teen boys and poor attitudes

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  • Oakblossoms

    Our son is in grade 8 and recently turned 14. He has a poor attitude towards so much. He is bigger than me now and it is so difficult to deal with this. I never thought i would consider high school. But, I so tempted. Have you been at this point? Do you have helpful suggestions? He likes to read, play video games, and has a difficult time socializing. He tends to be very pessimistic and angers easily. He has always been this way.


    One thing I would venture to say is that, if it’s public high school you’re considering, it’s unlikely that his attitude will improve there.  It might even get worse, although he will be around you less.

    My almost 13yo daughter sometimes has a bad attitude towards chores, schoolwork, and people (especially her mother!), but I find that she is better when she spends a little time around other homeschooling families whose children are generally respectful and well-behaved, with similar values to ours.  On the contrary, she is much worse when she has spent time with some of the rather worldly neighborhood kids (who mostly attend public schools and don’t share our values), so I try to limit the time she spends with them.  In the summertime, this often means coming straight out and telling her, “We are taking a break from (child’s name) for a couple of days and we’re just spending time with our family.”  I have explained to her why I have to do this and what I see in her when she spends too much time with (child’s name).  Then we make it a point to pray for that child and the child’s family.

    She doesn’t always like hearing this, but she does accept it and it seems to help.



    My son is only 9, but I have three younger brothers, whom I have practically raised.  We are still public school (for my 9 year old) and my two brothers (19, 18) are finished with high school (other brother in college at 24).  Praying that home school for my son is a possibility soon!   A few things that I have found to work for poor attitudes are:

    (1) Service project or volunteer work.  I don’t think anyone (including adults) can maintain a poor attitude while helping someone else.  We have done things like, yard work for the elderly in our area, clean up at the local park, etc.  For the boys in my family, outside service seems to be the best for them.  You could check with your church or local Senior Center to see if there are any opportunities to serve others.  I ususally like to get things through the church, because I like to reiterate that our service is in God’s name.  However, sometimes we do participate in activities that are secular (like cleaning up the park or volunteering at a zoo event).  I could not single out a child(brother) so we make volunteering a family event.  If your son has any special interests, that could be a springboard for something he could do individually.

    (2)  Physical activity.  Whether it be woodworking, karate, jogging etc.  With the boys in my house, making sure they have some kind of consistent physical activity does wonders for their attitude/mood.  Right now, we have jogging/walking for exercise.  I have to be encouraging and supportive (lots of positive reinforcement).  It is easier to just go play a video game (I have fantasies of throwing every tv and game system out of my house).  We actually have at least one week every six months of no t.v., video games, computer games, etc.  Some activities get expensive, so I make sure that I can afford it for a period of time (term, month, etc.) when we start it and make sure the child knows the length of time we will be trying out the activity.  Sometimes, if there is enough interest, the church can get discounts on activities for its members.  We have a Christ-centered karate, basketball, and soccer program in one of the churches in our area.  My teenage brothers LOVED the basketball program that the Methodist church does (I believe it is Upward and there is also Launch).  Both programs have devotionals and prayer at every practice and game.  I am not sure if you have anyone that could volunteer as a coordinator or coach.  I was unable to volunteer (single parent!) but I believe the volunteers get discounts, if not free participation for their children.  You may also be able to work out for your son to do service for the church in exchange for participation.  Not sure if any of these things would interest your son or are a possibility.

    (3)  Choose subjects/topics.  I think for teenagers, they sometimes need to feel a sense of control over something.  I allowed (and am allowing for my 9 year old) them to choose a topic or subject to research and explore.  The only caveats being that I have to approve the topic, and that they have to do some kind of presentation or discussion of the topic for the family.  This could be just a narration, or a Powerpoint presentation, posterboard, diorama, etc.  The boys in my house LOVE visual aids!  Some topics have been endangered animals, horses, Civil War, WWI, dinosaurs, football (history of), tornadoes, etc.  I think this is sort of like limited “unschooling” but I think it is fun for the kids to choose something and learn to research it and present it in whichever way they wish.  Sometimes, they take a direction or avenue that I have never considered.  I make sure that I provide opportunities to research (like at the library) and supplies to make their visual aid.  For my son, I try to find hands-on activities to do in relation to his chosen topic.  It is always so surprising to me when the teenagers have just as much fun with art projects as my little one!

    Hope some of this helps!  The poor attitudes will pass! 

    I was just discussing this same issue with some seasoned homeschool moms, one of whom has wonderful, but all very different 6 boys! Their advice was that as women, it is hard for a older boy who is at the brink of manhood taking orders and checklists from mom. Not that it is an excuse for disobedience, but us moms need to remember they are very different from girls and need dad to step in and give the boys their duties, work, and chores from the their male authority voice. As women, we are good at nuturing and encouraging our little men, and that is what we need to be focusing on as we guide them in their given duties throughout the day. If our boys know that dad is the one checking, it makes a big difference than just mom. My husband does not check daily, but regularly about once a week to make sure his little man is staying on track and keeping a good attitude with things.

    One more thing that might help is the character report idea that is on charlottemasonhelp.com. I tailored it to fit for my kids needs, but it could be something that you and hubby do with each child as you discuss issues and encourage their strengths and work on weaknesses.

    Hope that helps! Blessings to you!


    What is your relationship like with him?  How often do you smile at him in a given day?  Do you hug and kiss on him or spend any one-on-one time with him? 


    We have a very good relationship because our peresonalities are very similar. He and his Dad have been having a hard time because they are very different. My husband loves to be out and about. My son is just not an outside person.

    I think it is hard because he was a pretty laid back “perfect” baby. He isn’t a bad kid. He just seems to be angry so often. He doesn’t like to participate in family stuff. He loves to argue. He has a difficult time in social situations. He has developed some friendships at church. But, the kids tend to be into sports or hunting and he doesn’t like either. Our family enjoys nature type of activities.

    It is an awkward time for him. But, I think it is just deeper in his heart. I don’t really know how to reach that area right now. I think it would be nice if he could spend some time with other boys his age. But, most boys his age end up in High School around here. I cannot afford a private school. I don’t want to send him to High School. It is a good school and would be my pick if I did. But, I don’t want him to go through the next 4 or 5 years not having any male friendships.

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