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concernedparent
concernedpa... asks:
Q:

What do a do about a new girl in my son's class that's causing a lot of distraction?

According to the students in my sons' science class there is a new student that is causing quite the distraction from classroom cirriculum.  The kids told me this past friday that the girl was brought to the office and the police were called because she was found to have a "glass blown pipe" with residue in it.  Also cigarettes were found in her back pack.  I am very concerned about the impact this girl is having on my son.  As well as the other students in his class.  She wears a lot of make up , dresses very provocatively , is very negative but seems to be very popular with other students.  The last couple of nights I woke to check on my son due to his change in focus and was shocked that he was on the phone with this girl.  It was 4:00a. in the morning.  My sons' response to my concern was 'her mother let's her do whatever she wants and her grades are not even close to mine'.  I realize my son is responsible for his own behavior however is it fair that this outside influence have such a negative impact on him when she doesn't even qualify to go to school in our district?  There was a parent / teacher conference a couple weeks back to discuss this girls behavior and I am told that it was ineffective.  How can we expect our children to practice honesty when their parents are making them lie?  If her mother uses drugs how can we instill in our own children that drugs will negatively impact every aspect of their lives.  Please help me to help my son get back on track.
In Topics: Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago

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Expert

lkauffman
Oct 12, 2007
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What the Expert Says:

Hi Sally,

This is, understandably, a very challenging time for you and your family. I imagine it has been tremendously worrisome to watch your son deviate from a life of top grades and good choices. It is tempting to focus your efforts on the school and the administrator's inability to manage the new student, but I would encourage you to concentrate on your son and his behavior. You can, of course, effect change in your school, but you're likely to have greater influence with your son.

First, it might be worthwhile to talk with your son about your comfort level with regard to his new friendship. It sounds like you have already done a wonderful job of getting the dialogue going in this direction, but you might consider taking a more directive approach with him. For instance, if you are uncomfortable with him being on the phone late at night, you might want to set some limits (with consequences) on this. It is reasonable to ask this of him given that he needs to be well rested to manage the school day. Reassure him that you do not intend to be "mean", but you believe that you must do what is in his best interest.

Second, you might want to think about "why now"? That is, if your son has been on a positive course until now, perhaps something has changed to weaken his ability to make good choices. Have there been any changes in his life? If not, he may just be struggling with the transition into adolescence. But, this situation indicates that he is somewhat vulnerable to poor decision-making, and if it wasn't this girl, it is likely there would be other peers who could negatively influence him. So, you might want to think about an overall approach of helping your son think through the challenges of adolescence.

Just a few thoughts. I look forward to hearing the perspectives of others. Good luck!

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Additional Answers (2)

fritzr
fritzr writes:
This article might be of help: <br />
<a href="http://www.education.com/magazine/article/Teen_Friend_Bad_Influence/">http://www.education.com/magazine/article/Teen_Friend_Bad_Influence/</a>
> 60 days ago

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Karenmom
Karenmom writes:
I can understand that this is something that would concern you.  However, your son will be in contact with people like this throughout his life.  Trust that you have done your best to teach your son right from wrong.  You may need to set limits by telling your son that it is not respectful to be on the phone with a girl at 4AM.  You can not control the actions of this other child but you can encourage your son to make good decisions.

My suggestion is to continue doing what you've always done, which made your son such a well behaved student and not concern yourself with this other student.  The more you speak negatively about this girl, the more attracted he will become to her.  It's best to simply focus on your son and allow the school to handle the poor judgment of the other child.

Best wishes!
> 60 days ago

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