OMFG! Finally, A Breakthrough With My Son


Another blog about my 15-year-old son, Conner, but this time, it’s a positive story, and the wife and I feel so much lighter, mentally. Why do we feel mentally lighter, you ask? Well, we finally made a breakthrough yesterday in regards to why our son continuously struggles with his school grades.

Conner refuses to talk to us about anything, he is so secretive, trying to get any information out of him, is like trying to get blood from a stone, I feel like I know our cat better than I do our son. Last night while trying to prise information out of him, it occurred to me that all these issues with behavior and grades began in the transition from elementary to middle school. So I asked the question “what changed between elementary and middle school?” and bingo, he suddenly opened up, saying the following.

“In elementary, I only had one class, but when I went to middle school, there were suddenly lots of different classes in different rooms, with different teachers.”, he said. Which, makes perfect sense, as his autism diagnosis stated he has issues with transitioning. We further probed him to find out that he has a hard time letting go of the previous class/subject because he feels he hasn’t completed the work, which is massively detrimental to his next class/subject, as his mind is still on the previous class/subject.

Now, we feel like we have something to work with; we just wish he had said something 5 years ago, while in his first year of middle school, instead of keeping it inside. We have an IEP meeting at his school on January 22, 2020, we will be discussing this new discovery with his teachers and will advocate massively for him to get him the help he needs, even if we have to go directly to the Wichita school district.

We hope that this discovery and a better IEP plan for him in school will also curb the lying, cheating and stealing we have experienced in the past 18 months. Of course, knowing this new information about Conner’s struggles in school does not excuse his recent behaviors, stealing from his family and the consistent lying is not acceptable, he knows right from wrong. We’re also looking at out of school therapy for these behaviors, talking with a psychologist might help turn around these dishonest behaviors.

I’m going to be taking more of a backseat, letting his mother and grandmother take a more prominent role in his life, dealing with these behaviors. As, although I discuss consequential actions with my wife, I’m always the one to hand down the punishment, which I believe has caused Conner to resent me as an authoritarian figure. I will take a tech support role moving forward, as a smartphone is back on the table. We want parental control software installed on it, so we can track his usage and limit the hours of use. However, if he disables the tracking, or breaks the rules of usage, he will lose it for a short period of time.

There still has to be consequences, it would be a bad example if his actions have zero consequences, positive or negative, As an example of a positive consequence, I unblocked his ROKU from the network, so he can use Netflix, Hulu, Spotify, etc again because he opened up to us about his school struggles. Obviously, even with changes made to his IEP, he still has to put in the extra work to get his grades to where they need to be, which includes taking advantage of the extra 24 hours he has to hand work in.

After 5 years of negativity from him, it’s nice to see him actually smile, albeit briefly, let’s build on that!

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