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Pampered Chef: Kid vent

  1. chefsteph07

    chefsteph07 Legacy Member

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    I don't know if I'm looking for advice, or to just vent or what, but I am very concerned about my 12 yr old stepson's grades.

    He lived w/ me and dh for 4 yrs up until this past summer, when he decided he wanted to go live w/ his mom again. Instead of fight w/ him about it, we decided that he can go if wants, and so he went. When he lived here, he struggled in school, but I was literally on him every day about his assignments, turning in work, etc. He got an F every grading period in science last school year, and during his 3rd grading period w/ the F, we told him he better do whatever he had to do to bring it up to at least a D. F's are unacceptable.

    You see, it is not the content of the work or what they are teaching, it is HIM and his lack of motivation to turn any work in. This year at his mom's house, his highest grade all year has been a C. The rest of his grades in every subject has been all D's and F's except for one C. WTF! All the comments are the same- doesn't turn homework in, won't turn in class assignments, etc. He even got a C- in phys ed and when asked about it, he said he "forgets to bring his gym clothes" and that deducts from his grade!

    We have tried EVERY motivational advice out there. Positive reinforcement doesn't work. He doesn't care. He doesn't care about rewards and he doesn't care about being grounded. He just WON'T do his work OR turn anything in. When asked, his reason is always I don't know. Or, I know I can do better. He doesn't show any genuine remorse or embarrassment or anything over what he is doing. He has been tested for ADD and other learning challenges, and nothing shows up. His teachers just say he WILL NOT turn his stuff in. Do you know the kicker? He does the work, but when it comes time to hand it in, he won't. In class assignments don't get handed in, homework gets done and not turned in, it's maddening and infuriating.

    I really worry about his future. I think his mom has just given up, when I ask ss what his mom says about his grades, he just says "well, she's not too happy about it" and when I ask what she says he tells me "she says this isn't going to work"...but won't actually DO anything about it. I tried talking to her today about it and all I got out of her was "uh huh, yes, uh huh, well, I'll have to think about all this over the weekend"...

    I realize he doesn't live here anymore, and I'm just his stepmother, but he was MY kid for 4 years under my roof. It's so hard to see what I struggled to do with him to make sure he did what he was supposed to be doing for all those years and seeing it all blow up in one school year. I asked his mom since they don't hold back kids anymore (big mistake GWB), what do they do, she said they send them to summer school. I told him that we absolutely refuse to help pay for it, because the same thing is going to happen next year..he will just not turn in his work again. And the cycle continues. Maybe this is none of my business since I"m not raising him anymore. His father just wants to punish him like there's no tomorrow, but again, he doesn't live here anymore, and when he is here, it's nothing but stress because all we are focusing on is his grades and those kinds of things. It's getting to the point where I am dreading him even being here becuase of the negative energy that comes w/ it.

    He's 12, what can we really do? There's nothing medically wrong, he just is lazy I guess! But we at least want to see him graduate, and I don't see that happening because when it comes time for the graduation test to get his diploma I think he's going to hit a road block.

    Sorry for the long post, but he's coming over tonight for the weekend and I am just dreading it in t he bottom of my stomach. Thank god I have a show tonight...
     
    Apr 3, 2009
    #1
  2. pcchefjane

    pcchefjane Senior Member Gold Member

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    That's a tough one when nothing motivates...punishment or reward. Maybe you just haven't found his "trigger". Maybe he is trying to get attention from his mother and since she isn't giving him any, it escalates. At least the grades were better with you & your DH. I'll keep you in my prayers. Has he ever gone to counseling?
     
    Apr 3, 2009
    #2
  3. pampchefrhondab

    pampchefrhondab Senior Member

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    Wow, this is sad. I don't know if I have any good advice to give. I can only tell you what works w/my kids.

