difficult child's difficult child'ness pays off!


Active Member
Shortly after difficult child moved back home he recieved his report card. First time ever that he had failing grades. He had no behaviour issues at school (first time since grade 1, he is now in grade 8!) which was great. But I was heartbroken to see him at risk to have to repeat grade 8 when he is more than capable of doing the work, in fact KNOWS most of what has been taught. He just hates homework, will do as minimal as possible on a assignment in order to get it over with, won't take after school time to study etc.
So when he moved home we made a committment that he would get his grades up. That he would give no homework outbursts etc. So far so good. He however was very frustrated with a recent essay assignment. The problem wasn't writing the essay, he became overly frustrated trying to find a topic he was interested and then narrowing it down to a particular area of the topic. They were allowed to choose anything at all they wanted as a topic. I think this was too wide of a range for difficult child, for example had it been "write an essay on the habits of a mammal" or something he would have been fine picking just the animal because he would have known to write about the habits of his chosen animal.
So we came closest yet since him moving home to him losing it over school work. I could visibly see him gritting teeth, squeezing eyes shut, clenching his hands in frustation to avoid blowing up.
After several days tip toeing around this, I said how about homework for the topic? You get frustrated by homework and you have often said it is too much for students. Back it up, look up studies on negative effects of homework and ideas on how to minimize homework while not negatively affecting students academics etc.
So he did!!! He did more words than were asked for, broke it down into proper structure and form, and made sure that it flowed properly since half the grade was based on oral presentation to the class.
I worried a bit if the teacher would see the topic as disrespectful. It turned out okay.
I was out when difficult child got home for lunch break today and when I came in, all 5'11 of him was bouncing (ala Tigger from winnie the pooh) and beaming saying "I got 98! I got 98!". I had no clue he would be graded for it today as he only presented this morning, so I grinned and hugged him, said congratulations, then asked 98 on what?
He said that his teacher upon hearing his essay topic started to express some anger at him for his topic choice, I am guessing she figured that difficult child being difficult child, this was going to be a mouthy essay. He said he asked her to wait and listen to his presentation because he had "scientific data to support my opinion". :rofl:

So he presented to the class and at the end, the kids who really don't involve themselves with difficult child (he is a loner this year by choice) all stood up and wildly applauded and hooted and hollered. At which point the class was allowed to give difficult child a grade. Half the grade was from the class, the other half from the teacher. The class gave him 100% of their half of the grade. Then the teacher said she owed him an apology, that although she differs in opinion, he laid out alot of information to support HIS opinion and she shouldn't have been so quick to judge, then she graded him and in total he got 98% !!
So difficult child was a difficult child about his homework. I helped him realize he could be serious in his perspective regarding homework instead of being mouthy and rude about homework, he could put his point accross on the topic to his teachers while also gaining a few popularity points in class with the other students. I am sure there is some laughter in the staff room at the school today :wink:

So .... hooray for difficult child!!! He also made the basketball, full well knowing he is off the team the very instant that he acts out in any manner whatsoever. He is doing great!!!!



Well-Known Member
Mattsmom, that's brilliant! Kudos to you for suggesting that topic, and double kudos to difficult child for carrying it out and carrying it off so well. And kudos too to the teacher for apologising and behaving so well about it!

Way to go, warrior mom!

Love, Esther


New Member
It's amazing how well they can do on something that they really feel strongly about. I think it actually causes them to take an interest and put more effort into it.

Good for him!!!!


New Member
I wish there was a happy crying smiley as this news brought tears to my eyes.

Way to go!!!!! :bravo: :bravo: :bravo: :bravo: :bravo:

And good for the teacher too! It takes a big person to admit that they were wrong and even bigger when they apologize.

That is great for difficult child! On everything, he's doing a great job!


Active Member
thank you all :smile:

On a ironic note, no sooner had I posted this thread and difficult child's music teacher called. Not 10 seconds into that call my call waiting beep. How on earth does the schools number show on display when I am ON THE PHONE WITH THE SCHOOL? You might wonder too! Well because it was difficult child's homeroom teacher! Lovely asking homeroom teacher to phone back in 10 minutes because I have other teacher on the line (GRR).
The good news is it was nothing behavioural (phew/whew!!!). The bad news is they are both upset about difficult child not following through with homework, turns out he is once again hiding assignments from me. Of course he knows if I know about it, I will expect and ensure it is completed on time and up to the standard for his grade level. It hasnt' gone too far because both teachers were calling today to "nip it in the bud".
After basketball practice when difficult child came home I had to talk to him about it. His negative attitude re: school came out not in mouthiness but in scathingly bad attitude about school. We came close to our first return of butting heads since his return. He went to leave the room because he was frustrated and didn't want to deal. I had no problem with him calming down before we finished the talk, but refused to allow him to leave the room on a nasty tone of voice with me. I told him it was completely unacceptable to speak to me in that way and one thing I KNOW he has learned the past nearly 2 years living away, is that Mama ain't putting up with no garbage like that!
So he returned to sofa, sat down, said I am sorry for being rude mom, can I please go to my room until I am ready to talk more about this? I said thank you and yes. He returned about 20 minutes later and we talked about his work. He was ready to listen. I don't know that it will do much good in terms of him getting better about homework, but we talked about it at least.
*sigh* So one point for the essay completion and grade. Minus 2 points for 2 phone calls re: homework within 10 seconds of each other.
Thank god his behaviour is not out of control. Teen angst I can handle, old difficult child I could not.



New Member

Wow, what an upbeat post. That is awesome. A tiny shame about the timing of the teacher calls, he seems to be doing so much more positive then negative.


New Member

I read the first bit about the homework essay with a big, toothy grin on my face. How great!! Probably will turn out to be the one writing assignment difficult child remembers well into the future. Good for him!!

I also can truly appreciate the fact that the teacher heard him out. I would have more likely suspected she would have shut him down before hearing the whole presentation. Gotta give her credit for that!

And, if the essay topic opens up some of your difficult child's classmates' eyes - all the better!

As for the school calls - sigh - par for the course, I guess - but it sounds like difficult child took a self-time-out and came back ready to talk - that sounds like real progress.

All in all, a very positive sounding situation!

timer lady

Queen of Hearts

All in all it sounds like difficult child has matured. Hiding assignments could be overcome if teachers were willing to email you daily or weekly what is expected so you can support & encourage difficult child with his homework.

That worked for kt - not so much for wm.

Thanks for sharing such a positive update with us. It warms my heart - you must be beaming. :bravo:


New Member
:bravo: Congradulations and good topic choice Melissa. :smile: You helped your son overcome that frustration he was feeling. I feel it was a terrific topic to do an essay about. I'm glad his teacher apologized for jumping the gun, so to speak. Once again congrads to you both.