12-year-old son is lazy and irresponsible

My 12-year-old son is currently grounded for having 12 zeros on his last report card. His attitude toward school has been rotten since Day 1. In 1st grade, he would throw his homework in the trash on his way out of the classroom.

In 3rd grade, he almost failed because he did not learn all of his times tables because every time I tried to help him and get him to write them several times (the way I learned them in school), he would pitch a dying-duck fit.

He is being treated for ADHD, but I don’t want that label to be a crutch for him. He has had a full psychoeducational evaluation and was found to have no learning disabilites and to have a “high average” IQ score. So, he is smart and he is capable of learning…he just doesn’t want to.

That’s his answer all the time…why didn’t you do your homework….why didn’t you study for this test — “I just didn’t want to”. I get so tired of hearing those words! I can’t believe that he thinks he has a choice! I try telling him that responsibility isn’t always fun, but everybody has certain obligations to fulfill.

And, he bursts into tears every time he has to do something he doesn’t want to do. I don’t mean just shedding tears — I’m talking about the full-blown 3-year-old not getting a toy he wants at Wal-Mart crying!.


He’s going to turn 13 this July and I’m wondering if he is just going to cry for the rest of his life when everything doesn’t go exactly the way he wants it. Any advice is appreciated.

Comments for
12-year-old son is lazy and irresponsible

Dec 05, 2012 Boys and responsibility
by: Anonymous

I know where your coming from .My son has almost the same attitude .Its the I don’t wanna have to kind. He just does not care with or without consequences .sometimes all it takes is a good hug other times nothing works what else can a mother do.


Aug 16, 2012 update
by: Renee

Thanks for all your comments. My son is now 16 and he is doing much better. I have found a method that works and I wanted to share it. I realize this might not work for every child but it has worked for mine: I took away all his privileges and increased his chores until he began making acceptable grades. I do not stay on him about homework or stalk his online grades. I simply wait for the progress reports and report cards to come out. If all grades are acceptable, he keeps his privileges until the next progress report/report card. If they are unacceptable – even one – he loses ALL his privileges until they are acceptable on the next report card/progress report, including television, video games, cell phone and computer. He still is able to go outside and ride his bike, hang with neighborhood friends and read (which he thoroughly enjoys). I also reward him if his grades are above the acceptable range. Thanks, again, for your comments.


Aug 07, 2012 leave him
by: Anonymous

leave him alone he is just lazy or wants attention
but later in life he will discover that he shouldn’t have thrown away his opportunity to be educated just let him be .tell him that he can’t do anything till he does his homework that includes eating that kick him to start eating
thank you


Jan 23, 2012 He is right
by: Frank

Herbie is right to be careful to have boys wash under the foreskin. I did not realise until I read his message the danger involved. It was the done thing in my time. My Dad taught it to me and my brother and his Dad did the same thing.
I asked family Medicine Honcho about it and he said latest medical view- let nature decide, meaning if the boy pulls the foreskin back himself as many do and as Sammy told me he did also (lucky for us therefore, no harm done.
Sammy, in his usual good mood called me a silly old dud, to worry about it. You wouldnt hurt me in a thousand years he yelled, trying to wrestle me to the ground………………… Anyway thanks Herbie.


Jan 07, 2012 He means well, but……
by: Herbie

I noted well intentioned Frank looking after his rebellious stepson.
He spanks the boy when the kid misbehaves,but quite gently. H even teaches him boiy hygiene.
I was very unhappy that he asks his stepson Sammy to wash under his foreskin.
Washing under the foreskin is only right if a boy has in the past retracted his foreskin, this process must nver be forced onto a boy in puberty or not. It is a dangerous thing to make a boy retract the foreskin and can lead to all sorts of problems. Among other things it can cause tearing and extreme hurt and actually permanent damage.


