Who'd have thunk giving my kid a book would backfire?

Discussion in 'General Parenting' started by gcvmom, Jan 5, 2010.

  1. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    I got all the kids a new book for Christmas. easy child is a voracious reader -- I gave her one of the new Warriors books she's now hooked on. Finished it Christmas day.

    difficult child 2 hates to read fiction. He'd rather read a geology field guide. Or an encyclopedia. So I got him The Lightning Thief, hoping against all hope that he'd at least TRY to read it. Well, he LOVES it and has been reading a little bit each day. He will definitely finish it, and is already asking about the other books in the series.

    And then there's difficult child 1. I got him Stormbreaker, the first in the Anthony Horowitz series. He finally started reading it today. That's the good part. The bad part is that he blew off all his homework tonight and kept reading it after he got home from lacrosse at 5pm. :ashamed: This is the kid who has clawed his way up from D's and F's to C's and a D in those same classes. I tried to remain calm tonight as I reminded him that he has NO wiggle room at this point in the semester, and choosing to ignore his responsibilities because of this book may prove to have a heavy price.

    I also warned him that although he doesn't have zero period tomorrow, he's getting up as if he did so he can work on the assignments he DIDN'T do tonight. There's not much more I can do to help him.

    We took away the video games and TV, yet he's still managing to find a way to get side tracked from what he's SUPPOSED to be doing. :faint:
  2. LittleDudesMom

    LittleDudesMom Well-Known Member Staff Member

    He wouldn't be a difficult child if he didn't get sidetracked when doing what he is SUPPOSED to do! Better obsessed with a book than a girl or a video game!!!!!!!!!!

    But you know, seriously, there are times I start reading a book and get so into it, that I forego some of my responsibilities to keep reading. So I can relate to that. But I do understand your concern because of where he stands with his grades.

  3. tiredmommy

    tiredmommy Site Moderator

  4. Mattsmom277

    Mattsmom277 Active Member

    I'm a rapid, constant, obsessive reader. If i get really into a book, I can't sleep until I finish it or I'll fall asleep with my book still open in my hands. Its a blessing and a curse. I've missed getting dinner ready on time literally hundreds (thousands?) of times. I've cancelled plans to stay on the couch with a book. It probably isn't healthy to miss things I should be doing, yet reading has been my biggest joy in life. In my difficult child teen years, books saved me. I slacked at school at times. I escaped my own screw ups and problems in the world of make believe. It was life saving to me. I am sure though that my foster parents wanted to choke me. Get me to put down the fiction and pick up a text book. As an adult, it remains one of my biggest joys in life to read. I agree with poster that said better a book than video games etc. Yet totally understand your frustration about school work.
  5. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    I agree with the others- and I like the way you handled it. I think gett ing up and working on the HW before school was appropriate in this situation.

    I'm also wondering what that book is about since my difficult child isn't into reading either, but will get into certain magazines (about animals, outdoors stuff, etc), Guinness World Book of Records, and some reference books.
  6. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    klmno, it's an action/mystery about a teenage character named Alex Rider. In the first book, he finds out his dead uncle was a secret agent and he gets drafted to finish the mission.
  7. klmno

    klmno Active Member

    Thanks! That sounds like something my son might like. I wish he would get into reading more- but I can see him doing the same thing as far as getting caught up in any book he likes, and yep, I do it too sometimes.
  8. DazedandConfused

    DazedandConfused Active Member

    Being a children's librarian, I think it's FANTASTIC that he loves the book. It's a gripping, fast paced, and fantastic series that gets can get kids hooked from the first chapter. Lots of cool gadgets (Gameboy that can see through walls) that really appeal of boys. I read the first two books in the series, I would have read the whole series if I had the time.

    But reading to avoid homework? Not okay.

    For a while, I had Daughter do her homework in the morning before school because by the end of the day, she was wiped out. Son can go either way, but I really haven't had battles with him. He gripes sometimes, but doesn't like getting bad grades (unless he doesn't like the teacher).

    It is a dilemma because I read to avoid things I find unpleasant too. So, I break it down into small bits. But, I know with a difficult child, just getting them started can be such a monumental struggle.
  9. DaisyFace

    DaisyFace Love me...Love me not


    Since he is so hooked on this story....can you use the second book in the series as a "prize" for getting good grades in the next quarter? Might be a good incentive...
  10. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Oh, I know. The reading is great, but not at the expense of the rest of his life. ;)

    DF, the carrot for him to pull his grades up is earning back his TV and video games, plus being able to stay on the lacrosse team. He's not on academic probation yet, but we've spun this so that he thinks he risks getting booted off the team (and having to repay us the $400 in fees, not to mention equipment).

