Need some perspective - problems with nearly 17 year DS(12 Posts)
DS1 started 3 'A' levels in September. He seems to be suffering from severe stress and anxiety and migraines, leading to him missing quite a lot of school.
He's a boy/man! so doesn't like to talk about anything to do with his feelings and emotions, and is so laid back he is almost horizontal. He also isn't getting on at all well with his step dad (with whom we've lived for the past 13 1/2 years). We have been having family therapy, and DS1 has just started seeing the same Counsellor on an individual basis.
Anyway I was invited into school this morning with DS1 to talk about whether he would be allowed to carry on taking his A levels, as he has had 4 days off sick, 1 skive day, and is persistently late ie yesterday he didn't get to school until lunchtime, when he should have been there at 10. He also hasn't been going to see his teachers to catch up on missed work, nor has he been into the 6th Form office to discuss. I have no idea why. It's not through lack or reminding on my part.
School have now stated that he has missed too much work to carry on with his chosen courses, and given his lack of commitment, they have decided not to let him continue.
School have suggested he take some time to get himself well, and maybe do some voluntary work etc for the next year.
He has a GP appointment this afternoon, and will continue to see the counsellor.
So any suggestions as to what to do next?
Does he really want to do A levels? If he is going to drop out of school at this stage to get well then it may be a good time to thoroughly investigate the alternatives. Perhaps he would prefer to do something vocational. I'm sorry he/you are having a tough time.
He says he really wants to do A levels and wants to be a paramedic.
I really empathise with him, but he doesn't seem to appreciate that he has to fit in with school timetables and that his schoolwork should be top of his list of priorities, not seeing his girlfriend, going to the gym and not getting up till 12 at weekends (and then taking another 2 hours to get ready).
ATM he seems to have the knack of making all the wrong choices
This is NO help, I'm sorry - my DD is the same - boyfriend, hobby, socialising long lies and general faffing THEN school work.
Last year I eased off the nagging, with the result that she did hardly any work for school and this is now showing in her (scottish) highers work.
Can you identify any triggers for your DS's migraines? Sometimes there isn't one thing in itself but a combination of things which sets them off - irregular sleep patterns can be a trigger.
Have you talked to the school staff directly?
It seems early in the session to just not allow him to continue. Is he being disruptive in the class?
I think you've got to lay it on the line (as kindly as poss).
If he says he wants to do the A levels then why hasn't he got their on time, chased up missed work etc.. Can he really not see cause and effect?
It seems very early in the year to be throwing him out - but then if he's not really committed there is no point in continuing I suppose.
I think at 16 you've got to talk, as least judgmentally as you can manage, in order to help them think through the choices.
I really don't think A levels are for everyone but schools and peer pressure mean that some teens don't know there are other choices.
Take a look at the volunteer opertunaties and other courses he might like that are possibably more vocational.
my own dd did one year of a levels as the school convinced her she would be a failure if she didn't go to uni - then after one year when she failed as she hated it all she went to college and did another course for a year and now has been working for 2 years and just changing jobs to better job, she wants to work her way up and has chosen a path that suits her not her teachers and not her peers
I would talk to him and tell him that he has options. If he wants to be a paramedic, then he needs to follow a certain course of action. If he doesn't want to take that route, then he needs to choose something else. If he's not going to put the effort in and make A levels work, then he needs to either choose a vocational course, or get a job.
School reaction seems a bit harsh ... and if you do persuade him/them to continue sounds like the type of place that'll kick him out after Christmas unless they can see he's going to get high grades .
Perhaps some time out would be good ,or a switch to an appropriate B tech , Health and Social Care or Science based ?
I would have thought entering paramedic course as a slightly older young person would be good /preferred .
Is he academic? The jump between G.C.S.E's and A level's can be a shock to some teenagers.
The stress of that could be causing his migraines etc. Or do you think his stress is caused by his personal life?
A lot of teenagers are "lazy" but they still manage to do enough to keep school happy!
If his timekeeping is the main problem for the school they are quite right to get tough with him now, as he will have the same problem with whatever he chooses to do.
He may be finding the course to difficult for him but he needs to be told not turning up is not the right response to this. The school might be able to offer an alternative course or a solution to his issue. He will not be able to change to a different college at this late stage in the school year, so if he is allowed to leave you may find that presents you with more problems, not least having a bored teenager around 247.
Opportunities for paid or voluntary work will be hard to come by for someone of his age, but maybe not impossible.
My instinct is to support the school in cracking the whip and at least get him to attend and do homework, and if he still doesn't think the course is for him by the spring, look for and alternative then.
He sounds really depressed to me. Is he sleeping too much? I had a period like this when I was 17/18 and I was going through a pretty deep depressive period. I ended up on medication/ counselling combo until I finished school, but went to uni on time. I've had the tendency to become depressed since then, but generally I've been better.
This is probably totally way off but you might want to note it just in case. Have you checked if he is taking drugs. Speed can often give them headaches the following day. Mood swings and extreme tiredness are common too. My daughter was like this until she was asked to leave mid-way through her A-Levels.
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