    First off, we were lucky enough to be able to send our children to a "very" small private Catholic grade school. The teachers would not have put up with someone not turning in their work. I think this may be the problem with your step son. The teacher's probably have never expressed they really care until it comes to report card time. I think some schools think kids should be responsible by this age and don't need to be reminded to turn in their work. I think a meeting with the teacher should be conducted with the child involved so he knows everyone cares.

    My children have always had something to motivate them. When they were little it was a fovorite toy, a friend to play with, etc. Now that they are older it's cell phones, Xbox, etc. My son is very smart and usually gets all A's on his report card. Last year after getting a Xbox for Christmas his grades dropped to A's and two B's. I told him I knew he was able to do better and if he didn't get all A's on his report card the next 9 weeks he would only be able to play is Xbox for 1 hour a night. If he got all A's I would not restrict his time on it. Ever since then he has gotten all A's - so even smart kids need motivation!

    Kids do need to know what you expect from them. If his Mother doesn't tell him he can do better or expect more from him he is not going to do any more. Our oldest has a learning disability but was able to go through HS w/honors with almost no special treatment even though she was able to get more time, tests read to her, etc. We never wanted her to use the special treatment because we wanted her to be able to make it in the real world. When she was tested back in 3rd grade the people who tested her told us she would probably do better in college then a lot of smart kids because she was always going to have to work harder to get good grades. She was also going to have to learn study skills many smart kids don't have to worry about until college. She is now in her freshman year of college and is getting A's and B's with no assistance. We always told her she was able to do these things. We had to help her during grade school a lot, but now we don't have to help her w/homework at all. She knew we were behind her and what we expected from her.

    Like I said, I don't know if any of this can help you. A split home is a different situation then my kids have had. There was also high expectations from their grade school teachers. All of this has influenced them. Trying to change a kid at 12 is different.

    I wish you the best of luck.
     
  4. Ish

    Ish Member Gold Member

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    I am so sorry to hear about your stepson...
    This happened to my best friend... her son was in the "I don't Care" mode and he could not be snapped out of it... she tried all of the consequences, such as grounding, no allowance, etc... and nothing worked...she was just about to give up.
    After a while of trying to figure something out, it was realized that her son had a learning disorder and was to embarrassed to bring it up. It was easier for him to be "lazy" than to let someone know he had a problem...

    I'm wondering if this might be a similar situation...

    Hope it works our for you....I will keep you in my thoughts and prayers..
     
    Apr 3, 2009
    #4
  5. floccies

    floccies Member

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    Have you had him evaluated for ADD? My daughter is 12 and was and A & B student this year. She is in an accelerate charter school this year -- at one point she had all F's. If she passes it will be a miracle.

    She forgets to bring work home (means if it's due the next day it is a zero). Does the work and can't find it in her locker/book bag to turn it in.

    Google ADD see if any symptoms seem to apply.

    I'm not sure if my daughter is or isn't -- but I was surprised when I researched the behaviors.

    Messy rooms, rewards ands consequences don't seem to have any impact, can sit still but moves feet, I have to constantly tell her to do her work (what number are you on -- 10 minutes later --what number are you on etc).
     
    Apr 3, 2009
    #5
  6. chefsteph07

    chefsteph07 Legacy Member

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    Thanks for your responses...

    To answer a couple questions, yes, he has been to counseling, everything seems to be emotionally ok there, of course he's a preteen w/ some issues of his own, but nothing big. No depression or anything like that.

    He has been tested for ADD. Once, when we brought him here to live, and then at the beginning of this year by his mother. He does not have ADD. His teachers dont believe he has a learning disability.

    The only thing I am thinking of suggesting to his mother is to possibly have him home schooled? I am wondering if that would at least get his grades up? But is it a cop out if he can't handle school, how is going to handle real life? I don't know...
     
    Apr 3, 2009
    #6
  7. Ish

    Ish Member Gold Member

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    Does his school have an IEP program?

    Individual education program (IEP) is where he would get specialized help with homework... maybe he needs a bit of specialized attention...
     
