Posts Tagged ‘teenagers’

Ok, who is this kid? Music makes a difference.

As I posted previously, my son plays in the bell choir at our church.  It’s a good way for him to be part of a group, learn to take direction, and make music– one of his passions.  (I give great kudos to his hand bell choir director, who has learned how to work with my boy and been very patient. I bet he was a great band teacher and school administrator prior to retiring!)

The bell choir plays about 4 times per school year.  Usually, I am my busy self and it dawns on me the Saturday afternoon before the Sunday morning performance that my son needs to have his clothes, shoes, etc. ready.  More than once we’ve had to run out at the last minute to get him dress pants or shoes that fit.

This time, however, was different.

I reminded my son, “Hey, remember what tomorrow is?”

“What?” he replied.

“Bells!”

“Oh yes!  Mr. F. wants us to wear green.”

“Green?”
“Yes, we are supposed to dress like it’s spring.”

“Oh.  Well, I don’t think you have anything green.”

“Yes, I do.  I am going to wear my Hawaiian shirt because it has green in it, my light brown pants, my brown dress socks, and my dress shoes.”

Waaaat???  Planning ahead?  My son?

After I recovered from the shock, I asked him, “Do you have those things ready?”

“I’ll go up right now and get it ready, Mom. OK?”  He ran upstairs to his room.

“Ok,” I replied. I had to sit down.  This was amazing.  I had this feeling of relief that I didn’t have to do it, but at the same time I felt a sadness that I wasn’t as needed. But mostly I was relieved.

A few minutes later, my son called from upstairs,

“Mom, I need to go out to get a new belt.”

“Why?” I called.

“Well, does my blue belt match my Hawaiian shirt?”

Okay, by this time I was about to faint because never has my boy cared about matching.  But I recovered quickly, and said, “Yes, the belt matches.  There is blue in your Hawaiian shirt, too.”

“But Mr. F says green.”

“I don’t think Mr. F. cares about your blue belt.  He said ‘spring,’ right?  Not just green.”

“Yes!  Okay, thanks, Mom.”

Huh.

My boy proceeded to lay out all of his clothes, including his socks, shoes, and belt.  The next morning we were actually early for the dress rehearsal because he was ready in record time.  He even complimented someone at church on their shirt.

Double huh.

Music makes him want to prepare and get up in the morning. Music is helping him be independent.  I have hope that my husband and I may indeed be empty-nesters.  And that’s a good thing!

Homework

I have to say that I’ve struggled to let myself off the hook for this one. I know that if I get too busy, something is bound to fall through the cracks.  Kids know that and they are sneaky!

Last fall, I vowed to be a better help to my younger son regarding school work.  I knew that I had  dropped that ball for sure when I received an email from a teacher saying that he was in danger of failing because of missed homework.

Imagine my surprise when I found that my  “honor-roll”  student was making D’s in some of his classes, and that my precious little boy had been lying to me (“I don’t have homework. I did it in resource period.”) like some crazy teenager.

Oh, wait, he is a teenager.  Wake up call!!!

The D that surprised me was in English, most notably his spelling assignments.  He has always been an excellent speller.  I noticed that, although he was making A+’s on his exams, he was making F-‘s on his homework.  Since there was more homework grades than exams grades, his average had plummeted to a D.

I also discovered that his grades in history were dropping, mainly because he wasn’t doing his weekly homework.  I was surprised to find out that he had been expected to find a current news event– tv, internet, newspaper, etc.– to share with the class every week since school began and he hadn’t done it all year!

I called him in to review his grades. First, I addressed the history grade.  I asked him where he was getting his news articles or stories, and he said that he made something up every week to share with the class.  (Boy, I bet those stories were interesting. Kudos for creativity and imagination.) He also said that he “forgot” his current events paper every week.  I told him that I had found his weekly current event paper on the teacher’s web page, and made him  encouraged him to save it to his computer so he could print it out if he “forgot” it at school.  No more excuses.

Next, I addressed English / spelling. I showed him his homework grades and his average grade.  In response, he pointed out his test scores.  He didn’t feel that he needed to do homework if he could ace the tests. Good argument.  However, my goal was and is to teach responsibility for himself and his own work, and part of this is homework.

After our “discussion,” I threw down the ultimatum.  I told him that he needed to get his homework average up to a 70% in all classes or he would lose his new tablet computer.  That did the trick– he brought home his spelling homework and completed the whole week’s worth in 15 minutes.  Stinker!  He also had a “real” news story to share with the class that week.

So, I dropped the ball, but I got it back.  And I learned once again that even sweet little boys with autism grow into snarky teenagers.  I wonder what he’ll have for me next!

Question: What are some ways that you keep your kids accountable for their homework?

Driving

My oldest is really wanting to drive.

I’ll never forget the look on his face when he learned that just because someone is the correct chronological age to drive… 16… doesn’t mean that the person will actually get to drive. There are other factors besides age.  His face just fell.  He was so sad.  And I was sad, too… sad that his dream was dashed and sad that I wouldn’t be a reprieve from driving him everywhere and sad that life stinks sometimes.

He’s beginning to understand, however, our point.  My husband made a list of things that needs to be able to do before we’ll even think about letting him learn to drive.  On this list are things such as…

  • No stomping and hitting walls when you don’t get your way.
  • Take shower every day (show some self-care and responsibility)
  • Do your homework
  • Keep your room in order
  • No stealing

I was surprised when, as soon as I got out of bed and went to the kitchen early on a weekday morning, that he told me, “I’ll be driving in two weeks!”

Huh?

I’m learning to keep my mouth shut and not over react, but this time I said, “Ohhhh I don’t think so.”

“Yes!  I’ve met my goals!”

“Really?”

“Yes.  My room is clean.”

“Was that because you were being responsible or because we had house guests and you had no choice?”

“At least I cleaned it.”

“Excuse me… who vacuumed and finished cleaning it?” I said as I was trying to get my brain going for the day.

“Whatever.  Then I have been doing my homework.”

“Mmmm-hmmm.”

“And have you noticed any other improvements?”

Okay, first thing in the morning is not the time to ask me this.  So I said, “Not  really.”

“You LIE!” he shouted.

“I’m answering the question.”

“You should have said, ‘No stomping’!  I haven’t stomped for over a week!” He shouted, as he stomped so hard that the pictures started to rattle.

“Well, I guess that good streak is over.”

“It’s your fault I stomped.”

“I see you are taking responsibility for your actions.  Good one.”

See, I’m not the best at 6:30 AM.

“I’ll talk to dad about it… you have no idea what you’re talking about. Just keep your mouth shut.”

“You just do that. Don’t talk to me like that, either.  I’m done talking to you this morning anyway.”

“Why?  What did I do?”

Grrrrr.

When I think about it after I’m actually awake, we have noticed that he’s doing things more like unloading the dishwasher without being reminded, taking out the trash with out griping, and he was even asked to work when he wasn’t scheduled… I tell myself that he wouldn’t be asked to work if he was being irresponsible there.  Plus, the people at the Food Bank where he volunteers say that he can do the work of two people.

I hope he drives before he is out of high school.