My stubborn Senior in High School in jeopardy of NOT graduating!

Deb - posted on 04/26/2012 ( 20 moms have responded )

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Were exhausted.
The challenges-
My 17 year old senior who is 18 in 2 weeks has 2 core classes to pass (an F and C currently) and some make up credits to do in recovery which reuires computer time. He is so strong minded and stubborn. He recently got in trouble for us exposing his pot smoking. He currently is clen from pot or alchohol ( we are doing UA's) and I beleive he is clean due to his changes in behavior. Tried to get him to go to counseling twice and he backed out last minute.

The positives- He has had a job for 2 years and seems to work hard. Too hard- today he skips class to cover a shift since they had no one to cover. I appreciate his hard work ethic motivated by money but school needs to be priority.

It is hard to take away his car when he needs rides to work and we live far out of town as we are not always available. When we disagree he has left several times and refused to come home for days. We have a 14 and 11 year old too and our contsant battles have affected them. He seems to be going through normal teenager angst and attitude. (my parents are dumb, they do not understand, I can be in charge of myself, you favor the younger siblings ect...) Also he has come out as bi-sexual this year and I know that has been hard for him at school.

My husband and I have tried everything. We feel at this point, he knows what he needs to do to graduate and if he does not, it is his own actions that caused this. We cannot force him into attending school and doing homework. I feel saddened that he may not graduate. I have literally been so stressed this year I have been sick with shingles due to stress. Do we just relax on the reminders and nagging and put it on him to graduate? If we bug him it seems to make him rebel about school. Anyone gone through this?

Thanks for the support.

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Robin - posted on 03/21/2014

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While I wouldn't wish situation on anyone else, I have to say it is nice not to feel so alone. We are in the exact same situation with our 18 yr old son, who is just weeks from graduation. Until this year he had a high B average and was on track for college, scholarships etc. he has also been very involved in school activities, scouts, etc and has a good group of friends. Until last spring, when he was hit with depression, which got worse until ultimately we had to have him hospitalized to save his life. It was a horrendous experience.
Thankfully, with meds, therapy etc. his moods have stabilized and I am unbelievably grateful for that. The school has been wonderful, granting extensions etc, and actually he only needs to complete one math class and a government class for graduation. He had insisted on a pre-calc class this year, refused to change it for an easier course and proceeded to fail it, despite the efforts of his wonderful teacher and several tutors. The last ditch attempt is that he is now enrolled in an online, much simpler course that must be completed before graduation. Of course he isn't doing it- he seems to be completely incapable of doing homework any more. He is also failing English- always very easy for him- but at least graduation doesn't depend on it. We have provided him with every tool possible, and begged, bribed and threatened- all to no avail. My biggest fear is that despite his lack of effort, he has high expectations, and certainly doesn't want to be embarrassed among his very smart friends by not being able to graduate with his class. And if that happens, I am very worried that his moods are not stable enough and he will do something drastic. We have stopped talking about college for now- he just isn't ready- and we are okay with that, but I'm not sure he is. He really is engaging in some magical thinking, and it worries me because at some point the consequences will be real.
I have been so anxious and stressed this whole year- first the initial crisis, and then just always waiting for the other shoe to drop. It has affected my mental health as well. Someone on this thread mentioned possibly seeking therapy herself, and I have. The therapist, who herself has gone through a similar situation, has been able to give me perspective, which does help. But man have I shed a lot of tears over this. Thanks for letting me vent- not sure what anyone can do, but thanks for letting me know I'm not alone!

Erin - posted on 11/29/2012

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My son is failing right now. He is 18 and is told he won't graduate if he doesn't fix his grades NOW. I have been crying all morning. I think I need therapy to deal with this . We have been fighting with him for four years over grades. He is very smart and also tests well, has a job, just won't do HW. I am going NUTS! Any advice for me? :(

Melinda - posted on 05/02/2013

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My son dropped out of high school his senior and got his diploma at age 21. My daughter is a senior now and is on the edge of failing 2 classes. Same as you, I cant hold her hand and force her to do her homework and attend classes, she slacked off up til this year and is now feeling the crunch. I too am stressed out but what can we do aside from pulling them to class by the scruff of their necks and doing their homework and tests for them. At some point they have to take responsibility for their own actions. All that we can do as parents is our very best, the rest is up to them. I'm sure this didn't help but I hope that it is a little comforting to know that you are not alone. Hang in there....