    Apr 3, 2009
    #7
  8. chefsteph07

    chefsteph07 Legacy Member

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    Is that something that his parents would have to suggest, or is that based on what a teacher thinks? I would think that the teachers would know after all year of crap grades that he would need something like that. I have heard of that, but thought it was for only kids who had learning disabilities.
     
    Apr 3, 2009
    #8
  9. Crystal Patton

    Crystal Patton Advanced Member

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    The only thing I can suggest is that negative attention is better than no attention.
    I will pray for you and your stress level. Good luck!
     
  10. Ish

    Ish Member Gold Member

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    I believe they have different levels and different types of IEP's... check with the counselors at his school and they can tell you... I hope there is something that can help the situation... Good Luck

    this is an interesting website...
    http://www.learningdisability.com/articles/maybelazy.htm
     
    Apr 3, 2009
    #10
  11. AnnieBee

    AnnieBee Veteran Member Gold Member

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    I once heard Dr Phil say about kids that you have to "find their currency", meaning what will motivate them. For some kids it is money/allowance, for some toys, for others video games/TV time, etc etc. Is there ANYTHING you can think of that will motivate him (positively AND/OR negatively)???

    Some kids do well with a longer term reward, eg good grades at the end of the year = bigger treat, others need short term rewards, like a weekly check in/chart about how much of the homework/school work has been turned in, and a corresponding reward?

    Would no TV be a motivator? Would a trip out to the movies/ice-cream/batting cages/mini golf (ie one-on-one attention) be a motivator to be earned?

    It does seem that motivation not ability is the problem (from your description). could you ask *him* for ideas of things he'd really like to do as a treat?

    Got to run, hope this helps a little...
     
    Apr 3, 2009
    #11
  12. I'm going thru many of the same issues (and did with my stepson at that age too) of doing the work just not turning it in. He's fine in class, doesn't have ADD, etc. etc. I really think it's motivation. He thinks--why should I bother, it means nothing to me and I'd rather be singing.

    That's my sons motivation--he is really into performing arts. He spent 3 hours on the phone two weeks ago arguing with his friends over who was going to sing what song in their performance for their school (they have created a Jersey Kids group and the school booked them for their Celebration Night!!). Now, that same night he had homework---didn't start it until 8pm and then was up until midnight doing it. Then the next day--forgot to turn it in!! UGH!! I could've strangled him :) in the most loving way of course!

    So, he will be lucky to pass 8th grade with an F in english--but he was given strict rules that after this weekend (he had honors choir and performance readings thru school) he will not perform or do anything else unless his grades come up because I refuse to pay for summer school too! So far--I think it's working--haven't heard anything bad from the teachers yet!!

    Find his trigger and use it. Every kid is different and unfortunately they don't come with handbooks!! :)
     
    Apr 3, 2009
    #12
  13. candiejayne

    candiejayne Veteran Member

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    We have talked before, you know my circumstances, I don't really have any advice for you, but I finally found my BFs DS's "trigger" as jane called it for morning behavior. It's frozen waffles... Right now, that is all it takes to get a well behave little boy for me. I need to buy some stock in Eggo!

    Hope you guys figure something out. It's so saddening to see all of these youngins struggle. Broken homes are so hard on them, and I honestly don't understand it from their point of view, my parents have been married for almost 30 years.
     
    Apr 3, 2009
    #13
  14. susanr613

    susanr613 Senior Member Gold Member

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    I agree with what everyone else has posted and offer the following for your consideration. I also have a 12 year old and he splits his time between his dad and me.

    The preteen years are awful, esp with regard to school. DS missed the cutoff so he is 12 and in 6th grade. Last year, he was in 5th grade and it was his worst school year ever. He had never been a real motivated kid, but a combo of his age/stage and a bad teach had him bringing home mostly C's. Like you, we tried everything and nothing worked.

    This year, he has great teachers, and while he's having a rough year socially, he's having a great year academically. The only thing his dad and I did differently was to offer a big reward (PS3) for all A's, which he achieved at his mid-year report card. He still is making A's and B's.

