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AIBU to be really annoyed with DS for just doing O.K at school?(105 Posts)
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I am a regular but have n/c for this as most of my posts are a bit more upbeat and I can't decide if I am being a complete cow or now:
DS is in Year 7 and a bright kid. Every parents' evening in the past have always been a breeze: bright, well behaved, gets good grades, no complaints...
He is now in Year 7 and this week we've had the first parents' evening at his new school and I find myself feeling really annoyed with him. Basically he is coasting - I think that's the message.
For example one teacher told me that the class had sat an exam that they were supposed to have revised for. DS did zero revision - didn't even tell me there was a test coming up. He got the second highest mark in the class and is delighted - crowing about how brilliantly he's done.
He started the year with really high levels in maths and English. He's made zero progress (gone backwards in fact in one) and does the absolute bare minimum for homework, never volunteers for the extension tasks etc but because he started on high levels, he's still near top and gets good marks and again is crowing about how good he is.
I am really furious if Im honest. The AIBU part is AIBU to think that is not a good enough to get good marks with a crap attitude and no effort? And AIBU to wish he'd got all level 4's and a good telling off? And AIBU to let him know I am disappointed?
He knows I am I think because he lectured me that in MFL for example he has got the highest level they award for Year 7 so whats my problem?
DH thinks we should be pleased DS gets good grades and is well behaved at school. He says many parents would be delighted just with that but Im not. I think having a crap / lazy attitude is going to hold DS back much more in life than getting slightly lower grades. So AIBU and if not what do I do about it?
YANBU but you will probably have to wait until his grades start slipping for him to realise. I am surprised he hasn't got more competition- is he in a school where the top are creamed off?
You're not BU. I was exactly like this in school and it took me years to build up a work ethic when I hit the real world after gcse..
I see this a lot in class. Children come in and are used to being the best in class. They coast and get distracted as they believe its easy and then start to fail. They are not used to failing and so don't know how to cope and start dong less. Etc etc
I went to a secondary modern and could coast along and stay near the top- at that age your reasoning is that if you can come within the top 5 in the class with little work then why do it to be top? Sorry- I realise it isn't much help.
What motivation does he have to strive?
I was that child too, never did any homework, did the bare minimum in class, spent non-homework detentions every evening in the library (they misunderstood my motivation so badly that they thought that was a punishment) .
I was always in the top three of the (grammar) stream and left school with 10 good O levels and an offer of an assisted place for 6th form at a private school. I had no inclination to further study. I have no idea what anyone could have done to make me feel that there was any point to exerting myself when I was outstripping everyone else with the minimum of effort.
I had a couple of bashes at A levels later on, but to be honest couldn't see the point, and finally went to university to do a History degree as a mature student (with no A levels) because I had finally found something that gripped me and made me want to study.
So, he has to want to do it. He has to be able to see something that will encourage him now. Not some intangible in the future.
i was like this. i found it very easy to get good grades with very little effort up until my gcse's. i didn't see the point in trying when i could just as easily do the bare minimum and get the same results at the end. i know that's not what you want to hear, though!
be grateful you have a smart kid with a natural intelligence - he'll learn eventually that he needs to do more and more work as he grows older. it might take a half term of "bad" grades to make him realise - that's what kicked me into gear, but it will happen
The school is a comp where the highest ability group is called a grammar stream even though there's no selection test to get in.
DS is bright but not so bright that he can do nothing for the next 5 years! They did tests at the start of the year for setting and he got level 6's in all core subjects so even though he has slipped a bit in one, this is still considered really good and gets him praise, high marks etc.
Due to his SATS and setting exams, his Year 7 and Year 9 targets are sky high and I do (when I am feeling charitable) wonder if this scares him and puts him off. He has already been told that he's expected to nail several A* grades - that's a lot of pressure for an 11 year old maybe. In fact the early focus on Year 9 and GCSE results seems very odd to me - it is all a long time away.
In my more realistic moments I think he just sees it as a cushion. If staying on track will give him A*s then he can afford to do very little and get all B's and C's which is fine.
They have end of year exams and I doubt he will reach his target levels in all subjects given that some are very high.
When this happens do I rely on his natural remorse or do I step in and punish him in some way?
I just don't know how to handle it. He thinks I am totally unreasonable to feel anything other than delighted
How do I make him put in a proper amount of effort? Is this where I start confiscating things and setting times for homework or will that make him worse?
"He knows I am I think because he lectured me that in MFL for example he has got the highest level they award for Year 7 so whats my problem?"
There shouldn't be a cap on what level they can get-what did he get, by the way?
If it's any consolation, I was like this until year 9 as I didn't see the point (exams didn't mean anything anyway) so coasted along in the top half of a very selective grammar school. I wanted decent GCSEs/A Levels/degree so I worked harder from yr 10 and got them. Many of the kids who worked very hard in years 7-9 seemed to rebel around GCSE time and didn't do as well as they might have if they had saved some effort from their ridiculously extensive yr7 projects
That said, I agree, it's very frustrating and he does need to snap out of it before the real work comes along.
I would just let him get on with it, to be honest.
Does he do anything outside school? I have a year 7 who is having a bit of an easy ride academically at the moment, so I am giving him reading challenges, and he's also booked in for a music exam. Very exposing, music exams- if you don't practice at least a bit you fall flat on your face!
YANBU but you will probably have to wait until his grades start slipping for him to realise. I am surprised he hasn't got more competition- is he in a school where the top are creamed off?
