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to find this extreme behaviour and not have a clue where to go from here?

(98 Posts)
NearMissAgain Fri 25-Jan-13 04:32:52

I honestly don't know if this is within the realms of normal. My DS is 9 and I am at the end of my tether with his behaviour regarding school work. His behaviour in general has always been very, very difficult to handle but we have made huge progress and although he is still not easy, the consistent approach we have used has paid off and he mostly sticks to boundaries now.

There are still a few areas causing problems and the main one is school work. He goes to school but that's where his involvement in learning ends. He is not keeping up with the curriculum and needs a lot of support from the teacher - fortunately for him the class is small so this has been possible. He doesn't resist too much at school, it's more zoning out. At home he refuses to do homework, we have a homework routine and I make him sit at the table. He will cry and whine and say he can't do it, and at other times just stares into space. He can sit for 3 hours without writing anything down. He is kept in at play time to do the homework every day but still doesn't finish.

He has had several assessments but everything seems to be within normal limits. He is a bit dreamy but not enough to be diagnosed with ADD, spelling and maths not great but not too bad etc. He did co-operate (mostly) with the assessments and was able to do everything as well as they expected from his age. His ability seems to be about average, on paper. I personally think he is above average, and his teacher agrees, if only he would actually do something to show that.

This is not a new problem. but is obviously becoming a bigger problem as he gets older. What can we do? I have tried ignoring him and not making it into a battle, sitting with him, taking away tv/computer, and nothing has made any difference.

Hyperballad Fri 25-Jan-13 04:46:06

When you ask hIm about it, what does he say?

NearMissAgain Fri 25-Jan-13 04:48:27

Depends on the day - he says he can't do it, doesn't want to, thinks it's boring/pointless, waste of his time, so unfair, too hard etc etc. I have even tried to scare him with stories of unemployment (I am desperate) but he says he doesn't care, he doesn't want a job anyway.

Hyperballad Fri 25-Jan-13 05:00:21

Gosh! He is talking like a teenager at 9! How infuriating for you!

My dad was like this throughout his childhood, a real dreamer and struggled with anything academic. He has been self employed all his working life and is a well respected expert in his field of work and has always loved his work.

My brother was like this too but lacks determination and I think scratching beneath the bravado his self esteeme is very low. He hasn't done anything and has been on benefits since leaving (getting expelled from) school.

Do you think all this could be to do with his confIdence? Do you think he think he can't do it or won't be good at it so won't bother trying?

anonymosity Fri 25-Jan-13 05:01:06

what does interest him? can you find a positive way into subjects via things he does care about? He may genuinely be bored but potentially a very high achiever. They shouldn't keep him inside during breaks - boys actively need to burn off physical energy in order to focus in classrooms. That's a pre-historic way of dealing with problems...
just a few thoughts for ya.

Hyperballad Fri 25-Jan-13 05:08:20

I suppose what I'm getting at is perhaps its time to take the pressure off him getting his homework done and start looking at every which way you can build up his confidence and self esteeme, find ways for him to prove to himself that 'he can' rather than 'he can't'.

I think then this will impact positively on his school work eventually, and if not his school work then he should be better equipped to make it in that big wide world.

gillyglops Fri 25-Jan-13 05:09:26

Not everyone thrives in formal lessons - I would agree it would be worth finding out what really inspires him, and encourage that. Perhaps he'll grow up to be a successful personal trainer, or gardener, or woodcarver, or artist etc. The educational system tries too hard to squash all kids into the same shaped box.

anonymosity Fri 25-Jan-13 05:13:09

I wouldn't assume an intellectual lacking due to disinterest in class room work. It doesn't mean he's meant for manual work. He could actually be light years beyond the teacher and what is being taught. It has happened before....

NearMissAgain Fri 25-Jan-13 05:13:39

Good to hear dad finally got his act together hyperballad. I hope that will happen with DS as I sense there is a lot of ability there. He gives the impression of being full of confidence, almost arrogant at times, but I think some of that is a front. I don't think he is lacking in confidence though, I mean it can't be nice getting negative feedback from the teacher on a regular basis but he just shrugs it off, on the surface anyway. He has never cared about conforming or followinf rules. Some of that is good as an adult but he is making his life very difficult in the meantime.

anonymosity the break time detentions don't seem to be working anyway. He loves anything hands-on and engages more with that side of the curriculum, but still gets bored quickly if he can't do exactly what he wants with the equipment. He enjoys playing with other children but he is always the leader so will simply leave the group if people don't want to listen to him.

I think he would prefer to home school but I just couldn't do it.

Hyperballad Fri 25-Jan-13 05:13:57

This may seem a bit old fashioned but girl guides did wonders for my confidence, is he part of any group like this? Perhaps scouts/cubs would be something that could help.

TanteRose Fri 25-Jan-13 05:16:17

Why don't you try completely backing off for a while?
he is only 9

for a few weeks, don't make him do anything at home (leave school to handle things their way)

take the pressure off at home completely

can't hurt for a couple of months

poor boy, he must be miserable sad

NearMissAgain Fri 25-Jan-13 05:16:49

He does go to cub scouts and loves the parts where they are given a pile of wood and nails and told to build something, but he zones out during the "boring" parts. He doesn't usually want to go though.

Hyperballad Fri 25-Jan-13 05:18:19

Ha! Do you know what, I don't think you have much to worry about in the future, sounds like he's made of good stuff (although sending you crazy now!) I think he could be sat on that panel on dragon's den in a few years!

