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Frustrated and Not Sure How to Handle It

Posted by on May. 2, 2013 at 4:57 PM
  • 5 Replies

My son is only 13 and in 7th grade. This is his first year in junior high, and it's been a huge change from the elementary setting--in addition to dealing with the teen hormone changes. He takes a foreign language grammar class, and the class is core to him receiving busing to the junior high he's going to. (Neighborhood school is horrible, so we don't want him going there. We are unable to provide daily transportation. So we rely on the busing.) Neither my husband nor myself know any foreign languages. He's struggling in the class, but doing well in all his other classes. He also doesn't like the teacher for that class. I'm not thrilled with her either, but he'll have her next school year too. So I tell him it's a good life learning lesson because we're sometimes stuck dealing with people we don't get along with.

Anyhow, the teacher doesn't give me any direction on activities to improve his studying at home. All she's offered is after school help. She made the offer 3 weeks ago. He's gone once. Last week was parent-teacher conferences, so she couldn't tutor last week. While we met with her last week, he agree to meet with her after school again this week. But then he cancelled it today because he "forgot" the homework needed at home. I told him that he needs to be more responsible about keeping his backpack and homework organized, and I grounded him from electronics tonight at the very least tonight.

I'm at a loss at whether I should just let him fail or do poorly on the assignment and consider it a lesson learned, or if I should ground him further for not continuing the after school tutoring.

If he doesn't shape up, it could have negative consequences for the educational path that we started him down in kindergarten. He does like the path, but just dislikes this one teacher. I'm just at a loss at how strict I should go on this punishment.

One minute he's determined and wants to try harder in this class, and the next minute he's flippant and doesn't seem to care about it at all.

I'm still so new at having a teenager that I'm not sure how to handle these mood/attitude swings from him either. Are these attitude swings normal for a 13 year old? Or is he just covering for the frustrating he's feeling for struggling in a class for the first time?


by on May. 2, 2013 at 4:57 PM
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Replies (1-5):
drfink
by Emily on May. 2, 2013 at 8:11 PM

Maybe it is a middle school guy thing ...at least here it is .All three of my male teens were great students in elementary and high school with out a lot of stress on my part.HUH middle school started and at times it was worse than first grade doing homework.I would make them do it at the kitchen table ,tie privileges to getting it done PROPERLY.The theory was if they had to do it ,eventually they would do it well.For us as eighth grade progressed the attitude calmed,homework got done at least decently : ) with out hassel.Now high school with my younger two and with my oldest grades went where they should be with minimal monitoring from us.

Good Luck.Middle school was our hardest times...hang tough mom !...do you like wine...hint hint ; )

GleekingOut
by Silver Member on May. 2, 2013 at 8:11 PM

Is there a way he could have outside of school tutoring? Using the internet to learn the language online? That's all I've got for you to be honest, but I wouldn't let him give up before he's really TRIED to give it a shot.

Barabell
by Barbara on May. 2, 2013 at 8:23 PM

He's situation is pretty unique because his elementary was a language immersion school. He's bilingual in the language already, so most classes out there are not geared for kids his level. If he went to a country that speaks this language, he can understand about 90-95% of everything said already. It's the grammar that he's learning....similar to how 7th graders are still learning English grammar too.

I have asked the teacher for references to help specific to his situation, and she's offered nothing but the tutoring. Before spring break, I asked if she could lend him some classroom books (which would be specifically his level), and she said she would start doing that with the whole class over sping break. It never happend. I also asked her for some websites that might be appropriate for his level. She said it was on the school website during the meeting. When I got home, I couldn't find it on the website. So I emailed her asking for it. She responded saying she would demonstrate it to the whole class, but when I asked my son, she's didn't show specifically what I was asking for.

So the teacher frustrates me too!! 

Quoting GleekingOut:

Is there a way he could have outside of school tutoring? Using the internet to learn the language online? That's all I've got for you to be honest, but I wouldn't let him give up before he's really TRIED to give it a shot.


Barabell
by Barbara on May. 2, 2013 at 8:24 PM

I'm relieved to hear you say that. I'm really hoping you're right. I want to push him, but at the same time, I don't want him burnt out before even starting high school. Maybe he really does need the push right now!

I'm more a beer drinker. I don't have any right now, but thinking of picking up some if I go to the grocery store tonight. ;-)

Quoting drfink:

Maybe it is a middle school guy thing ...at least here it is .All three of my male teens were great students in elementary and high school with out a lot of stress on my part.HUH middle school started and at times it was worse than first grade doing homework.I would make them do it at the kitchen table ,tie privileges to getting it done PROPERLY.The theory was if they had to do it ,eventually they would do it well.For us as eighth grade progressed the attitude calmed,homework got done at least decently : ) with out hassel.Now high school with my younger two and with my oldest grades went where they should be with minimal monitoring from us.

Good Luck.Middle school was our hardest times...hang tough mom !...do you like wine...hint hint ; )


Barabell
by Barbara on May. 2, 2013 at 8:27 PM

So...I've talked to my son some tonight. He understands completely why he's grounded right now. The assignment is due tomorrow, so I'm not sure if or how much of an impact this might have on his class grade yet. 

I'm still kind of upset, and I usually like to calm down before giving out the final punishment. So not sure how long he's going to be grounded for yet. My husband and I have only briefly talked about this issue on the phone, and we'll probably come up with an agreed punishment later tonight and give it to him tomorrow. 

So any additional feedback is still helpful!! 

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