My son is almost 13 (7th grade). This has been the first year he has had to really buckle down and put in decent effort toward his schoolwork to get good grades. He has always been an A student. Not this year, mostly A's but not all. He is the oldest, pretty self motivated to do well, very smart and above average in math. He has been getting B's and C's in a couple subjects occasionally which is not like him. I have found that he does worse when he is overscheduled with outside school activites. I have to watch that, when sports practices start, like now he is doing track. He needs about an hour a night to do homework but he needs his down time too every night or he gets overwhelmed.
Cari, I really struggle with how hard to push him since I know he is smart and capable of all A's but how much pressure is too much. He lost his father 2 years ago and I don't want him going through high school completely over stressed. He has enough with his home situation. He does not like to ask for help when he doesn't understand something (math) and refuses help from me with his homework. I find positive reinforcement when he does well is better than a lot of negative when he does not.
Wish I could offer some advice this is just a tough age!
First off - thanks to all that have responded. i hit a very rough patch and backed off of communication for a few weeks, sorry, was fending off some serious fears (financial issues). i've gotten past the worst, nothing i can do anyway.
Jennifer- thanks for being so open. i understand the pressure thing. my son didn't lose his dad forever, but he's been pretty non-existent since day one and i know having me try to be both mom & dad, doesn't always fill the void. i'm sorry for your loss Jennifer and for the extra burden you have in keeping things as good as you can for your children, i couldn't even imagine.
it's nice to hear from others about it being an age thing too, i know 7th and 8th grade were hell for me, i feel like i spent some time in my own little purgatory on earth back then, maybe this is his time for some purification by fire, i say that w/a smile ~~ what doesn't kill you, only makes you stronger.
i appreciate everyone's input and non-judgement, you guys are great. we don't have tv in my house (we have a tv, but nothing comes through. we can only watch dvds on it), and the Xbox is only allowed on weekends now :)
Lisa, Mary, Michael, Joe thanks for adding too!
p.s. (two of his teachers have taken up the cause and we're working together to help him, help himself - YAY!!! finally a mission!)