Originally Posted by shawn1224
I’m getting ready to head home and my first instinct is to lay into him with the belt but even then I’m still puzzled as to what could be the root of the problem.
In your long post, that phrase jumped out at me as if it were in bold, blinking, red font.
I did 13 years of family counseling in an area where it was quite common to see kids barely making it through school, in all grade levels and from all income levels.
Please take a look at that phrase I cut and quoted from your post: you state a large portion of the problem, your "instinct" to strike the child, and then you state that you're puzzled about it.
If there is one thing that I've learned about kids over the years, raising them and working with them, it is that they can spot impending abuse a mile away, and the sad thing is that they themselves do not know how to communicate what they see in their parent(s) and they often will exhibit sudden behaviors out of character to people who know him or her, such as what you're describing.
If your "first instinct" is to attack your child with a weapon because of poor school performance, believe me, that kid is aware of that instinct inside of you.
My first instinct when seeing something like that in a kid is to just pick a time when the kid is receptive, accepting and relaxed, and kindly bring up school grades, then ask how I can help on an ongoing basis, setting goals together.
But to threaten the kid, etc, just builds natural barriers and communication will be lost; I mean real communication, you'll learn nothing of what is causing the problems at school, from him or her, if you're his or her enemy instead of friend.