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Stinky attitude. What happened to my boy?(7 Posts)
My son has just turned 13 and I don't know what has happened to him. Year 7 at school was a huge learning curve and he struggled with organisation. Less than two weeks in to year 8 and he has already been late, done zero homework, doesn't have all the equipment he needs, refuses to take care of personal hygiene. He has an answer for everything. He has so much academic potential and it is going downhill so rapidly. I am new to all this teen lark but I feel so out of my depth. I don't want to ruin our relationship but we are all butting heads so much. What do I do? He is in self destruct mode.
Butting heads is never going to work with a teen.
You've lumped together a whole lot of problems you have with him, have you spoken to him when you are both calm to, without criticism/showing your disappointment, find out individually why each of these things are happening and what positive steps he and you can do to support him more?
For school, are you expecting too much and he still needs some help being organised? Has the work stepped up a notch, getting too hard and he is struggling, embarrassed, falling behind and doesn't know how to catch up? (try not to tell him he is clever/has academic potential if he isn't feeling it as it is too much pressure). Does he have a routine and a quiet place at home with all equipment he needs where he wont be interrupted for homework/study?
ds(15) still needs fairly regular support/reminders to be organised and motivated for school, we work out/agree an afterschool routine/revision plan together, he also sometimes needs someone to talk through homework with if he doesn't quite get it (I don't get it either, but I am regularly a sounding board if he is struggling and just talking seems to help). I still ask the question, do you have any homework/revision (from afterschool plan) to do when he says he's off to go onto his PS4 and if he has anything ask if he is ok that he'll do it on time/when he will catch up, but let him decide when.
For his personal hygiene, is he feeling low or does he have poor self esteem? Does he have a healthy social life/activities outside school to encourage his physical and mental wellbeing, confidence and wanting to take care of himself?
Thanks so much for your answer and giving a great perspective. I definitely need to critisize less, I realise that. He is starting to do some homework even if it is the bare minimum effort. I don't know what the hygiene issue is. I will try and unpick that later.
It is hard. I choose my battles carefully. A good poker face is essential.
I spent y8 having head on battles with my similar academic but furiously resistant son. I never got to the bottom of it and it got a lot worse before it got better. It may be that school is providing the pressure and you need to be the opposite. School can be really wearing for them. At some points having clear rules helped - you must wash every day/ homework before screens etc (with penalty- phone loss, obviously). Leaving them to figure stuff out for themselves is crucial but hard.
Ah yes, we had this too
Luckily the school threw lots of detentions at him, which he did not like!
It was extraordinary how quickly he went downhill, in terms of grades, effort etc.
I had chats with him, but more along the lines of “I am worried about you” rather than getting angry.
A term in, he was back to “normal”, it was a blip. Y7 was very easy and y8 he suddenly had a lot more to do, and could no longer get away with doing his homework in half arsed manner on the bus.
I had to remind him about Homework and PE kits a lot, but now he’s back on track again.
Thank you all for your insights! Food for thought