Oct 21, 2011 Help the lad
by: Frank

I have a stepson, bit like yours, Sammy is just 13, looks fine, slim boy, looking good, but he was sullen. Will do nothing at school at home. He is also clever but does not fit in at school and does not care.Your son also runs rings around you, and knows how to annoy you, like Sammy.
Our Sammy drove his mum crazy and me also when I fist married the mum. I kept out of his way and let his mum look after his behaviour I did not like the kid and his feelings towards me were poor. My wife asked the boy’s bio father what he thought. He said glad he’s your problem not mine do what you like. He was more interested in his alcohol.
I became involved when I became tired of the kid’s tantrums and screaming and picking up rubbish he left. My wife’s tears and pleading to help him finally made me take charge.
I remember saying: Now listen to my wife, you must support me 120 percent if you want me to help Sammy. We agreed.
All Sammy’s computer games were removed from the house, his television removed from his bed room.
Sammy hates taking a bath so it started all with a long talk.Which talked about cleanliness, spanking for bad behaviours, including not doing home and school work This was followed by a bath. He screamed and swore at me. But I supervised his bathing?he was at first shy and I had never seen the kid like in the bath before. I told him like a dad his boy, how to wash under his foreskin, armpits and bum. He looked like a normal healthy lad getting into puberty. After the bath he thanked me for advising him, he said my dad never did this for me I was knocked out! Dressed only in a singlet I gave him promised spanking by hand on the boy buttocks. Not too hard, but hard enough to make him sob and he promised to do better. I was so amazed when I said Sammy I want to be your friend that?s why I did this. He suddenly hugged me wildly.
Sammy is still a little problem, but he is improving all the time. We all are now loving each other and help. You as mother of your boy may have to do something like I did, help the boy he is much in need for help!


Feb 01, 2011 RE: None of you obviously have children by: Anonymous
by: Anonymous

I agree with most of what you say. A mock boot camp is a good idea, if the child is insisting on being lazy you have to set them straight. A good parent is one who disciplines their child, not try to be their best friend. Discipline doesnt always mean punishment, it means raising and training in a proper manner. Kinda like a well disciplined athlete. Get them to act right and be respectful now and it will benefit them greatly in the future.
Now as far as your ex, everyone can say their ex is unreasonable. A couple years ago my ex took off with our toddler and she spoils him rotten. He behaves fine for me but acts bad with her and her family because he knows he can get away with it. My fear is that as he grows older he will stop obeying me and I will have a difficult time. My new girlfriend lets her 12 year old son walk all over her. This boy has never taken out trash, cleaned a dish, picked up laundry, refuses to get in the shower, tells his friends he “has free roam” and can do whatever he wants because his mom wont do anything to him. He has a sled and snow board laying out back that we told him to bring inside a month ago. His bike was stolen last year because he left it out front almost nightly and refused to bring it inside. Despite all of this she does not discipline him apart from yelling for a few seconds and then its back to whatever tv show she is watching. I have begun to refuse to clean up after him or enable him to continue on this way and she things I am wrong for thinking he is spoiled. This worries me because I see my ex doing this with my child and theres no way in hell I am going to have a child as lazy and bratty as hers is. I am just glad that you are a mother who actually believes in discipline. It seems like there is a single mother syndrome where they try to be the childs best friend instead of actually raising them.


Jan 26, 2011 Reward him!
by: Maya Windsor- Warde

Im almost 13 and so I know how he feels. I don’t have ADHD but I have worked with a little boy with ADHD while helping out with the youth clubs Jr group (for under 9’s). Its normal for your son to hate homework, every kid does especially when you get 3-6 hrs like me! And he’s practically a teen now so being lazy is normal. He may seem angrier now though because of hormones and all that. You just need to talk to him and say if he gets good grades on his next report or gets good comments at a P-T meeting you’ll do something he wants e.g Cinema trip with mates, theme park trip, new phone/ Xbox/ playstation/psp/ds/wii…. Or a campout in the garden with his friends and you can order pizza and fish and chips and just have a big feast! Thats how they get my family motivated and working well at school and Emmett”s 14 , Waelin, Elliot (eli) and I are 12 and Rowan is 8! I like it when we are rewarded! P.s I never mentioned watersports or laser tag because they’re good rewards. Or if you want to do i. Like every week or 2 then you can take him to/ order from his fav. take away/ fast food joint.


Dec 30, 2010 Third Killer Of Kids, My Ass…
by: Anonymous

Just for the record, PARENTS are not the reason suicide is the third killer of kids, okay? He has obligations until he’s 18 and legally an adult. Teen years of a person’s life affect their adult life immensely. We set ourselves up for the rest of our lives in those years. I am guessing that you are a thirteen year old who wants to express his or her opinion in a place where you will be regarded as an adult with a clue, but with the way you’ve stated your opinion, that is not how it will go for you. The parents are in charge until their kid moves out. My parents will still have their say when I’m 18 and I’m still living with them until I graduate college. Oh, did I mention I’m 15 and have enough common sense to realize this? Take a step back and think about that. The human brain does not finish fully developing until we are about 25. Parents are responsible for their children and have every right to make them do things they don’t want to do, if it will help them in the long run. And it will. Maybe you just have a short temper and you got into a fight with mom and dad. Is that it? Because, you can’t just go randomly losing your temper. I can guarantee for all kids, you should treat your parents well and with respect because one day when they are gone, you will wish that you had treated them better than you did. I know because that is what my mother says about her mom all the time. I can’t imagine life without my mom but if I treat her badly now, I will regret it when I no longer have any way to apologize for my actions. Think about that, please…