[deleted account]

Hi! Perhaps this will put you at ease. Our now 19 year old, was graduated by his prinicpal after he failed both math and english. We were not informed that he failed these courses until 2 days before graduation. The principal graduated him regardless. We were furious and had him return for a semester in the fall, to improve his grades. Lectures followed about needing good grades and a diploma that actually meant something to enter college or university. He attended school. The result, lots of socializing and worse grades in the 2 courses than he graduated with, long story short it was a waste of our breathe, frustation and time. There comes a point when a parent can only say so much, these boys have decided that they are going to control what they will, or will not do and we have to let them fall on their faces if need be, that, sadly is the only way they will learn consequences of the choices they make. Our son is now working 2 jobs, paying rent and being responsible. Your son seems to be doing the same. That in itself is showing maturity and growth. I think that when they realize that they want more out of life including careers and not just jobs, they will have to make those decisions. The courses they will be required to have, will be offered at whatever school they decide to continue into in their adult life and they will have to work harder for the grades and you know what, that may be exactly what they need. ~ We have stopped talking about college and university and have been supporting his work ethic and his accomplishmnents. It is a more relaxed and beneficial atmosphere for everyone involved. It is better to have the lines of communcation open, so that when our son makes the decision to further his studies, we can all be excited and supportive. ~ I hope that helps.

Dorothy - posted on 05/10/2013

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Wow, I have been through the same thing. What is really going on here. My son had two credits to go. An A student who met a girl with two kids and a GED and called himself running away from home and dropping out of school because it is love. I tried to tell him that love inspire and encourages us to do better. But of course society has told him that at 18 he is grown. NOT, he can't drink, buy cigarette, go to night clubs are stay out late but thinks he is grown. I cried, and want to knock his head off. I have put him out several time and fought against the relationship. Now this girl is pregnant and I am tired. I have given up and if he wants to live a hellish life broke, begging and homeless then that is on him. I prayed and ask GOD to take care of him for me and when the time come and HE has done what he needed to do with him then HE will give him back to me a new man of worth because right no he has lost he self worth. Education is the key out of poverty and it is one thing that no one can take from you. With education you may get knocked down but you have the knowledge to get back up. I wish all of you mother the best and blessing too you. Happy Mother's Day in spite of the hardship and heart break.

20 Comments

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Robin - posted on 12/06/2015

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I posted below almost two years ago....i just want to offer encouragement and support. My son stayed with a relative of state after graduation from high school-- yes, he did graduate, but just barely. I was so relieved he graduated but couldn't enjoy the ceremony. Anyway, he spent a year with a relative and took some classes at a local school, with very mixed results. Not a rousing success academically for sure, but a growing experience. He had to have a job and do his own laundry, buy his own food...we stopped helping him once he didn't sign up for classes for spring. He still had a roof over his head and was safe, but we were trying to give him an idea of life. He came back into the summer and enrolled in school again and has really made it a priority to do well in school...maybe not super grades, but passing, and he is trying. I really couldn't imagine him doing schoolwork after his senior year, and was amazed when I saw schoolwork left out on the table on weekends at home. It sounds like so many of you are trying and are doing the right thing, and it is so, so hard. There is hope. We aren't there yet, but are so much farther ahead than we envisioned two years ago. Keep the faith...the CEO at a local company I know was kicked out of college. It takes some kids, boys especially, a long time to get things straight.

Amanda - posted on 05/16/2014

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Wow this sounds so much like my son, who worked PT and saved $1600 for his own car then wrecked it 2 weeks later. He probably will not be graduating because he has no interest in school. All he cares about is getting another car which he's been bugging me about. I said no until he gets that diploma. Boys are so difficult and stubborn.

How is your son doing now?

Lacey - posted on 05/06/2014

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My son (18) struggles with ADHD and Bi polar. School has not come easy for him, but we have been successful so far, until this year. He seems to have lost his goal. Graduation no longer matters to him. School is a waist of time, he has two classes left in order to graduate. We were sent a letter that informed us he was to be kicked out of school due to excessive amounts of missed school one month before graduation I battled to keep him in but he still misses. I feel like I'm personally being attacked because of how hard its been getting him this far. I am physically ill with graduation just around the bend i went as far as to fill out his graduation invitations to try and get him excited but to no eval. He works and just got promoted as a manager of a pizzeria and we are very proud of him but we try to explain that there are bigger and better things out there they just require a little effort on his part. He needs a diploma.
I too am not sure when to let him become an adult.

Donna - posted on 03/22/2014

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OMG yes! At least your son has a job and good work ethics. Some kids r just not cut out for school. It completely tore me apart when our son dropped out of school at 16. We would actually call the school when he would refuse to go and they would send a truant officer to come get him! A high school diploma is necessary to get anywhere in life and when your son wants to advance in the workforce he can always get his GED. There is nothing you can do at this age because they will do what they want anyway! I'm not saying give up on him but allow him to crash and burn that's the only way he will learn. Although I'm not one to talk. Have you read my post about our 19 ur. Old by Donna yet? Read it please! It could always be a whole lot worse, believe me. He sounds like a decent kid just try to prove himself and his right of passage as a man. If he is disrupting to your other children you might ask him to find his own place now that he's at least working. It's seriously difficult especially when our sons drive us crazy. Just love him no matter what! He will come around. I'm not so sure about mine though.