^ ^ this I had a coaster ( a girl) and it used to drive me up the wall she got good marks was well behaved but I knew she could do better, I ended up having to let it go the nagging wasn't working, she got good exam results but she could have got better iyswim, she is nearly 20 now and doing a degree in music production and engineering, she wanted to do physics but couldnt be arsed to study , she is happy and very good at what she does,
seeker: Apparently they haven't yet covered the vocabulary and other bits needed to get the higher levels like listening to speech at normal speed by a native speaker or using future tenses. That's the reason there is a sort of cap on what they can get each year in KS3.
DS does nothing outside school and has no desire to. He reads a lot of books at home I suppose (all sci-fi or action books) but point blank refuses to join any clubs. I think he might faint if I suggested an instrument. He has absolutely no interest
or talent for any creative pursuits at all.
I am glad to hear others have been through this themselves or with their children and it has all turned out O.K. but basically youre saying I cannot force / punish / coerce him to work?
It seems the general consensus that Ill have to wait until something captures his interest and motivates him to do well or wait until his grades slip, hope this is sooner rather than later and let him see that his current master plan isnt such a great one.
I am glad I am not being totally unreasonable but I do wish there was a cure to this as, reasonable or not, I find it is really frustrating the hell out of me!
I just couldnt think of anything that would motivate dd to do better I tried shouting coercing bribery even nothing seemed to work her passion was music though so I think she was focused on tha I know I sound ungrateful as she did quite well in school but It is frustrating
So is he at least a level 4c in MFL?
Had you thought about getting him to read more widely? An hour of a book chosen by you before any sci-fi, or screen stuff?
He's 11/12 and he has his whole life ahead of him to get stressed out by exams and work.
Let him enjoy coasting a bit. He will have to work hard when it comes down to GCSEs in a few years and even harder for A levels. Year 7 can be a bit of a shock for some kids.
Then it'll be off to uni for more work and exams and before you know it he'll be doing the 9-5 drudge like the rest of us.
I've found with high achieving boys, competition between them can be an excellent motivator. Second highest? So who came top then? Can you encourage friendly rivalry? 'if you're so clever, how come Johnny beat you??'
Unfortunately, some boys aren't competitive and just don't give a shit. They are very hard to deal with.
I think the problem is often that there is often a rebasing of standards when moving to a secondary school. I remember when I moved to secondary, the things I was initially doing in maths were things I had covered 2/3 years before. I guess it was to allow others to catch up. However, it had the potential to make people switch off and coast. Is it possible this is what is happening to your son? Is what he is covering not challenging enough?
You've just described my year 8 son....we are using the carrot and stick approach...he is very materialistic...wants cool car, exotic holidays, nice house, designer clothes when he gets a job...we just point out to him that if that's what he wants the way to get it is to knuckle down. He knows what career path he wants to follow so Im doing my best to guide him. I've worked backwards....this is what you want and to get it you'll need this degree...to do this degree you need to have these A levels, to get these A levels you'd probably need to have got a good GCSE grade at these subjects etc etc. Nobody guided me and Im plodding along in a job I tolerate but don't enjoy. For me to change that I would need to retake certain GCSEs prior to doing another degree. Have explained to DS the cost involved if you have to retake as an adult and how lucky you are prior to 18 getting to take exams for free. Reading this back I sound so serious...Im not at all, In fact Im very easygoing but I speak as someone who also coasted along and did ok but with a bit of effort could have gone far !
Children tend to go backwards in year 7 for a while - it's a difficult transition.
I don't blame him for coasting. In my view, it's a natural human tendency. Who wants to put in a load of extra effort when you're 12 years old? The problem, perhaps, is that the school is letting him coast and not stretching him enough.
Noblegiraffe- sadly the thing that motivates my ds is the simple fact that the one person likely to beat him is a girl!
Not proud of that- but it does make him put a bit of effort in!
You cannot make them do it.
All you can do is instill and talk about the importance of education and the pitfalls of coasting along.
I've learned to step back and leave my boys to it. They wont have me sitting next to them in the exam room after all. I get that you are frustrated but nagging won't help unfortunately.
You won't get any where, very few people are inclined to put in more effort than they can see any reward for.
DH does complicated technical stuff above and beyond work for fun.
He can't get that the rest of us like to chill having done what we need to.
I think if you nag DS now, you risk him saying bugger off when there is important revision to do.
Yes a work ethic is a wonderful thing to have, but you can't force someone to have one, they have to find something they love.
For DH it's absolutely anything technical, for DD1 it's singing, DD2 and me are still looking.
Seeker: I don't know his sub level in MFL but he is a 4. I am guessing a 4c would be right. He has taken to it very well - possibly because he has a good memory - but again there's no enthusiasm or spark really. He does the bare minimum and it is just the tests that show he is capable.
The reading thing is a good idea. I go to the library every weekend with other DC but DS wont come with us. I will however get him some books outside his usual choices tomorrow and ask him to do 30 minutes (rising to an hour) in the evenings. I don't think he'd mind doing that.
YouTheCat: see sometimes I think that as well and think I am a mean old cow who is going to drive him into unhappiness and failing all his exams with my unreasonable expectations and inability to hide my crossness from him. Then other times I think the world is a competitive place, its not long until they decide their GCSE options and if he keeps up these bad habits, when it actually comes to striving for his exams, he wont have the skills or resilience to do it.
Noble: unfortunately DS is not overly competitive in wanting to come top especially not if it involves any effort on his part. If anything he thinks coming second in a test he didnt revise for is somehow much more of an achievement than coming first with a bit of work! The reason I feel a cow is that it is his smugness that annoys me. For example the school chooses students for triple science based on getting a level 6 in Year 9. DS is already a comfortable level 6 and has gloated that he is as good as the Year 9's (not within their earshot I assume!). He won't be told that this is not the case - the downside of having expressed as levels.
