NORMAN — Q: Our 10th-grade son just doesn’t care. We have tried all the usual methods to try to get him to understand how important his education is, and he just gives us a blank stare. Can you help?
— At A Loss, Norman
Dear At A Loss,
We have heard from more students than we can count how the sophomore year is the most difficult for them. The excitement of ninth grade and getting to the high school has ended, and they still see a long road ahead. The course work in 10th grade is rigorous, also.
Our first piece of advice would be to have him see a physician and get a complete physical. Once the regular childhood illnesses are over, many families only have their children see a doctor if the need arises. This sounds like the need is there.
Request lab work such as a blood test in addition to the actual physical routine of height, weight, heart, blood pressure … from this, a doctor will be able to tell you if depression or a lack of an important nutrient is present, as well as the presence of any harmful chemicals.
Next, and as hard as it is to hear, kids of this age have to start making their own decisions. He is required by law to be in school, so you have that on your side.
If he is truant so many times, however, you will be the one getting the letter from the DA’s office explaining your consequences of a hefty fine or possible jail time. Make sure he knows this is a definite possibility. He needs to know it will be him paying back the fine, should it come to that.
Once the fact that he has to go to school is established, you must decide how much you are going to let him punish you.