Up and down and up and down and ...

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by TerryJ2, Jan 11, 2011.

  1. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    After weeks of worrying about difficult child's grades, and watching his anxiety and anger ramp up (watching is an understatement. Being a victim of it is more correct), we finally had the teachers' conference.

    husband, difficult child and I met with-the advisor/counselor, the math teacher, and the history teacher.

    We got the same story we'd been getting for years from all of the schools that difficult child has attended: Your son is intelligent and capable. Once he decides to give it his best, he will take off. But right now he has no initiative. No drive. He seems happy to get by with-C's.
    Also, he does well in school, but once he shuts the book, it's over for the day, and there is no going back home and doing projects or homework. For whatever reason, he seems to have that in his head.
    So disheartening.

    Where's the magic pill or the electrode to stimulate the part of the brain that makes people strive for things?

    All 3 of the teachers repeated, for the benefit of difficult child, how smart he is and how he could be an A student.

    difficult child stays after for homework help on Tue and Thursdays, so he had half of his homework done by the time he got home today.
    We hid the TV cord (which is also the way he accesses his PS2) and told him he could have it when he finished his homework. While he worked, I made dinner (he refused to take lunch to school so he was starving). He finished just as dinner was ready, so I told him I'd give him the cord if he held it in his lap and ate with-us. (He loves to play video games by himself and eat alone, either in front of the TV or in his room and we do not like that.)

    He agreed, ate up a storm, cleared his plate, and exited to the TV room.
    15 min. later: "Mom, are there any more pancakes?" (I made teriyaki chicken, tofu, rice, and edamae, and also blueberry gluten-free pancakes. I've learned that if I serve it all at once, he'll eat it all, but if I make him eat "normal" food only, with-the promise of a treat later, he'll get resentful and not eat at all.)

    Yes, there were more pancakes. He said "please" and "Thank you" and I wondered where this new child had come from.
    In fact, he was so nice and polite, and finished his homework so quickly and easily, I began to doubt that the last few contentious days had taken place, and to think that I was just blowing everything out of proportion, Know what I mean??

    It didn't last long. In about half an hr, he said something snotty and told me to go away.

    We have an appointment with-the therapist to discuss ongoing verbal abuse by difficult child, occasional shoulder and chest-checks, slammed doors, and other issues, to the point where we're wondering if there is an Residential Treatment Center (RTC) we can send difficult child to that we can afford ... sooner rather than later. husband and I talked last night and I told him I couldn't wait until difficult child was in HS so we could send him somewhere. husband said, "HS? I don't think I can make it through the next 6 wks!"

    (He also gave me a long overdue compliment, after yrs of his being a workaholic and thinking that I was taking things too personally, he's been more exposed to difficult child lately, and he said, "I am exhausted. All I want to do is sleep. I can't work all day and then come home to this. How do you do it?" :likeit:)

    Meanwhile, the tech ed teacher called tonight to tell me that difficult child is not failing his class. He said it's a glitch in the system and when you grade 3 or 4 students and the others haven't yet finished their projects, the computer projects the absent grade as a 0, which is an F. Sheesh! I called him b4 Christmas! And difficult child didn't argue about that class, either. He told me he hadn't finished one of his projects and that was it. Didn't care that it was an F.
    Well, between you and me and the fencepost, the tech ed teacher said it's a hands-on learning class, and the only way you can fail is to not show up. So even if difficult child does his crummiest work, he'd still squeak by with-a D. But he thinks he'll end up with-a B.

    I told difficult child, "Good news! It was a glitch in the system!" difficult child said, "I couldn't care less."

  2. Frazzledmom

    Frazzledmom Guest

    Motivation is such an impossible thing. I've worked with teenagers for 27 years and I know in my heart AND head that nothing can motivate them unless they truly want to be motivated. It's easier to accept in other kids that's for sure. When it's my own son it eats at me until I'm going crazy. We have also tried everything. He used to be motivated, to watch it disappear is so discouraging and makes me feel helpless. No advice here (accept, actually, for OTHER kids, the no screens until homework is done usually works!) just sympathy. -Lynn
  3. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

  4. barneysmom

    barneysmom Member

    Warms my heart to hear the compliment your hubby gave you. It'll probably be years before you get another (lol -- just speaking from personal experience) because those flashes of insight from husband's can be few and far between.

