP and got a 3.  Her first college accepted it; they only cared about the test score.  She transferred to UMass Amherst and they need a minimum of a 4 on the AP for it to count, so she has to take a Bio class, but it doesn't need to have a lab.  She has no regrets about dropping that course.  

 

As for the PSAT, I didn't even bother signing dd16 up for it.  It's up in the air if I'll even have her take the SAT or ACT, since with the AA she'll have guaranteed admittance to any state U.  She does have to keep her GPA above a 3, so that is actually helping a bit (though she still does almost no work - but at least she knows exactly what she has to do and it's not me telling her).  The guarantee of admittance is to the university generally, not to any program, but she hates when I remind her of that...  She is taking it upon herself to talk to the transfer office and see what they say.

 

She's actually a good kid with ambitious plans, but she does not see how her lack of effort in the present is a problem.  I am really hoping it's maturity and things will kick in.  I have seen this in many other kids who've come out the other side (including my brother), so I do have hope.  But pushing, cajoling and punishing do nothing except strain our relationship.  She has to own it.  So I have completely given up on any kind of rigorous high school education for her.  It is what it is....  she will graduate high school with one or possibly two AAs (other in Liberal Arts; most of the boxes get checked by the core high school classes)... trying to make that silk purse out of the sow's ear...


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#28 OnMyOwn

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 11:35 AM

I have been taking a more active role in trying to help my high school senior develop good study habits this year. I've read through thread pretty quickly, so I'm not sure if the problem is mostly being distracted by the internet and not focusing or if there is more going on. We had problems with device distraction and focusing and I spent a number of weeks sitting in the room my son works in to get him back on track. He was taking all day every day of the week to "do his schoolwork", but with me sitting in the room, he has been able to get everything done in 4 days a week, working from about 9:00 - 3:00 without a problem and had his weekends and evenings free from school. I have given him a lot more independence over the last couple of years with his work and he always got his assignments done on time, so I just thought he was a slower worker. It has been eye-opening for me (and him!) that he is not really a slower worker, but more of a distracted by the internet unfocused worker. He'll go off to college next year and I won't be there, but I hope I am helping him to form better habits and that as he reaps the benefits from those habits, he will want to continue with them. And I'm no longer sitting in the room with him all day, but just part of the day and checking in with him every couple of hours. I also start the day with him by watching the dvds for our personal finance or economics class and then I ask him what his goals are for the day. I also encourage him to remember those goals and to stay focused so that he uses his time well.

Edited by OnMyOwn, 17 October 2017 - 02:39 PM.

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#29 Arcadia

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 11:38 AM

Did his screen addiction started when he was ill with mono or before that? When I was on bedrest for my first pregnancy, I was so bored that I was on ICQ and emails probably all day long as I ran out of books and magazines to read. After that I was too happy to be able to run around town again and also got a temp relaxing job to occupy my time to care about chatting on a screen.

I am guessing burn out + teen defiance though. The stage when exhaustion (mental, emotional, physical) has already reached his limit but he is too proud/unwilling to ask for help. Do you think a gap year now would benefit him or make it worse?

Is he still interested in vet school? Could he audit some veterinary technology classes at a community college just for exposure?

Could he go to the campus with his dad on certain days just to be around more young people? (this made a big difference with my child) Or, if he is interested in veterinary science, is there a local vet he can do an internship with?

I agree.
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#30 bibiche

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 12:46 PM

I don't know what your husband teaches, so maybe it wouldn't work, but could he possibly audit his class next semester to get an idea of what students need to do to succeed at that university? Maybe being in class with other students around his age in an atmosphere that he (hopefully) enjoys would motivate him to get back to work. Or maybe he will decide that it is not for him and work toward other goals.  If he really lights up when he is cooking, as you said, maybe he can get a job in a restaurant and find that that is his path. And nothing like restaurant work to instill a work ethic!


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#31 katilac

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 02:17 PM

I think that there is only so much you can do. Continue to offer information and support, give him a written summary of what is required to graduate and get into certain colleges, and then walk away. Periodically update the written summary of what is needed vs what has been done. Will he blame you if you do this and he fails? Yes, he will. He will also blame you if don't do this and he fails. 