Cocobongo: He is in the top stream so I think the work is as hard as it gets for Year 7s. He is definitely not so clever that hes bored. In fact he gets quite cross if he ever does get anything that challenges him or that takes him more than a few minutes to zip through. He certainly doesnt relish more difficult work and moans and groans about any homework that is hard to do or takes time to complete.
BlahBlahBlahhh: Snap! DS is completely mercenary as well. He wants a luxury lifestyle, flash car and generally nicer things than we have but has no career plan beyond getting someone to pay him a lot of money for doing sod all! Maybe thats the key to get him to work backwards a bit to see the steps he needs to get all this cash he wants!
Please don't take this the wrong way- but when you say "I don't think he's mind that" what do you mean? The seems to be a lot of "he just won't" " he refuses" in your posts- I know it's easy for me to say, but it does sound a bit as though he rules the roost a bit. Am I wrong?
Is he getting homework done and in on time?
Some kids don't need to revise loads because they are lucky that the topics stick in their minds.
I was like this up until GCSEs and it hit me in the arse at A-level. I got into a good university (somehow) and cruised again through an English Lit degree. My professional exams were then a nightmare which is when my work ethic was finally formed. So YANBU - I'd be concerned too.
Well... I have had similar issue with dc1 (but he is much younger than your ds).
School who kept telling him how good he was, that he was fantastic etc...
Result little efforts on his side.
I have to say, I have told him and the school that I am expecting more from him. I am expecting efforts and that being at the top in his school doesn't mean he is a genius/doesn't need to make any efforts.
Also that whether he is first or last doesn't matter. What matters is the effort he is putting into it and how much progress he is making.
The fact he hasn't progresses or has gone down a level would be enough for me to tell him off.
Fwiw, I had a very easy time at school. I also have been working (not that hard but would have done the revision for an exam). I was coasting until... I started in a very competitive environment for Uni, with other bright kids and I realized I wasn't that good after all....
So I did quite well because I had still being putting some effort into it but I can easily see how it would have been a nightmare if I hadn't.
And I really don't want that for my child.
No seeker you're not wrong. It is hard to describe. He is very well behaved in the sense that he doesn't do naughty things (he doesn't chat in class, doesn't kick footballs in the house, doesn't hit his sister, doesn't take things without asking) but he is as stubborn as anything and point blank refuses to do anything he doesnt want to. I admit I dont know how to rectify that.
With the book example, I take DD to the library every Saturday but he wont come with us. If I wanted him to come (which I do) theres nothing I can say to persuade him. Id literally have to drag him there which I dont of course. He doesnt respond to persuasion or reasoning and will argue for England! He has an answer for everything and is fundamentally quite idle (hence not involved in any clubs, doesnt want to go anywhere unless theres something in it for him). He probably does run rings around me because it is not overt naughtiness, it is just bloody annoying knowing how to deal with it.
I am not painting a very flattering picture. If you looked at his school reports, he is described as being very well behaved and he is. He has never had a detention or lost a house point or anything like that in all the years hes been at school. Hes never been in a fight or done any of the usual naughty things like chatting or calling out in class. His lack of positive engagement is also a lack of negative engagement as well
He just wont do anything that he doesnt want to do and nothing I can say or do can make him. He will, I am sure, read more widely if I bring him books because he enjoys reading and will be happy to explore different genres. If I tried to get him to go to the library with me to choose these books, Id have a hell of a fight on my hands and I wouldnt win it.
Some might call it picking your battles. Some might call it a cop out. I swing between the two but the truth is, even if I did pick it as a battle, I wouldnt know how to win it with him.
Children can only do their best at school NOT someone elses best
I was a total coaster at school, and so were all my siblings - one of whom very gifted. I'm sure it irritated our parents no end, and in particular for the gifted sibling, it must have posed a bit of a dilemma.
What can I tell you? It took me until my early 20s to wake up and get my stuff together a bit. Coasted through my undergrad degree but worked properly for a Master's (alongside a full-time job) and got a first. When I was younger I disliked being challenged because I was a bit afraid of putting myself out there. Anything I couldn't do well immediately, I just dismissed it as 'not being good at that.' The stuff I could do easily, I dashed off smugly.
I was bright but not exceptional. I think whenever your son leaves school he will realise that his own limits. Competition and/or ambition will come into it at some point, even if he couldn't care less about that all now. In hindsight I am very glad that I was never pushed or nagged about schoolwork besides the odd exasperated comment.
I'm not sure you can really do that much. Although - if he loves English, is there any way you could put him in touch with an adult (preferably a young trendy type!) who writes for a living? It might amaze him and open his eyes to see how one gets from 'being good at English' to 'this is how I got my job, this is how I work'.
So - YANBU to be really cross at DS, but IMO and IME your DH's approach is a better sanity-saver
Reading your post I think that you have a very intelligent child and should be proud. He is still in his first year at comp and will be experiencing all the natural changes that happen at his age.
As he progresses through High school he will mature and realise that more effort equals better results. Please do not push what at the moment he does not feel naturally inclined to do as this could start building a barrier between you, just acknowledge what he has achieved and suggest that if he has achieved that level with little or no extra effort, what could he achieve with the extra effort put in.
YouThe Cat - yes he does his homework the day it is set and the second he gets through the door. He wants it over and done with as quickly as possible even if the deadline is weeks away. He is the same with his holiday projects (the school are very keen on these!). He does them as soon as they have broken up for the holidays so that he doesn't have to think about them or look at them and have school work ruin his break (thats his explanation and his choice not mine).
