Home » Motherhood, parenting » Dug Himself a Hole

Dug Himself a Hole

The theme of “Parenting Teenagers is REALLY Hard” has been done here at the Herd pretty consistently lately. That’s because parenting teenagers is REALLY hard, and, well, this place here helps me process everything. Thanks for hanging in there with us.

I’ve had this layer of sadness hanging over me today, sadness and anxiety.  We had a meeting at the high school yesterday with Big Man, all his teachers, and his guidance counselor. Yes, it’s reached that point. We want to help him. We need to help him. He needed to hear it from more than his parents. It was an hour of  hearing what a good, well-liked student he is, but a student who doesn’t do homework. He’s an intelligent but dumb teenage  boy. Does that make sense?

We were given stacks of missing assignments in every class but one. Deadlines were extended, concessions made. Every teacher wants to help him reach his potential. But  he has a huge hole to dig himself out of. HUGE! (Did you just hear Trump in your head? I did). I looked at that stack this morning, and was overwhelmed for him. He spent three hours doing homework last night, because goodness knows he has to keep up with his current work, tests, and quizzes, as well as hammer down the long list of missing assignments.

We had to look at everything, all the work needing to be completed, what the deadlines are, when tests are coming up, and develop a plan of attack. This kid will essentially have no life outside of academia for the next couple of months. Do I feel bad for him? Yes, but at the same time, he put himself here.

I think he’s learned a valuable lesson he will carry with him the rest of his life.  The lesson is this: even when you think it isn’t necessary, you still have to do the work. That applies to school, to work, to life in general. Do. The. Work. You can’t slide by on being a good test-taker, the fact you easily retain information you hear in the classroom, nor the fact you’re charming and people like you. Do the work.

He heard a lot of good things yesterday too. It wasn’t all doom and gloom. He knows we and his teachers aren’t out to get him, that we’re all here to support him and help him be successful. It’s been a really rough couple of months, but again, I’m kind of glad we’ve gone through this now, when he’s home under our roof and radar, when we can take action on his behalf, reach out to his teachers and support staff, rather than years from now when he’s in college and we have no hope of knowing until it’s entirely too late he needs help.

That sadness – I think it comes from being overwhelmed, from having to teach your precious sixteen year old a very tough lesson, from knowing he’s capable of entirely more than he’s been showing. Add to that, he has an appointment with a specialist this afternoon for yet another medical issue, and me just being tired, makes for an emotional momma. We’ll get there. We’ll get through. Life lessons are tough on everyone.

17 thoughts on “Dug Himself a Hole

  1. I’ve been in those conferences before with both my boys. It get’s better. I had to remind myself their brains are still developing! In speaking with other parents, boys tend to be a little less organized, a bit more chaotic than girls. The biggest help for me was that their grades were on an online system parents could access so it allowed us to catch missing assignments before the hole got too big again. I promise it DOES get better.

    • I can definitely tell the difference between him and my daughter who is just a year behind him. She’s completely organized, focused, and on top of things. We have the online grades as well. He was just not being very truthful about handing stuff in, and then blaming it on the teachers not updating the online grade book. ARGH! Thanks for the hope…I truly think he’s learned from this.

      • I hope so.
        I will say it took my oldest, now a freshman in college more than one episode (or ten) to get it together!

        He is doing well and learned from it all to go to his professors even now if he is having a problem with a class. It does sink in…. eventually 😉

  2. I wish I would go through this computer and give you a hug. My husband has taught a boy since he was very little and he is now in high school with no guidance from a father. My husband often meets with this boy to play sports and they discuss life. He sees the craziness that goes on and we often discuss it. The trouble this boy gets himself in….ugh(well beyond not turning in homework)! One common trend among boys this age is the lack of organization and missing things. I’ve read so much about how hard it is for parents, to help show them the way without doing it for them. The struggle is real! It seems boys have some different wiring when it comes to organization and preparing. He will get it together. He’s got great parents who want the best for him. He’s a lucky boy!

    • Thanks. I had no idea how different it was with boys. I mean I had an older brother, and he definitely struggled his freshman year. But we’d moved from a large city to a very small town right before he started high school. I’m hearing from more and more parents of boys this transition thing is fairly normal. He’s a good kid. He will get it together. I’m micro-managing now, but teaching him at the same time to be accountable. Some days are better than others and I won’t lie and say there hasn’t been a fair amount of yelling and angst.

  3. I have been in this situation with my son. I know sometimes it feels like you’re in the hole with him, or at times, like the whole family is. Getting out of the hole was not pleasant, but I know he got a boost of confidence with his achievement, and I know it helped him develop more self-discipline. We depended on an egg timer, making it a game, and that was a good tool for him. Your ongoing love and support is monumental, and you’re doing a great job. Best of luck to you all 🙂

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