He'll be 15 soon and I notice his body radically changing. I hear that in order to do all that physical developing, the part of your brain that does the rational thinking, shuts down. As a mother though, I can't help but worry...is this normal or has something horrible happened to him? Is he doing drugs, has he found new friends that are a bad influence? Some of the signs could point either way. He has taken to wearing these baseball caps sideways and has found a pair of sunglasses to wear with them. I think he looks ridiculous and wonder who he is trying to imitate. This is probably normal teenage behavior though, right? Pushing limits, trying to find your identity, trying to "fit in"?
School is not going well for him. He begins to try, continues to get low scores and then gets frustrated and gives up. He has been tracked in his current school into academically low Science, Language Arts and Math classes. The science and language arts class are filled with kids who are struggling. These particular classes are supposed to be geared to their level. Now that he has been in school for almost seven months it is apparent that these classes are a breeding ground for sluff-offs and kids who have already checked out. Surrounded by kids who don't care and have given up, my teenager has risen to the occasion - acting like his peers, he sluff-offs and has started to check out.
I truly believe that you become what you surround yourself with. I learned this concept of "adders" and "subtractors" in a leadership course I took. We need to surround ourselves with adders; adders are the people that enrich your life, encourage you to do your best and be the best you can be. They like you for who you are and encourage and help you to reach your goals and full potential. You feel comfortable in their presence, you trust them. "Subtractors" are the opposite of "adders". Subtractors crave positive attention, validation and give nothing back. They are constantly negative and will suck you dry if you let them. There are times in our lives we have been both and we have surrounded ourselves with both. The teenager is being a subtractor and surrounding himself with them.