 

Some people have kids who can be pushed, pulled, and kicked through school. I think it's best to do that IF YOU CAN, within the confines of not shortchanging the other children or risking your own sanity. But there are also kids who cannot be pushed in this manner. They are so severely oppositional and stubborn that they will damage their own life and goals in order to prove a point or drive someone crazy. Tightening the leash just results in more extreme behavior. I was lucky enough not to have kids like this, lol, but I grew up with one. It's a tough road, and almost impossible to know the right thing to do. Because this type of person is so sure they are right, and so averse to help of any kind, there often isn't much you can do other than making them aware of potential consequences. 

 

Now, I certainly can't tell from your post if he is that kind of kid, and I don't remember the whole backstory. I just wanted to say, yes, there is a limit to what you can do or force him to do, and you and the other kids deserve a life also. 

 

If he is resistant to therapy, not much you can do about that. If he hasn't visited an actual psychiatrist, I would float the idea of doing so. Thinking that he can get into selective schools with failing grades may be typical teenage hubris, or it may be signs of a chemical imbalance. A psychiatrist could suss that out better than most therapists, imo, particularly if he was dealing with outside turmoil when seeing the therapist (that could mask the underlying issues). I would flat out tell him he WAS going, and probably offer a bribe to sweeten the deal if he cooperates. I wouldn't give up until he physically resisted me trying to get him up and in the car. Because if there is an underlying issue, things will not improve until it's addressed, and he can wreak a lot of havoc in his life and yours if he goes the next couple of years without treatment. 

 

Now, if it's simply a matter of needing you at his elbow at inconvenient times, and he is willing to work that way, then yes, I would do that. It would suck pretty hard, but I would either do that or put him in public school, failing school or not. Do keep in mind that many failing schools still have excellent honors and advanced classes, so look at the school and what it can do for you, not what it does overall. 

 

Another year of high school is only beneficial if he changes his tune and gets to work. Otherwise, it just drags out the misery for everyone. What happens if he graduates and doesn't get into dad's school? You have to think about this. Are you willing to pay for the year at a different school in hopes of a transfer? I would only consider that if he really gets himself together this year and has a stellar senior year. I wouldn't be inclined to pay much for college otherwise, but, on the other hand, I might pay the money if I have it just to get him out of the house and on his own, lol. Plus, college and a wider social circle might make him more grateful for his own parents and family. 

 

It's not an easy decision. All you can do is your best. Good luck to both of you!


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#32 hornblower

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 07:53 PM

I 100% understand - I wish I had more of my sister's emails.  :(

 

Or you can email me at yael.aldrich at gmail dot com

 

Thank you!

 

 

I emailed you :) 


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#33 daijobu

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Posted 17 October 2017 - 09:34 PM

Just want to reassure you.  With this country's community college system, the US is fairly forgiving of students who need extra time before college.  If he needs an extra year or two to get his act together, the CCs will still be there to help him on his way.  

 

ETA: And for that matter, so are 4 year colleges.  


Edited by daijobu, 17 October 2017 - 09:35 PM.

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#34 Susie in CA

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 08:38 AM

So.... I think there is a LOT of growing up that happens between 16 & 18. Heck, there's a lot of growing up that happens between 18-25. 

I have an essentially tomato staked 19 yo. Do I love this? Nope. But that's where we are. It's this or nothing would get done. This way, things get done and you know, I have faith it will get better. 

My oldest one doesn't need me much but she was staked for long, long past 16.  Call it staking, call it hands on extreme scaffolding - it's what needs doing now. 

Honestly, I think 16 is just a baby still.

 

I would just do it. Get him great headphones. We use super noise cancelling super over the ear headphones because the 2 college kids (plus me! I'm back in school too) all use the same area to study. We're right beside each other. We can see each other, can see when we're goofing off, can laugh and point and say "dude, wth? Turn your Cold Turkey back on" to each other.  Even my now really independent oldest still spends the majority of her studying time right beside me. 

My philosophy for years has been to say to my kids this: "if you can think of a better way or a different way and can demonstrate it's working, go for it. Otherwise, you're on my treadmill and I'll get you through your schooling even if I have to drag you through it. At some point you will either start moving your feet on the treadmill or you'll fall off but I won't let you fall off until you get some sort of credential."  Dd is now running on her treadmill. Ds is walking on his so long as I walk behind him with a sharp pointy stick. That's just how it is. I'm sure he'll get his feet under him at some point. 
 

