My teenager is determined to make me insane. He stopped doing school work back in 7th grade. He barely did enough work to get promoted to 8th grade. It was a lot of arguing and fighting and parenting. I had to put him on so many restrictions and I offered so many rewards for better performance. but nothing really got through to him. So, 8th grade he did even worse. He aced his standardized tests though. So the school promoted him to 9th grade even though he failed 3 academic classes. I went to the school on the first day of classes and demanded that they put him in 8th grade. He had not done enough work to get moved up. I wanted him to see and learn that there are consequences to your actions and in-actions. Iwanted him to learn some work ethic. I wanted him to see that he needed to comply with the school’s way of functioning. I didn’t want him to grow up and get a job that he would then lose because he didn’t do what his boss assigned him to do. So he did spend 2 years in 8th grade. And the second year was better. Not perfect, but better and I hoped it had taught him to work within the confines of society and its expectations.
But 9 th grade has not been good. He did manage to pass all of his classes first semester. but second semester, he has been consistently failing 2 to 3 classes. One of which is a computer apps class. A class he already knew the functions of and is a pre-requisite to all the computer classes he wants to take later! Now, we are at the end of the school year. Although all the finals have not been taken and all the grades have not been recorded, he is almost guaranteed to fail 3 classes. Lit/Comp, Comp Apps and Latin I. If he fails Lit/Comp, he will be assigned o a 9th grade homeroom again next year. There will be opportunity to make up the class and not have it affect his graduation schedule. IF he works. The Comp Apps class will also have to be retaken, unless he decides not to take any more computer classes throughout high school. AND, he can’t go into Latin II if he fails Latin I. So he will be an entire year off his schedule for the required 2 years of a foreign language.
In each case, the reason he is failing is because he does not adequately complete assignments. Homework and readings are assigned and he blows them off. He simply will not do his work. I have had him on “electronics” restriction since March. No computer play, no game cube, no Xbox etc. After 6 weeks of that, I saw he was not improving and we added a D&D restriction. He hasn’t been allowed to participate in the D&D games his father goes to since mid-April. We offered one hour of D&D time for each A he made on an assignment, with the provision that he would lose one hour for each zero he earned. So, no D&D for 6 weeks now. We offered to lift one electronic restriction for bringing one grade up from failing to passing. Since the electronic restrictions numbered 3 and so did the failing classes, it seemed a good incentive to me. But he has not brought them up. He has continued to accumulate zeroes. And earned quite a few F’s as well due to not doing enough work to learn enough to pass all the tests and complete all the project parts.
I am at a loss. He is nearly 16. He is intelligent. He is capable. He is not disabled. As far as I can tell, he is intensely apathetic. This lack of concern for his high school grades is worrisome. He talks of wanting to go to college. Of attending a “good” school and having a “cool” job. But all I can see is a future of flipping burgers. Our county does not offer any “magnet” type schools. We can not afford any private type schools. He must complete school through the standard public channels. I feel like I am personally failing here. I have not succeeded as a parent in instilling in my child the importance of functioning in the expected capacity. I have not managed to teach him how very vital an education is going to be to him in the future. I have not gotten him to see the value of a good work ethic. I am tired. I am tired of the lecturing. I am tired of the punishments. I am tired of the bribe attempts and the reward offers. I just want him to do his freaking work and grow up.
I don’t know what else to try.