Thursday, June 09, 2011

Maybe he'll buy the right lottery ticket someday.

Hi, I'm Becky.  I'm a housewife.  I have a seventeen year old son.  Despite being a good natured and happy baby, his terrible twos kicked in at one year old and they've never gone away.  This upsets me.

He's the wall that my head is constantly banging of the biggest reasons I do not work.  He needs constant supervision and god, I am just tired.

(My cat Booger feels my frustration.  At the moment he's come up to block my screen, rub his head all over my face, and turn around to show me his bumhole like that's some sort of honor I'm due, seeing that I'm the top cat in this house.  This is an allegory to how my whole day with my son has gone.)

I don't get it.  I don't know what else his Dad and I can do to get through to him just what he needs to do to get out of this sixteen year rut.  These traits of his are not traits his little brothers share.  They aren't traits we have in any way rewarded or encouraged.  They aren't traits that have made him any friends or given him anything but the most temporary and sneaky goodies.  These are traits that have caused him quite a lot of loss and discomfort.

He well knows his own traits and figures that he can't fix them because fixing them requires's hard...or boring...or doesn't result in immediate goodies...this is just the way he is...maybe there is a medication that can fix me...or cuts into time thinking about something else...why bother.

Excellent thinking for today's economy and job prospects.

Yet, this kid o'mine, feels compelled to tell everyone else what they need to do, how to do it, when and with what skills.  Especially his five year old brother, who he socked in the gut today while I was in my bathroom and Dad had gone to the grocery store, to reinforce how, in his opinion, one should be cleaning their room even though his own room was itself filthy.

Tonight my teenager is laying in a room with a sparse few of his belongings in it, feeling sorry for himself for getting punished, because if he feels sorry for himself then no other effort on his part can wiggle it's way through.  Oh, and a good dose of blaming everyone else for his problems too. 

Dear God, grant me the power of The Matrix, where I can just plug an html cord into his neck and program in an a-ha moment....please? 

Otherwise, if he indeed joins the Navy like he intends to after he (cross fingers) graduates from high school, he'll fall right on his naive know-it-all face which might be very useful for him but not at all useful to the Navy or for national security.  They will not take, "It's too hard." or "I don't know." or I didn't hand in weeks of homework because, "There was a sub." or "I have asthma." when he in fact only had breathing issues with a bout of strep at 10 years old.  My son will stumble, down he'll go, he will land hard, and he will feel the pain of this acutely.  I'm both thrilled about this life lesson and it breaks my heart, it shatters my heart.

The rub of all this is that he's so smart.  He's so damned smart.  He's got this amazing brain in his head that he cannot be bothered to use to prove himself up. Kid scored an 85% on his ASVAB...then blew off his college placement tests.  Their results recommended he start with remedial courses, you know, the courses you get no credit for in college because they are at an 7th grade level so you can work your way to actual college level courses, that you still have to pay good money for.

Sixteen years of a long road and it's just getting longer.

After this next school year there isn't a damned thing I can do about it either.


(Cat, get your ass out of my way.)


  1. Wow.. sounds like a military training is EXACTLY what he needs. :\

  2. One possibility: Have a neuropsychologist do an evaluation, of cognition and learning style and behavior. My son and teenage nephew have both benefited from this. What looks like laziness or bad attitude toward schoolwork can, in fact, be some sort of learning disorder. A neuropsychologist can diagnose, explain, and suggest strategies for compensating for shortcomings.

    My therapist has even had clients in their early 20s get a neuropsych eval (from a neuropsych who mostly sees kids), even though they're done with school. Problems in school can become problems in work and adult life, and her clients benefited from finding out why they'd struggled with certain things for so long.

    Email me if you have questions, Becky.

  3. We've done this. It took a while and they diagnosed him with ADD, which is not something I disagree with. (Justin's a teacher, we're familiar.)

    Tools for compensating go only as far as the willingness to use them. We've been more than willing certainly. We've pushed and pushed and pushed. Tried one direction...another...charts...stickers...short term rewards...daily teacher checkoffs...heavy structure...doesn't qualify for IEPs. He's better than he used to be. This year he's passed off with C's but I fear senioritis.

    (I've got to make sure next year that he doesn't interact with a teacher who thinks that he'll do better if she's extra nice to him. She gives an inch, he takes a mile, and it makes incentives at home near impossible to stick to. He doesn't see the consequences.)

    It may take him maturing past his teenaged years, where his brain isn't so muddled with immaturity and hormones, to even decide that he wants to compensate. Right now his parents are idiots. Typical teenaged stuff.

    Yesterday was just frustrating. Usually I don't write about that but I needed to.

  4. My oldest is almost 14, but Holy Hell, it sounds like we have given birth to the same kid!

    I'll be your support, if you'll be mine :P

  5. Oh BTW, my son has also been diagnosed ADHD.

    Fun shit I tell ya...not

  6. Elementary was extra fun. I'd go to his new teacher for the year. Tell him/her how my son is, what seems to work, what doesn't, and ask what we can do to work together.

    Without fail the teacher would say, "Oh, it can't be that way."

    But I'd still show up after school once or twice a week to see how things are going and if he needed organization or if he was indeed lying about not having homework, which as usual he was.

    It would take about about two to three months in for the teacher to finally admit I was right and by that time we'd lost everything we'd tried to build in him the year previous. No progress was really made because it became a stalemate.

    Junior high and high school was somewhat better. His reputation preceded him and having teacher dad in the school was useful. He'd built some pretty bad habits those early years which I can't convince him don't serve him.

    He's got a camp to go to this summer and after that, his Dad and I again take him on the quest for a job.

    Part of my disappointment also stems from what I was at his age. I had a job, paid my own bills, did well in school, bought my own car, did a lot of school activities. He's just...unlike me. I'm at a loss to where this is coming from.

  7. I loved math when I was a kid, right up until calculus tried to kick my ass (and partly succeeded). My son? Has math anxiety. Is decent at math but fears it and doesn't enjoy it. It's just how his brain is wired--the abstractness of math, all the rote practice that homework tends to involve? Not a great match. Our kids insist on being their own people and taking after mom and dad only when it comes to stubbornness!


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