Why is My Son Acting Like Such a Teenager?
Life is complicated. Thank goodness there are experts to help us untangle some of the vexing issues that, well, vex us on a daily basis. The Mouthy Housewives are here to help, three times a week. Today, the Housewives answer an exclusive BlogHerMoms question!
Dear Mouthy Housewives,
I am at my wit's end with my 14-year-old-son. It seems that I am more concerned about his grades than he is. He attends an incredible magnet HS, has all the resources at his fingertips, all the support from home as well as at school, tells me how much he loves his school, teachers, blah blah blah, but is floating by with 3 Ds!
When I ask him about his grades, I get the blank look. He has missing assignments, zeros, etc. I have taken his phone away, pulled TV out of the wall, and even put his mattress on the floor. He does great for a couple weeks, but then it's back to missing assignments again.
There are no extracurricular activities to take away because he doesn't have any. He was in karate for three years, then got bored; soccer, then got bored; guitar, bored; piano, bored. So what to do? I am constantly beating myself up wondering where the hell I went wrong. Am I too involved, am I not involved enough? Am I trying to wear too many hats? Do I bring out monster mommy or June freakin' Cleaver? Do I just suck it up and realize that all this is normal teenage boy behavior? Or do I join the rest of our pill-induced society and have a Dr. slap a label on him like restless-laziness syndrome and send us off with the latest prescription complete with crazy side effects?
Any suggestions greatly appreciated,
Dear Serenity Now,
UGH! I can SO relate to this apathy issue. Every year, SEVERAL TIMES per year, I encourage my husband to get inspired. I tell him that he has great ideas and that he should dream big! I put no limitations on his vision, and have never hassled him for spending too much time brainstorming or researching. AND YET.
Every holiday, I get a freakin' lame-ass birthday/anniversary/you-name-it gift.
(Though, I suppose your issue might require more than the passive aggressive privilege sanctions I've imposed in the past. Thanks for the mattress-on-the-floor tip! Will try this at Christmas!)
To be perfectly clear: I have no clue what is bothering your son. In fact, he may not be bothered at all! Maybe he likes stickin' it to the man! Or perhaps the woman! Er, you know what I mean! But since we don't know, I think the answer to your problem is becoming quite clear: you need to find out!
(You can forward my Nobel prize to my new address in Texas.)
What, more clarification needed? Okay, fine. Sometimes a fourteen year-old boy wants nothing less than talk to his irritated, frantic, at-her-wits-end mother. (Beating yourself up isn't helping anyone either.) Is there a father around or some other male role model that might be able to sit and chat with him? Or, even better, take him out for an activity and see if the words might flow in that type of environment? Boys don't communicate the same way that us wonderful women do, so you'll need to think out of the box a bit.
If nothing else, I think a family counselor is a great bet for the two of you. Explain that it's not punishment, and that a therapist is simply an advocate that can help him be understood and heard. Maybe school is boring him to TEARS. Maybe he's a genius and needs more stimulation. Maybe he's depressed. Maybe he's angry. Maybe he's confused. Maybe he needs new motivation. And, at the very least, maybe the therapist can set you up with some quality Xanax.