    Hang in there, you.

  5. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Thank you! :)
  6. nvts

    nvts Active Member

    Terry! I just got a phone call from difficult child 1's math teacher. He's in a Community Residence, so I was quite surprised to hear from her (long story short, the Teacher's Daughter is Evie's Speech Therapist - very small town!). Anyway, she went to all of the other teachers, got their buy-in and she presented the idea to difficult child 1. For every 3 days that he shows up to school and is prepared, he can earn a free homework pass for ANY subject. He can't use them to get out of projects or papers for studying for an exam, but the regular homework is carte blanche.

    Maybe something like that would help difficult child? It puts HIM in the drivers seat (which is clearly what he wants).

    I'll talk to you later about the Community Residence...I'm wiped out and need to hit the pit!


  7. susiestar

    susiestar Roll With It

    The good news is that difficult child isn't refusing to do any work at all in school, and hasn't assaulted any of the other kids!

    See, now what you have is still bad, but it also shows maybe a glimmer of hope? Yeah, small comfort, I know. I was trying though, lol.

    I am sorry he isn't motivated. You simply cannot make homework and grades motivate him. They just won't at this point. I wish I could say why, or how to change it (wouldn't I be the millionaire for the book I would write then, lol!) but I don't think you can. All you can do is what you are, and to look for other ways/settings/placements to help him. You have worked very very hard and just think about where he would be if you had just let him do what he wanted to when he wanted to. See, all that work really HAS made a difference - regardless of how awful he is to you.

    You husband is finally seeing the reality that you deal with - I am so glad for you because it will help you stay on the same page. It is really tough when they aren't on the same page with you.

    I hope you can find a placement, because I think difficult child really needs it to help him learn and grow.
  8. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    Well, he's home "sick" today.
    He's got a stomachache and he's tired.
    He's also missing a test. Coincidence? :mornincoffee:
  9. DammitJanet

    DammitJanet Well-Known Member Staff Member

    Terry, have you guys thought about getting a bit tougher with him...ala Doug Riley? Im just afraid that as he gets older and bigger he is just going to keep running the show and you wont be able to stop him.
  10. SearchingForRainbows

    SearchingForRainbows Active Member


    Reading what you wrote about your difficult child being so bright, yet lacking motivation and refusing to do the work, sounds so much like difficult child 1. Like your difficult child, difficult child 1 did really well if he felt like it, otherwise as long as he passed he was happy. His report cards went from A's to F's depending on the subject and whether or not he liked the teacher.

    No matter how hard we tried to explain to him why grades are important, no matter what consequences there were for not turning in work, etc., difficult child 1 didn't care. Finally, we listened to his therapist and let the school handle school issues and we stuck with the ones at home. Eventually, after he graduated high school and couldn't get into the colleges of his choice, he realized he should have put more effort into his studies. Nothing like natural consequences and a healthy dose of reality, lol...!!!

    Two rules we gave difficult child 1 after he repeatedly tried to stay home by pretending to be sick was that if he was too sick to go to school then there were absolutely no electronics, period. He had to stay in his room except for meals because he needed to get lots of sleep. We also told him that if he was too sick to go to school, then he would have to be checked by his doctor. After we gave him these rules, difficult child 1 actually preferred school to staying home.

    On a brighter note, I'm really happy your husband now recognizes how hard it is to take care of your difficult child!!! Nothing works as well as putting our husband's right into the middle of the battle field so they can fully experience GFGdom at it's absolute best, lol...!!!

    Like Janet, I'm also concerned about the constant verbal abuse, etc... Believe me, they grow quickly!!! difficult child 1 was over 6' before he graduated high school. Hope the therapist appointment is helpful!!!

    Thinking of you... SFR