Sandra is one of our Parentzilla Moms who reached out to us about her teen that is struggling with Dylsexia but fighting the extra tutoring that is required. I am searching for some other Parents who are living or have lived through raising a Dyslexic teen that might be able to offer encouragement (Sandra gave me permission to post her question):
Here is Sandra’s Question:
How do you apply these communicating tips to a Dyslexic teen that has to go to tutoring but fights it like a mad bull? I have tried listening, rationalizing, positive comments,and looking into the future with my child. He will not stop resisting and put a 100% (not even 50%)into the tutoring. He needs the skills from tutoring, in order to close the academic gap of what grade level he is at and the actual grade level he is in.
Here is my response:
That is a really tough spot to be in. The communication tips in this particular article are not meant to solve the problem you have mentioned but connect to your teenager’s heart to help diagnose a problem. It sure sounds like you are past the stage of diagnosing a problem and in the middle of dealing with it. Without knowing the in’s and out’s of your situation, here are is a little bit of encouragement.
There is a fine line and a real tension between natural consequences and intentional consequences.
Natural consequences occur when you let your teenager experience the effects of his poor choices without intervening. In this case, if you don’t continue to intervene your son will fail a grade.
If the natural consequences have the potential to teach a lesson without doing too much harm, I always believe that is the best way for a teenager to learn. BUT…if the potential natural consequences threaten to do more harm than you are comfortable with and hurt the future of your teenager, you will need to try intentional consequences.
Intentional consequences are where you step in and create a consequence that teaches the lesson, but not to the severity of the natural consequence. The example in your case is you stepping in and offering him a consequence to the decision of blowing off tutoring rather than letting him fail a grade.
The one thing I am going to tell you that you don’t want to hear is this, you can’t control whether or not he fails. Ultimately, there is a limit to the amount of intentional consequences you can offer. If he works through all of those and he still chooses to make poor choices than he will face the natural consequences. You are a wonderful parent, but there is no one who can control the destiny of their teenager. They are little adults, and part of that process is unfortunately sometimes they refuse to heed wisdom and warnings.
Then they must learn a very adult lesson. No one can protect them from themselves. They must take responsibility for themselves.
If you have tried every consequence in the book, then talk to friends and mentors asking for new suggestions. Also, begin to talk to your teenager about your inability to save them from their natural consequence. Your son might be living under a false pretense that no matter how much he blows this off, you will come to his rescue and keep him safe from the natural consequences. He must know that you don’t have the power to do that even if you wanted to.
Dyslexia is frustrating to deal with. I am sorry that your son has to face that at such a young age. In his struggles and poor choices you must begin to think of yourself as more of a coach and less of a savior. He is coming to a stage in life where he has to learn to save himself. The only thing you can control in that is to be a never ending source of encouragement, and to teach him how to make good choices. Whether he does it or not will be up to him.
I hope this helps! Please keep in touch. I am hoping you will hear from other parents who are struggling with similar issues.