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Moms with Teens Moms with Teens

Stuck in the middle and need help!

Posted by on Feb. 27, 2013 at 9:09 AM
  • 28 Replies

Our 15 year old g/son stays at our house because his Mom and Step-Dad's blended family home is small and would require him to share a BR with 3 boys under age 9.  

T is a great kid and has never been a problem.  Mom has trusted us to make rules and expected him to follow them, which he has.  A few weeks ago we discovered T is failing 2 major classes at school.  He claims never to have homework.  He never studies at home for tests.  I have talked until I'm blue about the importance of working hard to bring these grades up, how his grades count toward getting into a good college, etc., but nothing lights a fire under him.  This is the only issue that makes him defensive and causes friction between us.  I finally restricted him from going to friends' houses after school until his grades come up and have postponed getting his driver's permit until I see improvement.  But Mom doesn't back me up and lets him hang out with friends after school (when she picks him up).

I talked to his Mom, who said she would talk to his teachers, but that hasn't happened.  As g/mother, I don't have the authority to do that and it is unlikely I could get Guardianship.  Mom doesn't seem to take this seriously either.

I can see where this is headed but what can I do?  I want to throttle Mom and restrict T from everything but breathing until he gets the message that school is important and he needs to take responsibility.  I've suggested tutoring but that seems to insult him!

Everything I read says g/parents should sit back and let the parents handle things but out of 6 kids, T is the one that gets the least parental guidance.  

I feel that if he's staying with us, he should go by our rules.  No matter what I do, I'm going to make an enemy and I'm prepared for that, if necessary.  I just want to do the right thing for T.  Should I give him until the 9 weeks to bring the grades up to passing "on his own," then if he doesn't, get tougher on him (and battle with Mom) NEXT 9 weeks?  This could be a lesson in accountability but it would also lose valuable time in fixing the problem.  Should I make him move back home?  (He would hate that.)  Help!

by on Feb. 27, 2013 at 9:09 AM
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Replies (1-10):
lucky2Beeme
by Gold Member on Feb. 27, 2013 at 9:14 AM
4 moms liked this

I would write up a contract with him. Make him sign it. In your case I put in grades need to be up to cs in 9 weeks or he needs to move out. Explain how heart breaking this would be for you. But you are doing this with his best interest at heart. Offer  to get him a tutor. Or maybe even get one that comes to your home after school to help him. Providing you can afford it. hugs momma you are in a tough spot.

jazzgirl205
by on Feb. 27, 2013 at 9:18 AM
2 moms liked this

You need to talk with the teachers and get tough with the boy.  Too much is at stake.  The mother is your daughter and you need to pull rank.  That's what my mother would do.  My nephews nicknamed her Rough Justice.  One of them threatened to tell his mother on her.  Mama just laughed.

atlmom2
by Susie on Feb. 27, 2013 at 9:20 AM
2 moms liked this
All kids have homework. They lie if they say they do not. Require homework to be shown to you and see if it is done right. Talk to the teachers.
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Gran213
by on Feb. 27, 2013 at 9:36 AM
1 mom liked this

Thank you so much!  My gut instinct was to do just what all of you have suggested.  I will have to check to see if the teachers can discuss his grades with me or if they will only discuss with a parent.  I'll check that out today.  He adores us and would NOT want to have to move out so the contract idea rocks!  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

MansfieldMama
by Member on Feb. 27, 2013 at 9:47 AM
1 mom liked this

I am a high school teacher, and I talk to grandparents ALL THE TIME.  I appreciate talking to anyone who is concerned about a child's education.  The contract is an excellent idea.  Let your grandson know that you're serious about the situation, and that you are doing this because of concern for him.  It's good that you have a positive relationship with him, and that he doesn't want to move out.  

I have a 15 year old son who has always done well in school, and who is in all advanced classes (I teach AP English).  This year he began struggling in two classes.  It was because he didn't know HOW to study.  He had never had to study before.  I sat down with him one weekend and made him show me how he studied for each subject.  He basically stared at each textbook.  That wasn't cutting it.

I worked with him, showing him how to make flashcards to study vocabulary for his English and Spanish classes.  I taught him how to annotate the text in English and history classes, and then go back over it and make notes.  I taught him how to take effective notes in science and then go back over it to study.  We talked about the possibility of study groups, and what types of study groups work, and which ones don't.  His year has been much better since then.  I didn't learn how to study until college.  High school is more challenging now, and kids aren't taught how to study.  He may need someone to help him with that.

