Parenting --Teens/Tutoring dilema!


Our 16 year old son (going into grade 11)has been out of school for the summer.  Here in B.C. there is a labour dispute going on with the British Columbia Teachers Federation and looks like the kids will be out of school for about another month.  My husband insists that our son go into tutoring immediately (has told him he has no choice). Our sons grade 10 marks were math C+, English C, Science C, Social Studies B+, P.E-A, Photography-A, Art-A, Media Art-A. He made the honor roll with those marks but told us he could careless about marks. That being said, our son at the moment is defiant and refuses to go to tutoring.  He has told me that it is a waste of time and money (he has had tutoring before) and would rather wait until school starts and if he is struggling he will go to tutoring. He also stated that he is 16 and it should be his choice and given that he will be in school for 10 months once the labour dispute has settled he has absolutely NO desire to start any schooling at the moment.  How I see this unfolding is probably going to be a screaming match between my son and husband (husband yells a lot and gets bossy when he gets frustrated when things don't go his way).  I have tried talking to our son about how the practice would be good for him, etc. but he is still defiant on going.  I suggested that I could find his text books online and he could start some review. He was a little more receptive to that.  At this point I'm not sure what to do. He is too big to throw over my shoulder and haul to tutoring and I feel as if it would only be done to please my husband.  What do you think?

Hello Callie,
I certainly sympathize with your position, but, of course, I'm sure your husband has good intentions and wants your son to succeed in school. However, his way of going about this is to create greater defiance in your son.
I think you are on the right track. Your husband may be able to force your son to go to tutoring, but he can't force him to benefit from it. There must be a buy-in by your son. Your son has suggested a compromise (If I'm having trouble when I go back to school, then I'll accept tutoring). And your idea (Let's get your textbooks and you can start reviewing those) also has merit and suggests a compromise.
Essentially, I suggest for you and/or your husband that you approach your son with the problem (What are you going to do with your time for the next month?) and see how you can all solve this together in a way that allows everyone to win at least part of what they want. If you can solve this together, then there is a greater chance your son will drop his resistance and follow through with whatever agreement is made. He has to feel like he was able to voice his opinion and help come up with the solution.
I hope this helps. If you can pull this off, it will help set a standard for other, perhaps even more important decisions, in his future.
James Windell  

Parenting --Teens

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James Windell


I am a parent trainer, psychotherapist, and author specializing in parenting issues.During the past 40 years I`ve worked with parents with discipline problems and challenging children. I give frequent lectures and workshops related to discipline, social skills, and aggressive children. I consult with various agencies and schools where there are child behavior problems. I am listed in the American Psychological Associations` media panel as an expert on parenting and am frequently quoted in leading magazines and newspapers.


I have worked in a juvenile court as a clinical psychologist and as a psychotherapist in private practice. In the Oakland County (MI) Juvenile Court, I developed an award-winning parent training program for parents of adolescent delinquents. In addition I have done group therapy with adolescent delinquents using a social skills-building model. I have consulted with courts, schools, churches, preschools, and domestic violence shelters in areas of parenting.

I received my BA with a major in Psychology in 1963 from Wayne State University. I got my MA in Clinical Psychology from Oakland University in 1972.

I am a member of the American Psychological Association and the Michigan Psychological Association. I have written pamplets, newspaper articles, and professional journal articles. I have been the Coping With Kids columnist for several newspapers for 26 years, and my columns appear weekly in the Staten Island Advance. I have been the author or co-author of 16 books. My books include, 8 WEEKS to A WELL-BEHAVED CHILD, CHILDREN WHO SAY NO WHEN YOU WANT THEM TO SAY YES, 6 STEPS TO AN EMOTIONALLY INTELLIGENT TEENAGER, and THE FATHERSTYLE ADVANTAGE. My most recent parenting book (2012) is THE EVETYTHING CHILD PSYCHOLOGY AND DEVELOPMENT BOOK. I have appeared on over 180 radio and TV shows related to my books and parenting. For more information about me, my books and columns, go to my website at

I have an M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Oakland University.

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