My 13 yr old son is getting...

by Lace
(Lubbock, TX)

Question: My son has been acting out in school not listening, his grades are low. He has had trouble with major tests in the past like the TASKS test, but never had low grades like he does this year.


He is in the 7th grade and is now playing school sports (which he LOVES), but if you do not pass you do not play. So he basically pulls it together right before the end of the six weeks. At home he is not listening, not following directions, gets mad if he is asked to do something (he does it just with a horrible attitude).

I do and give him everything he wants, and I want to find someone to stop being so nice and start making him understand I am not kidding around!!! I have done things like keep him in his room with no TV, taken his Cell phone away, made him clean the whole house top to bottom with me sitting on the couch and correcting him when it is not done right.

He half way does everything!!! That goes for school work, chores, sports, listening and anything he can do to make it easy on himself he does!! I am a single Mom, and his Dad is not around.

He has my Dad as a great male role model, but even sometimes he does all of this with my parents too! I need help! And I am not afraid to hear the truth nor what I need to do to make this child understand!!!!!! Please help!!!!

Answer: You are not alone in your struggles, many parents are having issues with children having a bad attitude, poor listening skills and sense of entitlement.

I think a part of it can be related to children getting so many things these days without having to earn or work for them. An important thing to remember is that having access to toys, TV, video games, cell phones etc. is not a right. It is a privilege for children and when we give free access at all times without holding them to any expectations children become confused.

I think perhaps if instead of taking things away from him you should allow him to earn everything. Make a list of what your expectations and rules are for the house. This may include certain chores, certain amount of time spent on homework, a positive attitude when doing anything requested etc.

Go over these with him and then for each day he follows your rules and expectations allow him to have access to these things the following day. If he does not follow your rules and expectations, then remove access for the rest of that day and the following day.

Avoid scolding or lecturing, but simply say that you love him and you aren't helping him to become the best he can possibly be if you allow him to behave the way he has been. If he gives you attitude, simply say, "That's too bad, it looks like you need to go and do some work on changing your attitude. Please go to your room until it has changed."

When it is obvious that he has had a change of heart and attitude, allow him to rejoin your company. You may also find the techniques in the following book to be helpful as well. Good luck!!




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