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Old 06-15-2007, 04:00 AM
Location: The Great State of Arkansas
5,981 posts, read 15,900,945 times
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Originally Posted by beth ann View Post
Wow....my son is only 11, but, I see where he's headed, and I'm petriefied:

1) He underachieves at school (we have tutors, private school, etc. He has dyslexia and adhd)

2) He wants to continually be w/ friends (of course, we limit that...he seems to prefer his friends to us, his family, even at this age, and always has)

3) He's addicted to video games/comp/tv/all electronics (we severly limit that, but he tries to get to that in EVERY spare moment....he even sneaks it at times when he can)

4) He's very self-centered and lazy (He sees everything from HIS perspectie and chronicall complains about doing homework, chores, etc)

5) We also have a "highly motivated golden girl" child who is his polar opposite (I try not to compare....but, come on....how could they be this different

6) He doesn't like to work or have a challenge (he asked me once what could he study in college where when he graduates he could make a lot of money but not really have to work hard)

I am worried already about his future and how he will get through HS and college and life, in general. Your posts here gave me even more cause for worry.

Does anyone have any practical advice or suggestions for addiction? I really have begun to think my son has an "addictive personality"....I see it w/ video games and also w/ junk food or sweets (even though he's very skinny, he can't seem to control himself when we have such food in the house).

I am trying to take "preventive" measures.

Any insights would be appreciated.

Beth Ann -

Now that both boys are grown and productive, in retrospect I could have done more...a lot more...but in an effort to allow them to be themselves or whatever it was me that fell down on the job in some ways - in other ways, I just have to chalk it up to personality.

First, are you sure your son is truly ADHD? That is a valid diagnosis but it's my feeling now that it's thrown around a little too much - okay, a lot too much. My younger son was diagnosed with such, too, as were about half his classmates. They may have had attention span problems but didn't have the hyperactivity disorder...they were rowdy kids being raised with primarily single parents who were little hellions. It was easier for me when I was a single parent to believe that there were underlying medical problems than to address the fact that I was working so much that my kid was acting a fool just to have attention. Dyselexia in and of itself is no excuse for underachieving, although it's a great back drop for why the student makes poor grades....mom and dad feel sorry for kid and he gets by with crapping off because of the disability. I work for a surgeon who is dyslexic - he misspells his own name half the time - obviously he is a Type A personality, but the point is that if you can make it through med school with dyslexia, then anything below that is conceivably easier.

Always prefering to be with his friends is somewhat of an age thing but I think we've fed into it by wanting them to be happy or whatever. One thing my kids now tell me that was important to them, although they never acted like it, was a set routine at our house. I am self-employed and work from home - dinner was frequently catch as catch can between contracts, and (little did I know) all the times they ate at their friends' homes, they were looking for that sit down and be normal part of their lives.

If he's sneaking games, I'd be concerned. Matter of fact, I am concerned about this whole e-generation. When did kids stop just playing with other kids and creating and using their imaginations? Now it's play dates and 2 sports and music and dance - every moment is spoken for, and in their odd moments they plop in front of a video screen. All that being said, and it seems ironic that I would say this, but if I had it to do over again I'd MAKE my kids stick with a sport, music lessons...something that required dedication and work on their part. It's just like dogs - a tired child is a good child...and I wouldn't let mine start something and drop out after 2 months because the going got tough.

He's 11 - he's self-centered and lazy. Hate to be the one to spring it on you, but it gets worse. Easier said than done, but you need to teach him the law of physics...for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction...no homework, bad grades, bad attitude, sloppiness or failure to complete chores - oops, there goes the video whatever into the lock box for X period of time. Ultimately it is up to us to set the boundaries and NOT FAIL THEM - it's the only way we sustain any credibility at all.

I had the golden child, I had the underachiever. Even at school the teachers would say, "Oh, you're HIS brother?" and then make the younger one feel badly because he couldn't follow in brother's footsteps. He couldn't -they are as different as night and day - but I don't think we found enough to be proud enough for the younger one. The older one was constantly being held up for scholastics and sporting achievements - the younger one lived in his shadow then and still does today. Again, I would find something for the child to be interested in where he could shine and make him stick with it. It takes a lot of poking around to find that thing - and I think that's one reason my younger son found poker so intriguing...and he was very, very good on a semi-professional level, made a lot of money, and received a lot of recognition. He subsequently got his butt whooped on a higher level, but for a while he was flying high because he was recognized for his own personal achievement.

They all want to make money and not work. I've explained to mine more than once that Bill Gates will NOT come knocking on our door to offer a job - whatever they are in this world is a result of their own personal effort. In the meantime - he's 11. You still control it all. Make him help with chores, take on a neighbor's lawn to cut, fold laundry, anything to keep him busy. If you're planning on cleaning out the garage next month, make it a family project with no negotiation. Trust me, the judge won't negotiate with them on when they will be on the side of the road picking up trash for doing something stupid out of boredom.

