He's a good kid...

He really is.

He's 15 and he can be quite moody, but on the whole, he's a good kid. That is to say, as far as we know, he doesn't smoke, drink, or do drugs. He's never had sex. He doesn't roam the streets or hang out with troubled kids. He doesn't do any of the things that most parents fear their teenagers might get up to - or that they didn't themselves as teenagers.

He's a good kid.

That said, the Grumpy Old Man and I are still feeling it, the teen thing, that stage everyone tells you to dread.

The good kid is really not doing very well at school. He just doesn't care. Or as he likes to put it, he doesn't think about it. Doesn't think about what failing school might mean for him in the future.

We've tried the usual house rules. A regular bedtime so he gets plenty of rest. Homework time to make sure he does his home work. He has work to do around the house as well. And we've also made sure he has fun; he goes to friends housees and parties, he goes to the movies, not often, but sometimes. He has enough gadgets to be keeping up with the Jones, and he chooses he own clothing and style.

But there was no cooperation from him.

He stayed up all night playing computer games or chatting with friends.

So, we made the rule that he could only have his computer at the dining room table and at bed time he had to put it in a custom made charging station. He decided to sneak out after we'd gone to bed (sometimes at 2, 3 or 4am!) to get his computer to play games.

He would play with lego in his room, which was fine, except he'd put on the overhead light, so his brother wasn't getting enough quality sleep.

He picked on his second youngest brother all. the. time.

He told his grandmother he was going to 'wear mum down'.

He never answered his phone when he was out, and would came home later than agreed on because he decided to see a later movie and not tell us.

His grades just kept dropping.

We found out he had plans to wander around the city unattended during an upcoming excursion. We found this out because he insisted he needed his mobile for the excursion so the teacher could call him back after lunch. Then we found out that was just a story because he wanted his phone. No doubt he was going to tell us he'd lost it in the city so we wouldn't ask for it back. Not having devices is apparently killing him.

So, we locked up all the devices, or so we thought, he managed to find one I'd stowed away months ago. We knew he had it, but he said he didn't know where it was. The Grumpy Old Man had to get very, very grumpy, before he finally gave it up.

Now he says we're going to guarantee he fails school. He believes us moving him from his old room to share a room with his younger brother is going to prevent him from sleeping (you know, because he was sleeping so well when he was staying up all night watching movies, or playing games). He believes the sleep deprivation with affect his marks negatively (because, they've been so brilliant thus far).

He asked what would happen if he smashed windows and doors. I told I would call the police.

There are children dying every minute on this planet from starvation, from war fare, from neglect, but all he cares about is having his devices.

I guess this is what they warned us about having teenagers.

Comments

I am so not looking forward to teenage years. I am a couple of years off with my daughter and even more with my son.
If you want my two cents worth (easy for me to say, when I am not in this same situation), I feel he is definitely pushing buttons and seeing just how far things can stretch before they break. From everything I have heard this is normal teenage behaviour.
Again, from my outsiders position, I would acknowledge that he is coming to the age of added responsibility. But it is not just given, it is earned. He is wanting to be treated like an adult, yet is not wanting to act like one. He is almost torn between two worlds (which is quite possible with the ups and downs of teenage hormones). I remember myself, being given rules and curfews and thinking, I am my own person now, not a child, I will come home when I want to.
Unfortunately, for him, if everyone behaved this way in society there would be mayhem, and perhaps that is how he needs to view it. You may have already involved him in a sit down to negotiate and agree on some rules, and explain why these rules exist for the good of the family, his future and your sanity?
Whatever your next move, I would love to her about it, and wish you the best of luck. Enjoy the journey, and hopefully it is short and not too bumpy.
orobbie.com said…
He's a good kid.

What was the Oprah?

It's time to get back to basics! Cut out the noise and simplify your life with the "What Can You Live Without?" Challenge. "It's all about disconnecting from all the stuff and all the technology and reconnecting as a family," Oprah says. "You're going to have a great time. You're going to reconnect as a family. You're going to find out what each other's real interests are, what everybody's been thinking, what everybody's been feeling. You're going to feel a lot of love."

Chances are you'll sing the big-screen blues or fight a cell phone craving during the week.

For seven days, follow the guidelines:

The Ground Rules
1. Cut out all technology—no televisions, video games, cell phones, computers, MP3 players or anything else you may use on a daily basis.
2. No eating out. Everyone must eat dinner at home as a family and brown bag it for lunch.
3. Curb your spending! The only items you can buy are groceries, and try to buy what you need for the week for $125.
4. Plan an inexpensive, creative family outing. You may spend a small amount of money on this if necessary.
5. Choose one family activity that gives back to others.
6. Mom and Dad: Plan one date night so you can connect as a couple.
7. No working late.

At the end of one week, see if you can go for another week—and create your own family rules!