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Oct 18, 2011 - 9 comments

This being my eldest son's final year in high school, he has decided to turn his head on and get good grades.  His worst grade is a C+ in Trig, I think.  May be honors Trig.... last year, a C+ was his best grade!  (Besides band where he always has an A)  In fact, this probably stands for the subsequent 3 years.

This boy is smart... dangerous smart.  But he refuses to do things he already knows.  There's just something there that says, "nope, been there and done that.  wont be doing that today."  He also had a habit of doing homework, but not turning it in.  His mother and I have gone nuts about and over this.... Now, basically at the end of the line, he cranks it up and blows it out.  I am proud of him, but knew he could have done this all along.  The kicker is, he really isn't putting out much more of an effort.....That's my boy, and I love him to death!!!!

Our youngest is in his first year of high school.  He's normally a real good student because he loves to compete.  He competes with his brother for better grades and competes with kids in his grade academically as well.  He too is real, real smart.... But he has a drive to keep pushing.  He's never really been an under dog academically.  I hope that he never goes there, but do think he has his brother as a model.  This guy can show up late, completely unprepared for an important quiz/test, and just ace it.... That too drives me nuts because I wanted that...  I was a bit more like my eldest in regards to school, with one exception.  My eldest did his homework and didn't turn it in..... I didn't do my homework.

Both of my boys are good looking, smart, and real good people.  They are more than I could ever have asked for, and I owe thanks to my wife for all of the good genetics I guess. (And being a good parent model)

Regardless of what my kids go on to do in life, I just want them to have the level of success that they are happy with.  I want them to measure success by their own standards, and not be afraid to go after those standards and goals.  

It is just a scary time right now, not knowing what lies ahead for these guys.  The current state of affairs regarding the economy and the country have me real concerned.

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649848 tn?1534637300
by Barb135, Oct 18, 2011
Brice, my son, too was very intelligent; wouldn't do homework and/or turn it in.  We fought with him on this constantly, and even a week before his high school graduation, we weren't sure if he was going to graduate, in spite of his having aced the final tests (with no studying).  I was always frustrated with him, because he could have been a straight A student all through school (was in lower elementary).  He's paid for his "lack luster" performance throughout his adult life and has only in the past few years come to realize how important hard work is.  

Our daughter, on the other hand, is also intelligent, but she had to work for her grades... which she did.  

In spite of problems with our son (and to a lesser degree, our daughter), we are proud of them both; you have very good reason be proud of your sons, as well.  Don't forget to tell them every chance you get.  

We do what we can to teach our children the right things, but there comes a point, at which they have to take over for themselves and be who they are.  Sounds like your boys are doing a good job of that, and they and others in their generation, are the ones who will be charged with taking over the reins of the country in a few years.  

I certainly don't envy anyone raising children in today's society.  My daughter's little girl will be a year old in a couple of weeks -- I shudder to think what her life might be like in a few years.

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by adgal, Oct 18, 2011
It sounds to me like you have great kids and you and your wife have a lot to be proud of.  It takes good parents to raise good kids, so great job!  I'm glad your older son is working harder now.  It shows he is maturing, and that's great.  

I can only imagine how much you must worry for their future.  I already do the same and my son is still so young.  But the world just seems so much harder now doesn't it.  I have no doubt that they will find their way, and things will work out.  It's tough out there, but fortunately not yet impossible.  All the best to them both (and to you and your wife as well!).  

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by queenspade, Oct 18, 2011
I can relate 100% to what you're saying.  My oldest son, Trevor, is a senior this year & he leaves this summer for the Air Force.  I am extremely proud of him but worried at the same time.  I have no doubt he'll do well but it's scary that he'll be so far from home.  

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by brice1967, Oct 19, 2011
I just feel as if the world is completely different now.  I can see probably the same look in my oldest son's eyes as my mother saw in mine.... "not a care in the world".  Honestly, when I graduated... the only thing I cared about was work, my good friends, and when I'd be going fishing next.  I knew everything else would take care of itself.

Only recently has our oldest decided to further his education, but isn't exactly settled on a direction.  He is thinking something along the lines of psychology or perhaps being a therapist or counselor of any sort.  To me, that is far better than last year, as he had no clue.  He also knows that he'll probably have to go to community college for a couple of years to bring his grades up before anyone else will really look at him. U.W will take him, but he'll have all kinds of probation he'll have to meet up to.  

We used to harp on him for his lack of effort, but we decided to just stop.  In the end, it was only us left frustrated and he still was not turning in homework no matter what we said.  Our youngest got the picture early, and I think he has his older brother to thank.  Our youngest got to hear all of the conversations, most of the arguing, and saw all of the frustration on all of our faces.

The world is different these days, but I think our kids are too.  

