How to Help Forgetful Son

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-25-2004
How to Help Forgetful Son
8
Wed, 09-22-2010 - 4:10pm

My son is in 7th grade this year. Here 6th grade is part of the elementary while 7th and 8th grade are in a wing at the high school building. So this is his first year with a different teacher each period, going to a locker for things for each class, sometimes having a different class on a certain day. He is out for cross country (this is the first year it's been available to him--I'll have a separate post on that after this one I think#, plays in the band, is in chorus, is in the talented and gifted program, very involved in Boy Scouts and is in the church youth group. He has 2 study halls a week. He's a very bright kid and has always worked hard in everything he does, giving it his best. He's conscientious and wants to do well.



The problem is how forgetful he is. He sometimes forgets to bring a book home, or forgets to go to his band lesson, forgets to turn in an assignment. He has a planner, as is required for all students. He uses it and writes down assignments. His band lesson is written in on the correct day and time. Yet he'll go to class and forget to open the planner until the end of class, as he writes down assignments, and then realizes he's missed the band lesson. He feels badly about forgetting things and is hard on himself for it. He comes home exhausted from cross country and then after dinner realizes he left something he needs for homework at school. It's not intentional; he's a worrier and then worries like crazy about the problem. He forget to put away his band music yesterday #leaving it on the floor in the bandroom, but didn't realize until he was home last night) so last night he was really worried about what was going to happen. He was almost asleep when he called out to me, in tears, and asked what would happen to him if the music was lost.



We've been dealing with this since he was in 2nd grade. He's a wonderful child and very bright and funny and loving; he just forgets. Part of it is being unobservant. I've had other parents ask me if my son knew anything more about some big thing that went on at school. My son never has any idea what I'm talking about if I ask. When he finishes his homework in class he's glued to a book and doesn't notice his surroundings. Sometimes he misses announcements because he's so involved in his books. I don't know how to help him.



Any suggestions? Thanks.



allie

Avatar for cl_cathiann
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Wed, 09-22-2010 - 6:04pm

Hmm, I was going to suggest using a planner, but he's already got that, writing things down and still not checking it regularly. Is there some visual thing he can use that prompts him to check his planner? Remind him at home before school to check his planner so he can see what he has going on that day. And he clearly must be doing okay in general--if he's in G&T classes, he can't be missing homework, etc. too much, right? He's got to make it a habit to stop before leaving ANY class and think if he's got everything he needs.

I think the many things you need to remember in middle school is the hardest change for kids to adjust to!

I'll be looking for other responses too--my youngest has similar issues (but she's not naturally gifted ;-) ).

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-19-2006
Wed, 09-22-2010 - 7:04pm

Did my son go back in time (from HS to MS) and move to your house?



All I can say is that your son sounds exactly like my son when he was in middle school.

iVillage Member
Registered: 09-19-2006
Wed, 09-22-2010 - 7:08pm

In most school districts gifted is a designation based on IQ or ability.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-25-2004
Wed, 09-22-2010 - 11:41pm

He gets his homework done and does it very well. It's not often that he forgets to turn it in as in most classes it's asked for. It's just sometimes when it's announced to leave it on the teacher's desk at the end of class or if there are a bunch of things to be turned in at once that he will sometimes forget. That alone isn't a big issue; it's just that he forgets so many little things in all areas that concern me.



We talked tonight about having look at his planner at the start of each day, at the start of each class, and at the end of the day checking it for what he still needs to do. Right now he writes his assignments in it, but that's about it--he doesn't really use it as it's meant to be used. He's just fulfulling the requirement that he use a planner at this point. So we're focusing on having the planner actually mean something.



If this were the first year of these problems I'd probably attribute it to all the changes from elementary to junior high, but this has gone on year after year. Some well-meaning people, including teachers, have advised us to "let the natural consequences" teach him in terms of him being in trouble or getting a low grade for things forgotten. Those things have happened and it's always absolutely crushing to him, yet he still forgets.



I actually started wondering today if some of this is anxiety-based. He's a big worrier. He is so afraid of being late to class, fearful of losing anything, worried about all the "what ifs" and I wonder if he's so busy worrying that he can't seem to focus on what's in front of him.

iVillage Member
Registered: 08-26-2008
Thu, 09-23-2010 - 10:05am

I suppose it could be a lot of things, but I'd mention the excessive worrying and your concerns to his doctor. My youngest was pretty forgetfull too, but it didn't bother her...now she's in middle school and if the miss an assignment they get a "zap" that a parent has to sign and the assignment has to be handed in the next day before the tardy bell rings or they get detention, and too mant "zaps" also gets them detention.....she has quickly figured out she needs to check that she has everything, because she fears the consequences of detention and we didn't even have to tell her what the consequences would be.




 Photobucket

<
Avatar for cl_cathiann
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Fri, 09-24-2010 - 10:05am
Here you can test into the gifted classes, but if you don't keep up with your school work, then you get moved out. Didn't realize some places kept kids in even if they weren't doing the work, etc.
Avatar for cl_cathiann
iVillage Member
Registered: 03-19-2003
Fri, 09-24-2010 - 10:10am

I agree with Kell--mention your concerns about his excessive worrying and anxiety to his doctor.

I do honestly think that some kids are just not organized--my own son is one of them. He has constantly forgotten assignments--or done them and forgets to turn them in or forgets books at school, etc. I used to blame it on elementary school where he didn't get grades, so a missing assignment had no effect on anything. But now I think some kids are just like that! They have to want to improve (Luke doesn't really care--he now only cares about consequences he'll have if his grades drop because of it) and be able to focus enough to be more organized.

iVillage Member
Registered: 11-05-1998
Tue, 09-28-2010 - 4:20pm

A lot of gifted kids also have huge issues with executive function (organization) and also anxiety.