This is another example of my good/bad behaviour dilemma. From the schools point of view, a boy who does his homework the second it is set and never hands it in late is a delight. From my point of view, it is his motivation that makes it less good the idea that school work is so intolerable that it should be hurriedly completed to avoid it contaminating weekends and free time does not demonstrate a very good attitude or work ethic.
It is also an example of an argument I couldnt win. If I say why dont you look at it tomorrow when youre less tired? hell get all uppity about how I should be pleased that he does his work without being asked. We both know he just wants it out of the way and is going to reel off any old rubbish that vaguely fits the bill rather than waiting until the weekend and spending a bit of time making it decent but what can I say to that without becoming majorly critical of everything he produces?
I would say... YABU.
He's well behaved, & if he gets his homework done and handed in on time with fair enough grades then i don't understand the problem?
As long as he works hard by the time he gets to the GCSE years, surely that's more important?
Disclaimer: my family background is definitely non-academic so i was never pushed to achieve much - although i did achieve good grades on my own in the end.
back off op- he is 11 years old.
leave him be for a bit. if he does sod all, there will be a consequence. if he doesnt like the consequence he will buck his ideas up. just because he is potentially capable of being constantly top of everything doesnt mean he has to be.
there is nothing you can do to motivate him. if you want to offer rewards for results hold on until gcse in the final push.
Latara: You are right. I suppose my worry is that a child who never puts in much effort might find that they simply don't have the skills to do so when it comes to GCSE or A Level and all of a sudden natural ability just isn't enough. The lack of progress / slipping backwards isn't good but maybe not that uncommon in Year 7.
Thank you everyone: I am going to take the advice here and step back from it. I cannot make him do his best - I know that - and nagging won't change anything except to make me more cross and him more defensive.
He's probably so stubborn that he'll up his game the moment I start ignoring the issue but I won't bank on that either. I'll have to let it be and trust that, when the time comes that he wants to do more, I'll support that change at that stage.
Oh gosh, though, the homework thing is amazing. I get what you're saying, but I can't imagine that many kids relish the prospect of stretching out their homework over the weekend and 'doing it properly' with a good work ethic when they could be out doing more fun things? He is still very young.
right so now you know what are the school and more importantly YOU going to do what's the plan?
in our house we do champion good grades but more import effort and hard one C is worth more than a easy A in our home
its about the effort and the outcome combined we are really lucky our son attends a school were costing is simply not tolerated and its made very clear that the tops sets are just as easy to change as the bottom sets
and when the teachers are assessing the sets who goes were behaviour and attitude to work is also taken into account
Latara Fri 15-Mar-13 10:51:53
"I would say... YABU.
He's well behaved, & if he gets his homework done and handed in on time with fair enough grades then i don't understand the problem?
As long as he works hard by the time he gets to the GCSE years, surely that's more important?"
the problem is that with some children if they wont work hard now it kind of becomes a habit just costing not working now effects what set you will be in when taking GCSES and these days the are chosen at the end of year 8 the work will only get harder and more will be expected of him if he wont work hard now in year 7 when not much is expected what will happen down the lone I feel for the op
but sadly I think this is one for him its so hard to watch your child waist a gift or a talent or even go down the wrong road but its there mistake to make.
I've spent the last few years reconciling myself to having a ds very like yours, bright, but coasting. He's 16 now, and yes, his gcse's will be goodish, but he could have done better.
But...of the adults I know, neither their 'success', or more importantly their happiness seems to have any real correlation to how well they did at school. So I've had to admit that it's as much about my own moral outrage and ideas about what he should be doing as anything. I, on the other hand, had a fairly glittering academic history, but it took me years to sort out what I really wanted to do with my life and make a go of it, in part because I'd been so geared up to being 'top of the class', pleasing people etc.
I've found that helpful
What I haven't explained so much, and what might make me unreasonable here, is that DS has a younger sibling. DD isn't academic but spends hours on her homework and reading diary and revises for her spelling test like she's about to sit an A Level in it!
I suppose (and I would never say this in real life and I hope neither DC would know this) that I feel proud of DD who tries so hard and this exacerbates my irritation with DS. He can be unkind about the difference between them and is pleased that he did better than her at the same age despite not doing anything like the amount of work that she does. I dont tolerate this and wont let him put her down but he sneaks in enough odd comments that I know this is what he thinks and it sort of adds to my general annoyance that it isnt a very nice or healthy attitude to have in life.
But then maybe I am unreasonable for comparing them myself? In the way parents shouldn't compare one child who gets good grades with the one who doesn't, maybe I shouldn't be viewing DS's
crap laid back attitude in comparison to his sister who probably is the extreme opposite and should instead realise that lots of children find their motivation later in life?
I thought all this parenting business was supposed to get a lot easier as they went to High School? I think I was a lot better with simple toddler dilemmas! Please dont tell me to wait until the hormones kick in or I might cry!
Gosh, this turned into a massive essay!
I think it matters if he is not putting effort into something, if he is not doing the best he can. If he were achieving average grades but making his best efforts you would be proud. If he were achieving average grades but not making his best effort, you would expect him to try harder. He is achieving top grades but not making his best effort, and I think it is reasonable to expect him to pull him finger out - not because of the grades, but because of the work-ethic and attitude.
However, if he really is coming top / second in the top stream, getting the highest attainment targets he can, how can you motivate him? I think it is difficult to say "try harder at this, even though you cannot get a higher grade for it".
