From science star to scuffles – my boy’s first year at high school

From science to scuffles

This is not my son.
Image by The-Lane-Team, Flickr

Guest post by Kayley Harris, mum of three.

There comes a time in a young man’s life when his thoughts turn to…well…anything but schoolwork. My middle son, Mr 13, is about to start year 8 and the novelty of high school has well and truly worn off.

In the final months of primary school, he was so excited to be going off to high school with his older brother and being treated like a teenager. In the first week of high school, he came home and declared that science was “really cool because we get to blow stuff up!” I was thrilled that maybe my son would love science and maths and go on to discover a cure for cancer and win the Nobel Peace Prize. Yes, I really am that stupid. After some initial experiments involving sulphur, a bunsen burner and a burn in his school shirt, his love of science wore off by week 3.

Don’t get me wrong. Mr 13 is a lovely, bright boy, but strangely, at his age, isn’t slightly interested in school. Go figure?? He’s interested in looking “cool”, having a smart phone (because all the other kids have one apparently) and having a girlfriend. Well, one out of three isn’t bad. He has a girlfriend…more about that in a later blog.

Last week a note came home (and how many notes come home from school!!!). This one looked serious because it was on green paper and mentioned the word “detention”. My older son, who is going into Year 10, hasn’t had a detention yet (touch wood) so this was new for us. The note from the year 7 Dean explained that Mr 13 had broken the “hands off” policy. They obviously weren’t talking about the junk food in the canteen (also more about that in a later blog).

Mr 13 and his friend had decided to wrestle during maths class, things had gotten out of hand, and the other boy had decided to retaliate with a left jab of a maths compass to my son’s neck. Yes, it could have been very serious. So the two boys fronted up last Saturday morning in full school uniform for 90 minutes of “reflection” on their behaviour. After it was all over, Mr 13 and his friend were back to being best buddies.

I worry for my middle son. He is hyperactive at times, eats too much junk food (my fault), sleeps in on school days, spends ages in the shower and struggles with his homework. He is also a beautiful, happy, loving, funny, compassionate and perfectly normal 13-year-old boy.

Do you have one child that worries you more than the other? Do you ever get notes home from school!?



  1. SO many notes home from school. Anyone would think my child was on a fast track to a life of crime!!! It makes me wonder if it’s just easier for the school to send off a note than deal with things in class? Thanks for sharing Kayley, I don’t think you’ll be the only parent who noticed the big change in personality and application over the course of year 7!

    • Hi Rachel, I think teachers need to cover their butts on so many issues and that’s why the amount of notes – the poor teachers need to get permission for everything these days.

  2. My bub is still a bub, so I’m not dealing with the school problem yet – in fact up until 5 months ago, I was the one sending the notes home. 🙂 I’ve taught a number of brothers and sisters over time, and I love that there’s differences between them – interesting to see that the same parents with the same parenting approaches can get such different children!

    • Yes it also amazes me that you can have 3 different looking children also from the same parents. Technically you’d think they would all come out looking and sounding the same!

  3. Mine are only 8 & 5. Miss 5 starts school next year and I’m not expecting any trouble with her. Mr 8 is going into Yr 3 and while he can be quite difficult at home, he’s an angel at school (I’ve seen first hand as a relief teacher in his classroom!) But who knows how things will change as they grow up. The thought of them as teenagers scares the bejesus out of me!!

  4. I can understand having one child tht would be more concerning than the other – having said that i was a straighty one eighty kid, and out of the two brothers and me i was the only one who ever got suspended…. !


  5. Oh dear detention 🙁

    I think some kids just cause their parents a little more stress than the others, I am pretty sure Miss 4 is not going to be easy going like the older kids.

  6. I have two teenagers, who very considerately take it in turns to make me all worried. There is always SOMETHING!

  7. Different worries for different kids. My 10 yr old son is always getting notes home for mucking up at school (though I’m definitely sure his teacher doesn’t like him, my baby? never!). And the 13 yr old girl is discovering her womanhood and independence and hormones all at once! Aaargh like living with a pole dancing possessed devil child!

  8. Yep I have a couple that are a bit more hard headed than the rest, but we haven’t got to this teenage stage yet, so hopefully we dont have any of these issues!

  9. Amy Miller says:

    I have only just had a conversation with my Mr 13 last night that broke my heart. Every mum’s worst nightmare im guessing. He confessed that he is being bullied and picked on during his first year at high school, even to the point of older kids hassling him to take up smoking cigarettes!!
    He claim he has no friends and the friends he did have at primary school no longer want to be his friend, that are part of the “cool” crowd and this particular crowd doesnt like my son very much at all. He spends most lunches in the library alone reading or playing on the computer.
    I am at a total loss, I had no idea this was happening and that he was so sad and depressed, he told me that it stresses him out so much that he cant concentrate in class and his work is suffering, his report card reflects this.
    I have no idea where to go with this and what I should do. I feel like I have failed by not seeing the signs earlier and that he has suffered with this for a whole year 🙁
    My parenting has taken a massive hit and most of all I am super concerned now for his mental state and well being as he broke down sobbing uncontrollably, and the sad look in his eyes will never leave me now!



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