Tuesday, November 29, 2011


I can’t believe so much time has passed between now and my last post. I guess that’s what happens though when life seems to be going full-speed ahead dangerously out of control. And travelling every other weekend, a teething baby and other life wonders and mishaps don’t help any.

I’ve come here today though to discuss Older Boy. He is a hair-pulling, head banging, lovely 11-year-old middleschooler now. And with that comes a motivation for independence, but a lack of responsibility. For some reason he can’t fathom that responsibility will bring independence. In other words … I’d love to pick your brains on what has worked for you on how to motivate a tween to be more responsible when it comes to things like:
  • Turning homework in
  • Asking teachers for a list of missing homework assignments
  • Turning in important things like money for class trips or fundraisers
  • Remembering to bring your lunch to school – especially on days that you have basketball practice or a basketball game
Those are probably the things up there on the list.

I cannot offer an allowance. Our money is pinched so tight right now that FH and I have to borrow money from each other to pay bills. I’ve gotten pretty crafty and switching money from one account to another. Although I have told Older Boy that if he can continuously show us he can be responsible I’d be willing to consider some sort of allowance system. However, he just doesn’t seem able to stay motivated.

When I ask him about something he gets this “I forgot” look or excuse. He tells me “OK” and I tell him “Don’t tell me OK. Show me that you can do it.”

I’m not sure if the more regular overnight visits with Jane have anything to do with it. Ever since they’ve started to regularly stay over at her house on the weekends both Older Boy and Younger Boy have taken steps back in their will to thrive in our household. Surprisingly Middle Boy is the only one who has continued to take steps forward.

Anyway, I’m at a loss. Any words of wisdom would be so wonderful and welcomed and much appreciated.

And for your time in reading this here is a little treat for you. Baby J.C. is now a spunky, spit fire, darling 1-year-old. She is more like me every day. I’m in trouble.

Reading me a story


Amy said...

Have you tried natural consequences where you can? Letting him be hungry when he forgets his lunch might remind him to take it next time. Or our school used to give the kids with no lunch a peanut butter sandwich. The thought of having to eat peanut butter with no jelly was a good deterrent for my kids. I would see if your school has any type of online grading system. I can watch grades online and assignments too. That way justice is swift and can be given on the day that anything is posted. I was pretty mean with my kids where school was concerned. Anything lower than a B and they spent the next 3 weeks grounded. My youngest is a sophomore now and he still has to keep grades up. He averages one B a grading period and somehow manages to keep the rest at A's and I rarely have to check the online grades now. And it's not because he's a studious, scholastic type. The kid absolutely hates school.

Remember, at that age they start thinking and trying to try their wings. I've found it's better to talk TO them and not AT them. If you can find out what he's thinking, you'll have a better chance of motivating him. And maybe instead of money as a motivator, he could work for a privilege he wants. A later bedtime on weekends or a trip to the movies with his friends.

Crys said...

Amy, I've tried all that. I don't bring his lunch to school if I see it still in there. My concern lately is that he's at basketball practice or a game without eating anything. Also, the school is looking into the online grading system, it's not there yet. I've also tried the whole asking him what's going on thing too and he still gives me that blank stare. He's always been like that though and it drives me crazy. I've asked him if he wants to go on this trip because the money he still hadn't turned in over the weekend is going toward that. The only time I've really even stepped in is when I've noticed he's left a fundraiser packet at home the day it is due. We do the take away privileges thing but it doesn't seem to matter much because if we take away video games he'll just wait until he goes to Jane's and he'll play them all day there.

Pam said...

A YEAR? How is that possible? Amazing... Love the little ponytails!