I am an addictive personality myself or this wouldn't be so long-winded. There's a difference between an obsession and a true addiction, though. "I want it really badly" versus "I will do anything to get it"....and don't enable him by keeping sweets or junk food around no matter what the reason is.

I'm a baby boomer. I was raised by parents who wanted me to have more than they did. My father's family was very poor so his expectations weren't as high as to what the "good life" entailed - my mother was born during the depression but her parents recovered from that, set up their own business, and were upper middle class. She wanted her children to have everything she had and then some more, so we ended up being semi spoon fed. Incidentally, she died when I was 17 and in college and I didn't have a CLUE as to where to start on real life - I'd never had to. Tough lessons came after that. I wanted my boys to have more than I did, which is a ridiculous bar to set...and now the next group comes along and the parents want them to have more, which is an even higher hurdle to clear. That's the reason it's so easy as a parent to fall into the trap of letting Junior do what he wants until he's 30 and still living at home, and then wondering what went wrong - your natural instinct to mother kicks in and you are wanting more for them. More than what? Let's face it - beyond the basics, it's really nice to have all of the trimings like the right tennis shoes and what not, but the world will NOT stop because their favorite style of jeans is no longer being made or you can't afford that $75 Abercrombie shirt for them. And make no mistake about it, children are GREAT at the guilt game ("EVERYONE else has one, does this, goes there"). Find your plan and stick with it or the next 10-12 years of your life will be managed by your children. Not a good thing at all.

The other regret I have, but maybe this is a Southern thing, I don't know - I wish I had been more religious (no pun intended) about them staying in a church and making that a regular part of our week rather than another day off. It was my only day off and I took it and let the kids take it - but I could have pushed a little harder and done what was right. Your kids DO remember what they grew up in, they remember what they heard, they remember how they were taught to live. Doesn't matter the religion, almost all teach goodness, kindness, faithfulness, honesty and integrity. We were pretty slipshod with church, but I'm amazed at the things my kids remember from 20 years ago. The added bonus is that it's just another little element of routine you can add and pretty much know it's a good environment. And then you pray. A LOT.

Oops, just fell off my soapbox - so there's the end of that for a while!
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Old 06-15-2007, 07:00 AM
Location: Sherman Oaks, CA
6,203 posts, read 15,015,619 times
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What a great post, SamIAm!!! Thank you. I hope other parents whose kids are younger will heed your words and take your advice.

Something I forgot to mention when I began this thread is that I am a single mother in all ways. My ex-husband served time in prison for molesting our daughter, so he is completely out of the picture and has been for the past ten years. It's difficult for a mom to raise a boy into a man. Not impossible, of course, but very challenging. I do have a male friend who helps me a great deal (and I thank God for him, believe me!), but of course, it still isn't the same.
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Old 06-15-2007, 09:51 AM
Location: South Bay Native
13,050 posts, read 21,163,651 times
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SandyCo, I am so moved by what you said - I hope your daughter and the rest of your family has healed from your ex-husband's deplorable behavior.

It's a fact what you said - a single mom raising a boy into a man is a very tough job. My little man is going on 14 right now, and I've been raising him solo since he was 9. We have gone through a lot. There was a period of time when he would use the "B" word with me, and that was very short lived - believe you me. I also work full time (how could I not and be supporting my children alone?) so I do what I can to schedule my hours to get home soon after my son gets home from school. I knew kids when I was a teen who were in his shoes, and I knew the kind of stuff they would pull while they were left to their own devices.

So much of my available time is spent on my son (he also has Auditory Processing Disorder, diagnosed in 2nd grade) so I have had to provide intensive tutoring for years. Because I never had a problem with learning, this was all new territory for me, and I have had to become an autodidact where special ed is concerned since the public school system does NOT help the parents of LD students - they are in fact hopeful that you never learn what by law they are obligated to provide.

Through all of this, I have managed to maintain a very close relationship with my son, and he is the most polite and gentle 13 y.o. you could possibly fathom. I know that if I had let some things "slide by" or diverted my attention for even just a week, he would be a different person today. He feels entirely secure that I am "there for him" - when he had issues with bullies at school, I was the mamma bear that came to speak directly with the principal and told him in no mistakeable terms that if he wasn't able to put a stop to it I would be contacting the authorities. Grrr.

I think this trust that we both have established between the two of us has instilled in him a sense of right and wrong. I realize that at 13 he still has his bumpiest years ahead of him, but I have already explained to him what behavior is and isn't acceptable to me, and that line never moves. Through this devotion to my son's needs, we have taken him from a D average student to the Principal's list in the matter of a few years.