    If your SS had been a good student previously, he will be again, with your consistent support. IMO he's having a bad year bec of the transition to his mom, maybe the teacher, and his age/stage. Try to balance expressing concern over the grades, with love and support....and believe that this too shall pass.
     
    Apr 3, 2009
    #14
  15. elijahstrust

    elijahstrust Member

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    I would ask the school to do a neuropsychological evaluation. They do these to test for signs of ADD and other learning disabilities and executive function issues. Executive Function issues can present to look like the child is just being lazy or just doesn't care. Impulsivity, hard to concentrate or organize thoughts & work, forgetting assignments, etc. If you don't agree with the school, ask for a second opinion to get an outside assessment done. In fact ask anyway, unless of course the first shows something that could be the reasons for the grades, etc. Outside assessments will get you detailed recommendations for accommodations and could start the process for an IEP or at least a 504 plan.

    It sounds to me like he's just needing something in the way of help.

    I hope you find something to help him. If there is something going on and it's not addressed, not only could it affect his success but it will also affect his self esteem and behavior.
     
  16. raebates

    raebates Legend Member Staff Member

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    No advice to give, just a big <<<HUG>>>.
     
    Apr 4, 2009
    #16
  17. krzymomof4

    krzymomof4 Veteran Member Silver Member

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    I have one about that age. We have had discussions with him about the future. What he wants to be, if he wants to go to college, etc. If you approach it from "if you want to do x, you need to do y" standpoint he may get the picture. My son did. He wants to go to college and I told him that even though he is only in 6th grade, his study habits and the work he does now will help motivate him to get to achieve his goals.
     
    Apr 4, 2009
    #17
  18. chefsteph07

    chefsteph07 Legacy Member

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    We've been talking about this for about a year with him, he's got only FIVE small years before he is to make something of himself. We've asked him what he wants to be. He wants to be an ENGINEER like his father. Well, he isn't goig to make it if he can't get past his 10th grade graduation tests. He KNOWS that he needs to improve, he just isn't willing to put the effort into it. I don't know if he is just more immature than other kids his age, or what. We've asked him what HE needs to succeed. We told him we would get him a tutor. His mother got him a tutor from Christmas till now, and nothing has changed. He has TWO study halls during the day at school. Like I said, the content is not the issue, it's the fact that he just won't turn anything in.
     
    Apr 5, 2009
    #18
  19. troggt

    troggt Member

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    If he doesn't qualify for an IEP, ask about 504. WHat does the court order say as far as who has primary custody. Maybe let him know if he can't keep up his grades at his mom's, he'll have to come back to dad's.
     
    Apr 5, 2009
    #19
  20. chefsteph07

    chefsteph07 Legacy Member

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    Well, the court order was drawn before he even entered school, when he was like 4 yrs old. There was no mention of if he has poor grades.
     
    Apr 5, 2009
    #20
  21. candiejayne

    candiejayne Veteran Member

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    I think Tara means that if the custody orders give Dad primary custody, tell your SS that if his grades don't get better then he is going to have to move back to dads. I don't know if I agree with that though. It could play out multiple ways, and not all for the good.

    I think a lot of it has to do with his mothers attitude. I went back and re-read what you wrote. She has the "I don't care" attitude towards you, so if she doesn't care, why should he.

    I know in my case that things would be much easier eventually if he was not allowed to see his mother, but although she is no good, it's his mom and he loves her. Everytime he goes to see her, he doesn't have any rules, she doesn't care what he does, and he comes back a mega brat! It then falls back on to me because I'm the easiest to take it out on. He want's to go to his mom's for easter, and I'm just dreading the couple weeks following it. Everytime we get him readjusted it's time for another visit. I dunno, I'm at the same loss you are....

    On a side note, last night I sent him to bed, and he voluntarily gave me a hug. That is the first time in 13 months that he has initiated it. I'm still beeming with a smile from that one!
     