    If things go well, I'm going to throw in the next book as an "atta-boy" :) I don't usually have trouble getting him to read in general... just in finding a "next" great thing once he's finished something. Sometimes he has a hard time moving on from a series. For example, in middle school, he started reading the Twilight series. Once he finished it, he went back and read it again. And again. And again. And again. I finally took all the books from him and put them away where he couldn't find them for a while. Probably something to do with the Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD)-ish behavior he exhibits from time to time...
  11. Marguerite

    Marguerite Active Member

    It's good for kids to read. Other obligations need to be met, but the aim of school is education, and I strongly believe books help a lot there. I do think you did the right thing telling him he would have to get up early to do his homework. I'm wondering - Could you involve this book in his homework somehow? Maybe arrange with his teacher for him to do some sort of book review on the book once he's read it? Maybe he could talk to the class about it instead of handing in a written review. It would help him connect reading to schoolwork, it would also perhaps encourage other kids in his class to read it too (and as I said, anything that boosts reading). It could become a win-win.

    And for another book that I think could appeal - this was used in difficult child 1's final year for the NOT top-of-the-grade English classes, it's an easy book to read with subtle hidden meanings underneath the eminently readable, valuable messages in there. It's also a brilliant example of what I call "efficient" writing. No wasted words, it all is needed. No waffle factor. The story moves fast.
    It's called "Raw" and it's by Scott Monk. He was little more than a boy when he wrote it, and it quickly became a recommended text for senior high school students (from age 15-17 at our schools). However, it would appeal to younger kids too, although some of the content is, well, raw. The story is about Brett, a boy who is going bad but who gets one last chance. He gets sent to the Farm, like a reform school but set on a farm in the country where other boys like him are working out the mess their own lives are in. As we see the other boys through Brett's eyes, we see the possibilities Brett could become as well as the boy Brett was in the past. What path will he take? What choices will he make? Fairly early in the book Brett is told, "Where your life goes from here is up to you. Your choices. Nobody is doing this to you. You are doing this to yourself. You choose; but you wear the consequences of your choices."

    The police aren't painted too well, but not overly badly either. At the end of the book it is still a bit up in the air - Brett has made some good choices and some bad choices, but you sense that overall, he now has reasons to face up to what he has done and to deal responsibly with it.

    It's very readable. Even though it was a set school text, difficult child 1 really enjoyed it. He also "got it" (with only a little help) which was remarkable considering his Asperger's.

    I always make a point of reading the books my kids are reading. That meant I read all the Babysitters Club books (as well as Babysitters Little Sister), the Ann Rice books, absolutely everything. It gave me some openings to talk to the kids about the issues uncovered in what they read. I remember discussing some Christopher Pike books with easy child, I was a bit critical of a few of them because I didn't think he "played fair" with his readers. Agatha Christie was another author who often didn't play fair - Ellery Queen was one author who was scrupulously careful about the need to not cheat the readers, I highly recommend Ellery Queen as well as Isaac Asmov to kids to read, especially the mysteries, in order to have some fun as well as exercise the brain.

    Once you get your kid to read, it can open more doors. easy child 'discovered' Ben Elton's writing (he's also known for being one of the writers on various British comedy series, such as Blackadder) but is now deeply immersed in historical novels by Colleen McCullough. It's where we want our kids' reading to take them.

  12. gcvmom

    gcvmom Here we go again!

    Marg, it's late in the semester and I don't know really if he can get credit at this point for some kind of project related to this book. He's in what you would call senior high now. And it's not just the language arts class where he's dropping the ball, it's everywhere, with the exception of Algebra (and P.E.), which is a repeated course from last year, so I'd EXPECT him to do well in this. His problem is he just does not turn in the work on time, or doesn't do it at all (like last night).

    I did get him up early this morning to work on the assignments. He finished his math work and got part of his language arts finished. But no science. His web design class that he's behind in can only be worked on in class. He said he'd do more of the work at the morning break (which is in between his science and language arts classes).

    Now this is another thing that just gets me: I asked him if he finished his language arts assignment (which was nearly done at home) at the break (thinking that this was the next class he had after break and should have been a cinch to finish). Nope. He worked on his science homework. :hammer: Uh, that class was already over, and the assignment is now late so why work on that when you have an almost-complete assignment for your NEXT class and a chance to turn it in ON TIME if you just focus on THAT one???!!!

    Well, he didn't think of that. :slap:

    There are surprises around every dang corner, aren't there?
  13. TerryJ2

    TerryJ2 Well-Known Member

    GCVMom, good choice of books! Sounds like something I would like to read.

    Too funny that he's avoiding homework because of the book now, but as LDM pointed out, he wouldn't be a difficult child if he didn't do that!

    I like DaisyFace's idea of using the next book as a reward for homework accomplishment or good grades.