The Joys of Being A Mom…

I’ve been down and out for a few days with a major tooth infection. I have had the joys of painkillers to ease the pain, which is a good thing. I need them today. Not for the toothache though, but rather because I think I might beat my head on the wall.

We’ve had issues all school year with Jason and his Language Arts (formerly known as English) class. He tests well in Language Arts – his teacher told me this morning that his TAKS test results even indicate he should be in the advanced class that he is in. But he has butted heads with her all year long, and today? Today is the final straw.

Last week, they were given a project to do as a group. They had to create a poster with various items. Jason had to come up with laws for a community based on what they were reading in “The Giver.” His group each had a piece of the project to do, and that was his. He came to class the next day with nothing done. The kicker? He told the teacher that was because he really, “had a lot to do at home.”

There is just one problem with that – he didn’t have a lot to do at home. Matter of fact, he has had review sheets to study for finals, and that is it. They turned in their books before the tests even finished, so they started studying awhile back.

So she gave him another shot, and left him in the group. Again, the next day, no work completed. So she informed him that he could not just coast through and get a 100 with the other kids if he wasn’t going to contribute to the project. It wouldn’t have been fair to the other kids – a point that I completely agree with her on. She told him that if he wasn’t going to do the work, she was going to pull him from the group so that they wouldn’t suffer – and she told me that he responded that that was good, because he preferred to do it himself.

Just one problem. He didn’t bother to do any of it then.

A major grade, the last grade of the school year, no way to recover from a zero, and he didn’t do it at all.

His excuse to her yesterday? He couldn’t turn in the poster because we were too busy this weekend to get a piece of posterboard for him. (Hmmm… probably because he never asked for any posterboard?)

His excuse to me this morning about why he didn’t do it? Because the teacher was being mean, and that made him not want to do it. (Obviously, that excuse didn’t go over very well.)

I think I’m going to beat my head on the wall. He just tossed his solid B in Language Arts out the window. Since I found out about the project this morning, the day after it was due, if he turns it in tomorrow the best he can get is a 50. It is a project about his opinions on things for a community. It should have been a fairly easy A or B grade. I just don’t get it. I don’t get it at all. And I know it’s not just me – every mother of a teenage boy between the ages of 13 – 15 that I’ve spoken with recently is dealing with this exact same struggle. AUGH!!! What is it? What is causing it? What can I do to fix it? WHY??? Why, why, why? Why would you just not do the project at all? Why the complete lack of accountability? What on earth can I do?

If anyone has any tips, words of advice, wisdom to share – or if you just want to share what you’re going through right now – I would appreciate it. I can’t keep banging my head on this wall.

By Christine

Christine is an Avenger of Sexiness. Her Superpower is helping Hot Mamas grow their Confidence by rediscovering their Beauty. She lives in the Heights in Houston, Texas, works as a boudoir photographer, and writes about running a Business of Awesome. In her spare time, she loves to knit, especially when she travels. She & her husband Mike have a food blog at Spoon & Knife.

17 replies on “The Joys of Being A Mom…”

I’m totally blaming the increasing hormones. My son is 13, almost 14 and we are going through all kinds of battles now that we never used to t all. My nice sweet boy is now an arguing smug jerk.

Bang his head against the wall.

My brother did the same thing. Compulsive liar, lazy, problems with authority (especially with women in authority). I’d love to tell you he grew out of it, but nope. He’s still the same brother I’ve always had.

I’ll tell you what my parents would have done. Grounded me. Hey, he likes that game a lot right. Grouded. No games. No fun. He has to take some class all summer. Something along those lines. You can’t make up for what he did but he can feel the repurcusions of his poor descision.

Yup, it’s the age. I’m thinking between the hormones and not being able to see into the future, teen boys have the odds against them. Hopefully soon he’ll start to see that what he does now will affect the rest of his life, but I’m told that often doesn’t occur until mid-twenties to thirties. The only advice I can give is to make sure he suffers the natural consequences of his decisions so that later he can see the cause and effect; otherwise he’ll never learn on his own.