I concur with the suggestion to have him see where he might want to end up, and work back from there. One of my children - younger than yours - who could quite easily coast, has an ambition to be a doctor, another would like to apply to the Oxbridge College I attended. Maybe they'll end up doing something else, but the motivation that to achieve that goal they have to be the best, do the best he can, sets aspirations. Find people who have jobs they needed to achieve very highly for (I don't know what - maybe a rich investment banker with an Oxford degree?), and get them to talk with him. Backtrack from there.
I wonder whether you can get him to try harder at something else. I know you said he won't get involved in clubs, but I think that he should be making an effort at something. I can't remember what you said he did with his time (scifi books? anything else?) but can you support him to expand on that - blog book reviews or his own stories? (including designing and promoting the blog)? Learn to code / programme computers and use graphics? Find out more about new innovations / technologies? Design and build a mini-space rocket? Get into electronics? One of my boys recently took up a quite unexpected sporting activity out of school. I concur with the read-more-widely advice. Also good TV documentary series (Wonders of Life etc). Logic puzzles and games. Enrol him in an online maths tuition scheme so the goals and targets are stretching and not capped? Grow a veg garden? Read or listen to or watch foreign language materials (there are some good podcasts) in the languages he's learning or another one? He's older than children I know, so I'm not sure what would be age appropriate.
I also have a child with a stubborn attitude to my suggestions and I empathise. Can you sit him down and say "I'll not nag about the effort you put into your school work as long as you are getting the highest grades, but you need to be putting effort into something." ?
My husband coasted through school into a good university for a hard degree subject without any effort, and did badly at uni. It had never occurred to him to work at his studies. There will be people out there who are both very bright AND work hard. If you wish to continue excelling, there will be a time when your peer group is sufficiently highly motivated that you have to pull up your socks.
"you need to be putting effort into something."
I meant could be of his own choosing.
My son is quite similar to yours, but in a more dilute form (not quite as bright, not quite as stubborn, not quite as lacking in detentions ). He is now in Year 9, and starting to get his act together. I have never really focussed that much on his grades, except when he's making no progress. My DS is not particularly competitive either, but I do nonetheless expect him to compete against his past self, and he knows it. (Yeah, but you could do THAT when you were TEN!) I have, however, always made a big deal about his ATLs (Attitudes to Learning), and have always just emphasised that working to his capacity is what counts with me. (And may lead to a small surprise gift, usually a new sci-fi book .) Two years on, I think it's finally started to filter through!
"he is as stubborn as anything and point blank refuses to do anything he doesnt want to. I admit I dont know how to rectify that. "
Neither do I - as I said, my son is more dilute than yours. He can be stubborn, but I have worn him down over the years I suppose, or maybe he has become more mature and can see that my
demands requests are reasonable. He will argue (I made the mistake of giving him the template for smart-mouth cracks. Sigh.) but is not immovable. He knows that once I give him the deathstare over the top of my glasses and say in monotone "Because I said so." that I will not be moved. And that he will lose access to his XBox/laptop/the TV for at least 24hours if he continues to argue. Find whatever sanction will work with him, and deploy it sparingly/wisely.
I wouldn't worry about the lack of clubs - I've never been much of a joiner-inner, neither has DH so it's never been an issue with DS. We've recently been discussing with him that in later life he's going to need to be able to demonstrate to e.g. uni/employer that he is worth taking on; that he is a rounded person, and that hobbies of reading and XBox will not be enough to interest them. He can see the logic of this, and is addressing it in his own way by organising a sponsored bikerun for charity, his school have suggested Duke of Edinburgh etc.
The best you can do IMO is to continue to make clear that you value effort, and wait for him to mature.
I was a coaster too, until I got to University and got a shock because I wasn't used to working. I got a crap degree but since then I have reasonable progress in my life. With respect, I think you are perhaps over thinking things; your ds is well-behaved and does not cause problems. What's to worry about? Are you perhaps overemphasising academic success? He sounds a great kid to me, and he is still young. He has yet to go through teenagerdom, and will make academic choices soon, based on his strengths.
You sound to me as though you want him to conform to YOUR vision of academic perfection. He's fine in school and does his homework on time -early even- and still it's not good enough. And why shouldn't a normal youngster want to enjoy his spare time as he likes if he's finished his homework?
I tthink that if you continue to try to control him in this way not only will you drive yourself up the wall but he may well rebel against you.
Perhaps you should lay off a bit?
Oh , and his digs about how much effort his little sister makes - I'd be making pointed references to The Hare and The Tortoise right back at him (with the deathstare over the top of the glasses etc. ...).
I applaud you for your honesty, I don't think you're a mean old cow at all but be careful. The danger is if you carry on a crusade about this, you risk appearing dissatisfied or unappreciative, thereby making others think, She doesn't know how lucky she is, or more crucially your DS might think, "Mum's never satisfied, nothing I do pleases her, anyone else's parents would be chuffed to bits". It almost comes across as though you'd like him to fail - to wake him up to the dangers of complacency, I realise.
It doesn't help that your DH evidently doesn't share your worry.
Your DS doesn't play an instrument - now why would that be? Lack of natural ability? So he opts out so he won't have to try too hard. Ditto sport, extra-curricular activities. Avoiding things he doesn't shine at easily warps his ability to deal with failure later on and re-grouping and trying again.
My DS adopted the same approach. Nothing wrong with not being a 'joiner-in' by choice but being left out later on is less agreeable.
He may well sail through school academically if they don't push him. There will be a point at which brains and a good memory won't be enough, he will find work gets more demanding eventually. Socially he might do less well. His peers will start to notice and resent any arrogance about doing well. Even teachers are pushed to recall the able but insular ones, they'll remember the demanding, brilliant, extrovert, cheeky pupils.
