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I feel like a failure and I don't know what else to do (xposted)

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November 10th, 2010, 10:04 AM
somo_chickenlady's Avatar Mega Super Mommy
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Bradleyville, MO
Posts: 3,276
I need some advice on what to do with my son. I'm at a loss and have no clue what else to do. I'll try to keep this so you can understand it without rambling on. lol I cross posted this in the gradeschoolers board to get extra advice.

My son has never done "great" in school, has always struggled in one way or another. In second grade he was put on meds for ADHD, but I think the majority of the problem was that his teacher was new and just didn't know how to deal. He was only on the meds for 1.5 years and then we stopped and he hasn't been on them since. He is now in 6th grade in elementary school. None of his other teachers have complained about him being "hyper" or whatever. He sometimes has a hard time keeping focused, but the meds really didn't do much to help with that, which is the main reason we stopped them. But now he's labeled, kwim? I don't think he was ever truly ADHD though.

In either Kindergarten or 1st grade I had his school look at him for Aspergers. I'm still convinced he has it, even though they say he doesn't. He's gotten way worse since then. As I said, he has a hard time staying focused, but when it comes to Pokemon (which I know is a normal boy thing) and a couple other things, he can remain focused ALL day long...literally. His favorite thing to do is go in the backyard by himself and swing with his eyes closed. He'll do this for an hour or more at a time, and he says it helps calm him down. He also loves to spin in circles. His teacher this year has even made comments to us about how he can't just walk down the hall, he's always dancing or spinning...walking to the beat of his own drum, she said.

Anyway, back to my the reason for my post (I told you I'd ramble lol). Starting last year, and mostly so far this year, he's had a TERRIBLE time with homework. Last year (which wasn't NEARLY as bad as this year has been) after A LOT of work from us, he turned around and ended up with mostly all A's and B's after starting with mostly C's and D's. This year though, it's been a nightmare. He just refuses to take responsibility for his own work. He has yet to turn a large assignment in on time b/c he doesn't start working on it until the day before it's due. Even most of his small assignments (one math worksheet each night) get turned in late or he doesn't try and just writes down whatever to get it done and it comes back with a bad grade.

His teacher this year is trying to prepare them for middle school, so she won't send home a list of what homework is due when b/c she says they won't do that in middle school. While I understand where she is coming from and the thought behind it, I think if a child is struggling with that, then you need to be a bit flexible. Each child gets a "planner" and it is the child's responsibility to fill it out each day with the assignments they are to work on. The problem is that I have no idea if he is actually writing everything down, there is no due date for anything, and just b/c he writes it down doesn't mean he will actually do it. I'll ask him if he did something and if he says yes I tell him to show it to me, but how am I to know if what he shows me is actually what it is supposed to be? KWIM? For all I know he could just pull a random piece of work out of his folder.

This last weekend, I asked him about 50 times if he had any more homework to do (b/c the teacher insisted he would have more than just the math sheet every day unlike the previous years) and he kept telling me no. All that he had written down was "reading" and he had been reading a book. Well, on Monday night I ask him about 5 times if he had any homework and he said he got it all done. I finally got it out of him that he has a book report due on Thursday. That night he had been reading a book, so I asked him "Is the book report on that book you are reading now?" He said NO! We asked him what book it was supposed to be on, and he showed us, and he was only about 50 pages into a 300 page book. So, he had Monday night, Tuesday night, and part of Wed night to read 300 pages AND he still had to do the report on it. He knew about his for 3 weeks. On top of this he still has to do all of his other homework, work on a speech that he has to do next week, and his chores. This is not the first time he has done something like this. To top it off, he FORGOT his book at school last night. My husband finally lost it. I wanted to just say "fine, I guess you just get to turn it in late" but DH said that he's learned he can just lean on that, so we ended up driving across town to borrow the book from our niece.

I just don't know what to do. I feel like such a failure as a parent b/c I don't know how to fix it. Most of the problems he has with his homework have to do with reading/writing. We are in the process of getting him tested for a reading disability. In fact, he had his first set of "tests" yesterday. He shows a lot of signs for Dyslexia (I know, I sound like a crazy parent that wants to throw a bunch of labels on her kid to excuse their behavior, but he really does) like flipping letters, the text moves around on the page, among other things.

His teacher doesn't believe it though. For example, he is GREAT at math and science. His SAT scores were near perfect in those two categories. He's always had problems with the simple facts tests though...you know, where they have a sheet full of facts (13x7=?) and they have a certain amount of time to do as many as they can. Even though he *knows* them, he can never get more than 1/4 of the page done. Last year his teacher worked with him and let him do less than the full sheet and he did much better. This year his teacher refuses to budge and says he MUST be able to get them all done. I guess I just don't understand the importance of being so strict about it...I don't recall any time in my adulthood having to sit down and do that stupid sheets, so it doesn't seem like a real life skill. As long as they know the facts, that is what is important, and he does. He's better at math than I am.