 

 

OMG. The sharp pointy stick on a treadmill image cracked me up. This is how I am with my oldest as well. And it is not fun. But then when he does make it through something difficult he is very happy about it. Yes, the sharp pointy stick is till in use. He is 18 now.


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#35 Matryoshka

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 09:05 AM

OMG. The sharp pointy stick on a treadmill image cracked me up. This is how I am with my oldest as well. And it is not fun. But then when he does make it through something difficult he is very happy about it. Yes, the sharp pointy stick is till in use. He is 18 now.

 

And then there's kids like my youngest that in this scenario will purposefully impale themselves on the sharp pointy stick, then look you straight in the eye as they stand there bleeding and say 'look what you made me do'.    :rolleyes:


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#36 Susie in CA

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 09:12 PM

And then there's kids like my youngest that in this scenario will purposefully impale themselves on the sharp pointy stick, then look you straight in the eye as they stand there bleeding and say 'look what you made me do'.    :rolleyes:

 

 

LOL. He does do this at times as well. I am going to say I have a 60% chance of the stick working and 40 % chance of your described scenario. :-)

 

God help us all. LOL.


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#37 MarkT

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Posted 18 October 2017 - 10:14 PM

1) Does he have an Uncle or other adult male such as a coach who could have a frank discussion with him about life?

 

2) Perhaps an in-person DE course (spring semester) of his choosing at a nearby CC would help get him into a "schedule".  This could be Bio.  

    (The AP Bio exam is considered to be quite hard to get a 4 or 5).

 

3) The male teenage brain is a tough nut to crack - many times you will just throw up your hands and hope life-lessons will help.  As long as he is not getting into drugs and/or alcohol.

 

4) Getting a low pay job such as in a restaurant would be a wake-up call. Not sure if that is a possibility. He may not get hired if he shows a lot of "attitude".



#38 Lanny

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 08:33 AM

@Yael   I have not read all of the replies in this thread. I had been wondering about your DS and how it was going and sadly, it is going down the drain.  He is the one in charge. He is the one making the decisions. He is probably extremely depressed.  If one does not have magical influence, normally, getting into Vet. school is really tough. I lived in TX for 28 years and they only have one Vet. school (Texas A&M) and getting into that is harder than getting into Medical school. Also, vet. school is probably, in at least some respects, harder than Medical school, because of the Anatomy of different animals needing to be learned.

 

He should, IMO, be up at 6 or 7 A.M.  There are exceptions, but the most productive people are usually up early in the mornings. Sleeping to 1 P.M. I would not take as a good sign. Depression.

 

As you mentioned in one post, sending him to a Private School for 35 to 45K a year is not worthy of consideration, unless you have so much money that pouring that money down the drain is not going to affect your family lifestyle. 

 

I am just sad that he has not turned around. He is not old enough to join the military and I doubt very much that they would take him.

 

And sending him to a Kibbutz would probably not be a good idea, because if he did not participate and was not productive, he would be a burden on them.

 

I don't think he needs to work to earn money. I think he needs to work, diligently, as many hours a day as it takes, to get good grades. I think he should also get exercise, on a daily basis. In a gym, riding his bicycle, whatever.

 

The therapist was correct to let you know you were wasting your time and money, when your DS stopped talking with the therapist.  However, my experience tells me that there MUST be rapport, between the patient and the therapist, or it is a waste of time and money. 

 

I do not have any magic words for your DS but at this point I doubt very much he will become a Vet.

 

This all seems so Negative...   YOUR DS IS THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN TURN THIS AROUND. You cannot study for him. You cannot take away his depression or whatever is causing him to be wasting  your time and money and worse yet, his life. 

 

You wrote that there are men who love him. Does your DS have respect for them and rapport with them?

A Mentor might help him far more than you or your DH or a therapist, can help him. Much good luck to your DS. I will include him in my prayers.


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#39 FriedClams

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 12:12 PM

@Yael   I have not read all of the replies in this thread. I had been wondering about your DS and how it was going and sadly, it is going down the drain.  He is the one in charge. He is the one making the decisions. He is probably extremely depressed.  If one does not have magical influence, normally, getting into Vet. school is really tough. I lived in TX for 28 years and they only have one Vet. school (Texas A&M) and getting into that is harder than getting into Medical school. Also, vet. school is probably, in at least some respects, harder than Medical school, because of the Anatomy of different animals needing to be learned.