I had this with my DS, slightly different in that he was motivated to work and set himself tough targets which he achieved, but he left school withut a backward look and compared to his younger sister who flourishes there, it was not as happy time for him as I'd have wished.
My son is also similar to yours in that he has a lot of natural intelligence but never goes that extra mile. He also has just one interest outside of school. I also feel like you - frustrated
However, I have been thinking a lot about this recently because I wonder if it is our problem as parents. There is so much competition out there, you need A*s for Oxbridge, A*/As and few Bs for RG universities, but it doesn't stop there. If you want to apply for KPMG (for instance) you need more besides. It never seems to stop. All we hear is that there is so much competition out there for this and for that and the gold standard is perfect marks at school and uni - anything under a 2:1 is not worth much anymore. We want the best for our children so much that it is all consuming as parents.
I too have a DD who really is an A grade student, she is working now but I left her to it all through school, uni, everything, just said well done, so this is a terrible shock to me. Are boys just different?
OP, I think your son will pull something out of the bag at the last minute because it sounds as though he is cruising at the moment, perhaps when things start getting difficult or his marks drop, he will put the work in.
I think the problem is with the school system. If you are clever, you can coast along and do very well as far as exam grades go (even through A levels). The school system is set up primarily to get kids through these hurdles.
I don't think children are necessarily finding their true passions and becoming the most thoughtful and interesting people they can be. There are a lot of depressed and aimless grown ups out there, and this is what worries me.
Smugness and arrogance are not nice attributes, I can see why that would irritate you - it's enough to make you hope that pride comes before a fall and that something would happen that would take him down a peg or two.
The thing is, what he is taking pride in - being clever enough to do well in tests without working for it - is really nothing he has achieved himself. He has been dealt a gold star in the intelligence stakes, doing well in a test is simply his natural state. It would be like being proud of being the tallest in the year, nothing that he has worked for. That he is unwilling to even try stuff that he is not very good at means that he is not going to achieve real satisfaction of working at something and achieving hard-earned goals. Your DD on the other hand deserves to take pride in her achievements because she has worked for them.
Not doing as he is told (e.g. coming to the library) is a behaviour issue. I expect he hasn't had any behaviour problems at school simply because they haven't asked anything of him he's unwilling to give. Students who argue the toss over a simple request are very frustrating. I usually resort to 'Are you refusing to follow my instructions?' because they know that refusing to follow a teacher's instructions will get them into trouble.
Donkeys makes a good point (about music and sport) about there being value in doing things that you're not good at too, to learn that it's fine to do things without being perfect or brilliant at them.
Also, I wanted to agree with you and others: this is not and should not become a huge deal. He's doing well and behaving well in school. That is clearly a good thing .
I agree with giraffe.
I think unfortunately you've left it too late to deal with a lot of this yourself. You'd struggle to make him join a club or learn an instrument at this age.
The way he speaks about his sister is not on at all. I'd be having a chat with him over that. Making it clear that effort is as important as achievement and that he is not under any circumstamces to put his sister down. That's awful behaviour from him, and I wouldn't stand for it.
I did this. Up until Gcse i didn't do any homework except coursework and put zero effort into anything except my.favourite subject. I was smart enough to score A's all round and my teachers and parents were mad that i never applied myself. I just didn't see the point. It got harder at a levels in a sixth form.of high achievers. I was no longer the best at my favourite subject, just one of many. I got depressed and slacked off even more.
Eventually i ended up in a shit university where i was again the best, but it all seemed so pointless i quit to work in a shop and live with my boyfriend.
Tell this to your son. He Will regret not being his best self for decades to come. I am teaching my kids this daily. If it seems too easy, be grateful, but don't take it for granted and don't shirk the work or one day it will all fall apart. I made nothing with myself and all my old friends have Phds. Things could have been different. I opted for a life of laziness so Will never be rich and doing a job I love.
Biryani: I honestly don't expect academic perfection. If anything, I'd rather his grades matched his effort (low!) so that he'd buck up his ideas a bit and believe me when I tell him that nobody can coast forever.
His sister is not academic but tries hard and I am really proud of her even though she doesn't get the same good marks that DS got at that age.
If I had to narrow it down I'd say my problem is: I believe in the long run, academic ability counts for less in life than the ability to knuckle down, try hard, apply yourself and be a positive person (and I have A Levels and a degree so am not biased against academic qualifications. I just think their benefits are limited - they are a foot in the door, nothing more).
School and exam results naturally focus on pure attainment but that doesnt count for much in the wider world. Frankly, I wouldnt employ anyone with an attitude like DS no matter how brilliantly clever they were (and DS is only clever hes certainly not such a genius that it cancels out big flaws like not wanting to ever apply yourself). All the time DS puts poor effort in and gets great results out, it is reinforcing this terrible attitude that I believe will really hinder him in life. If it was just about results, I wouldnt care.
YABU, OP, sorry. Would you be disappointed with your son if he was just ordinary intelligence, not "bright"? Why do you think bright is innate but hard-working isn't? Coz I think hard-working is just as innate as intelligence. You can encourage & support someone to use their intelligence or to focus their work ethic, but I don't think you can manufacture those things out of thin air.
I was quantified (IQ test) as very clever (okay genius, to be honest) as a young child. And I always had to work very hard to get top marks, throughout school years. I can't figure out if it's just a British thing, to be able to coast and still get very top marks. I was told on a thread once here that homework counts for ZERO in the English system, traditionally, so maybe that's why.