Good luck.  Your grandson is lucky to have you looking out for him!

luckysevenwow
by Platinum Member on Feb. 27, 2013 at 9:50 AM
1 mom liked this

You can talk to the teachers. If he lives in your home, then guardianship is assumed (in most cases). 

You honestly need to start with mom. Either she backs you up or she takes her son home and takes on full responsibility. My mom was raised by my grandmothers best friend, but my grandma would do the same thing, even though they didn't live in the same state. My 'aunt' got tired of it, cause you can't parent when everything you say or do is vetoed or ignored. At 16 she sent my mom back to my grandma.

It will not get any easier. This is no different then a child being sent to another parent to live and the parents not being on the same page. The only person who really looses in the end is the child.

I love the idea of a contract, with your grandson and your DD (I'm assuming). If the rules are broke, if they can't live with them or mom just can't get on board. Then he goes home, and sadly, as hard as it may be. You let the chips fall where they will fall.

Good luck.

Gran213
by on Feb. 27, 2013 at 9:57 AM
2 moms liked this


Oh, I wish I knew how to teach him to do all that!  Our schools don't have text books in many classes!  A lot has changed since my high school days!  Thank you for this advice.  I will definitely ask for some guidance with this.  And thank you for choosing to teach.  I know it isn't easy! 

Quoting MansfieldMama:

I am a high school teacher, and I talk to grandparents ALL THE TIME.  I appreciate talking to anyone who is concerned about a child's education.  The contract is an excellent idea.  Let your grandson know that you're serious about the situation, and that you are doing this because of concern for him.  It's good that you have a positive relationship with him, and that he doesn't want to move out.  

I have a 15 year old son who has always done well in school, and who is in all advanced classes (I teach AP English).  This year he began struggling in two classes.  It was because he didn't know HOW to study.  He had never had to study before.  I sat down with him one weekend and made him show me how he studied for each subject.  He basically stared at each textbook.  That wasn't cutting it.

I worked with him, showing him how to make flashcards to study vocabulary for his English and Spanish classes.  I taught him how to annotate the text in English and history classes, and then go back over it and make notes.  I taught him how to take effective notes in science and then go back over it to study.  We talked about the possibility of study groups, and what types of study groups work, and which ones don't.  His year has been much better since then.  I didn't learn how to study until college.  High school is more challenging now, and kids aren't taught how to study.  He may need someone to help him with that.

Good luck.  Your grandson is lucky to have you looking out for him!



MansfieldMama
by Member on Feb. 27, 2013 at 9:59 AM

His textbooks are mostly online, but he still uses them.  Maybe when you talk to his teachers they can give you some tips.  You're doing a great thing for your grandson.  Hang in there!

Gran213
by on Feb. 27, 2013 at 10:01 AM


You are so right.  Unfortunately, I'll end up in therapy! LOL  Do NOT understand the "do nothing" attitude my daughter has.  Very disappointed.

Quoting luckysevenwow:

You can talk to the teachers. If he lives in your home, then guardianship is assumed (in most cases). 

You honestly need to start with mom. Either she backs you up or she takes her son home and takes on full responsibility. My mom was raised by my grandmothers best friend, but my grandma would do the same thing, even though they didn't live in the same state. My 'aunt' got tired of it, cause you can't parent when everything you say or do is vetoed or ignored. At 16 she sent my mom back to my grandma.

It will not get any easier. This is no different then a child being sent to another parent to live and the parents not being on the same page. The only person who really looses in the end is the child.

I love the idea of a contract, with your grandson and your DD (I'm assuming). If the rules are broke, if they can't live with them or mom just can't get on board. Then he goes home, and sadly, as hard as it may be. You let the chips fall where they will fall.

Good luck.



fantasticfour
by Grumpy on Feb. 27, 2013 at 10:08 AM
1 mom liked this

I would talk to your daughter calmly about it.  Explain to her that she is making you into the bad guy and all you want is what's best for your grandson.  She needs you to keep him because there's no room and you understand and you also understand that she wants him to feel loved and she probably feels guilty about this decision, but she stil needs to be a parent.

I would then sit my grandson down since he doesn't want to move back in with mom and explain to him.  You live in my house, you obey my rules.  If you want to fail, go live with mom.  Explain that position to mom too.  If you don't back me up on my rules, he can go live with you.

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