Speaking of letting down your guard...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by gcvmom, Feb 10, 2009.

  1. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I turn my attention away from difficult child school work (doesn't seem to matter if it's difficult child 1 or difficult child 2) and everything just falls apart.

    difficult child 1 is getting an F in two core classes and a D- in another. He either is not doing the work or not studying for the tests or just not getting the material. He started going to an after-school study session with his algebra teacher last week, and was supposed to go today, but for some reason he blew it off! Meanwhile, I'm sitting at school at 4:30 waiting for him to come out and at 4:45 I finally called the teacher and he said he never showed up.

    difficult child 2 has concentration problems that we still haven't figured out, too. His work is very inconsistent. I'm finding some nights he is able to really do an effective job on his homework only after 8:30pm! Why is that? Something about his medication? I just don't know and really need to think about this pattern to understand it better...

    And tonight he had a concert for band (he plays trumpet). We could see him sitting in the very back, CHEWING GUM! Occasionally he would put the instrument up to his mouth so it looked like he was playing. When we asked him about it afterwards, he got very defensive and said it's hard for him to follow along and keep up.

    Now I'm wondering if I should just let him drop the instrument and take vocal next year like he's asking. He won't practice, and I feel like I'm wasting money on his rental. And yet I think it's very important that he have this experience with performing arts. Am I expecting too much? It's so hard to know.
  2. crazymama30

    crazymama30 Active Member

    I had a similiar problem with difficult child at the beginning of the school year. I was off my game, and he just fell apart too. It was not so good.

    As for the performing arts, if he is not participating then I don't know if I would bother. He is old enough to work at it if he likes it. But then it is hard to say and I do not know your child. With my difficult child he will complain and throw a fit about something, but if I make him go he participates and has a good time.

    The idea of my difficult child playing a trumpet terrifies me. You are a brave, brave woman.
  3. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Oh gosh -- it's no worse than the VIOLIN that he tried in 4th grade! :faint:

    He really is wanting to try vocal, so maybe I just let him call the shots with this and let the instrument go. He's got so many other challenges just getting work done I don't have the energy to fight over this, too.
  4. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I'd let the trumpet go if he doesn't want to do it. If he's just lacking confidence, that's a different story. As far as homework and grades- I wish I had an answer. These boys just don't seem to have schoolwork at the top of the priority list (that goes for mine, too- not just your boys). It sounds like you may need to dangle some more carrots. LOL!
  5. Janna

    Janna New Member

    J started cello last year. That thing is expensive! Now, he's not a difficult child, to me, but he has ADHD/attention issues.

    He got bored with it early this year. This would be his 2nd year, and he's advanced. He wants to move on to guitar.

    I told him he needs to show me he can stick with something. Now, I'm not forcing him. But what I told him is if he can make it through 6th grade with the cello (he's in 5th now) we'd do the guitar. He was OK with that. I don't want him to have to be forced to do what he doesn't want to do, but at the same time, he needs to follow through with what he wants to do. LOL! Does that even make sense?

    But, again, if it was D - I'd probably just drop it to save me the headaches.

    Wish I had school advice. I dunno - it stinks. Can they do it right when they get home? That's our rule here. NO TV, video games, etc until homework's done. They've gotten in the habit of doing it as soon as they walk in the door.
  6. bran155

    bran155 Guest

    I am iffy on this. I have struggled with this sort of thing with both my easy child and difficult child over the years. I never wanted to send the message that it is okay to quite. I want my kids to absolutely finish what they start. But these extra curricular activities are supposed to be fun for the kids and if they aren't enjoying it then why force them to do it. Especially if it costs money!!! I don't know what the right thing to do is.

    My easy child son loves to bowl. He joined a children's bowling league with my nephew. He lasted all of last year. This year we paid for it and a couple of weeks into it he no longer wanted to do it. We were forcing him for a while. He fought me every Sat. morning not to go. He cried, he just didn't want to do it. He is painfully shy and doesn't like to be around big crowds. That was his reason for not wanting to do it anymore. He get's very nervous. Which is exactly the reason we wanted him to continue. We thought he needed to have this experience. We wanted to him to conquer his fears. But it was no longer fun for him. And I felt horrible every weekend, he just hated it. So we finally let him quit. We take him bowling a couple of times a month because he really does enjoy it, and he is quite good at it for an 8 year old!!! I don't know if we did the right thing by letting him quit????

    Just thought I would share that with you. :)
  7. smallworld

    smallworld Moderator

    J's psychiatrist says that the sedation associated with Seroquel can result in slowed cognitive processing. What you may be seeing at 8:30 pm is your difficult child 2's afternoon dose of Seroquel wearing off and he is more "available" to work.

    We have counteracted J's Seroquel sedation (he takes 600 mg at night) by recently adding 150 mg Wellbutrin XL, stimulatory antidepressant known to help with ADHD sx. I was worried that Wellbutrin would send J into mania, but it's helped a lot with alertness and focus at school. Wellbutrin is the least likely of any AD to induce mania in patients with BiPolar (BP). I still wonder if difficult child 2 would benefit from re-trialing Lamictal and lowering his Seroquel dose.

    In terms of playing a musical instrument, I think you should listen to difficult child 2 and let him do what he wants. It's optional, unlike school. M recently dropped orchestra at school (she plays cello) because she was having a hard time learning the pieces. It was frustrating to her and making her more anxious. If difficult child 2 does Chorus, that's still experience with the performing arts.

    I don't know what to say about difficult child 1, except he sounds an awful lot like J. Are you sure there's not more of a mood piece going on? What's going on with his IEP process?
  8. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Okay, I think the advice to let the trumpet issue go is good. He can finish out the year and then we'll return the dang thing and move on. I'll be glad to get rid of it.

    SW, something else I realized is that he had basketball practice yesterday afternoon, and he's had good focus on other nights after practice as well. Perhaps the exercise has something to do with it?

    I can understand the Seroquel sedation. I do notice it's much better than what he experienced on Depakote. I'm going to call the psychiatrist and ask about an alternative to the low-dose stimulant for helping with his attention. The amount I'm giving him doesn't do enough, in my opinion, to help with this. And even a slight increase only makes him more talkative and wired, which just gets him into trouble.

    As for difficult child 1, I'm working on getting a neuropsychologist evaluation for him, but they're booked until April. He has major anxiety, so I already know that's working against him. And although he was doing better about eating lunch, I think he's slacked off the last week or so, which doesn't help his brain at all.

    This level of vigilance is draining on me. I know it has to be done and it's a balancing act between shifting responsibility over to the difficult child and making sure they don't hang themself with the rope they're given.

    I'll let you know what the psychiatrist says about the medications...