 

He should, IMO, be up at 6 or 7 A.M.  There are exceptions, but the most productive people are usually up early in the mornings. Sleeping to 1 P.M. I would not take as a good sign. Depression.

 

As you mentioned in one post, sending him to a Private School for 35 to 45K a year is not worthy of consideration, unless you have so much money that pouring that money down the drain is not going to affect your family lifestyle. 

 

I am just sad that he has not turned around. He is not old enough to join the military and I doubt very much that they would take him.

 

And sending him to a Kibbutz would probably not be a good idea, because if he did not participate and was not productive, he would be a burden on them.

 

I don't think he needs to work to earn money. I think he needs to work, diligently, as many hours a day as it takes, to get good grades. I think he should also get exercise, on a daily basis. In a gym, riding his bicycle, whatever.

 

The therapist was correct to let you know you were wasting your time and money, when your DS stopped talking with the therapist.  However, my experience tells me that there MUST be rapport, between the patient and the therapist, or it is a waste of time and money. 

 

I do not have any magic words for your DS but at this point I doubt very much he will become a Vet.

 

This all seems so Negative...   YOUR DS IS THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN TURN THIS AROUND. You cannot study for him. You cannot take away his depression or whatever is causing him to be wasting  your time and money and worse yet, his life. 

 

You wrote that there are men who love him. Does your DS have respect for them and rapport with them?

A Mentor might help him far more than you or your DH or a therapist, can help him. Much good luck to your DS. I will include him in my prayers.

I agree with tons of this!!! I think a mentor - who loves and cares for your son - an adult male he connects with and respects - will be your best route. Set it up for him to meet with him a couple times a week. If he has a great mentor, it can make a world of difference. 

 

It also sounds like some activity - hard physical activity - would be a great thing. A gym, crossfit, another mentor to take him to lift a few times a week, a job mowing lawns/raking/shoveling, whatever. He needs to be TIRED at the end of the day. 

 

I agree with the many PP who mentioned controlling the internet. We do it here. For all of us. It's just so incidious!


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#40 hornblower

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 12:30 PM

 

I do not have any magic words for your DS but at this point I doubt very much he will become a Vet.

 

This all seems so Negative...   YOUR DS IS THE ONLY ONE WHO CAN TURN THIS AROUND. You cannot study for him. You cannot take away his depression or whatever is causing him to be wasting  your time and money and worse yet, his life. 


I cannot begin to express how much I disagree with this.

He is only 16.

 

I have personally known many, many "late bloomers".  I know one whose jr high grades were pathetic; at 16 he was barely passing junior high; the family was just hoping he'd graduate sr high and get some apprenticeship. Well that kid did grow up a lot - both academically and emotionally. He went to university. Started out in the arts, convinced he couldn't handle science. But he discovered he was smarter than he thought. He did get a degree in sciences. He now has a professional designation as a scientist and is making 6 figures in a white collar job. 

Almost every one I know - late bloomer or not, stumbled around a bit in the late teens or in early university. Dropped or failed classes, changed majors. Several of my friends were suspended from uni because of failing grades. One of them now has a PhD and works for the United Nations in postings all around the world. 

To say that a 16 yo won't be a vet because he's having a rough year (or two or three) is just not ok. He might change his mind about being a vet. That's ok. When I was 16 I wanted to be an oceanographer. That's SO far removed from what I eventually did at uni and what I want to do now.

And anyway - aren't American vet schools not direct admit? Our Cdn ones require several years of science undergrad before you can apply; just like med school and dentistry... 

Don't write this kid off. It's our job to parent until they are ready to fly. This kid is not ready. That's ok. He'll fly eventually. 


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#41 eternalsummer

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 01:09 PM

I don't think homeschooling is working well for him.  I know you say your public schools are not good - are they dangerous not good or just not great academics not good?  I think the accountability of a live class, whether public school or DE at a community college, would be much better than an online class with an academic series you've basically chosen for him, for which he obviously has little enthusiasm or ability to self-regulate enough to get the work done.  

 

Don't make him study for the PSAT.  Why?  he's not going to be national merit.  He might study for the ACT/SAT just fine, because it actually means something.

