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Bad Attitude May Get Tenth-Grader Expelled
Q: My 10th grade son is pending possible expulsion from school. I am trying like mad to figure where to take this kid in terms of continuing his education. His academics are fine. He is hungry for knowledge. He wants to be an engineer and do something like "harness the energy from lightning strikes." His problem is attitude. He hangs on to a lot of anger from several years ago (my best guess- he is not open to my suggestions of seeking professional help [not put to him in those terms]). He had one too many run- ins with a school administrator and let his mouth go. Not cool. He was not happy to start with, this didn't help that.
I'm trying learn about home-schooling--but he is way past me in math and science. I'm exploring options. They seem limited. I want to help him become successful. He's a good kid with a lot of the right stuff. Any suggestions?
A: I always start with strengths first and your son has considerable strengths- he is very curious, anxious to learn all he can about areas that clearly excite him(science) and he has a strong will(yes, some of that particular strength got him in trouble with the administration but it will serve him well in many other instances).
I would like to see you do some serious searching in nearby colleges for an engineer-academic who would sit down and talk to your boy about his scientific interests, someone who could be encouraging to him and respect his intellectual "fire". This discussion could naturally get into discussing his current schooling and what he was getting out of it.
Locate schools, cooperatives, and tutors who would be pleased to harness this boy's intellect and drive. You need to assemble a team who will understand the best type of schooling your son needs and help you to provide him with it. Maybe a man who your son could come to respect could teach him the benefits of occasionally biting his tongue when it will serve his greater goals.
You've got your work cut out for you but it sounds like you're ready to have a go at it! Good luck.
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Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.