Hi everyone, I'm at my wits end with my 14 yr old DS. His attitude sucks, he's surly and grumpy most of the time (typical "Kevin"), but more importantly, his behaviour is getting worse.
Since Year 3 he's always wanted to be the "class clown" and we've constantly told him there is a time and place for silly behaviour - in the playground, NOT the classroom.
However, this is obviously a trait that he can't shake off and he's constantly getting "sin" points at school mainly for low level disruptive behaviour (although in some instances they have been a little more serious). I've worked out that on average, since Sept, he's been getting around 13 sin points per month as opposed to 7 achievement points (gold stars).
He goes to a v.good school and his teachers all think he has the potential to do well. We're not pushy parents, but we want to encourage him to do his best. However, he just does the "bare minimum" and isn't willing to put in any extra effort. Just trying to get him to do his homework/revision results in a row! Some days I dread him coming home because I know there will be a row - I'm tired of it all! It's mainly me that has to deal with it all the time due to DH's work, but he does support me when he's here.
As a result of his bad behaviour, we have done various sanctions such as banning TV, video games, grounding him, withdrawing mobile phone for 24hrs, etc. However, I don't think we've found anything that actually gets through to him - is there such a sanction that will?!
For example, if I tell him he's lost his XBox for 24hrs, I just get a moutful of attitude from him - not a "sorry"! There's never any remorse. He's so argumentative and can't see that he's doing anything wrong. We take into consideration the fact that he's a typical teenage boy with raging hormones (puberty kicked in early), but I don't feel this is an excuse for all of this.
I'm really worried that he's just not going to pull his weight enough with his school work and won't get the results he needs.
I'd appreciate any advice from other parents about this as I'm getting so fed up with it now.
We have two DSs, 18 and 14. DS1 was a bit like this until it came to a head at school. We asked for a meeting with HoY who told him that the reason he was not in the top sets was due to his behaviour, not to his capability. That stopped him short. In fact, he stopped misbehaving almost immediately.
Also, he and I talk a lot and I had said to him that his friends were saying that they didn't do the homework that was set and didn't do any revising, but they did really. He came to realise that. He came to realise that the only person he was hurting by all this clowning about was himself. Others were very happy to laugh at him and egg him on, but they weren't the ones that were having sanctions.
He became mature enough to realise all this.
I do sympathise, as it's very hard, but I would only punish him at home for what happens at home. Don't punish him for stuff that happens at school (unless it's really unacceptable, like swearing at an adult or hitting someone). I've quickly skim-read your OP again and it seems as though nearly all the problems begin at school and his attitude is because you are applying sanctions for school-based misbehaviour.
I agree with Flow4 about the probable consequences of meting out more and more severe sanctions. This has been my experience with my DC. It ends up that they have nothing to lose and they direct their energies to doing battle with their parents.
If you can mange to appear to ignore smaller 'sins' you will have more effect when you do express your annoyance.
"his teachers all think he has the potential to do well". Did he do well before starting at this school? Boys aged 13-15 often go through a patch where they mess about at school then settle down when they approach important exams. As Flow says, he might have a problem with the demands of sitting doing highly directed 'pencil and paper' tasks, but it may be that there he has an underlying insecurity in himself as ILoveJudgeJudy says.
I would agree 100% with ILoveJudgeJudy about not doubling the sanctions he gets at school when he's home. You will damage your relationship with him if you ask him too many questions about his school day and give the impression that school is the most important thing in your lives. Demonstrate, in a low-key way, that you are proud of him when he's kind/not making a fuss/humourous/anything that you spot.