    Apr 5, 2009
    #21
  22. Aunticooks

    Aunticooks Member Gold Member

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    We had some problems with my stepson when he was that age. He would do his homework and then not turn it in. He lives with his mom on the east coast, we are in WI and on a visit out there we took him to walmart and spent $45 on different folders and binders asking him what items he thought he would be able to use to make it easier for him to get his homework to school and turned in. That didn't really turn him around, but we talked with him and let him be a part of the solving and not getting upset. We later drove past a farm and told him that if he didn't do better in school then he should consider the fact that he won't be able to get into college and he may very well be shoveling #$%# at a farm. Noting that there was nothing wrong with doing an honest days work and that lots of people work on a farm, but that that was not the job he wanted. It did kind of open his eyes and re focus on the fact that even in jr high you need to accelerate and TRY in school. Happy to report he was accepted to UConn his first choice of colleges. Hope this helps.
     
    Apr 5, 2009
    #22
  23. KellyTheChef

    KellyTheChef Legend Member Gold Member

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    This was my first thought. What is his relationship like with his mom? Who else (boyfriend, other kids, etc.) is in the picture at her house? Does MOM punish him and then FOLLOW through at her house? I don't think you guys should be the only ones punishing him on your weekends. (Now, if he is grounded at his mom's house...I DO agree that you guys need to "follow through" and continue the grounding at your house...but 99% of his discipline needs to be coming from where he is spending 99% of his time!)

    Since it doesn't sound like it's a medical issue, or an issue that a therapist needs to look at, I can guarantee if she slowly took EVERYTHING away from him, he will change his tune. (As in...any missing assignments this week, no computer/gaming. Missing assignments the following week, no computer/gaming/TV/phone. Following week no computer/gaming/TV/phone/going anywhere or having anyone at the house. Following week take all the above away and take away ALL of his toys. Leave him in a bedroom with nothing but a mattress and a blanket and he will get the idea.

    Sorry if this is a repeat...I have not had a chance to read all of the responses!
     
  24. chefsteph07

    chefsteph07 Legacy Member

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    His mother has primary custoday, to answer a previous question. He only lived w/ us for those couple years because his mother was "getting her act together", as I like to call it. He never wanted to really live w/ us, it was just how things happened, and he had been pretty much begging to go back with her, we felt things were appropriate at that time for him to live w/ her again. She has a fiance, they are getting married in June, he's been in the picture about 3 yrs and he's ok with us. (meaning, my husband approves of him being a male figure for his son when he isn't around)...

    After having him here for the weekend, I had a talk with him yesterday morning. I asked him what is going on. I mean, REALLY going on. I am tired of "I don't knows" and silence when I ask him. He told me that he is unorganized, can't get it together, not used to having all different teachers and classes for each subject, etc. I also asked him how things were different over there than here and he told me that he feels there is alot less involvement with him over there than here. (I told him no kidding, I can tell that by looking at his grades) I asked where the involvement w/ them is lacking and he said that he feels they are more into themselves than concerned w/ him. Now, keep in mind that her fiancee has never had a kid before, and his mom has been kid free for 4 yrs until now, so I'm not too surprised. I asked him if he wanted to come back here and he said that he likes it there and he's not ready to go back. He has a TV in his room there, his own laptop, cellphone, etc. All things he didn't have here so I can see why he doesn't want to come back. I told him that just because something makes him HAPPY or FEEL BETTER does not mean that it makes it BETTER for HIM. Then I just told him that he had a choice to get his head on straight over there in order to stay there, because we are not going to allow him to fail. So, that's where we left it. And I think he knows what I am talking about. If he wants to continue to stay there w/out us interfering he's going to have to do better in school or else he and his mother are not going to have any other options but to have him come back here where dh and I have to be on top of him every minute.
     
    Apr 6, 2009
    #24
  25. candiejayne

    candiejayne Veteran Member

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    I'm glad he opened up and talked to you. That right there says a lot in my opinion. Maybe now he just needs some help on learning how to be organized. Good luck with things.
     
    Apr 6, 2009
    #25
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