Saturday, April 23, 2011

Teenagers, School, and Patience

Dear Ask Dad Today,

My name is Sally, and I am writing you today for advice on dealing with a teenager and school. My 14 yr old son is failing multiple classes, When I review the school print that shows were he is failing at it states he does A+ work in class but does not complete his homework. I have had the talk numerous times with now luck. I am a single mom in need of your help.

Wow Sally!
First off I want to commend you on the single parent job alone. It is more than enough work as combined parenting role within a home, most people will never understand the stress and added patience that comes with being a single parent, GOOD JOB MOM!!!

I came across a similar situation in the recent past. A family member had a problem with her son. The situation turned out to be easier than we thought to deal with. She contacted the school principal to and scheduled a sit down meeting between the 2 of them. The principal notified mom that the school already provided her son with daily “Binder Reminder” that the student fills out in each class. The principal came up with a great idea. She agreed to make it look like her idea for the following 30 day game plan to pull her son out of this hole and help him learn some responsibility for his actions.

The principals 30 day game plan:

      1. The student is now required to get get a signature from each teacher throughout the day showing if class work is complete and homework was assigned or not.
      2. The student is required to attend a lunch study lab during lunch break for 30 min to work on past due assignments, a time in/out stamp is to be stamped in the binder reminder as well for each of the 5 days.
      3. After school tutoring is now set to help complete past/future homework assignments this is scheduled Tues, Weds, Thurs, after school from 2pm-3pm, and again a time in/out is to be stamp in the binder reminder for each of these 3 days.
      4. Then Friday after school, the student has a set appointment with the principal to review each of the 33 signatures that were required throughout the week along with review of any comments his teacher might have.

This idea turned out to be a wonderful help for mom due to the fact she has now placed the entire responsibility on her sons shoulders without him even knowing! You will find most school principals will be this helpful for any parent that is willing to go to the school and ask for help.

The big ticket for something like this to work is “Not To Threaten” the idea at your child in regards to their academics, but to stay calm, be very patient, and mention nonchalantly keeping your cool no matter what is said back to you during this conversation. (I'm Italian so trust me, I know how hard it is to keep my mouth shut and respond back to their comments in a calm manner, lol.)Try to discuss the topic of responsibility, "just as you have a job to pay bills , school is your child’s job". Your child needs to start realizing the importance of assuming some responsibility for their actions now, because as they grow deeper into this teenage realm things will only get worst to the point, the hole will be to big to climb out off and their friends will have advanced past them no longer wishing to be friends with a lazy person.

It is my opinion to set a school appointment with the principal on a Friday early afternoon (ask the principal to have her meeting with your child Monday morning), have your talk with your child Friday evening (be sure not to let on of the meeting you had with the principal). After all this your child will have the seeds you planted into them time to grow over the weekend, this way when the principal calls them into the office Monday morning and sets up a similar plan as above, it your child will now start to think, “Holy Crap, my parent was onto something” and at that point will realize that the lack of responsibility taken on their part in the past has now come back to bite them in the butt!

On a side note most people will tell you to set up a counseling session for your child, this is not a bad idea because most teenagers find it easier to vent with a complete stranger, rather than their parent.
I’m not saying anything about your parenting skills, but being able to find 1 little thing new on how to handle a situation with less stress is worth a million bucks! If you can set aside a couple hours a week for yourself to go to some classes I feel you will benefit tremendously!
One of the greatest programs I have come across is called: “Love and Logic”. If you Google “Love and Logic” ( ) you can find many communities that offer this program within walking distance to your home. Don't take my word on this, I am just making the suggestion to visit only 1 class, then from that point on you can make your own decisions on this program.

One last thing, don’t let your child now you are attending these classes as they will not knowingly try and push your buttons trying to make you believe you are not a good parent for seeking new parenting ideas. As time goes on you will see the change from were you were to were you are now.

Keep you chin up and remember patience is starts from within!

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