It’s not just the boys… My 12 1/2 yr old daughter is very much the same way when it comes to homework.

We are constantly struggling with her to get it done! It’s a non-stop battle of raised voices, rolling eyeballs and foot stomps around our house every night… If I never hear “It’s not faaaiiirrr!” again in my life, I’ll be fine!

I agree that the hormones don’t help the issue!


The carrot and the stick. Rewards for good grades and punishments for bad grades. School is a child’s job. If they do a good job, there should be rewards, like TV and video games. On the other hand, if they don’t carry the load, there should be consequences. Take away his TV and video games. Ground him. He will try to make the punishment hard on you by complaining and carrying on, but wait him out. In the long run, he will respond the way you want him to.

My newly acquired 16 y/o, stepdaughter seems to suffer from the same thing. Take way their biggest form of entertainment until they earn it back… could be a looong rest of school year and summer in our house.

There is a solution: homeschool the kid. Years ago I pulled my angst-ridden youngest daughter, who was setting herself up for failure, from school and she is now doing postgrad at Cambridge (UK). I am also currently homeschooling a nine year old grandchild.
Pull your son out of the system and give him six months to ‘detox’, then get yourself one of the curriculums available and use that. The school system doesn’t suit everyone, if a child is rebelling like your son, he shouldn’t be there, he is being damaged.
The only drawback to Home Ed that I have found is the difficulty in ‘networking’ with other like minded families. Many homeschoolers will have philosopies you don’t agree with. Use the net, there will be lots of others like you.

It’s not just the age – Language Arts is taught TERRIBLY these days. Back in the day, you could read what you were interested in and write a book report. Now, they have to read all these assigned books which are, really, not terribly good books anyway. And do stupid stuff like those awful group projects, where one kid ends up doing all the work an the others get by doing nothing, basically.

Both my boys hated Language Arts. They tested 90th percentile or above on everything, read at college levels, and these damn teachers are telling me they’re failing? C’mon – it’s the class structure that’s messed up….

Egads. My 10 yr old son is going through the same thing. I said “meet me half way and I’ll help you” and I have to repeat everything 3 times before it sinks in with him and then I can only hope he retains the info. *Sigh*

It’s not just boys – I went through a phase like that too but managed to do enough to coast through without my parents really noticing too much so unfortunately don’t have any tips.

however, remembering how much I disliked my parents’ pulling rank I’d say to talk a bit with him about it now but wait until the atmosphere is a bit less tense/pressured – even the summer if it can go that long- to try to sit down and explain that everything has consequences. I’m sure you’ve had that discussion before but…

them’s my 2 cents. Said with the knowledge that I don’t have kids so might be totally off-base.

In many ways, i have a similiar situation to yours: single parent, recently remarried with a 13 year old at home. My two cents are in two suggestions:
1. Look to see how things have changed since your marriage. Some of what your kid is saying/doing sounds like attention seeking behavior. It’s not necessary to return to your previous life paterns, but you may want to make changes, if you see a difference.
2. Carrot/Stick approach that was mentioned above works pretty good for me.

I agree with the whole ‘carrot stick’ thing. Rewards and punishments seem to be the only thing that work for us also. (15 year old daughter and almost 12 year old son) I am a secretary at a middle school and it’s actually very refreshing to know that you don’t think your child is perfect and it’s always the schools/teachers fault. Sometimes people don’t want to believe that their little dumpling is not perfect and they want to protect them and blame everyone else for everything. My opinion is this: They are KIDS……they will try stuff, not do stuff, see what they can get away with, etc. because that’s what KIDS do! I try very hard not to utter the words “My child would never do that.” because the instant I do….they will. Keep doing what you’re doing, let him know that you love him and that’s why you can’t let him get away with this behavior. He will be a much better, accountable ADULT someday because you have stuck to your guns. Good luck and know that it won’t last forever!

I feel you girl. All I can say is best of luck. Pray often, and try to ask if he needs any help with anything often…but in a non-cahalant no-nagging sort of is tricky, but know that many people struggle with kids like this!

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