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How do you deal with apathy?

(6 Posts)
theredhen Thu 11-Oct-12 09:28:16

Ds is 14, always been forgetful and a bit negative but in the last week, he's lost English book, which means he head to buy new one out of his pocket money -£8, maths book that he's replaced at 50p and got a detention for. Has to get public transport home and oay fir it himself. Forgot his swimming kit today and just shrugs his shoulders when I realise when it's too late.

He says he's struggling with maths with new teacher this term so a friend if mine has lent him her child's passwords to a £15 per month maths website and I've offered to help him but he moaned and complained when I suggested doing it more than once! I ask him how he thinks he can be more responsible and his answers are always that everyone else is better than him and there's no point trying anything because he always fails sad

He's above average ability in school but does the bare minimum and takes no pride in anything. He just wants to sit on pc all the time looking at you tube. sad

My step daughter moved in a few months ago and I am having some big ussues with adjusting so I'm sure ds is too.

How do I deal with this? I can't seem to make him care about his own life.

chocoluvva Thu 11-Oct-12 13:19:39

Maybe he actually needs help with being more organised - it seems that being punished for forgetting things isn't working and he's 14 so it's not that surprising that he's disorganised. People with other difficulties, eg dyslexia aren't punished for them so I'd go down the route of supervising his school stuff as far as you can and enlisting the support of his school as far as you can. (This is sometimes easier said than done and, to be fair to the school it's probably a right nuisance when he doesn't have the things he needs.)
Praise him as much as you can for anything remotely praiseworthy - is he a good eater, or generous or funny or handsome or whatever?
Again, easier said than done, but tell him it's not healthy to be sat at a screen for too long each day and if need be unplug your broadband connection. Encourage him to do some physical activity (it should help with his mood). There might be a cheap pay as you go rate for teens at your council gym.
Does he compare himself with very bright friends? You can tell him that studies have shown that young people who try hard are usually more succesful in the end than their brilliant peers who coast along so far, but sometimes find it difficult to cope with the times when they inevitably don't do so well, as they have not built up any resistance to experiencing setbacks.
Is he at a 'good' school? My DCs are at excellent state schools, but even there, a few of the teachers seem to be no good at explaining things. My DC was the same, "I'm not working from mymaths - it's not the same, blah blah" so we caved in and got her four sessions with a tutor who has done wonders to make her feel more confident. (I didn't believe DD's moaning about her ineffective teacher, but other children and another teacher (!!unofficially) verified this. It's annoying, but I'm glad I got her a few sessions with this tutor.
It must be very difficult for you all having a new addition to your household. Best of luck, I hope this isn't just way off the mark.

theredhen Thu 11-Oct-12 14:04:45

Thank you for your reply.

I have always been one to help organise him. Making sure his bags are in the right place etc. Having his timetable on the wall. Regularly asking about homework and checking his bag etc. I feel like I'm constantly "nagging" him.

I have been starting to think I am just knocking his self esteem more, by keep on reminding him of his faults, when he gets it wrong, but I do feel he needs to start taking some responsibility. sad

It's a good idea about the broadband but I think DP wouldn't like it because it would affect his DD.

He doesn't really like physical activity but did mention about the gym a while ago, maybe I'll try him with that.

I've thought about getting a tutor but his attitude would suggest he wouldn't make any effort.

He is at a good school but I guess not all teachers suit all pupils.

My DSC are always boasting and are very bright, so I don't think that's helping either.

Am going to try noticing the positives and see how that goes.

chocoluvva Thu 11-Oct-12 14:31:43

The being-organised thing is so tricky, I know.
I don't envy him having to listen to his boastful DSCs - that sounds like a very difficult situation to manage diplomatically. Maybe they're not as confident as they make out if they feel the need to boast. There's a positive for your DS - he's modest (from the sound of it).

FamilyAngel Thu 11-Oct-12 22:19:24

Hello Theredhen

I love that you asked your DS how he could be more responsible but, bless him, his reply is quite sad. I work with parents of teenagers and responsibility is something you as a parent have to teach your son throughout the teenage years and like a baby learning to walk it takes a few attempts before they get it! It is so hard to get someone to remember when they just don't and less pc and more exercise is definitely good advice.

Since his memory seems to be so bad I wondered if you had thought of any dietary supplements. I had one client who found omega 3 fish oil tablets worked well. Of course if you have always been there to organise him have you may have trained him too well to rely on you! This can often be the case.

Teenagers often have a self worth crisis. The rule of thumb to help rebuild this is 5 positive comments to every negative one. I know this may seem hard with teenagers but often we are so focused on the bad that we miss the good. I always believe it is best to reward the behaviour you want so may be there can be a positive consequence on the days he does remember homework, games kit etc.

I hope these few thoughts will help. It is obviously a time of adjustment for all of you. I wish you well.

theredhen Tue 16-Oct-12 19:11:24

Well I think ds was having a bad few days, he seems better this week. I have definitely not be praising him enough and have been trying to do that a lot more. I've even tried to apply it to myself and find the positives in day to day mundane-nes so i can teach him to do so too.

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