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15 yr old boy alternately sullen, cynical, unenthusiastic, unmotivated but flipping without warning...

(60 Posts)
duchesse Fri 06-Mar-09 14:36:40

..to cheerful, chatty, charming and jokey. And he is most certainly no on drugs, before anyone raises that as a possibility.

He's doing my head in.

He has GCSEs this year, and has plans for A levels that mean he is going to have to do a lot of work in maths to get to a standard where he can do what he wants. I predicted an A* in French as long he does some bloody work.

But will he do any? Will he talk at all about why he won't do any extra work? Will he respond to any questions about why he won't do any work? Will he heck...

Am at a serious loss to understand him. Other people's teens I can handle (am a trained sec school teacher), but not my own.

duchesse Fri 06-Mar-09 14:38:20

sorry, he is predicted an A* in French...

pickupthismess Fri 06-Mar-09 14:53:52

He's a teenager and your his mum. That's all you need to know about why he's behaving like this wink

One thing I would venture [duck now] is I note you are a teacher and teachers do tend to stress a lot about their kids and education (I know I have three as good friends). He probably feels you're unduly narking on and should just 'but out' (I did when I was that age and I got all As in the end which was something of a miracle)?

The fact is, even if he doesn't get an A* and just an A or a B it won't matter a damn in the long run. Would be different if he was borderline but he is clearly v academic. Can you let him relax a bit while ensuring you nag just a little so he feels under a bit of pressure. He'll learn by his own mistakes in good time for A levels.

Threadworm Fri 06-Mar-09 14:58:19

My son (only 13, but could be similar) has been all things in your threadtitle recently. He had really MAJOR explosion -- tantrum -- a couple of days ago, with anger, years, storming about. When I eventually got him to go to his room he fell asleep on the bed -- and slept through solidly from 6pm until 7:30 the next morning. The following night he slept well too.

The interesting thing was that after his mega-sleep he was in a MUCH more cheerful and constructive mood.

It brought home to me just how much rest he needs in this difficult transitional time, and how much his moods might be physically determined.

duchesse Fri 06-Mar-09 15:12:08

He's predicted 6 As and 4 Bs, which he achieved without doing a stroke of work. His school does not officially predict A*s, but his French teacher thinks he's a goer for one, as long as he does more verbs! It's like pushing porridge uphill getting him to do any extra work, though!

Pickup, I'm sure you're right- a friend saw his report once, and exclaimed at how good it was. This was shortly after we'd been a little less complimentary about the glaring two 4s for effort he'd received (effort grades awarded 1-5, 1 is best, 5 is worst). His face lit up when she exclaimed how well he was doing. I felt like a complete heel, even though I know he could do better by doing some bloody work!

I know I need to relax on him; it's just so frustrating...

duchesse Fri 06-Mar-09 15:13:42

Thread- mine usually slopes off to bed at 9pm at the outside, and is up at around 5 the next morning. Recently he's been asking if he can eat early and go to bed at very early times- it was 6:30 the other day- and then getting up at 7am. He must be growing.

bagsforlife Fri 06-Mar-09 15:46:18

I have a DS like this. He is now 20 and at university. I had to nag and nag him to do any work, he too is very bright, and he significantly underperformed (for him - should have got ALL As/A*s) at GCSE. He did quite well, and got the grades he deserved (i.e with no work) but didn't get what he could have achieved. That's the bad news.

However, he DID pull himself together for A levels, did really well, better than many of his contemporaries who did brilliantly at GCSE. He's now at a Russell Group university and is fine.

In the end there was nothing I could do. The more I nagged, the less he did (and I'm not a teacher). Now he WANTS to learn and does. I think it is a maturity thing. Unless he does actually need a string of A/A*s (even my DS got some)it won't really matter in the long run. Obviously it will if he wants to do medicine or Oxbridge but otherwise, he will be OK. Anyway, he prob will get all As in the end. Most v bright students do!

JudyA Fri 06-Mar-09 15:55:15

I have another one here, currently in Lower 6th. He tells me the teachers spend half of each lesson nagging them about how much work they need to do so the last thing he needs is extra nagging at home. He's also very tired and hasn't been sleeping that well.

I really don't think there's much you can do. I was on the verge of accepting he wouldn't even manage his AS exams but then he came home from a 'future planning' day and said that he decided he was 'f*ing well going to go to university' and has been putting in a lot more effort.

I was so pleased I didn't even tell him off for swearing!

duchesse Fri 06-Mar-09 16:00:59

Boy do they like to keep us on our toes...

Bags- the problem for his is that his aim is to go to Cambridge to read engineering. Not looking too likely unless he gets his arse in gear...in the next 2 months.

bagsforlife Fri 06-Mar-09 17:52:08

Ah well, if he wants to go to Cambridge, he WILL need all As/A*s, as I am sure you know.

Fortunately, my DS1 refused to even consider Oxbridge so the pressure wasn't on. If he really does want to go to Cambridge may be that will be the incentive needed to get going!

duchesse Fri 06-Mar-09 18:05:10

bags- zackly! Hence the nag nag nag, are you sure this is what you want to do? all the time...

BCNS Fri 06-Mar-09 18:27:08

I have a 13 ( 14 on sunday) year old ds.
he swings quite a bit.. is bright and wants to go to oxbridge to study law.

the only thing I have said to him is look at the online prospectus.. see what you need.. and it's then down to you.

he has looked saw he needs A*s at gcse and 3/4 A's at A level.. I didn't need to say any more.

let him look at oxbridge online stuff to show him what he needs.. and I'd encourage him to look at back up plans.

