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Parent asks: How to make my teen son understand that passing in school means a lot for his life?

"My son is 15 and in the 7th grade for the 2nd time. And maybe for the 3rd time. He won't do his work and has many f's. He is failing 4 classes. I don't know how to make him understand that passing in school means a lot for his life. His dad lets him do anything he wants and when he comes home to me after being at his dads, he does not understand why he can't run all day. Anyone have any ideas for me????? I'm lost and don't know what to do with my teen."

Above question asked by an Education.com visitor after reading the article, "Is Your Teen Typical, or Troubled?":
http://www.education.com/magazine/article/Ed_Yo...
In Topics: School and Academics, Teen issues, Discipline and behavior challenges
> 60 days ago

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Expert

Boys Town National Hotline
May 19, 2009
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What the Expert Says:

I understand how frustrating it must be trying to get your son to understand that what he does right now in school will affect him for the rest of his life. It can be very difficult to get a teen motivated in their school work when they are more interested in doing other things such as hanging out with friends or playing video games. It must be especially difficult for you to motivate your son if his father doesn't seem to be on the same page as you.

There are a few things to consider when deciding how to deal with your son. First, it's very important that he is getting the same message from both parents regarding academic issues. It sounds like a big part of the problem could be that your son is getting the message that school is very important from you and the complete opposite from his father. It takes many people to encourage a youth to excel at something, but only one person to discourage them. Father's tend to be a large influence on their kids and your son's behavior could be a reflection of the lack of concern on his father's part. The frustrating part is that you can't change the way his father reacts so it's up to you to encourage and praise him for the effort he is putting in.  Continue to give negative consequences for his failed behavior.  Restrict him from doing extra things until he has his school work done each day.

Secondly, because he has continually failed the same material, have you had him tested for a possible learning disability? If not, make an appointment with the school or district psychologist to get educational testing done. Next, have you tried talking with the school counselor about possible ways to get your son more engaged in his school work inside and outside of school?

Lastly, sit down with your son and ask him if any other things are going on that may be causing him to do poorly in school. Maybe something happened that he is embarrassed or afraid to talk about that's affecting his ability to focus.

We would love to talk to you more about your son's situation. It may be a good idea for you to call our 24/7 parent crisis line to talk with one of our counselors. We can be reached by calling 1-800-448-3000.

Boys Town National Hotline
1-800-448-3000


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Additional Answers (5)

Loddie1
Loddie1 , Parent writes:
Hello,
You may want to try homeschooling and then do the "unschool" method with him. Some kids just never get around to accepting school and its purpose. Unschooling would allow him to school at home and out in the areas/fields he is interested in. Also, depression should be looked at. Has something happened?
> 60 days ago

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Edwards5
Edwards5 , Caregiver, Parent writes:
The thing to know here is all kids try to play both parents. You and his dad my not be together but you still have a kid to raze together. You both need to sit down and talk and try to get on the same page about what is best for your son. Even if you don't like each other if he get time with the both of you that means you both love him right. You and his dad have to play grown ups for the sake of your kids and stick to what ever it is you both work out. If he does something wrong it should not matter what house he is at he should have to stick to the punishment at both houses. If bed time is 10 it should be 10 at both houses. You 2 may not love each other any more but if you both love your son you have to grow up and work together on this. Good LUCK
> 60 days ago

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MimiR
MimiR writes:
Make him get a job and pay for all of his needs over the summer--rent, transportation, etc.

And have a little talk with his father and/or the judge.
> 60 days ago

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Annonomous
Annonomous writes:
I don't know if this will help but I was having the same problem with my 13 year old because he had a friend that wasn't good for him. His dad also didn't provide much guidance. What I did was make dad leave, and then I won't let my son run with the neighborhood kid. He can have other friends, but not this kid. I made him get a hair cut and I make sure I stay in contact with the teachers about what homework he's turning in. Then, I try to have special things to do on the weekends, so he's not in the same neighborhood with the kid. My son so far is getting A's in everything and before it was C's, D's and F's. This kid just was able to pull him off course.
I would look for the underlying cause and address that.
> 60 days ago

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Kathlink
Kathlink writes:
I came across this post, and I too am in the same situation.I have a teen son,15, who never wants to go to school and is failing everything..I am also dealing with the fact that when he is at his fathers house, who also does not care if he goes to school or not, he is allowed to stay home when he wants. I feel we are both dealing with similar situations. I see this was posted some time ago, but I am wondering if you have discovered any ways of dealing with your situation. I try all the basic things such as NO COMPUTER if you stay home or NO XBOX when you stay home..It is a constant fight with him but I refuse to take NO for an answer. I just want you to know that you are not the only one dealing with this, and I am hear if you need to talk about it...Good luck!!!!
> 60 days ago

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