Thing is, it's obvious to me that DS (y8, moderately clever) is not going to get top marks unless he works hard, too. Meanwhile my sharpest and my dimmest children are also the hardest workers. I just do not see this bright->coasting->no work ethic picture IRL. Maybe you have to be true genius or summat to experience that.
YABU, OP, sorry. Would you be disappointed with your son if he was just ordinary intelligence, not "bright"? Why do you think bright is innate but hard-working isn't
I have one child who is 'not bright' but who works hard. I would never be dissatisfied with any grade she achieves as I know it represents her best efforts.
Maybe I am wrong in assuming that being bright is innate but working hard is a choice? If I am wrong about that then I am, I admit, totally unreasonable. I honestly hadn't considered that as a possibility in fact. I have always accepted DD's average academic ability as being part of who she is and celebrated the fact that she chooses to apply herself so well. I have always assumed DS's academic ability is naturally high but that in contrast, his choice about effort is a conscious and negative one.
"you need to be putting effort into something."
What if you don't need to? Lot of the school stuff is repetitive, if you get it the first time around, remember and are able to apply it, why go through all the revisions, homework, redoing ...
YABU to be so upset with him. I think that he is probably very very bright and has a different way of processing than you. You could find out the areas where he isn't that good and make him work on that.
There is no point to force him to work hard (harder?) on things he gets instantly.
Being very bright is not having instant knowledge, it is about thinking differently, more quickly and for some subject just getting it (without any effort or conscious choice) It is annoying for people who don't work that way.
They are areas where very bright people are very bad (usually very easy for other people), those should be found and worked on.
his choice about effort is a conscious and negative one It might not be his choice, it could be how things are for him.
Have a look at extremely bright children, IQ above 130, they are sometimes called zebras.
I think that the effort kicks in when they are ready for it -- when they find their motivation. Year Seven is a bit of a dull year I think, and a lot of schoolwork in general is dull, uninspiring, assessment-orieted. Expecting full effort at every stage is perhaps less likely in the long run to produce a highly motivated child than sitting back and waiting until they find their motivation -- which might be at the GCSE stage, when they are working towards qualifications that will actually impact on their future lives.
Constant assessment at pre-GCSE stages is deeply boring for children, not really very relevant for them, and a bit demotivating. I'd keep my powder dry so long as the school was happy enough with the child's results. Let him explore the social side, have a good time, let his motivation have time to unfold.
He is putting in the effort. He sounds like he has a good work ethic tbh. He gets in and does his homework straight away.
How many of us would love to have a child that they don't spend all weekend cajoling into doing their homework?
LeMuse: I have never heard that term but I doubt it applies to DS. We got told his CAT scores which are above 130. He has never had an IQ test - I'm not sure they do them at school.
He is clever but really no more than that - there are other children around his level at school. It is not like he is streets ahead of his whole year group or doing GCSEs early or anything like that at all.
I agree with everyone's advice though. I cannot force it and it has to come from him. However frustrating I may find it, I am going to have to step back. I won't let him be mean to his little sister and I will praise effort grades much more on his next report home. I will get him some more books and talk to him generally about where he wants to go in life. Apart from that I am going to let him get on with it
and bite my tongue a lot
"you need to be putting effort into something."
What if you don't need to?
I agree with you that school work for capable people can be repetitive. When I made that comment (which in hindsight I should have toned down a bit) I was thinking about hobbies / activities outside school, whether it's knitting or animation or off-road biking or whatever; his choice. Doing something with a bit of application.
I went to the local, massive comp and coasted throughout secondary school as it was too easy, too anonymous, too uncaring. I'd address it with the school and if they aren't capable of pushing him I'd change schools or get a tutor.
You can't do more.It is very common- and difficult to explain why you should go to great efforts if you can do well enough without.
We never learn by other people's mistakes-only our own. He is the only one that can do it.
My father was like that, his school reports are quite funny because teachers used to be bluntly honest in his day,and then when he was 15yrs he changed (all of a sudden)because he wanted to-it was nothing his parents or teachers did or said.
DD is like this but I tell her - one day, someone who put in more effort who isn't as talented as you, will beat you, and you may have done ok, but in terms of what you could achieve, you have done very poorly.
We only reward effort...it is hard.
Changing schools or getting him a tutor won't solve it- unless you are very lucky-it is attitude. I have tutored and I can't do it for them-it works well if they put in the effort, otherwise you are throwing money down the drain. Anyway the problem isn't that he is behind or struggling-he is doing pretty well without effort. The problem is how to make him put in effort to do better when he doesn't see the need.
one day, someone who put in more effort who isn't as talented as you, will beat you, and you may have done ok
This only works if you are competitive -otherwise you would say that it didn't matter-doing OK to get by is enough.
But I was ready to put in the effort if I was treated as an individual and doing challenging work. A tutor or different school would have worked for me. I always tried my best until I got to secondary school, as there no longer seemed any point.
My DS1 was the same, it's so frustrating.
Has yours done work experience yet? For DS it was a real kick up the backside, that he wouldn't just swan in and get to do all the cool things, he had to make the tea and coffee and work his way up.
You say he doesn't do any organised activities outside of school. What does he do in his free time? If it is simply mooch around, then that will eventually become a problem. University or job applications are going to look pretty sparse if he doesn't do anything in particular. Sports, scouts, cadets, martial arts, Duke of Edinburgh are all good at developing resilience, team work, dedication and so on. Perhaps you shouldn't give him the option of opting out completely as currently, simply give him a choice and insist that he picks one?
The thing if he was progressing wo any effort then it would make sense to be a bit more lenient.
But this boy isn't. He isn't progressing at all and he is even going backward.
