Need some perspective.

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Roughrider, Sep 5, 2013.

  1. Roughrider

    Roughrider Member

    Mar 11, 2012
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    One week into the school year, ds, a jr in high school, is up at midnight working on a very substantial AP Physics problem set that he "forgot" to do over Labor Day weekend. (Yesterday he was recovering from dental surgery all day and zonked out on painkillers.)

    Dad The Homework Checker is now going to bed, and Boy is on his own. Dad plans on on still getting him up for cross country practice at 6:30 am and dragging his butt to swim practice at 6:45 pm tomorrow.

    Mom, who is a much better executive than Dad, is of the opinion that tolerating or enabling this kind of boneheadery is going to lead to more of the same. Note: she is probably right, as this is by no means an isolated incident. We've been in this predicament before, although not usually this early in the year. She believes the situation calls for a "no pass, no play" policy Chez Roughrider, such that if grades hit a certain mark, or Son misses a certain amount of sleep, we put the kibosh on extracurriculars until he gets straightened out.

    Dad's thinking the kid is seventeen years old -- too old for a bedtime -- and should know by now how many hours there are in a day. A day of sleep deprivation, leading to poor practice performance, and/or a crummy grade tanking his eligibility, and a couple of good chewings-out from his coaches, ought to serve as natural consequences and make the point about time management. And if Parents are suffering, there is no rule that says we have to do it quietly, which might drive that point home further. One further point, Son has made commitments to his teams that deserve consideration.

  2. Jcleppe

    Jcleppe Member

    Feb 10, 2010
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    If this is the son that is looking at West Point or Scholarships, it may be good for him to look again at the statistics of those that receive an appointment or scholarship.

    The competition is getting tougher, the junior year in high school is very important in the application process.
  3. edlp

    edlp Member

    Apr 5, 2013
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    I just graduated high school last June, so I've been in his position.

    It seems like kids nowadays are taking more and more onto their plate. Personally, I was involved in student government, sports, and was taking rigorous AP classes all at the same time, but somehow managed to survive running with 5-7 hours of sleep a night. I've never taken two sports at the same time, but I had a friend who did track and field hockey and she did fine. I would ask him if he feels overwhelmed and suggest to lessen his load, but don't force it on him with a curfew or deprivation of ec's. Those ec's might be his stress outlet which is very important to maintain(as long as he doesn't overdo it).

    But grades should always be the top priority. When it comes down to it, he should choose to concentrate more on his grades if he sees them start to falter. And that decision should be made by himself.

    When I started my senior year, I was signed up for 5 AP classes and a student government class, two of my APs were Bio and Physics. Within the first two weeks I realized I had way to much on my plate. I was coming home and doing homework up until I went to sleep at 10, without the chance to eat dinner. Ended up dropping Bio and never looked back!

    It's a learning experience. Give him a little shove to make him evaluate his position but do not force it on him unless his grades really start to take a hit...Especially when colleges and scholarships are getting more and more competitive these days.

    Best of luck to you both.

    EDIT: If he can manage to do everything, great! That looks excellent on any applicant. But if he struggles to keep up, it's better to drop one thing than to let his grades take a hit. Colleges and scholarships would rather see good grades with some ec's than OK grades with tons of ec's.
  4. goaliedad

    goaliedad Parent

    Apr 7, 2009
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    You are a wise man.:yllol:

    That being said, it sounds like his problems are not necessarily from being overscheduled, but undermanaged. Your management is not getting the DW's approval, so it is time for DS to self-manage.

    If "I forgot about the assignment" is a common problem, it sounds like he needs to adopt a technique vital to success at AROTC - have a small notebook with you at all times and write everything down. Having a planner is better yet, but for most kids just having a place where all your responsibilities are written down to quickly scan is adequate to do the job.

    If procrastination is the problem, then estimating skills are the issue. Estimating both the time to do a job and the likelyhood of interruptions (additional unexpected work) is an art form usually learned from trial and failure. To this extent, your DW is 100% correct.
  5. Dixieland

    Dixieland Member

    Mar 10, 2010
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    JMHO, as the parent of a college grad and a senior in college, I do not think Mommy and Daddy should be checking the homework of a high school junior.

    I also think Son needs to manage his own schedule and not be micromanaged by his Mom and Dad. It's been my personal observation of my kids' friends that the ones who had manager parents, heavily involved in their school and sports' schedules, often floundered when they got to college and where they were now responsible for the management of their own time and activities. They were used to numerous reminders and nudges about bedtime, homeworktime, time to get up, time to study, etc.

    It sounds like he is a very bright kid and is well aware of what is expected of him. Personally, I would leave him to his own devices at this point. Remind him of his ultimate goals, and what it takes to get there, and then tell him you will be cheering him from the sidelines and you are always available on a "consultant" basis, but he needs to take the helm of his own ship and steer toward his goals. There may be a stumble or two in the beginning, but I'll bet he will figure it out.

    Again, just my personal opinion as a parental survivor of the male teenage years.
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2013
  6. MemberLG

    MemberLG Member

    Jan 4, 2011
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    Sounds like my household. Not looking forward to the day when my DDs will be in high school.

