Originally Posted by daystar91
I have a twelve year old son...extremely smart child....straight A student...going into grade six he has turned into a different kid....His grades have dropped to C's and some are even D's...not handing in homework....
just this year he has gotten an attitude with teachers and other adult figures....For a boy that was so well mannered and kind of shy...
My son matched up in most ways. There are two perspectives I would give you based on my/his experience. The first is how he got to that situation (some of this is retrospect); the second is what happened that seems to correlate with these kinds of characteristics. [This could be a long story but I'll try to be to the point.]
- There are several things that could be going on here. Not to alarm, but this is the age at which psychological disorders that are considered to be heritable (ie tends to run in family), tend to start to express themselves, and have relatively 'sudden' declining behavior like this, it is prudent to get an evaluation. My son had one at a teaching hospital and the conclusion was inconclusive but might have AD but not hyperactive. AD was somewhat induced by the fact that he a high IQ and was in a public school, but that's not that unusual at this school. He had entered 1st grade early (not quite a year) and there is some increased likelihood that being younger will become a problem at this age because of size differences mostly/more than social. His starting to not hand in homework was not because he didn't do it-- he would pretty much whip it right out-- but he just didn't care, because he didn't value the class[work]; like, so what?=this is really not very meaningful work-type of thing. It seemed to me that it was starting to look like ADD, but not clear. He gradually declined attention-wise thru mid-school and pretty much fell apart academically in 1st yr HS. He had developed a pretty negative attitude by that point about school, but didn't want to go to a private school; we even took him to several, and several of his friends were on that track, with reasonably positive results [so far, at that point]. In retrospect, he had started to use drugs, and just kept declining after that.
This kind of decline happened to some other of his friends but by that point he had started to be with other than grade/mid-school friends, and that was not good; the new ones were counter-cultural if you will, which is not bad but you know it's going in the wrong direction from a positive maturity track perspective. Once off track, I think it's hard for kids to get back on; two things, at least: "face" and "self-esteem"; by "face" I mean losing face in his peers eyes [new peers; old peers he'd already split with]; "self-esteem" is somewhat associated with "not making it" and the fact that he had poor eyesight and acne problems, so was self-conscious....He's been mostly off track educationally ever since but has managed to do several spurts into CC but not very successfully: he's had A's in interesting courses and F's for not showing up (1 for showing up and not turning in work). Continued to use. Didn't get socialized at CC; it's not that kind of college.
This seems to be unusual relative to the mainstream of kids but not for kids who get into that mode. So, I would recommend vigilance, getting as good a fix as possible on his medical/psychological situation, tune in on whether drugs are involved, watch for what kind of friends he's keeping (if he doesn't tell you who he's hanging with and/or they don't come over as kids usually do (not alot but some; certainly not never!), etc., then there's not just attention-deficit going on it would be a pretty good bet.
If there is AD or BP going on, then it is likelier than not that he will not just slide off academically but socially and the risk to slide into drugs is [much] higher. You and hubby need to pay attention, in case you have issues in that sense; could be, even meds or alcohol, typically; the latter tends to run in families, too.
AD is a tough one at this age. I think it doesn't have to be ADD but there are a number of forces at work that can demotivate a child by themselves. But there are so many factors, that tuning in and keeping closer track, even with his counselors and teachers, will help. In this last regard, I would urge you to make it your 'standard' behavior re: his school and friends to be involved (but not invasive, so to speak), because if you just step in when something goes wrong, you've already sent the wrong message and he will think you insincere, and that will further demotivate him and lower his self-esteem, because: "phht! even my parents dont give a **..."-type of mentality. One note about diet: his diet will tend to slide off and that is typical but way underestimated in my opinion re: behavioral impact. Keep those home-cooked meals coming, mom!==the guys really like'em alot, but if they start eating junk then they will start not even liking home-cooked, even though you might think that that's impossible
. All these add up; it's not just one thing. There's more but it's along these lines; be tuned in and creative, keep him involved in his own well-being and planning his own future and working steadily on good progress-- not just 'fake' progress but enough to nurture him academically and intellectually (not just the web!).
Things like this make the difference! My other son says so; he's quite different, not because of reaction but he's just different from his brother-- they really had these same kind of things but with the 1st son, they didn't have the same effect-- he didn't respond incrementally as did 2nd son. So, I think if he's getting in a 'mode' that sliding off, you need to try to reverse it and do whatever it takes to get him on a positive track-- and HE is the one who has to be positive in the end, because he's the one who has to do it! I wish there were a 'litmus test' for this but there isn't.
Hope this can help somewhere along the line. Best wishes!