Sixth Grade Screw Loose…



You ever have a series of days where you feel as though you just cant get through to your kid? You are not sure exactly where the problem lies. The communication is good? We both speak the same language.  The dialect is clear and concise, with no obvious stutters or lisp.  Even body language doesn’t appear to be giving off any mixed signals.  Yet for some crazy reason your child is behaving as though he just landed in a foreign country without a translator.  Boppa da boopy???

That’s what is happening with my child and to make matters worse, it appears as though he is having the same problem with his mother, teacher and friends.  Have the zombies arrived and this is only the beginning of a full neural meltdown?  His teacher has told us that he appears to be doing his work and when questioned provides ample intelligence in the responding answers, yet something just isn’t right.  It’s as though the elevator has taken his brain to the top floor,  yet after several attempts the doors refuse to open.  What to do?  When I have questioned him on the matter he looks astounded by the accusations of not paying attention.  Dumbfounded by the mere assertion that he may be acting disrespectful towards his teachers and family! Left in a state of shock and awe by the reprimands that have befallen him upon completion of a nasty comment or look.  Yet nothing I say seems to be getting through….

Diving into my cranium, opening the vast wealth of knowledge I have obtained over the past 15 years in the department of parenting. I have come to the realization that this may in fact be part of something I learned about 4 years ago while fostering my oldest child through his last year of elementary school.  His mother and I at the time were in the same predicament.  Frustrated, astounded and in disbelief we struggled through a year of emotional torment.  And although we fully expected attitude from its latest victim, we didn’t see it coming four years ago with the oldest.  Yet here it is again, messing with our family harmony and leaving countless victims in its wake!  What is it called? I am glad you asked for I have given this affliction a name.

Its called the Sixth Grade Screw loose!

Ladies and gentlemen I am here to tell you it’s like nothing you have ever witnessed before! You cannot believe the transformation that takes place to your child.  It starts out slowly like a semi-truck getting onto the thorough fare, and then before you can grasp what is happening your child has grabbed all 18 gears and their brain is eastbound and down!  Aint no smokey gonna stop em now!  Everybody loves him but the minute you get behind closed doors or out of the spotlight it’s as if another child has inhabited your precious little boys body!  Mean mugging, back talking, smug little quips! He went from one year ago being a fairly responsible, focused child to a kid who will walk out the door with two different colored socks on and a pair of mismatched shoes!  It’s a little frustrating!

Sample of our repartee

Where is your backpack?  I don’t know!  It’s in moms car.  Can you go get it! I can’t.  Why?  I don’t have shoes.  Well put shoes on!  UUHHHGGG maannnn..  march march stomp stomp..

Did you clean your room? I don’t know! So  your room is dirty? I don’t know its my brothers fault!  Its your brothers fault that your room is dirty?  God why are you guys so mean…   Huh?

Do you have home work?  No-I mean yes, but only a little, I did it in class. So where is it?  I don’t know!  The teacher doesn’t tell us anything!  I think he hates me! Geez! Why are you guys yelling at me!  (calmly) We werent yelling at you son we just want a straight answer.  GOSH QUIT YELLING AT ME!!! Tears coming down the face as he marches upstairs!  Once again with a look of disbelief.  HUH????

And so it goes.  Now do understand as very involved parents we know what is going on in every aspect of our childs lives.  My wife works at the school he attends and is in contact with his teacher on a daily basis.  We know his teacher doesnt hate him and we also know that all his assignments are handed out to him in a timely fashion.  He does share a room with a bit of a messy brother but it is never as bad as he makes it seems.  He goes to the barn in the afternoon working horses and hanging out with his friends, so no chance of wacky unmonitored activities going on there!  So what is this craziness that has now entrenched itself into the next son in line.  What is this thing we have coined “The sixth Grade Screw Loose”?

Through exhaustive research we have determined that sometime around the sixth grade a boys hormones begin to emerge!  Some boys have the ability to handle this new-found rush of emotional instability with nothing more than a slow change in voice (over a two-year period)and the occasional field of zits across the face. Yuck!  Other boys go completely off the reservation never to return to a normal state.  Well at least not until they finish their masters program at MIT.  Then there are my boys.  The oldest was a complete hormonal disaster!  A crying, temper tantrum throwing mess!  Dropping grades, the teacher hated him, he couldn’t do anything right.  But with a calm cool head and the perseverance of turtle trying to cross the road.  We rode the tide and landed safely on the shore. 

This child has all the same issues the older one had with a touch of the incredible hulk added in for good measure!  When he starts his slow self-destruction, all at his own hands mind you, I cant help but think to myself. 

Mr. McGee don’t make me angry; You wouldn’t like me when I am angry!  Hulk Smash!!!

I always start to chuckle at this point!  He is after all a cute bugger even if he is being a bit of a toad.  So ride the tide we will!  Like a california surfer on a sunny day at Mavericks!  The waves will come in all different sizes, we may get slammed into the sand a time or two but as long as we can steer clear of the rocks the ride will be worth it in the end.  Right?

Thanks for letting me talk this out with all of you! Now go find your own sixth grader to deal with!!  🙂

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