I guess I'm just frustrated. Can anyone give me advice, tips, or any tools I can use to help him? There are just so many things going on with him, I don't know where to start. I guess my biggest fear is that if we don't turn it around now he will turn out like me. I was just like him, and I BARELY made it through high school, managed to get accepted to state college but only made it one semester b/c I didn't have the skills it took to be able to do it myself. I want better than that for him. I know he's still young, but I'm afraid that at this rate and his ability to just not give a sh** about anything, he'll end up on drugs and end up a complete dead beat.

We've tried any type of discipline we can think of, from taking everything away...he could care less and doesn't even try to earn things back, his bedroom now is just his bed and dresser, no toys; to making him just sit at the dining room table from the moment he gets home until he goes to bed...again he could care less. We don't know what else to do. Our friends and relatives have suggested having him copy the dictionary or write lines, but I don't think it will do any good and honestly he doesn't have time. He has no extracurricular activities, and he still barely has time to get everything done at night.

Sorry this post is long...I just need help. There is so much more I could tell you, but the post would be miles long. lol Thanks!!

Click on my blinkies!!

**thank you SO much to tasha_mae for my beautiful siggy
and to CupcakeJamie and Niamh ૐ for my blinkies!!**

Last edited by somo_chickenlady; November 10th, 2010 at 10:12 AM.
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November 11th, 2010, 04:25 AM
wefrogy's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 17,062
I will try to respond to this at lunch (if we have internet). It's the AM and have to start packing lunches and get in the shower etc.

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November 11th, 2010, 10:55 AM
wefrogy's Avatar Platinum Supermommy
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 17,062
don't feel like a failure. IMO parenting is a bit of a learn as you go thing.

We have had some similar issues with my son. He's 12 in 7th grade. Though I do believe my son has inattention ADD (not what you usually hear about ADD or ADHA, but just an inattention type). Here's a site I found helpful.

ADD / ADHD in Children: Signs & Symptoms of Attention Deficit Disorder

scroll down to the middle to the section that talks about the three primary characteristics of ADD/ADHD and read the inattention type. See if this sounds like your son.

Also I found this site helpful too. http://en.wikipedia.org

I personally do not feel the need to take my son to a dr to be diagnosed and I am not a fan of putting kids on meds for things like this...just my opinion. What has worked for us is to accept that he can't help these things and he's not doing them to be bad or lazy, he just simply cannot help it.

We use to punish and take things away etc and it didn't phase him much at all. I have changed the way I deal with him and the way I react to him. I spend more time explaining things to him, going over things with him etc. The biggest thing for me was realizing that he's not doing these things on purpose or to defy me and he really does try.

I think you should check the schools website for a homework help line or call the school and see what they offer as far as parents being informed of homework etc. If they don't do something in general I would request a conference with the teacher and ask that she send you daily/weekly emails as to what the assignments are etc so you can help him keep up on all of it.

Good luck and I hope this helps at least a little.

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November 16th, 2010, 06:38 AM
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: MI
Posts: 50
First of all I want to let you know you are not alone! I have been going through the same thing with my 13 year old son since the 1st grade. It's one extreme or the other...either he gets straight A's or he doesn't do his homework and he gets straight F's.

We just happened to be going through a rough spot right now and I saw your post and thought I'd give you some advice on our "new" plan for this year.

I just got back from a meeting with his teachers this morning and they made me feel a lot better. There are so many different personalities in each class and the teachers understand that. Some students are extremely smart and organized....Andrew falls into the extremely smart but unorganized. Our plan for Andrew was to have a folder dedicated to just homework that he takes with him to every class. He also has a planner that the school supplies which he is supposed to use to write down any homework or upcoming tests. Each teacher is going to sign his planner everyday so at the end of the day he knows what homework he needs to do. This is something that I cannot slack on. If I slack, then he slacks. As his parent I needed to accept the fact that he is unorganized and help him understand how to get organized.

For years I thought that I just had a "lazy" kid and it would cause major arguments in the home. Rather than trying to organize him, we just yelled at him and grounded him constantly. The teachers explained it a little better to me today. He is very smart and he is one of those kid's whose mind is always going and going....he always needs some kind of stimulation. So he reads...and reads and reads....lol For him to focus on what homework he has at the end of the day is impossible UNLESS he writes it down during that specific class.

I hope this helps! I think Andrew is a little on the A-D-D side...I know I am...lol Fortunately, he enjoys reading and gets the stimulation he needs out of it rather than playing video games and Bakkugan all day (which he could). It's all about being humble and bringing out the best of them. If I get flustered, then he is flustered.

Hope this helps!

Andrew - 9/30/1997
Christopher - 2/23/2008
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