    For me, it's quality vs quantity. My older DD is playing three sports right now and my plan is cut that down to two when DD enters high school, than cut it down to one, UNLESS my DD can manage everything.

    From my perspective, good grades and being good at one sport is better than average grades and average at several sports. Ultimately, I think grades are more important than playing multiple sports. I think we, as parents, should have to honest and realistic evaluation of our children's athletic abilities. My love is not going to make my DD run any faster, directly.
  7. Roughrider

    Roughrider Member

    Mar 11, 2012
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    Our dd was a couch potato; whole 'nother set of issues, there. Fortunately we all survived and she is now a very productive and self-sufficient young woman.

    In contrast, this is the kid who has always (really cannot emphasize that enough) tested the boundaries and limitations, on everything up to and including gravity, and now he's testing his own. He'll screw up. He needs to. I'd prefer he do it in high school when the stakes are relatively low, than when there's a scholarship or academic probation on the line. For him, the coaches and teachers will have to be the ones who pound reason into him. His parents know nothing.

    (I did check -- but did not correct --the physics homework when I got up this morning. Except for a few places where the math veered into 'done at one in the morning after a day on Vicodin', it was respectable. I suggested he might want to go over it with his teacher in a tutoring session at lunchtime before turning it in.)
  8. kinnem

    kinnem Moderator

    Oct 21, 2010
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    +1 to goaliedad and dixieland. Time to assist him with time management and to do list techniques as well as letting him flap his wings on his own while Mom and Dad are still there to catch him if needed. He will need these skills in college. The occasional carrot or stick my also be useful but you will need to more and more leave it up to him. Better he goes through the pain of learning how now.

    We had similar experiences with DS in high school and tried these things as well as following up with questions on status. Sometimes it worked and sometimes it didn't. But it seems it finally took hold in college as he's doing well and much better than I had actually anticipated. I just get on my knees each day and thank God that we somehow got him through high school and into college. It's all up to him now. :thumb: :biggrin:
  9. Pima

    Pima Parent

    Nov 28, 2007
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    When our children were in HS, I had a running statement I would say to all our kids.

    I am not going off to college with you to wake you up, check your classwork, ask if you studied, HS is the period where you get to try to stand on your own, with the safety net of Dad and I before you leave our home.

    I never checked their HW or helped them study unless they asked for assistance.

    My other running statement was if I can't trust you to do your school work,etc., how on earth can I trust you with 2000 lbs of metal? (car).

    That comment seemed to get them more than the college statement. I have been known to pull car keys very quickly, even if it meant inconveniencing me by driving them to and from school.

    JMPO and 0.0197532 cents, but I am with your wife. Time to stop checking up behind him. That includes, hw. If he asks that is one thing, but just because it has been the tradition for yrs., it is time to make a new tradition. I don't know what state you live in, but if you trust him enough with 2000 lbs of metal, than you have to trust him to learn how to navigate this part of his life too.
  10. raimius

    raimius USAFA Alumnus

    Jun 9, 2006
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    Generally, my parents offered support on request and would give timely advice before I wandered too far off the path I said I was on. Occasionally, that was about the time that the odds for success started looking less than 50/50.

    I remember one day my dad sat me down and asked if I was really interested in making Eagle Scout. I told him that I certainly was. His next question went something like, "If you keep doing things the way you are now, will you make it by the deadline?"
    "Well, then, what do you think you need to change? Is there anything I can help you with?"

    Made it with 3 days to spare! :eek::redface:
    Thanks, Dad!
  11. FlyBoy1993

    FlyBoy1993 Member

    Jan 9, 2011
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    We rode our DS hard in his Soph. year of high school, at the end of which, i declared that it was his show from then on.

    We reviewed what he had done well, what he enjoyed, and where he wanted to be.

    After that, he knew anything less than a B on grades was a loss of driving. Make a C two times in a row or any D and lose extracurriculars, including ROTC, of which he was Group Commander. I reminded him that those were his choices and reiterated that we were not going to micromanage his schedule. It was up to him to fulfill those obligations.

    It's amazing what a guy can do when you let him. To this day he says he regrets how much he slacked off during his Sophomore year. I'd also be remiss if I didn't say we are very proud of how he took the reigns and ran with it.

    I tend to side with the Dad in the OP's scenario, as long as expectations are clear.
  12. Melitzank

    Melitzank Member

    Sep 11, 2012
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    Honestly, I've done better with my parents "hands off" than when they made sure I got my homework done and that type of thing. Time management, prioritizing, and those types of things that are helping now and will help later on when I'm in college and that's occurred since my parents were more hands off with my school work (since freshman year). There have been times when I had a bunch of homework/projects and not enough time (which was mostly just because of me procrastinating) and I was dealt the consequences of it by way of a bad grade and now as a junior I'm working harder than ever and have learned to rely on myself more.

    My parents don't actually have any consequences set for certain grades, but there's an understanding between us that I do my best in my classes otherwise certain things will happen (what those "things" are, I don't really know). If they notice that it seems like I've been slacking off a little, then they'll talk to me about it and voice their disappointment, but they don't ever actually make me do my homework per se and check that it's done.

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