The joy of teenage sons

So yesterday we (BM, J and me) checked out the local senior college.  It only has Years 10-12, and provides a more mature learning environment than a 'normal' high school does (I guess it's a bit hard to tell a 50 year old to stay after school).  J is thinking of transferring there to complete Year 12 (which starts at the beginning of next term).  He has been unhappy at his current school for some time now, and unfortunately that is reflecting in his results, and more disturbingly, with his attitude to learning.  He currently attends a public selective (academic) high school, and from what I can gather, it appears that some of the teachers only teach to the top 5 or 10% of the class, and the others fall by the wayside.  It has severely effected J's belief in himself, and his dad and I hope that a new school may be the answer to some of his problems.  High school is no easy ride, and J has had all the usual teenage hormonal problems, but also has had to deal with firstly Tarlo's disappearance, then the discovery of his body, the revelation that two of his friends had murdered Tarlo, the trial, the funeral etc over a long 4 year period, and then suffered glandular fever at the start of Year 11 which has made him behind in some of his subjects.  Sometimes in the past few years I have felt we were losing him, and it was frightening to know that he was in so much pain and we could do nothing.  When your kids are little and hurt, you can clean the wounds, pick them up, give them a cuddle, be there for them but as they get older, that seems harder and harder to do.  Luckily we came through a very scary period of our lives with J and are still here dealing with wonderful, average, everyday, not so scary teenage problems the best way we can - fumbling towards incompetence mostly, but still trying.

Back to the college - had a long talk with the principal and J talked to the head science teacher about his concerns in Chemistry.  The science teacher had a number of suggestions to help J catch up with the fundamentals, and J seemed to be impressed by the school (although as anyone with a teenager will know the difference between impressed and completely bored is barely discernible - his grunt seemed to convey a sense of approval).  I was pleased to see that a large percentage of the teachers have functioned in the real world (had a real job, not stayed in school all their life), so that would definitely help in their approach to the students.  Now we just have to sit back and wait for J to make his decision.

Been one of those weeks - my mother-in-law went in for a colonoscopy(?) yesterday, so we're waiting to hear about the results.  Hopefully the bowel cancer hasn't returned, bad enough for her the first time round. 

Think I'll just sit here and look forward to next week, gotta be better than this one.

  • Current Mood: drained drained
  • Current Music: Nick Cave "God is in the House"
Wow, that sounds like a terrible week for all of you, and some kind of awful trauma your son has been through over the past few years. I take it Tarlo was a friend, how horrible.

It was by no means as bad for BIB, but he was truly miserable in grade 4 at our local school. He started getting bullied by some of his old friends, and then started acting out. There were all kinds of physical and mental aspects to his depression, but the worst was his loss of confidence in himself. After a year of useless bureaucracy, we were able to send him to a 'gifted' class in another school, an hour each way by schoolbus, and it helped a little. Then when we moved here, it took him a while but he started to thrive at the local school. He has friends, all of his health issues have cleared up, and he is confident again. But I still remember how full of despair both PG and I were (but especially me, I tend to be the worrier) at how he was getting more and more depressed and angry and unhealthy at his old school day by day, and how his teachers and principals and the board shrink seemed to be making it worse rather than better by (I felt) blaming him and us rather than treating the bullying at all seriously. I hope a school change will help your son as well. It is so important to spend half of your waking hours in a place you actually like.

I'll also be crossing my fingers for your mom in law.
School can make or break some kids. J had a bullying problem when he was in kindergarten (or maybe Year 1), school was no help at all - sounds similar to your experience. Eventually BM took J aside, and told him to thump the bully the next time they were alone. I threw my hands up in disgust, and said I was having no part in this plan. J thumped the bully, and that was the end of that, no more bullying. Not a PC solution, but it worked, wouldn't recommend it for everyone though. I'm pleased to hear that your son is having a better time at school now - hopefully that carries over to high school.

Yeah Tarlo was a friend of J's, disappeared when J was in Year 7. J has a number of older friends, and Tarlo was from that group - he was in Year 11 at the time. The boys charged with the murder were also part of that group, very hard for all of them to deal with that - boys have so much trouble coping with emotional situations - usually comes out in violence, anger, depression, which all are part of the coping mechanism, but shouldn't be the only way to deal with grief. Our society fails boys in so many ways.
Our society fails boys in so many ways

Amen to that. The local school that the kids go to now had a special program for fathers and sons to talk about 'secret men's business' over the past couple of months, what a great idea. And frankly, I prefer boys getting it out with their fists (within limits) to the awful mental torture that both boys and girls can inflict on one another over the course of months and years. Have you ever read Margaret Atwood's 'Cat's Eye?'. Like that.
At the risk of outraged condemnation, I must admit to a dislike of Atwood - had to read Surfacing and Alias Grace for uni, and neither book enamoured me to her - even went to an 'audience' with her, when she was out here promoting a book. Interesting woman, but just can't get into her stuff.
Atwood, or Peggy as she prefers to be known
She can be a rather cold writer (and can be kind of scary as a person at times- I know her personally through her work with PG over the years - he used to be a book editor, worked on one of her books, and a good friend was her personal assistant for many years, let's just say she doesn't suffer foolishness gladly). 'Cat's Eye' is my favorite of her books. I prefer Carol Shields as a writer, though mind you I worked with one of her daughters and we got along exactly like oil and water, only less mixy.

Enough of the Canadian writer anecdotes. Won't condemn you one bit. She is, however, the author of one of my favorite phrases: "She had a mind like a rat trap, full of rats".
I thought the Handmaid's Tale was brilliant, but aside from that I find her writing scary almost to the point of malevolence!
although as anyone with a teenager will know the difference between impressed and completely bored is barely discernible

Ah, this made me laugh! I don't know how you tell the difference! This is what I have to look forward to.

Poor boy has had it tough. Congratulations for seeing it through in the only way possible.

:: big hugs ::