My son is lying about how he spends his time, and his grades are dropping. What do I do?
My son is 14 years and in the 9th grade he has been lying to me telling me he was staying after school trying out for the wresteling team and has really been spending all those extra hours at a girls house! this was about 2 months ago! this past week he signed my name to a note allowing him to leave school with this girl and also has been caught ditching school! his father spent alot of time in jail and was then shot and killed after being out for only 4 months. his grades are d's and f's and he has a i dont care attitude! i see him going down the track his father went down and it scares me! please if you have any advice it would be greatly appriciated thank you heather
You are right to be worried about your son's behavior. I wouldn't assume quite yet that he is going down the same road as his father did, but with that background it's great that you are trying to stop some of his behaviors now before things do get out of your control.
First, it would be helpful to know what types of discipline you have tried already. What did you do when you found out he forged your signature at school, or when he ditched school to hang out with a girl? It's difficult to know specifically what advice to give you until we know what you have tried and what hasn't worked. However, for starters, make sure that in whatever type of discipline you use be sure that you are being consistent. Make sure that the punishment fits the crime, and make the discipline immediate. Teens respond better when they have negative consequences immediately rather than saying for example, "next weekend you're grounded."
If everyday consequences such as taking away objects or priviledges continues to be ineffective, and he continues to do things like run away, sneak out, or break the law, you may have to go to the next step which is getting police involved, or getting him involved with the dept. of social services.
I know going through teen issues can be very disheartening. Sometimes it helps to talk to someone. The good news is that there are many resources out there to help you. If you would like any further information, or just need to talk to someone, please feel free to call our parenting hotline at 1-800-448-3000. We're here 24/7 and it's free to call.
Remember to take care of yourself right now. With all this stress you need to make sure you are talking to friends/family and even your son's school counselor about this situation.
I imagine this must be a very scary time for you! First, I believe that you should develop house rules concerning what is expected for your son at home and at school. Think about corresponding consequences for breaking these rules that would matter to your son. Reflect on what your son values and consider consequences that would have an impact. You may want to write down and post the list of rules and consequences in a clearly visible location in the house. Let him know that you love and respect him, but you can see that he is making some inappropriate choices now. You can see that he needs some help making the right choices, so you are making it very clear what is expected of him. He will most likely complain and be angry at first, but it is important to be firm and consistent. Research has shown that firm and consistent rules and consequences promote better parenting outcomes.
You can also balance the rules with rewards for following rules. And, when possible, make time to connect with your son in a positive and loving way. It is important to balance firm parenting with a loving approach, as well.
Finally, you didn't mention whether your son has any positive male role models in his life at this time. If not, you should consider connecting your son with the local Big Brother mentorship program.