Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Lost it with Brian

I really did just lose it with Brian last night...and with Roland.

Roland has agreed to check the school web site every week. He even tells me that he is going to do, or that he has done it. He gets annoyed with me if I ask about it. Well, yesterday he did log in and looked at Brian's grades. It wasn't good. Brian hasn't turned in a practice sheet for Band all semester. He is getting friggin D in band because he hasn't turned in practice sheets. He has 100% for the in-class stuff, but you know, a zero averaged with 100 isn't a good grade.

It is a similar in all his classes. He is smart. He is good at everything he does. He is just horribly disorganized and forgets to do things, or forgets to turn in things he does. We've tried everything we know of to help him get organized.

Anyway, I got really angry at Brian. Really angry. He lies. He missed days when he was sick and insisted that he did talk to the teachers, but he didn't. Once again he has 100% on some of the work and zeros on the rest. It is so frustrating. I got very, very mad.

In the end I told Brian that he could not have ANY computer/video game/TV time until all of his grades are at least C's. Last night that seemed like a big deal. Today it seems like something that he can pull off pretty quickly -- if he can get teachers to accept work he didn't turn in quite a while ago when he was sick.

When I was calm again Gary showed up in the kitchen where I was doing dishes. I said I was sorry that I lost my temper even if it wasn't at him. He said it was okay. He was used to it.

Then I said, "Sometimes I think I'm a better parent to you, David, Carl, and Evan than I am to Brian and Andrew."

"Well, yeah, 'cause you can like separate from us."

Ain't it the truth.

Finally I played the "what's the worst that could happen" game. I eventually made myself feel better.

It would be easier if his plans for himself were something that didn't require college. Of cousre he is fourteen and doesn't really have any plans for himself. Still, he has, we have, always assumed he would go to college. When he does poorly in school like this I feel like such a horrible parent. I feel angry at myself for not checking the school's web page. I feel angry at Roland for not doing it when he said he would.

I've come to the conclusion that when I am parenting boys that I have not raised, it isn't a good idea to get too worked up about school. It generally works better if they know that I am there to help them whenever they want, but school is their job, not mine. I have over the years tried to make them do school work, and it is always a disaster.

Maybe I just don't do it right. I don't think this is the right approach with younger children, by the way.

I can't make up my mind to treat Brian the same way though.

I don't know if that means that I am a better or worse parent to him, or if it is just different.

Update: Brian came home at the usual time because all the teachers have meetings on Wednesday and he couldn't talk to them anyway. Gary called me from the bus to say that he had been at school working with his teachers to figure out all he needed to to after missing two days of school. He said he was going to be crazy busy.

I mentioned it to Brian. He realized Gary is right -- teacher meetings are on Tuesday.

I don't want to be a mother right now.


  1. Anonymous4:33 PM

    Trade ya!

  2. That's a tough one. I think I would have lost it as well. Hopefully he will stay after school tomorrow and get back on the right track.

  3. Sigh.

    I can see us heading down that path.

    a does her work, and usually does it well, but in a very messy way. Then she loses track of it, and often doesn't turn it in.

    The problem is, I was just like her in elementary school. My teachers shrugged, figured I could do the work, and didn't worry about it.

    I want her to develop better skills than I had when I got to college. Right now, I'm not sure what to do about helping her develop them. My managing her work isn't going to help her grow.

    Parenting is hard.

  4. April Girl9:23 PM

    I had the same problem with my son. I would check his homework, so of course I knew he did the assignment, then he wouldn't turn in the assingment. Last year, I was so stressed about grades, I was just happy if he passed. This year(8th grade) I told him I will check grades every week(we have online grades) and at the progress report time, if he isn't passing tutorials until reports cards come out. It has reduced the stress a little for me, but hasn't really made him more responsible. I can say though when I email his teacher for a tutorial permission slip and don't get back talk about why. The problem with my son is he would flounder all six weeks and then get a 100 on the six week test.

  5. Anonymous5:05 AM

    My youngest drove me insane for years about school. He didn't see the value of getting good grades. Just barely passing was enough as you got to go to the next grade anyway. Then in the summer between his sophomore and junior year he woke up. He decided that when he left school he'd like to enter a specific field and realized he needed good grades to get into the program. Suddenly grades mattered and he got all A's his junior year.

    He got into the program and now has a master's degree in his field and has been employed since college in the field. So there is hope.

    It's a longer road to realize the importance of turning in work gradwise for some than others.

  6. ADD or lazy? Hard call. I'll be glad when they can run an MRI or something and tell me specifically which one is my teen's problem LOL. What's a little effect from nuclear medicine if it saves the parent's sanity, right?

    As for the hubby- he's not developing a great pattern of responsibility is he? Doesn't it drive you bonkers when they do that? It makes me feel like I'm parenting 5 kids instead of 4. I know its typically because the menfolk are preoccupied with other, more important junk (like the new auto lineup for '09, or the latest work related discussions) but its still incredibly frustrating, isn't it?

    So if your definition of losing it only encompasses this, then how do you define my solitary retreat into the jacuzzi behind 2 locked doors, and refusal to respond to all requests (except the baby's LOL)?

  7. We had that problem too. You make me glad mine are all adults now. (Well the ones where schoolwork really mattered) Good luck getting it ironed out, but I know from experience, most teachers accept old work, because if they don't, half the kids would flunk.

  8. That's the trouble with having education compulsory. Children love to learn but, they want to learn stuff they are interested in. (And why shouldn't they?) School tells them what to learn, when to learn it and what to do with the info they've learned.

    Could you educate them at home? That way he could learn what he wanted, when he wanted and you would have a better relationship with him if you weren't chasing up assignments you thought he should do. Honestly, children who are allowed to be in charge of their own learning do amazingly well. You just have to trust them.
    By the way I'm thinking of becoming a foster carer and wanted to subscribe to your blog using an RSS feed but can't find the link. Please will you point it out to me? Thanks.


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