Still think scouts/cadets type group could be really good for him.

Hyperballad Fri 25-Jan-13 05:19:07

Sorry xpost about the cubs!

NearMissAgain Fri 25-Jan-13 05:19:10

TanteRose I have sort of been doing that - I decided that it was his problem and left him to it. But we recently had a report from school and they are asking us to support more with homework. When no-one is making demands on him he's very happy but gets very angry very quickly if he can't do what he wants when he wants.

Hyperballad Fri 25-Jan-13 05:25:21

I really relate to what your describing, we are all like this in my family we have ended up being dancers, photographers, jockeys, sales people, jewellery makers, and everyone of us self employed!! I don't think any of us are employable!!

Yep I think take the pressure off at home, embrace anything that he enjoys and is good at to build 'real' confidence and I'm sure things will be ok. You'll probably enjoy him more this way too smile

He sounds like a non-conformist alright! Nothing wrong with that but the frustrations, for both you and him must be huge. It also sounds like he is really angry, and possibly struggling with the fact that he is different and doesn't want to do what his peers, mum and school see to expect of him.

This may seem an odd suggestion, but have you tried taking him to a counsellor who works with children? Someone who is completely outside all the dy to day pressures to conform and do as he is told. They would hopefully be able to help him express what's really going on, be it frustration, anger, lack of self esteem or whatever and help him understand it and communicate it.

Hyperballad Fri 25-Jan-13 05:36:21

TheSkiing, sounds like he'll try councelling the councillor! ;)

Lavenderhoney Fri 25-Jan-13 05:52:19

This resonated with me, ESP about future/ jobs/ etc, just to explain about how choices narrow without conventional exam results unless you know what you want to do, which most people don't! I hope I haven't stressed my ds nowsad he is so young. I want to back off, but then I want to instil a work ethic.

Can you ask him to do his homework then do work on home project that really interests him? What about refurbing furniture etc if he likes that, a small piano stool to start? Or some wood and tools and learn to make a box with the corners cut to fit, no glue? Or make a jigsaw? my ds enjoys music so I put that on as well. Plus a snacksmile

I have this with mine to some extent, and I just say it won't go away so let's get it done and do something else more fun. This works at school to- if he finishes some writing he gets to do something he likes, a bit of painting while he waits for the others. My ds also prefers to work alone at projects at school. He asked if he had to do it in a group as he had clear ideas of what he wanted and was allowed to. He was given the option of joining a group but was quite happy. He does group stuff if he doesn't care about the project- teacher says he then just sits back and lets others do it, or gets bored with arguing and gets everyone organised then sits back againsmile

The latest thinking on homework is that it is not necessary and the head of our primary school would stop it if she could as she feels kids should do other stuff outside school and grow that way too. Unfortunately the head of the whole school disagrees. A couple of schools we know of don't set homework at all!

School doesn't suit everyone does it? ( hopeful)
I have tried to interest my ds in the cubs/ scouts but he says the same as yours.

shemademedoit Fri 25-Jan-13 06:01:17

No advice, but marking my place, and sending supportive hugs.....as seen to be describing my son exactly sad

shemademedoit Fri 25-Jan-13 06:03:13

SeeM to be....

Yfronts Fri 25-Jan-13 06:22:59

I can't see why you and the school are pushing the homework aged 9. Why don't you let him play and enjoy his home life, then maybe he might feel happier generally and more focused/interested eventually when he does need to concentrate in class.

Yfronts Fri 25-Jan-13 06:23:55

Yes I agree build his confidence at home doing things he enjoys - swimming, building dens etc ..

NearMissAgain Fri 25-Jan-13 09:26:19

Just came home a read all the replies - good to know there are others with similar boys, and some very hopeful points about the future too. It is my instinct that he will be ok as he can be very determined, but I would like him to to do as well as he can at school and pass exams if possible. But I also know that I can't force him to learn. He is actually learning all the time and loves to be busy doing all sorts of things of his own choosing - inventions and creative games, roaming around searching for interesting objects outside etc, he just doesn't seem to fit into school life.

I do feel that the school expects too much homework but they won't seem to budge on that so there's not much I can do. We live in a remote place so can't really change schools and he loves where we live as he has quite a bit of freedom to explore outside. The school does have a counsellor lady who visits so I could pursue that suggestion. To be honest I can't imagine him opening up but you never know.

He has lots of opportunities to do activities he enjoys - he regularly goes off camping with DH, loves animals and feeds pets for all the neighbours whenever they are away, goes fishing, builds dens etc - so we will obviously continue with all of that. He resists structured activities but we have made him learn to swim - it's taken a while but we are there now and he's actually very good but could be even better if he made an effort. I guess we just plod on with the school work and try not to worry too much. His teacher has made noises about not letting him move up next year and I told DS - he replied that she's lying....

He has been asking for pocket money recently - we tried once before with additions/deductions related to behaviour/attitude but it never workedand he always lost a lot. He knew the deal and wanted the money but could not seem to control himself enough. I reminded him about previous attempts so we'll see.

HappilyUnhinged Fri 25-Jan-13 09:39:25

Have you considered removing him from school and home educating him? School isn't for everyone and for many it totally stifles any love of learning. If you are in a position to do so, I'd recommend HE, it needn't be for ever, try it for the rest of this school year and reassess come September, perhaps.

I bet if you go to the home education section of Mumsnet and post your thoughts there you'll get lots of useful advice.

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