 

Is it possible he really doesn't want to go to his father's university and become a vet, but just tells you this to get you off his back?  

 

Have you looked for another therapist for him, or other options for helping his mood/cognitive/behavior issues?  The first one may not have been what he needed.


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#42 chiguirre

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 01:54 PM

 

I need advice, love, hugs, and whatever else you can offer.  I think I might offer to let him buy Saxon Alg 2 and the DIVE CDs /Art Reed CDs and have him work on it with me on a daily basis.  I cannot do Bio; I have three other kids who are more willing to do the work needed for their homeschooling.  

 

First off, I've known a few teenage screw ups. Hornblower's right, most of them do figure it out eventually. The one's who haven't have mental health issues that impact their ability to cope. I think the only thing you could do on that front is have him see a psychiatrist to see if he needs depression meds. This is probably a good idea before he turns 18 if you even suspect something along those lines. 

 

On the school front, could you try Derek Owens for Alg 2? I think you pay by the month so if he refuses you could just drop it. It has the advantage of being an outside person instead of you and somewhat flexible. Could he finish the Bio course he started in the summer? Is it something like BYU where you can pay for an extension? 

 

What do kids in your community do if they're not academically inclined? Could he check out a trade or work in someone's shop to see if he'd prefer that route?

 

It took me a long time to come to terms with future plans for GW and Geezle mainly because I didn't have a mental roadmap for what their lives would look like and how to get them there. Eventually, I figured it out. Luckily for me, they were probably blissfully unaware of all my anxiety or at least about what was causing it. I'd imagine a neurotypical kid who senses his parents' panic might have a much stronger reaction.

 

:grouphug: 


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#43 Miss Mousie

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 03:01 PM

Oh my, Yael, what a rough couple of years your family has had!   :grouphug:

 

Since first seeing this thread, I have gone back and refreshed myself on all the goings-on, and I wonder whether your son has seen the doctor who diagnosed the mono since the diagnosis was made.  Does that doctor think your son has fully recovered?  I have no experience personally, but I have read (here) that pushing it too soon can be very problematic.  Couple that with regular teen stuff, and it might explain what you're seeing now.

 

If your son hasn't seen that doctor, I'd make that appt as soon as I could.

 

I think I would be inclined to go with the extended 11th grade (not necessarily a full year) you contemplated at the beginning of this thread.  It may be that he could still finish "on time" at the slower pace with a longer timeframe and lighter course expectations (e.g., no AP).  Are the current remaining classes ones that your son particularly enjoys?  If not, I might withdraw from everything and take a month or 6 weeks completely off for him to rest and regroup.  

 

But having said that, I now remember the phone/internet troubles ... sigh.  

 

It is impossible to know what to do.

 

I guess all this babbling is to say that I would prioritize health and relationship - even though I know that would be incredibly hard for me to pull off with my own son, because - graduate! on! time! is ringing in my ears.

 

If it helps any, my 11th grade son is in danger of failing at least one class - an elective of his choice! - and he hasn't been through any of the things your son has.  :glare:

 


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#44 jdahlquist

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 03:36 PM

To say that a 16 yo won't be a vet because he's having a rough year (or two or three) is just not ok. He might change his mind about being a vet. That's ok. When I was 16 I wanted to be an oceanographer. That's SO far removed from what I eventually did at uni and what I want to do now.
 

 

This is so true.  It is tricky because many young people need a goal to be personally motivated.  But, I think many young people are pressured too much to know what they want to do with the rest of their life at 16.  Then we start piling on them, "if you don't do well on your math test this week, you won't get into College X, and then you won't get into Graduate School Y, and then you won't get that job you want in 15 years..."  For some kids that might be a great motivator, for others it is overwhelming.  And then what happens if you fail the math test--well the story you have been running through your mind is that you are now doomed, you might as well give up because that has messed everything up. 

 


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#45 Lanny

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 03:54 PM

I felt very bad when I wrote and posted what is in post #38, but sadly, much of it is probably correct. I agree with Hornblower (Post #40) that people can turn around. I was an Underachiever in High School, but not to the extent Yaels son has taken it. I became an Engineer.  I remember in a previous thread, probably many months ago by now, sometime last year (?), where Yael was concerned about the possibility of Drug use and also the influence of one or more friends had on him and that he was spending a great deal of time in the house of one friend, who I suspect was a very bad influence on him..  

