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Please let me take a moment to review your question.
I can certainly understand that you might be concerned about your son and his situation. It is upsetting to see someone we love not fulfill their potential, especially one of our children. I don't know your son, but it does sound like he is not really motivated by grades, and there may be many reasons for this. Perhaps he is having a hard time emotionally in school- that is, the transitions that teenagers go through both in their bodies and mentally (peer pressure, etc.) can be overwhelming. Boys tend to mature later, as you probably already know, and perhaps he needs to mature a bit more before he takes on the responsibility and pressure of being in college. Is it possible that he could go to a local community college first? Sometimes kids get more motivated when they figure out what they are interested in (a major) and/or without the social pressure of high school. For some kids, getting out from under that pressure makes a huge difference. I don't think you can "make him care about his grades". That has to come from him. I would suggest sitting down with him and reviewing where he is at. Explain that these grades are going to keep him home going to community college and see how he responds. Perhaps that is what he would prefer and he is just acting this out. Further discussion should give you more information on what he really wants to do. Many kids "find their way" in a two year college, then move on to a four year with more maturity than they would have had otherwise. I hope this answers your question. Please let me know if you have further questions. I always appreciate a positive rating if you feel that your question was answered. If not, email me back and I will gladly answer. Thank you for the opportunity to be of service.
Community college makes sense, thank you. But what do I do in the meanwhile? Should I allow him to have terrible grades until he finally matures and figures it out. I feel like we have a poor relationship as our primary interactions are about things he is succeeding at: late for school, not doing any homework, not getting together with friends, etc. He basically does a little homework and sits on the computer for hours. Any follow-up thoughts before I close would be appreciated.
In response to an email I received asking me to rate the answer, I was just waiting for a response to my follow-up.
Dr. Brown, you bring up some good points, but also additional changes. Since my son was fairly young, we have had trouble finding his "currency" as Dr. Phil would say. It seems whatever we take away, he makes it a point to show no concern over. Now that he's older, its basically Xbox or his computer. He will go for days or a week completely ignoring the fact he doesn't have it. He rarely uses a cell phone, mostly just for us to pick him after after his sport and doesn't go out with friends often enough for it to be a punishment to ground him; on the contrary, we want him to go out more for his own sake. Now that xmas is coming, we keep exploring with him what hobbies he'd like to explore so we can buy him a gift other than electronics, but he has no ideas about this or his future. He is living for the moment. I'm sorry to be so difficult, and will try to use your ideas!! Thanks agian.