15 year old teen boy in question.

Generally good kid but minor annoyances here and there

coming & going without saying hello (sometimes).

missing please/thank you (sometimes).

speaking courteously to parents (2/3 times in general, particularly to mum).

concentrating on study during study time rather than multitasking chat + study.

By boomerang effect the meaning was, we tend to micromanage him a little, and as he grows older are finding it is starting to just bounce off him and the harder we try the more it just comes back in the opposite direction like a boomerang.

He gets frustrated when told off and says stop lecturing me & clearly wants to be left to his own devices in terms of studies and other areas but we are just trying to help.

How do you balance telling a kid what to do vs developing their character to be self sufficient?

He has this year & next to finish highschool and get university entrance so we are really pressuring him to study as much as possible to get accepted into whichever degree he chooses (currently undecided but likes science field).

He has bursts where he will study a lot, then cools off and does very little. It's inconsistent.

Any good articles on this?

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    Can you please clarify exactly what you mean by boomerang effect? It's not a common phrase and your examples seem to be about different issues. (I don't see how focusing on studying while studying falls into any "boomerang" analogy)
    – user11394
    Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 4:04
  • I am having a bit of difficulty understanding one aspect of your question. Did you mean that he multitasks instead of concentrating on his studies? The more helpful detail you can supply, the more we may be able to help you. For example, what methods of discipline or coaxing have you tried? Did they work at all? Can you tell us a bit about the family? Maybe you can get some ideas here in our help section. Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 5:48
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    thanks i have updated the original question to be more clear Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 10:35
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    Decrease involvement, don't micromanage, expect less in the way of manners.
    – bjb568
    Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 14:33
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    He sounds like me at that age... ^^. When he cools off the studying, does it get him into actual trouble with his grades, or are you worrying he won't pick himself up in time on his own?
    – Layna
    Commented Mar 12, 2015 at 14:54

2 Answers 2


I think there are two factors in play that caused what you observe. His personal motivation and your parental motivation.

He is at an age where he really needs to start doing things on his own initiative. He also needs to realize that slacking off has consequences and it is usually better to learn it in high school than post secondary.

Have a talk with him and aim to stop micromanaging him and let his initiative play out, and also tell him that he will be responsible for his actions. You need to make sure that he experiences failure and learn how to overcome them, because life will be like that.


Stop worrying as much about his manners. Missing "please" or "thank you" hardly seems like the end of the world. As a high schooler, he has a lot on his plate right now, and your fussing over manners is only adding to the pile. Try going easy on him for a while.

  • And I might add, if he asks for help with homework then that is the time to help... Not just offering it. Last time I butted in and tried to help someone with something they didn't want help with, I got slapped in the face!
    – L.B.
    Commented Mar 15, 2015 at 17:59

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