 

I have never used drugs (or smoked a cigarette), but that does not prevent one  from becoming depressed, etc.

 

This has got to be turned around, ASAP. He's the only one who can do that.

 

I like what Mark suggested, that if he gets a job, he get one in a Fast Food Restaurant or something like that, where they take entry level people and see what it is like working for Minimum Wage, in a job that may not have any advancement opportunities.

 

I suspect that he is suffering from Depression and/or an Inferiority Complex, or possibly other factors.  If  there is any possibility of something in his Physical Health contributing to his Mental Health/Behavior/Academic problems,, a Psychiatrist can hopefully figure that out. If not, a Psychologist with a lot of experience dealing with Adolescents like him, if there is no Physical problem contributing to this.. As I wrote previously, my experience with Psychologists (I have P.T.S.D.) is that if there is no rapport, it is a complete waste of time and money.

 

I believe his Mental Health should be THE priority.   I had a colleague who had 3 kids. The middle one was in High School. I think he had a problem where he wasn't going to graduate on time and/or with his girlfriend. One Sunday my colleague and his wife went out to Lunch and when they returned home, they found him in their garage, dead.  I do not want to see that happen to Yaels son.

 

I would suggest to Yael that she concentrate on his Mental Health and that if/when he is in a "better place", that she then work on his education. Unless and until he is self-motivated, he is not going to be a good student.

 

Yesterday, my wife received a phone call from a friend. They are in the USA, temporarily, for one year. Their DC began the school year early in September. They do not want to attend school there now.   I don't know if they are being bullied, or if they are not at proper grade level, or if it is due to their mastery (or lack of mastery) with U.S. English.  When I looked on the  web site of the school district, at the Crisis information, mostly it was about Suicide Prevention.   I do not want Yaels son to get to that point.  

 

When he looks around, at where his former classmates are headed, and at where he is headed, he will either become very motivated, and want to be like them again, or he will become extremely depressed at the path he has taken. That is extremely dangerous. 


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#46 Pen

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 07:00 PM

 

He is addicted to his phone and his computer.  ...  He's happy staying up until 3am and sleeping until 1pm.  I am trying to get him back to a more normal sleep schedule and away from the screens, but it is almost impossible on the latter so far.

 

 

 

 

Hugs.  

 

I think you need to start with his addictions and unhealthy schedule.  He probably needs to want to also for that to really work.

 

Consider it to be as bad as heroine.   He probably cannot handle just a little bit. And he may not be able to have tech schooling because of his addiction.

 

I think there are now therapists that work with tech addictions.

 

He may need to take the year off from academics to get clean from addictions and emotionally more healthy and then try again next year.

 

Also, a lot of kids cannot do learning on their own.  I know a lot of homeschoolers do online, but I think a lot or other ones also can't manage it without extensive help from a real live adult.


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#47 birchbark

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 07:24 PM

I also think it is largely screen addiction. I would treat it as any other addiction and seek professional help. I wouldn't worry about academics until it is taken care of.


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#48 reefgazer

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 08:20 PM

You *must* remove the screens or change will not happen.  In addition, you will need to tomato-stake.  If he completes his work for the day, screens are restored for the rest of the day (or do that on a weekly basis, like I do for my DS).  If he improves his attitude and perfomance, tomato-staking can decrease after a few months of better habits.  You remove the screens by telling him he is a minor and you control his privileges, even if he paid for the device.  Otherwise, other privileges go,as well (like getting his license or being allowed to drive the car, purchasing non-essentials for him, etc...).   

My son, who is in 11th grade and now homeschooling (again) after being expelled from his private school late last year (for behavioral issues).  He was homeschooled from 1st grade to 8th grade, so I know his intellectual capabilities.  After his 10th grade year, we talked over the summer about his goals (to be a vet) and what he needed to get there.  If he can get into his father's university (a relatively selective university), he can go for free (we'll pay the fees) and be debt-free for any more schooling he wishes to do.

