My 13yr old son will not listen at home or school. There are always consequences for his actions but it doesn't seem to matter. In the past week, I have received a call from one of his teachers about him acting up and not doing well in class, an email from another about assignments that he hadn't completed, a letter from yet another about his talking in class and then today I opened a letter from the school stating he has a 1 day in school suspension for disrespect in class. At home, I have to repeatedly ask him to do things before they get done and inspect everything that he is asked to do because most times they are done poorly. We go through hours of fighting over homework in the evenings because he would rather argue and mope than get it done. I know that he's not having trouble with the material because once he does it, it's usually correct. I have purchased 2 planners since the beginning of school because I require that he have homework assignments signed off on by each teacher. He lost the first and refuses to use the second. Without the teachers signing the planner, I have no idea if he has homework or not. I would love to trust him, but there have already been several instances this year he's been caught lying. I have taken away his phone, which is a major inconvenience to me, his golf cart privileges, tv, bb guns, ipod and outside play privileges. He is well aware that he will be given back each one as he starts doing the things required of him. I don't know what else to do. He is in therapy, but nothing is getting better.
Unfortunately, this is not something that is new. His father and I divorced when he was 2 and he has always lived with his dad during the school year. I moved out of state about a year ago and his father and I decided it may be best if he moved with me. He was doing all of the same things while living with dad in addition to getting involved with a bad crowd of boys. He was caught taking a UPS package off of someones doorstep and then caught trying to steal a bike from a neighbor. Our thoughts on him moving were that I was able to be home a lot more and hopefully the additional supervision would help him to straighten up. I can gladly say that he is not getting into trouble stealing but nothing else is changing.
He can be a very sweet child and is wonderful with his 2yr old brother but these other things have to change. I'm worried that my 2yr old will soon start picking up his brother's bad habits and it concerns me. I also have to say that his actions are definitely putting a strain on my marriage to his step dad. His stepdad tries to get him to join him for hikes and other activities but Josh refuses to go. It seems like anytime we do anything that requires some physical activity, Josh will try anything to get out of it. I hate to say this but my son is extremely lazy and I'm not sure what to do about that either.
Does anyone have any ideas on how to help him?
Please consider taking him to a strong male counselor/psychologist as soon as possible....there may be underlying issues that need to be dealt with. A counselor can help you and your husband make a plan fort follow through.
I take it that he is in a new school this year. That alone can cause acting out problems. What grade is he in and what month is his birthday?
Did he have the same academic problems last year and year before - and for that matter in elementary school? If so, did the schools do any testing? Also realize that if he is in a new school, the teachers, counselors have no track record on him. Unless you get in and start talking to them about what is going on - all you are going to get his the standard letters, etc. trying to wake you up to the fact that he is having problems.
The first thing that you need to do is some face to face meetings with the teachers/counselor and let them know his history (if he has one).
The suggestion by indigogirl is a good one. I would need more information (reason for the above questions) to be more specific. There are things like ADHD/ADD, Sensory integration, bipolar - that can all cause tremendous problems at home and school. However, being in a new environment can also cause (or greatly increase) problems.
That is why knowing what went on in the prior years - especially school recommendations is so important. You don't want to reinvent the wheel, if you don't have to.
So to answer your question, you need to figure out what is going on. How you treat someone with ADHD/ADD, Sensory integration, bipolar issues is very different than someone adjusting to a new environment, or just a lazy kid.
Also you said that he is in therapy. How long has he been in therapy (I'm guessing its the short time he has been with you)? How long has he been with you? What kind of a therapist is he seeing? Does the therapist only see him, or does the therapist also work with you? Therapy does not work overnight nor in a vacuum.
So lots of questions. The final thought is that you said he "will not listen at school or home." Does anyone listen to him?
I think the main thing i
He is in a new school this year but is continuing to have the same problems as prior years in his old school. For the past several years, his grades have been mainly C, D & F's and he has continuously been in trouble for talking and acting up in class. Since he has been with me, I have started to see more A & B grades but still have the behavior issues. He has been diagnosed with ADD and is currently taking Vyvance but we have an appointment scheduled with the pediatrician to discuss changing his meds. He has been complaining of feeling bad after taking the medicine.
I have conversed with his teachers through emails and I guess the next step will be face to face meetings. From my conversations with teachers, his main problem in school seems to be his inability to pay attention and being distracting to those around him.
He was in therapy years ago for anger issues but those issues have since subsided. He has the normal 13yr old tendencies of getting mad and slamming doors or raising his voice back at me but those only happen once in a while. For the most part, he seems like a pretty happy 13yr old. When asked about the issues at school, he tells me he just can't listen or pay attention (that's if I don't get the blank face and i don't know shrug of the shoulders). The therapist he is seeing now is probably mid 40's and seems to do well with my son. Every few sessions, I sit in and give the therapist a run down of how my son is doing and he helps me to find different ways of helping my son at home. He's only been seeing this therapist since August but I'm seeing some positive results.
How can I help my son to make the most out of his time in class? How can I help him to pay attention?
I am guessing that you really haven't had the time to do much research on AD/HD. His actions are all very classic AD/HD problems. Its sad that this wasn't caught sooner, he would be in a better situation now if it was. So what can you do.
First, you do need to figure out what things he is doing as a consequence of AD/HD. A book I recommend a lot on the ADHD forum is "The ADD/ ADHD Answer book," by Susan Ashley. I highly recommend that you get it. It really covers all most everythng that you have questions about. A good complete source of online information can be found at - http://www.supreme.state.az.us/casa/prepare/adhd2.html
I am really glad that you have him seeing a therapist. All to often parents ignore this important step and just go with the meds and nothing else. You might want to sit in a little bit more with the therapist for some home strategies. Working with an ADD child is very different then just working with a kid who is lazy.
Your last two questions are really important. He should have a 504 (maybe even an IEP) from the school. Ashley's book explains these. The 504 will identify his condition and help the teacher to help him. It can also give him extra time on tests, doing homework, etc. It's really important! Speak to his school counselor. Tell them what you have done testing wise, and they may be able to skip some of the steps.
And yes, it is a good idea to talk with his doctor about changing the meds. All kids are different and react differently to meds. It takes a bit of trial and error to get it right. The doctor does count of feedback from the parents to tweak the medicine. Hopefully, his pediatrician has a lot of experience with kids and AD/HD. If not, look for a pediatric psychiatrist. Hope this helps. If you have any more questions, I also monitor the ADHD forum. Best wishes.
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