Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Immature 14 year old boy?

Dear Kay,

My son does not turn in his class work, and we have to apply extreme pressure to get him to do his homework. In corresponding with his teachers, they each report that he is immature. He doesn't focus and listen during the lessons, spends too much time goofing off and socializing and doesn't pay attention, and then we struggle at home because we basically have to reteach what he refused to listen to during class. Is there a way to "teach" him to be more mature?
Help!

Denise



Dear Denise:

Have you had him screened for a learning challenge. These behavior sound more like there is either a learning disorder or a behavioral issue. I would take him to your family doctor and first make sure his physical says everything is fine then request a referral to have him screened for a learning challenge.

Anytime a teacher labels a child as just immature it drives me nuts! This is so negative and screams that the teacher no longer has any influence on the child. Reflective of their teaching not the child. The teacher should have referred him for a learning challenge screening however often now they don't because they know that any issue identified has to be addressed by the school and paid for by the school to get him at the level he needs to be for his age and grade level.

We don't teach children to "be more mature." Maturity happens biologically as a child grows and their body and mind grow. What we teach them is how to socialize and how we expect them to behave. That is done through modeling the behavior ourselves and by setting age appropriate boundaries and consequences. 

Do get him screened immediately. He will begin to feel better about himself.

M Kay Keller