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Letter from school

(13 Posts)
verydisappointedmum Fri 28-Dec-12 20:20:27

Ds is in year 10. Not a perfect child but been in trouble for behaviour at school twice before, once for fighting in year 7 and once for mucking about with water taps in science. He is of average intelligence and is doing ok in school, not great, but not awful either.

Got a letter from the school today saying that he's been in trouble with a group of boys for mucking about at lunchtimes and.for being rude to staff and not doing as he's told.

Ds is at his dads at the moment,(we've been divorced 11 yrs) but I've spoken to him on the ohone and he says he was part of a group pushing and shoving around some lockers and he was not part of it but he got told off with the other 5 boys.

Ds has never been a liar so I'm inclined to believe him but his honesty is outweighed by his terrible attitude. All teachers are horrible, he gets told off when it's not his fault, in fact nothing ever his fault and he's never sorry, so for example if he knocked over another child when he was younger by accident he would always admit to doing it but would never apologise. He's still got that attitude but with hormones mixed in. He says things like his life is terrible if he can't get something to go right. hmm

The school have said he won't get another warning and will get an hours after school detention with a note on his school record that will go on his final report and as he's booked to go on an expensive school trip I have been told that bad behaviour will mean he won't be able to go.

I know lots of people on this board have much bigger problems to deal with than this and obviously I have to speak to the school once the teachers are back.

Ds behaviour and attitude have not been great lately, he wants to live on the x box or PC and homework is rushed on the bus. He never wants to do anything apart from sit in front if a computer, I really struggle to get him to watch tv nowadays let alone go outside or come to the shops.

I just thought I had to learn to give him some space and as long as he does some basic chores (keep room tidy, put away laundry, dry up, make sandwiches etc) which he does, I've been leaving him to get on with it. He complains if we have a family day to attend as he "has too much to do" meaning gaming!

Any words of wisdom would be appreciated.

NamingOfParts Fri 28-Dec-12 22:29:38

Some thoughts (though I will qualify this by saying my DS is 14 in year 9):

- does he actually want to go on this expensive trip?
- is the xbox in his room? - my DS has only (this Christmas) got 'bedroom rights' for his xbox - putting it somewhere inconvenient does cause it to lose appeal
- teenagers dont watch tv in the same way that grown-ups do. My lot (17, 14 & 13) watch specific things - Big Bang Theory & Dr Who are favourites. What is your DS's favourite? This is box set territory - plan an evening with popcorn.
- what does your DS want to do next? Have you talked about careers? He can change his mind but seeing something beyond the here and now does help with current attitude (IME)

verydisappointedmum Fri 28-Dec-12 22:51:13

Thanks for the reply. Yes he does want to go on the trip and I don't want to lose £1000. shock

The x box is in his room but we are a family of 7 so I can't go back to keeping all pcs and consoles in the front room (I did when I lived alone with him).

He knows what he wants to do when he leaves school but I'm not sure it's enough for him to realise he needs to behave now. I've had that talk with him a few times.

NamingOfParts Fri 28-Dec-12 23:01:00

What does your DS want to do next?

NamingOfParts Fri 28-Dec-12 23:30:13

Year 10 can be a bit of a problem year for some. It is a bit of a 'neither here nor there' year for some. Teachers are yelling but it can seem a bit 'so what' to the student if he isnt on an A* trajectory.

Something he needs to understand is that his life will be immeasurably easier if he finishes year 11 with a-c grades in Maths & English. Flog him through these if necessary. Everything else is a bonus.

brighterfuture Sat 29-Dec-12 08:39:19

X box is very addictive. For teens its also a social thing as they hook up with friends when they play online. I think limits have to be set to remind them that there is another reality to engage in beyond the screen. Can you turn off wifi in between certain agreed hours ?

I think it's a real problem that many young people are spending more time in the virtual world than the real one. It makes me fearful as their generation risk being pretty disfunctional adults because they are missing out on so much face to face, real life interaction as a result of all their time spent in front of screens.

I have two teen ds and I do understand how difficult it can be to prise them away from their screens, especially as a lot of their friends seem to have no limits imposed at all.

You say you used to live alone with Ds but now you are a family of 7 . Has this change in circumstances from just the two of you into a large household got something to do with his behaviour ?

