How we change what others think, feel, believe and do
The ChangingMinds Blog!
My son seems to be an ostrich. His approach to any problem is to stick his head, further into the sand. Today my wife, a teacher in the same school as him, was stopped in a corridor by another teacher who asked where my son was. My wife phoned home and found that he was still in bed. It took some persuasion to get him into school. My wife then heard from another teacher about more problems. And this is a month before critical exams.
When tackled by my wife later, he still maintained that he was going to do well in his exams. And this is after a year of poor marks and excessive computer time (including all-night sessions). She deals with truculent teenagers all the time at school, but his determined denial left her exhausted. It didn't help that she was already tired after a long day in the classroom.
I am writing this on the train, about a hundred miles from home, and heard this story from a very tearful wife on the phone. Whilst it is not life and death, I desperately want to be there with her.
It is also affecting my daughter, who is planning to move out as a direct result of the tension she feels about it all. Looks like she is doing an ostrich too. She does not mince words and has told her brother what she thinks on more than one occasion, but with very little effect either.
What to do with my son, I have not the faintest idea. Trying to listen to him is a long wait, and at best all I get is what he thinks I want to hear. If I talk straight, he just waits until I have finished and then carries on as before. Being angry has no effect either. I seldom get cross anyway, which perhaps is just as well.
Given that both of us are changing-minds professionals, it would be too easy to run away from our failure to fix the situation. But it is important that we do not also become ostriches and turn away from this difficult situation. We realize that it is, to some extent, genetic. As the seeds from a tree seek to be carried way from the competition of its parent, so also is rejection of parents a natural teenage pattern.
My wife is taking our son to speak with the school counsellor tomorrow. I've got my fingers crossed. Perhaps the counsellor can change his mind. If necessary, we will get further professional help. He won't like it, but we won't give up on him.