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by specialmom, Oct 19, 2011
Ugh.  The worry our kids bring us.  Hard gig being a parent.

Have you ever shown your son what your monthly bills are?  My dad did this with me when I was in high school.  He then had a budget that would be something that a 20 something would have to live on independently with things like average apartment rent in the area, car payment, insurance costs, utilities, grocery bill, etc.  He then said to me that in life, it is about choices.  I'd need to make sure I made a choice to go into a profession or get a job that would handle this budget because time was going to run out for me to live with him after high school.  That I needed to make plans on how to care for myself as an adult and having a viable income was part of that.  Period.  When it is in black and white like that----  hard to be a day dreamer.

I'd also point out out to him one thing that is a bit of reality--------  a degree in psychology does not get you a therapist job.  Typically that is a starting point with a masters and doctorate to follow.  You can become a licensed social worker but will find that most in this field have advanced education beyond a bachelors.  

It is hard and the tricky part about entering college is that in the early years of high school----  a kid has no idea that they are affecting their future choices about college already.  When they realize it, it is sometimes too late for 'right' out of high school.  BUT . . . this is a life lesson too.  

You and your wife did the right thing--------  sometimes we have to let our kids make lousy choices and fail for them to really learn something.  

Has he ever considered trade school of some sort to start off with?  I know that is something many are resistant to but my husband and I have talked about this many times------------  electricians and plumbers make big bucks and can support themselves just fine.  We'd be proud of our kids if they went that route as it can get them to the same goal we have for them, to be independent adults.

Anyway, I feel for you.  It is hard when we see the potential-------  we want to shout "USE IT!!"  But he'll be okay.  Remember, he IS smart which will carry him through and he'll find his way eventually.  I know it.

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by brice1967, Oct 19, 2011
Specialmom, thanks a bunch....  Trade schools are something that's been mentioned, and honestly with no reception.  I think he fully understands all of the work involved with being a therapist or counselor, and I honestly think somehow-some way, this kid will get it all figured out and get what he wants.  (We are speaking of our eldest son.  Chances are that he is gay.  He's never come out and said it, so there is a chance that I am wrong.... but I'd bet on.  I think he knows that his mother and I support him regardless, as we've told both kids that we are right there with them.... but I think the venture in psychology for him, like so many others, is to address his own issues.)

I think this year, he did a bit of soul searching.  I also think he found a better "sense of self".  In his younger years, he used to complain that he "had no friends", so we brought this notion up at every parent teacher conference.  Every teacher or school administrator, principle, dean, counselor has told us that he is one of the most popular kids around.  And it is true, we've seen it with our own eyes.  (But I think during those days, he knew he was different and perhaps made himself out to be an outcast, even if it were only in his own mind.)

We feel as if the kid is pretty grounded.  Hes a bit quirky, and always has been.  Each of his friends are a bit quirky as well, but he does have a general acceptance that he cannot deny.  I am truly greatful for that.

What he does have now is a drive, a drive to succeed.  He is still flirting with a couple of other ideas that are out on the peripheral, but being a plumber or electrician is out of the question for this guy.

377493 tn?1356505749
by adgal, Oct 19, 2011
I gotta say, I think making life long decisions like that (what they want to do for life) at 17 or 18 is so tough for kids.  I often wonder if most kids wouldn't be better off taking more of a general studies program for at least a year or two to give them a little extra time.  

If he is thinking therapist or counselor, a lot of the non profit agencies will take these kids on as volunteers to give them a bit of direct exposure (while still following confidentiality guidelines of course).  Our agency does this all the time as at least 65% of our clients suffer from some sort of mental health issue.  It can help them decide if this is really the direction they want to go in.

He does sound like a pretty well grounded kid, and one that is maturing.  And quirky is great!  If he is embracing his uniqueness that will serve him well as life goes on.  He really sounds like a great kid.

Avatar universal
by brice1967, Oct 19, 2011
Adgal, that is a brilliant idea about volunteering.  I am not sure either of the counseling centers have a volunteer program, but it certainly is worth looking into.  Not a better way to experience the field and still see if the interest is still there.

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by adgal, Oct 19, 2011
Besides counseling centers, good places for this kind of exposure are the homeless shelters or agencies that work with the homeless/poverty.  I know that sounds odd, but you get exposure to both severe addiction issues (which in most places falls under mental health counseling) as well as a variety of severe mental health issues such as schizophrenia, etc.  It's kind of the hardest cases, but I have seen many of our volunteers really benefit from this kind of exposure.  We also get a lot of students doing practicums, etc.  You kind of get a total immersion into some of the tougher situations, and it is definately real world.  Of course, I think it's wonderful he is thinking about this career path.  The suggestions above are only one aspect of it, but might be helpful to him.

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