I have been applying your techniques for about 5 weeks now and can say that things have definitely gotten better. We have had a couple moments but otherwise have been much happier and getting along great. I have read the emails regarding the poor grades and how I should let my son (14 yrs) take ownership of his grades and treat school like it's his job. I completely understand that and agree that the concept should work. I've been fighting with him for 4 years and gotten nowhere so it's obvious that I can't control the outcome. He thinks he can never do good enough for me. So I have told him that it is his job now and his future and he is in charge of it. He only has to live up to his own expectations.
Here's my question...he wants to take 2 days off of school next week to go hunting, a once a year opportunity. He says he will take care of making up all of the work that he will miss for those days ahead of time. I don't know if I should have a say in this or not if I am giving him the control. He has assignments that he missed and can't make up so I don't feel he should be taking time off. But since I've just given him the control and ownership should I let him prove to himself that he can take care of it and that I trust him to do it? The past assignments were missed while I was trying to be in control. Are these two separate things? Where do I draw the line and do I ever step in? Or do I completely give him the control? I understand missing school is not something that is acceptable but there are times when I can see exceptions. If he were pulling all A's and B's I wouldn't have a problem with it at all. I am just really confused about turning the ownership over at this point and where that leaves me with this decision.
This is a great question. Fortunately, the answer is an easy one.
"Schooling" takes place on multiple stages -- not just in the classroom. So this hunting trip will be much more of a learning experience for him than sitting in class. This is a wonderful opportunity to take education to a new, exciting level.
Let him go ...forget about the make-up work (that's his job).
P.S. As a former teacher, I would want him to go on the trip. And I would have him take pictures so he could give a report to the class regarding the trip.
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The Strong-Willed Out-of-Control Teen
The standard disciplinary techniques that are recommended for “typical” teenagers do not take into account the many issues facing teens with serious behavioral problems. Disrespect, anger, violent rages, self-injury, running away from home, school failure, hanging-out with the wrong crowd, drug abuse, theft, and legal problems are just some of the behaviors that parents of defiant teens will have to learn to control.
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