 

I asked him to take a regular online biology course over the summer and then take on the following classes for his 11th grade year:  AP Bio (PA Homeschoolers), AP US Hist (WTMA), US Lit (WTMA), Health (WTMA), and Alg 2 (Wilson Hill Acad).  I thought it was a heavy but doable schedule, especially for a kid whose classmates have all that plus Jewish studies and a foreign language or two. 

 

The Bio class started in May and should have been finished by the beginning of September.  He wasn't working this summer and he opted to spend a month with his grandparents instead of coming with the rest of us on a trip out west.  He said he would get more work done that way.  Instead he got about 1/4 of the course done over the summer.  So he started out behind.  

 

As of last week, he was failing or coming close to failing Bio, AP Bio, Alg 2.  My husband asked me to pull him from all those classes and I did.  Now I cannot see a way to graduate him on time.  He is also due to take the PSAT next week; he hasn't studied at all.  I think he should not take the PSAT, take a bonus 11th grade next year and work part-time this year while taking the two year-long classes and the one semester health class. 

 

He is addicted to his phone and his computer.  He applied for jobs and is awaiting answers.  He's happy staying up until 3am and sleeping until 1pm.  I am trying to get him back to a more normal sleep schedule and away from the screens, but it is almost impossible on the latter so far.

 

I need advice, love, hugs, and whatever else you can offer.  I think I might offer to let him buy Saxon Alg 2 and the DIVE CDs /Art Reed CDs and have him work on it with me on a daily basis.  I cannot do Bio; I have three other kids who are more willing to do the work needed for their homeschooling.  

 


Edited by reefgazer, 19 October 2017 - 08:30 PM.

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#49 Calming Tea

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Posted 19 October 2017 - 09:05 PM

He has an addiction.  If you were dealing with a drug addict, would you continue to allow their drug use, and then hope that the person would be fine?  No, you'd send him to rehab. And then, you'd address all the other peripheral issues that popped up.

 

He needs to get off the screens.  I would take it all away and get him a flip phone, and yes it would be very hard for him, like someone who has any addiction he will go through withdrawal.  He needs sleep, and he needs regular friends and outside activities.  You may need to enlist the help of a counselor, family counseling or psychologist....

 

((hugs))  

 

 


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#50 Matryoshka

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Posted 20 October 2017 - 12:38 AM

 

I think you need to start with his addictions and unhealthy schedule.  He probably needs to want to also for that to really work.

 

Consider it to be as bad as heroin.   He probably cannot handle just a little bit. And he may not be able to have tech schooling because of his addiction.

 

I think there are now therapists that work with tech addictions.

 

He may need to take the year off from academics to get clean from addictions and emotionally more healthy and then try again next year.

 

Also, a lot of kids cannot do learning on their own.  I know a lot of homeschoolers do online, but I think a lot or other ones also can't manage it without extensive help from a real live adult.

 

I think these last two things can be important.

 

While my kids have had some success in some online classes, I have had to be very, very selective about which ones, and even then we've had some that really haven't worked out.  And more than one online class at a time doesn't seem to be a good idea here.

 

I have no idea how similar my youngest is to your ds - but she had a similar sleep schedule to his this summer (somewhere near dawn to about 3pm).  She spent a ton of time on screens.  And she admitted she gets depressed in the summer.  But me trying to regulate her sleep or her media is just a huge fail.  What has helped her is a regular schedule of outside the house activities.

 

- Classes with real, live people.

- Extracurricular activities (with my dd, it's really just one activity - she's on the business team in an FRC Robotics club - but it meets 2-5 days a week depending on where they are in the season.  This is really her main 'socializing').

- Work - she does have a job, this is also very good for her.

 

She has been doing and feeling so much better since the school year with classes and activities has started up again - she's now going to bed on her own most nights by midnight and getting up by 10 or so on a pretty regular basis.  That's a huge improvement.  And she's even willing to sign up for 9:30 classes two days a week next semester - that's huge.

 

She has asked next summer to make sure she has some kind of a regular outside schedule so she doesn't feel depressed again.  I'm adding that last part because in her case, 'taking time off' from school to unplug her would be counter-productive.  She still spends far too much time online vs. doing academic work, imho, but as others have said, I've shifted focus to relationship and mental health over academic rigor.

 

I do agree with others that more physical exercise is a good thing, but we're still working on that here.  I also can't make her exercise.  The good news is that lately at least she's started to acknowledge this.  No action yet, but still an improvement.


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