Mar 27, 2014


This post has nothing to do with my writing, that's not where motivation is lacking.
Where is it lacking, you may wonder. I'll tell you where, in my young teenage son, that's where.

He's been hell so far this school year and today, he came back with a note: Detention!!!

The reason?
Very simple, he managed to get 10 "points" on his "behavior" card. It's a very simple concept, you misbehave, forget your workbooks, forget to hand in an assignment, you get 1 "negative" point. When you reach -10, that's it, you're in detention.
This card has to be signed by the parent(s) each week and on Sunday (yes, 3 days ago!!) I noticed he was already at -8 with 2 more weeks left "on" this card (it's one card per trimester). I warned him about it, told him to be careful because he was only 2 points away from detention. He said he knew and he'd try his best .... Yeah, right!!
On Monday (so the very next day after he said he'd try his best to avoid taking any more), he forgot one of his workbooks. BAM!! (but here's the catch, he didn't tell us about it!) And today, my mom texted me after he got home, letting me know he's got detention next Wednesday. So, when I came home after work, I asked him why and he said he'd forgotten to hand in an assignment which he did on Monday at my mom's and she reminded him to take it THREE times (!!!!) while I was there because he had to hand it in. And when I asked him what the other point was about, he "confessed" he'd "totally forgotten" his workbook on Monday.

He's 13, going on 14, but jeez, we're going to have to start treating him like he's 5 again!!!

There is absolutely NOTHING that seems to help to motivate him. Last report card was a disaster (with 2 failures and a total of 59,5%), which resulted in him having to hand over the MP3 player my mom got him for his previous report card, which was 71%. His challenge was set, if he reaches 65% on the next report card, he can have it back. I gave him another challenge to see if we could tease him into acting a little more responsibly. If he doesn't reach 70% again, he's handing over his Nintendo 3DS. So far, I haven't seen any really bad tests coming back, but I've got a feeling he'll be handing over his game anyway, because the test results aren't all that good either and if he's "forgetting" to hand in his assignments again, he's not going to make it.
Thing is, if you hand in the assignment one day late, you still get 50% of the grade, if it's any later than that, you get no points at all. Last report card, he had "forgotten" to hand in FIVE assignments. These poor grades were the major reason why he dropped from 70% to not even 60%, but apparently, handing over his MP3 didn't do the trick of motivating him.
And I don't think the 'threat' to his Nintendo did any better, because he's still as incredibly sloppy in his school work as he was before, forgetting his workbooks, forgetting to hand in the assignments, or simply forgetting he had one to do, ....

I just don't know what to do to get him to move his teenage butt a little.
I don't know if I have to be more strict with him or if being less strict will help.
Do I have to go back to holding his hand and guiding him, or do I let him figure it out "the hard way" and hope it'll work out? I'm all in favor of letting him grow up and find out things aren't always going to go the way he was hoping for, but I'm not entirely sure that's what he needs. He's always been overprotected by my mom, so I'm trying to give him challenges that will help him be a little more independent, but I'm not sure that's not backfiring right now. Maybe I let him go too quickly, too suddenly, after such a long period of always having grandma around to do everything for him, I don't know.

I don't know and it's getting really frustrating!
And being alone with it, isn't helping either.
Being mom AND dad at the same time is difficult enough as it is, but when the kid's not responding to either, it gets even harder to figure out what needs to be done. Maybe he needs a boot to the ass to get him going, but he might be in desperate need of a big cuddle instead.
He's not talking either. When you ask him what's wrong, or what's going on in his head, he doesn't give you anything to work with. Also, we've noticed he's lying a lot more lately. Lying about school work, about his friends, about what he does with the money we give him so he can get a drink or a snack from the vending machines at school, ... That's really bugging us, but we don't know if it's just him being a teen, or if it's bad influence from his old man or from hanging out with the wrong kind of friends. Again, I don't know and he's not telling us, that's for sure.

I thought letting him go on skiing vacation might help, but apparently it didn't do the trick either. He said he had a lot of fun and he really enjoyed it, but when you see everything else that's happening, it makes you wonder if it's true.

Basically, I have no idea what to do right now.
Do I kick his ass or do I give him a big ol' cuddle?
Do I yell at him over his poor results or do I cheer when he gets good results on individual tests?
Do I keep trying to be mom and dad at the same time, or do I pick and 'tough luck' on what he's not getting?

Anyone with teens, or with a habit of dealing with them, feel free to leave me your suggestions in the comments.


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