Sep 23, 2010 totally blown away
by: Anonymous

my son is 12 and he does alot for me around the house if i ask. he is a wonderful child at school always gets prays. he does struggle tho. my son goes to school not caring how he looks. drives me nuts. i have to tell him every chore every day what to do. i have tried all i need real advice. not smug comments. he gets grounded from video games, movies and toys. if he does not want to do say yard work he takes a month to do. i grounded him until it got done. i even pay him for his work when he does it. money does not motivate him at all. i told him fine every time i have to tell you to do a chore you will not get payed. he has gotten butt woopins. now that did work for school work when he showed he did not care. but me and my bf do not believe we should woop him everytime he forgets a chore. butt woopins are for the seriouse stuff. we have tried everything. but lately we have been takin on one of his friends as our own cause he has a bad life. but my son has no common sense lets his frends say bad things to his sisters who are 2&4 and i just lost it and yeled. i do not know what to do. my son is a good boy he does no one no harm or hurt feelings to another child but he lets his frends disrespect my house and make clean up after his frend and him with no respect at same time has a smart ass mouth. we give him boundries, rewards, take away. i like the one comment of make do more. i will try that. because i saw on some army show if you do the job wrong first time do it till its right. but how do i prepare my son for his adult life when nothing works and he is not an adhd kid just lazy and i want to kik his lazy if anyone has real advice that works on a 12 year old email me aasamken@msn.com thank you!!


Sep 08, 2010 None of you obviously have children
by: Anonymous

I guess I’m not that surprised by the ignorant comments people made, this world is so full of idiots who are narrow minded and clueless until life happens to them. It’s not the kid’s fault he was born, seriously are you that dumb to make a comment like that, what are you 12?
Well to the person who initially posted this, you’re not alone. My 12 year old son hates homework, he’s disorganized and lazy. I’ve been on his ass since he was in KG, he’s improved but is still a challenge. My 7 year old daughter is the complete opposite so I know it’s not all just my parenting but more of his personality.
I’d say go boot camp on his ass, wake him up early every morning even on the weekends, give him chores and walk away, when they’re not done, give him twice as much and take away his priviledges. You can’t be his buddy, or feel bad for him if you want him to be successful in life. As an adult he’ll thank you for giving him guidance and setting him straight, habits we form as children stick with us through life.
Here I am preaching while I have a son I’m struggling with also, but my situation is worse because I share custody with my ex husband who spoils him, and wants him to live with him just in order to lessen his child support. It’s a challenge disciplining your kids while dealing with an unreasonable ex who’s interests are only for his own gain and not his children’s.
Let your son know you’re not messing around, and that even though he’s 12/13 what he does now effects his future and if he wants to be successful he needs to get his act together.
Good luck to you!!


Jul 24, 2010 to the last anonymous comment
by: Anonymous

You must be a total idiot! To say a 13 year old has a choice if he wants to do his school work or not and other behavior means you are either 13 years old or have no experience with children.


May 22, 2010 get over yourself
by: Anonymous

Jesus christ relax. Its a free country and he DOES HAVE A CHOICE. JUst because you think he should do well doesnt mean you have to be stubborn. You are the reson suicide is the third killer of kids. You have no idea how hard it is. Go to hell.Give him a choice. It wasn’t his fault u got pregnant. Not his fault he was born. He does not hae obligations. Just because you think god want him to doesnt give you the right to this. Grow up. Freedom of religion.


Feb 07, 2010 beat his a$$
by: Anonymous

Spare the rod and spoil the child in other word beat hi a$$!


Jul 30, 2009 .
by: zack

hi well im 12 and i have ADHD too, but if u like give ur son pills for ADHD you can only tell his teacher on the school people and when he acts up dont let him got places and if he has an xbox or a special thing take it away or his cell phone and ddont let him go any where it worked for my mom and me….