Lah - posted on 10/22/2012

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YES IM GOING THROUGH SIMILAR SCENARIO. IM BURNT OUT, OVERWHELMED WITH STRESS. IF I WAS A DRINKER I'D BE DRUNK ALL DAY EVERYDAY JUST TO AVOID MY TEEN. HERES A SIMPLE DESCRIPTION. SHES A SENIOR, HER GRADES ARE Fs AND Ds. HER SCHOOL ATTENDANCE IS 98%. SHES WELL BEHAVED AND FRIENDLY. SHES ALSO A HOMEBODY. SO CAN SOMEONE TELL ME WHAT THE HELL IS WRONG WITH HER. I'M SO TIRED OF HER TELLING ME, MOM IM DOING OKAY, MOM SCHOOLS ALRIGHT, MOM DON'T WORRY.. BLAH BLAH BLAH, I'VE DONE ALL I CAN. ALL I ASK IS THAT YOU DO YOUR PART AND GRADUATE. I ALREADY KNOW WHAT IM GOING TO DO IF SHE DOESN'T GRADUATE. IM GOING TO DISOWN HER AND THROW HER OUT. IM GOING TO DIVORCE HER DAD AND TAKE MY 3 OTHER KIDS WITH ME. YES YOU CAN SAY, IM AM VERY FED UP. SHE IS LIKE HER DAD, CRUISING LIFE WITH NO RESPONSIBILITIES. IM FED UP, PISSED OFF, I CANNOT EVEN HAVE A CLEAR CONVERSATION KNOWING SHES BARELY PASSING. I AM BEYOND TIRED. FAILURE IS NO EXCEPTION, ESPECIALLY WHEN YOU DON'T EVEN TRY.

♫ Shawnn ♪♫♫ - posted on 04/30/2012

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OMG!!! I am HOME!!!

Ladies, you don't...Oh, wait, YOU DO!!!

Ok, moment of pure joy aside...I can totally relate! My son's problems are stemming from some medical issues that he had as a sophomore, that recurred at christmas. He's literally less than 4 weeks from graduation, failing 2 classes, and may not pass his core math...again... He's spend more time out of school than in this semester, including the major surgery that he's just been through.

His problem, though, is that even though I have begged throughout his entire scholastic career for his teachers to hold him accountable, no one ever would...until he hit high school. And then, he buckled down pretty well for the first bit, until he got sick. After that, he's been not motivated. He was set to go into the Army after grad, but had to push that back until he's medically cleared again, and his whole attitude left at about that same time.

I don't want him to push his recovery, but honestly, I'm tired of his teachers telling me that I'm the lazy one because he's not passing his classes! Seriously? When I'm emailing, or calling, or chatting with you in the supermarket, and asking you weekly about his progress, I'M the lazy one!!!

Ok, sorry, I had to vent. I know my son will graduate, even if he has to finish part time this summer, but I'm still heartbroken that his grades are so poor (I graduated with a 3.9 out of 4) and his teachers seem to think he's too "good looking and well adjusted" to enforce their rules!

I will say this, though. Although he's slacking a bit now, he's a good kid, capable of anything he wants to do. I will most definitely NOT give him the ultimatum of "go to college or you're out", because college right after high school is most definitely not for everyone, and I'd rather he didn't waste his money on classes he's going to either fail or drop out of. I'd rather he hang out, do the military, and then, if he's ready to commit, do trade school, or something that will put him into his chosen field without all the "frills" that a 4 year program demands.

Tori - posted on 04/30/2012

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Wow. Cant believe someone else is going through the same. Thanks for writing. Hey, maybe they'll come into their own late in life and whiz past the competition, ya think? There's always that possibility as I think back on the story of the rabbit and the hare. Over time if something excites them I guess anything is possible. Let's keep the faith, and I'm keeping my fingers crossed mine graduates next month. He's right on the edge and less the mercy of nice teachers could sure enough need a grade forgiveness course and not walk the stage. I asked him if he realizes that, he said sure, who cares about graduation. I'm ready for my life. He means his summer break, and time for his gf, friends, etc. Thankfully, no drugs, or any other trouble at all. Just wants to chill. Finds the rest of it boring, and a waste of his time. Go figure. : ).