Regarding the gizmos that they all "need" (they are really wants, not needs) - nothing comes for free. When he begged me for a cell phone, I told him he could have one on the condition that he was getting at least a B average in school. He accomplished this in one semester - from a D to a B. Motivation, anyone? Now his goal is an Ipod - well guess what? He has to earn the money to buy it. He has been saving up from the small tasks I assign him, and is already $60 on his way to it. He is learning that money doesn't come from mom's purse or some bottomless pit, it comes from the sweat of your own brow.

One thing I have done differently that my own parents is admit when I'm wrong - to take responsibility for my bad behavior. When I fly off the handle (fortunately not that often) I explain to him exactly what was r e a l l y the reason for it, and I apologize to him. Nowadays, I see so few people actually willing to admit responsibility for their actions and to take corrective measures. He now knows how to do this because I set the stage for it.

At the end of the day, I think the time you put into rearing your son will come back tenfold in a positive way in the long run. Just because one is a single parent does not mean their children are doomed for failure or shiftlessness.
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Old 06-15-2007, 10:19 AM
4,963 posts, read 3,925,200 times
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As a product of a single parent, please make sure that you follow thru all the time and dont cave to the pressure of trying to make things up to your children.
My mum had 5 kids ; dad left when i was 4-5 and I was the youngest. I never saw him again.
Now we are all in our 40's. We are all married with kids of our own. But we keep our kids grounded all the time.

My sentance is ; as long as you are living in our house, you abide by our rules. I dont care what ipod who has, or what xbox who has. If the boys want something, they use their own money for at least some of it.
We were talking about getting a flat screen tv a few weeks ago. Now as it is a family thing, we figured that the boys could chip in some of their money. One son didnt have a lot of money so he gave $5, the other had just made his communion and so he chipped in $20.

Keep following your heart and he will turn out ok.
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Old 06-15-2007, 02:21 PM
6,585 posts, read 22,384,279 times
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Wow, what a common theme. My unmotivated son is ADHD/LD also. He attends a private school for this population and it's the best money I ever spent, I mean borrowed.

The guy who founded Kinko's came to our school to speak once. He is also ADHD/LD. He was so interesting. I am going to read his book this summer. He has a lot of unique ideas about kids with ADHD/LD.
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Old 06-15-2007, 02:59 PM
Location: Happy wherever I am - Florida now
3,359 posts, read 10,635,552 times
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Some may not agree but I am a firm believer in putting your kids into Scouts. Especially true for boys who get to be mentored by adult men, learn important life skills, and have to finish projects.
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Old 06-15-2007, 03:43 PM
Location: Sacramento, CA
788 posts, read 3,713,927 times
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Anyone else noticing that this tends to be a big problem, for males, in today's society? Why do you think this is the case? Older generations don't seem to have this problem, and few females tend to. Any ideas?
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Old 06-15-2007, 03:53 PM
6,585 posts, read 22,384,279 times
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I think it's the emphasis on girls that we've had for the last 15 years. Sure, girls needed help, but it was at the expense of the boys. Remember for Bush's 2nd term, Laura Bush said her focus would be on boys since boys are getting left behind? What happen to that?

Schools are geared for girls. They are designed for girls and their strengths. Boys are more likely to be learning disabled, ADHD, ODD, bi-polar, autistic, emotionally unstable, and more likely to commit suicide. Boys need help!

Originally Posted by leavingcali View Post
Anyone else noticing that this tends to be a big problem, for males, in today's society? Why do you think this is the case? Older generations don't seem to have this problem, and few females tend to. Any ideas?
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Old 06-15-2007, 03:58 PM
Location: Warwick, NY
1,173 posts, read 5,431,060 times
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Originally Posted by leavingcali View Post
Anyone else noticing that this tends to be a big problem, for males, in today's society? Why do you think this is the case? Older generations don't seem to have this problem, and few females tend to. Any ideas?
I have some ideas and doing some research. I'm going to post a thread on this later because it's a Big Deal. It's not your imagination either. Boys are falling behind girls in nearly all areas of education and now business as well.
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Old 06-15-2007, 05:01 PM
Location: The Great State of Arkansas
5,981 posts, read 15,900,945 times
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Originally Posted by leavingcali View Post
Anyone else noticing that this tends to be a big problem, for males, in today's society? Why do you think this is the case? Older generations don't seem to have this problem, and few females tend to. Any ideas?

Well - I'll stick my neck out again - I'm going to guess it's because there are a lot of absentee fathers out there....and a boy needs a dad all day, every day. Remember when you were a kid? "When your dad gets home...."...it was enough to send a shiver up your spine. Now mom isn't home when kiddo gets home from school, and dad's cut and run (not all of them, of course - generalizations). Although girls are a handful, they have historically matured faster than boys do, emotionally and psychologically.

I think a lot of things that are diagnosed are actually a result of behavior disorders from fragmented families....but maybe I'm just old fashioned...or just old...
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