Exdh is a teacher and so are exils and the great grandparents on that side.. they are all very stressed about this whole issue.. and it's caused ds1 to close up to them.

so please try and chill out.. he'll get what he gets and go where he goes.. and if he needs/ wants to retake something .. it's up to him.

ABetaDad Fri 06-Mar-09 18:35:04

Its OK everything will get better - its tough being a teenage boy.

Meanwhile, we are having the same problems with an 8 and a 6 year old boys sad

duchesse Fri 06-Mar-09 18:53:36

BetaDad- from your bloke's point of view, what is the lack of motivation and enthusiasm about? He says he wants to get good grades, but doesn't seem to understand/ want to understand that he has to work for them. He is very very happy when striding about on a moor, bivouacking and lighting camp fires (did 10 tors last year). He really comes into his own then. He is enthusiastic about the RAF leadership course he wants to do in the summer. He is enthusiastic about driving across America in August with my brother. But he cannot seem to get his head around the longer term. Will it happen? Or is he doomed to be stuck in the short term?

duchesse Fri 06-Mar-09 18:55:53

I should add that my husband was a Stepford son and has no understanding of teenage rebellion...

Sherbert37 Fri 06-Mar-09 18:57:09

Same here with DS doing exams this summer. It has got to the stage where I have backed off. I can do no more. He promises me he will work and is doing some but nowhere near as much as I would like (or I would have done, which is really the problem). He is bright and will do fine but I worry about the workload next year. As long as you have spelled out the consequences, I cannot see you can do any more.

charitygirl Fri 06-Mar-09 19:00:02

LOL at Stepford Son!

Just to say (please nobody shout at me!) that if he is very academic he is probably finding the GCSE work easy and boring - but he still has to learn it all, and that is tedious for him.

French GCSE is very easy if you have any aptitude for languages - if he's been predicted A* he'll almost certainly get it.

Not v helpful I know - because you still want him to work hard and not slack off or be arrogant!

As for the mood swings...you know it's normal!

duchesse Fri 06-Mar-09 19:05:38

He's actually a scientist -he doesn't find languages that easy on the whole... just has a good understanding of French. We're hoping for some A* in Chemistry and Physics, his two favourite subjects, and hoping that he'll scrape an A* in maths with some grandmotherly coaching. Those are the subjects he wants to do at A level- Physics, Chemistry, Maths and Further Maths. Thanks to his inactivity in the last three years, he's ended up in a set where they "only" teach to an A. Plus he's not really a natural mathematician (ironic when you know he has 4 generations of Cambridge mathematicians piled on his shoulders). I play devil's advocate and tell him maths is seriously over-rated, but honestly for engineering he's going to need a lot of maths.

madlentileater Fri 06-Mar-09 19:07:30

I could have written bagsforlife's post. DS1 suddenly (about half a term before A level exams) started getting interested in his work...even...(gasp)....showing it to me and asking what I thought shock
I know it's hard -we're just going into round 2 with DS2- but you know what they say-

This too will pass wink

ABetaDad Fri 06-Mar-09 19:49:07

duchesse - your son sounds like a great guy. Not too many teenagers can say they have done all that or can be motivated to do all that either. I am hoping my sons will want to do Ten Tors and Duke of Edinburgh when they get older.

Several possible causes for his lack of motivation in pursuing his studies:

1. He feels totally overwhelmed and is in a private panic and does not know where to start so he just keeps putting it off.

2. He may be frightened of failure so he keeps putting studying off.

3. He does not know what he wants to do with the rest of his life so studying seem pointless (very common feeling in teenage boys)

4. He may be doing so much outside school work he is utterly exhausted and cannot summon up the energy to work on study (I got like this with doing sport 6 days a week)

5. He may be thinking about girls, sexual feelings, growing up, why his mates don't like him and all the other teenage issues

To resolve this he needs his Mum to sit him down (stop harrasing about not doing work) and let him talk about all his hopes and fears.

duchesse Sat 07-Mar-09 10:44:28

Sample conversation with son this morning:

Me: I say, my darling, would you mind taking the cutlery to the dresser?

Him: (narrowing eyes suspiciously) Okaaay...

<Reaches dresser>

I look at him.

He looks at me.

Him: Oh, okay!

<Starts to put cutlery in drawer>

Him: Well, I'll do the knives and forks, but I'm not doing the spoons!

Me: What? Eh? Why? What's wrong with the spoons?

Him: Nothing, I'm just rebelling by not doing everything you say.

Me: But that's not proper rebellion, it's just petty.

Him: Well it's my rebellion, and if I think it's rebellion, then it is.

Me: Huh??

bagsforlife Sat 07-Mar-09 11:17:39

Well probably better he 'rebels' with the spoons, than with his schoolwork.....

Threadworm Sat 07-Mar-09 11:31:37

My DS1 has bent three spoons out of all useability recently during ragestorms.

It is quite poignant really: he is furious, storming around wanting to smash things, and he seizes on spoons as objects capable of being severely damaged without causing any real mess or expense.

Sort of a controlled rebellion, like duchesse's DS, except specifically spoon-involving, rather than spoon-shunning.

duchesse Sat 07-Mar-09 11:45:44

Thread- maybe your DS is suffering from Yuri Geller delusion? grin

ABetaDad Sat 07-Mar-09 12:32:38

duchese - he has a great sense of humour too. That is very clever the whole "I'm rebelling" discussion.

Are you sure he just isn't just the most popular guy in the school - not only a he man action hero but funny as well.

Is he perhaps so popular he is just tired out balancing 3 boyfriend/girlfriend relationships at the same time and has no time for school work?

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