Cindy - posted on 04/30/2012

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My son will be 18 in 3 days, that is all I hear about. @Michelle my son was a straight A student until he got sick at the beginning of sixth grade and that began the downhill progress. He is now a junior in High School and the grades have been a battle since the fifth grade. His health issues are some of the problem, however his lack of motivation to turn in homework and study is the biggest problem. Not to be a downer on the bribe thing but my entire family (Mom, Dad, Three Brothers) have bribed my son for anything he wanted with a report card above D's with no success. We have hired tutors, put him in therapy, school programs, summer school and nothing or no one seems to motivate him. He is a good kid doesn't get in trouble just doesn't seemed to be concerned about the rest of his life. Not that I feel he should have it all figured out but at least somewhat of a dream in mind, considering he only has a year of high school left. So the only thing we have left is the blessing that he is not addicted to drugs or alcohol and he has not gotten into trouble, the rest we will leave in God's hands for his path. God Bless!

Tori - posted on 04/28/2012

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My son is leaves for NG basic training in July. He fully expects to pass, albeit by the skin of his teeth. If he doesn't pass his plans for the NG are swiftly aborted and we are back at square one. So fingers crossed there.



I want him to find his passion, to feel at least some motivation for the stage of life he's in. He has a beautiful gf for 2 yrs. He has some good buds, some close loyal friends since childhood, good looks, pretty smart, likable. Hate seeing him so uninterested in life at this stage of Life.



He more than the usual fearful I think, to face the future with any excitement. : ( So he's coasting.

Elizabeth - posted on 04/27/2012

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Going through some hard times with our 16 year old. I told him till he turns 18 he has to follow my rules and get over it. Even when he gets his car. I don't care if he did buy it. I can and will ground him from it. When he turns 18 he will have three choices. Go to college, pay rent, or move out. I don't put up with it. But I do pick and chose my battles. I ask myself is this one situation worth a fight. And I treat each situation on its own. For the next two weeks he has to follow your rules. Then after that I'd tell him the same thing. He either stays in school and gets good grades and graduates, pays rent, or move.

Tori - posted on 04/27/2012

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In grade school, he got straight A's. Middle school, slacked a little but still about a 3.0 gpa. High school, honors classes, maintained 3.2. Guidance counselors (using SAT, FCAT scores) felt he could easily handle honors classes and he'd turn it around, that it was "just a slump" and that later the weighting system would ease him right into a good college.



He lost all focus for school by 10th grade, started wk'g PT to save money for a car sooner than we would help buy it because we refused until his grades came up. We were going to hand him our Honda to drive free, only charge him Half on the ins if he kept his grades up. He'd have it made but he saw it like we were holding him back (friends had parents doing more for them w/o conditions). He decided to go around us doing everything on his own on pure spite.



He got his money together, pd $2000 for his car, bought his own tag, pd his part (added) on my ins policy. Bought himself a tank of gas and off he went bottoming out from there. Fast forward, 5 wks later Mr Independence wrecked the car and needed $1,100 for repairs. We loaned him $500 so he wouldn't need our car to attend his already paid for Prom.



Schools almost out, too late to bribe on grades. Graduates (fingers crossed) this yr. We keep him home during the wk so he can keep focus on school, get to bed on time, etc. He won't study. He's sooo over it. And smug, sure he will pass by the skin of his teeth, which he says is fine by him. He says dont worry mom, I got this. Which he probably will pull it out but I sure wish I could motivate him from his heart to want the best for himself and not settle for coasting and selling himself short. : (



He's a good kid, never any trouble out there. Smart, but irresponsible, immature in many ways. I know for sure I spoiled him pretty bad. He depends on me a lot for 18 yo. The NG has to help him become a strong man. At least that's what I'm hoping for. : (



Thanks again.

Michelle - posted on 04/27/2012

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If money is a motivator I would seriously bribe him to pass and graduate. My son is only in grade 5 but for every grade he gets he gets a certain amount of money. Up until this past year he was a straight A student, and this years marks only dropped because he was really sick at the beginning of the school year. I would find a number you are comfortable with and say ok here's the deal you get your act together and graduate high school and we will give you this. Then tell him there will be no more nagging you either do it or you don't. Then make sure you follow through with the promise if he does graduate

Tori - posted on 04/27/2012

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Wow, interesting. I thought we were alone on this one. I mean, you'd think if a kid didn't drop out, he must be semi interested in progressing forward. Lol. Not our teens huh?



My son just turned 18, suffering a bad case of total burn out on the verge of failing. We're on pins and needles w/ family from out of state, flights booked, etc, planning to be in town for graduation. Plus he's enlisted in the NG, scheduled to ship out in July.



He overslept yesterday for the (lost count, maybe 8-10th) time this year. You can guess, I broke policy (about sleeping in and getting a ride) and took him. I want him to pass and go forward with the NG as I see this as his best chance to mature out of the baby/invalid I created. Many things I would do differently if we got do-overs in life.



Hopefully military training in discipline will give him self pride and motivation, and undo the damage I did by pacifying him through the years.



I hear good things in that respect. Any thoughts?

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