MariahScarey Sat 29-Dec-12 08:41:00

Of coure he's a liar. All kids lie. I wouldn't think school would write home without him actually being involved.

MariahScarey Sat 29-Dec-12 08:42:31

I'd like to see the schools trip policy tbh. Was it made clear it was based on behavior ? If so they can't restrict access on that count.

Would you lose a deposit ?

brighterfuture Sat 29-Dec-12 08:49:27

mariah Even if dc lie sometimes we have to be very careful not to accuse them of it without solid proof.
The sense of injustice of being wrongly accused can erode trust very fast in teens , a time when it is very important to keep communication open.

3littlefrogs Sat 29-Dec-12 08:49:44

brighterfuture, that is exactly what I thought.
Op, when did the household circumstances change, how have the family dynamics changed, and does this correlate with your son's attitude and behaviour?

He sounds very unhappy and I think you need to get to the bottom of this asap.

I think you should also consider how well you know his friends and their parents. This is the age when drugs, particularly cannabis, enter the picture.

I have 2 sons, now in their 20s, and I can tell you that year 10 is the time when you really need to keep your eye on the ball. You need to get on board with his teachers now, and even more importantly, his dad needs to step up and really work hard at parenting.

MariahScarey Sat 29-Dec-12 11:11:03

thanks for the lecture brighter.

I would presume the school HAD proof.

flow4 Sat 29-Dec-12 15:14:56

OP, I read your post twice before the penny dropped, and I realised that your school is sending a warning letter before your DS has even had a single hour's detention! shock I can't emphasise too strongly how low down the scale of school sanctions this is - almost certainly. (My own DSes' school issues after-school same-day detentions for merely forgetting basic equipment like calculators!)

Your DS's school will almost certainly have a whole range/hierarchy of sanctions that will go something like this:

Verbal warning (maybe x3)
Break/lunch time detention
Written warning/letter home
After school detention
A series of lunchtime detentions (for a week/month/etc.)
Internal exclusion/isolation ('time out', often in a special behaviour unit)
A series of after school detentions (for a week/month/etc.)
'On report' (monitoring lesson-by-lesson)
On senior team report
On head teacher's report
Temporary exclusion ('suspended') for a day, or longer periods in more serious circumstances
Permanent exclusion

Bearing this in mind, there are a few things to consider:

a) If your DS has got to Y10 without having a single detention, he is doing very well indeed! You shouldn't feel tooooo bad about this!
b) The fact that he just got a warning letter probably already reflects that school think he had a minor role in the pushing and shoving/disturbances. If they thought he had been deliberately or recklessly disruptive or violent, you could expect him to be given at least an after school detention without warning.
c) The letter will be a standard one.
d) The warning about the school trip is just that - a warning. School are extremely unlikely to jump from a first warning letter to banning him from the trip, if he hasn't been in other trouble - though maybe don't tell him that!

The issue of 'lying' is a tricky one. Adolescents are not very self-aware, and I think many just don't realise how events seem to anyone other than themselves: so for instance, they knocked someone over, but they didn't mean to, so they did nothing wrong, and have nothing to apologise for. hmm Schools, it seems to me, are not at all interested in these subtleties - they just follow their 'behaviour management' systems... And this can lead to many pupils perceiving themselves as being treated 'unfairly'.

If your DS isn't in trouble at school often, some parents find it effective to 'back school up'... However, if your DS is one of those young people who thinks school is 'unfair', I'd personally recommend that you separate home and school discipline entirely and leave school to deal with whatever happens there... As some other wise parent said on some other thread, it can cause enormous problems if your DS is in conflict with school, and perceives you to be 'getting at him' too... And your relationship with your DS is much more important and lasts much longer than your relationship with his school.

BTW Mariah, if you assume schools always have proof before punishing kids, I'm afraid you are mistaken.

NamingOfParts Sat 29-Dec-12 17:42:29

I think Flow4's advice is very good.

My DS is another Xbox addict however a year or so ago DS started going to Army cadets. This has worked really well for him. Though there are plenty of girls there what I do see is that they 'get' teenage boys. The discipline is strict but it is also fair.

Would your DS be interested in something like that? An activity outside of school does help to dilute school IME.

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