15 y/o son shuts down

Tara - posted on 02/25/2015 ( 7 moms have responded )

7

0

2

My 15 year old son wont talk to us if we approach him about working on his grades. He just says i dont know to every question. Im not sure what we did to make him mistrust us to the extent. We try to keep the conversation productive and positive so we can move forward. Its hard though because he wont answer any questions. Is this normal? He was an honors student but is failing several classes and will likely do summer school. So its seriously something we need to discuss but when we sit down to do that he refuses to participantpate in the conversation.

7 Comments

View replies by

Tara - posted on 02/25/2015

7

0

2

That is a great idea Trisha!! Thank u for the different perspectives. I find it very helpful !

Trisha - posted on 02/25/2015

551

0

13

This are just theories obviously:

He honestly could just not understand what is going on related to his grades, which means he has nothing to talk about.
Ultimately: Him not communicating is not him CHOOSING not to communicate, but him not knowing how to communicate about the problem. So, he is not trying to be defiant.

Personally, I have a VERY hard time communicating when I am upset, as I am quick to cry. When my problem has an emotional (not logical) element I try not to talk about it, as it will cause me to burst out into tears. At which point I have absolutely NO way to communicate through the sobs.

I have found texting/emailing to be a good alternative to having a face to face conversation, as I can still communicate while crying...

Tara - posted on 02/25/2015

7

0

2

Its funny you mention that about caring what we think. I see him making the decision to not communicate with us as NOt caring what we think. That is why i have no ideas what he is crying about. I need him to open up. Im willing to do anything to help him...anything.
I took him to counseling but he really does not say much there either except that he does not need to be there.

Trisha - posted on 02/25/2015

551

0

13

Aww. It sounds like he is frustrated, and upset that he is disappointing you guy.

Either that or something really personal is happening at school: relationship/friendship problems, bullying.

It sounds like this is more than just a motivation issue though, especially when he seems to care so much about what you guys think.

Tara - posted on 02/25/2015

7

0

2

Thank you so much that gives me alot to think about. It is good to hear its normal. I just cant understand why he would not say anything . I told him this morning that i feel we need to talk. I told him i value the truth and want him to be able to share with me things that might be difficult to hear. He seemed better but still said nothing! Im trying to build some trust with him. Any time i try and bring up anything personal with him he SHUTS DOWN. Its really sad to see. Last night tears rolled down his face and i still have no idea WHY. We were not yelling at him just trying to communicate and get a plan to move forward. Ultimately trying to help him but i feel he can not see that.

Trisha - posted on 02/25/2015

551

0

13

Perhaps your son is embarrassed or ashamed that his grades have dropped so dramatically? I'd say from my experience that this is pretty normal of a 15 year old boy though.

Honestly, my stepson is definitely NOT an academic type. We are okay with that. If he gets exceptional grades at the end of the year (even though he is in a specialized class that deals with general and practical information rather than really complicated concepts) we get him an item that he wants (one year it was a used ipod that was $100). We ask that he stays consistent or gets better with his grades.

Your son is in grade 10 now? So, his first year in highschool? Often, the teachers at highschools change their expectations of kids, and what used to be good work, is now not as acceptable.

It could also be that he is coming across some highschool drama, and that is distracting him from his schoolwork. You can't really change the effort he puts in at this state. You are going to have to motivate him, or have him motivate himself to get those grades. What he has been doing in the past is now not working in this grade, with these teachers.

Maybe you can have him write down a list of HIS goals for the future, after all... the only reason he needs to achieve good grades is to reach goals that are right for his future plans.

To get to those future plans, what are his expectations for the end of the year. Ask him to write down all the steps he thinks he needs to do in the meantime to reach those goals.

This is going to be a goal list for JUST him. Don't even ask to see it.

I highly suggest not singling him out for this. It could be useful to everyone. Make it a family thing. Have everyone sit down and do it.

For example: If you want to retire at age 60, what steps do you need to take to get here? See a financial adviser, put aside $X a month, purchase a rental investment, put all your coffee $ into a retirement fund instead.

Then, have everyone write down the steps they need to take to reach their goals, so they can see it everyday (perhaps tacked on the inside of their bedroom door so they see it on their way out, or on the ceiling above their bed).

If you want to ensure that he focuses on school, maybe make a rule that there has to be 3 goals. One related to school/work, one friendship/family related and one wild card.

Seal up the list of goals in envelopes with your names on them, and the dates you plan on opening them. Remember to open them on the agreed date and revisit how far you got to reaching your goal while following your plan.

Perhaps this will give him a bit of inner motivation to work towards higher grades, and show him that by making a plan, and consistently working on it, he can achieve them.

This idea came in part from a suggestion a fantastic counselor that my husband and I have been seeing.

I apologize for being so long winded. I tend to be like that. ;)

Join Circle of Moms

Sign up for Circle of Moms and be a part of this community! Membership is just one click away.

Join Circle of Moms