The school should not be celebrating his achievements. They should be pressing him saying he isn't doing enough.
because it's not about how you are doing compare to others or how good your grade is, it's about how much you learnt and clearly he just hasn't.
Imo, I would see that as failing, not as doing very well.
The priority is a happy child - you have one - be thankful.
I have had a child unhappy at school and the whole family can be unhappy.
A lot of what they do in school is irrelevant anyway. If he's happy and in no trouble then leave it at that.
Praise him for his high place in class - if he knows he will get praise for that it might motivate him to try harder when needed.
The key is praise, encourage and do not criticise unless things are absolutely dire: e.g. in trouble for bad behaviour, playing up in class.
Count your blessings!!
I am not tutoring any more but I was quite decided that I would only take on children who wanted to be tutored -children who don't want it, but whose parents do are a waste of time-I can't work magic!
The priority is a happy child - you have one - be thankful
I don't quite agree with that actually. there is so pleasure to take in putting a lot of effort into something and see the result of it.
And as a parent, I see my role in giving them the tools to life their adult life happily. Even if it means they might not be that happy about it at the time.
Learning to work hard and put the effort in is just as important that being 'first in class' because you are too likely otherwise to give up on everything as soon as there is the slightest effort to do when yu are an adult.
And I talking from the pov of mum who has one child who is doing well with little effort.
And one who is unhappy and struggling at school.
You can lead a horse to water but you can't make it drink! You can try, and have a pretty unhappy horse, but you still can't make it drink!
I should settle for happy, well behaved and doing OK -and hope that something motivates him before too long. (no harm in trying to motivate-or discussing with school how to motivate)
With both your DCs - keep praising effort not actual levels. If DS complains and points out his high grades, say that it is good to get good grades but you are more impressed with great effort regardless of grade. Keep this message going. If he is nasty about DD. keep pointing out that it is the effort that counts for most in your book. If the school gives effort grades as well as attainement ones, then focus on these with him. If you keep "on message" for long enough he'll get it!
THe attitude is the result of the system. I feel that if schools truly had the goal of making children excited about learning, kids would never lose the wonderful attitude they had as toddlers learning to walk and talk.
The priority is a happy child - you have one - be thankful.
That is the point you want your children to happy. It is not pleasure, it is happiness, which mean confidence, well balance, aware of the difference between people, and eventually find your niche in the world.
You need a bit of everything to make the world run. If we where all movie stars and CEO, it will be very boring, actually there wouldn't be any movie stars and CEO...
Very "bright" people are not good at everything. A lot of people (especially teachers) will think if you are so bright why don't you do better? why aren't you top of the class?
Actually it is not about brightness, it is about speed, way of processing more informations and thinking outside the box.
Like people with low IQ are not stupid they need a different way of explaining things to them to get there, same is true for the top of the IQ scale.
The attitude is the result of the personality. You will always get those who take the easy way whatever is done.
I don't like science so it doesn't matter how interesting/exciting/motivating the teacher is, I will do enough to get comfortably by. I love history-I would be a bit upset to have a boring teacher, but I will still find it interesting enough to try my best and make the extra effort.
I hated school games so it didn't matter how 'exciting' I am not going to put much effort in at all-getting through the lesson would be the only objective.
It is all personality.
I would be concerned too OP. Not sure what to do about it though. Does he really crow about how good he is? Because IMO that is as much of a problem as the lack of effort.
I don't think you can make someone enjoy slogging.
it seems to me that there's a lot of research about delayed gratification (DG): some people find it easy and others impossible. It's tied up with work ethic because if you find it easy to accept delayed gratification then it's easier to slog away at boring bits of hard work knowing that the ultimate reward will be worth it. More likely to enjoy the work itself along the way, too, but ability to enjoy work for its own sake is work ethic, too.
There's inherent ability in how easily someone takes to DG; it's about as hard-wired as this tenuous thing we call intelligence.
I think you need to take a little pressure off yourself and place a bit more on the school. I am a teacher, and the expectation is that the most able pupils are stretched. I know you said he won't volunteer for extension tasks, but it shouldn't really be a choice! His teachers should be offering differentiated tasks in lessons and for homework that push him to do more so he progresses.
I would contact your DS's head of year or the person in charge of monitoring achievement, if there is one. Ask them to let teachers know that you are concerned DS isn't being challenged and he is becoming complacent. We sometimes put pupils like this on an academic diary, which asks teachers to comment not on behaviour, but on effort and areas for improvement. It is very common for parents of brighter pupils to request this measure when they feel their children are coasting.
YANBU but I think this is something how'll have to sort out for himself. Either he'll go to college and coast a first or he'll learn that he's not the only bright kid out there and he'll have to deal with that as best he can. The boasting thing is something his little pals will probably do more to cure than you can.
I can't think of many things worse than people not achieveing their potential. And your DS won't do that without application.
Indeed, much of a pupil's academic career is predicated on application rather than raw intelligence.
I think the best way to foster it has been already been pointed out. Find out what he wants to do and work back. Highly effective if you can find some examles of people who succeeded through application and some who failed because they didn'ta pply themselves.
Gosh, you talk as if how he is I'm year 7 is an indicator of how he will be for the rest of his life. He's, what 12? Give him a break. How he is now isn't even an indicator of how her will be next year let alone when he gets to applying for jobs.
I coasted through school (actually that would be a charitable way of putting it), I somehow got OK GCSEs but dropped out without a-levels. I now have an MA and could have been doing a PhD but got a better career offer so stopped it for now to pursue my job instead. The fact is I just wasn't suited to school. I was bored and just couldn't be bothered with working on stuff I had no interest in when I could do OK without the effort. When I got a bit older I found things I was interested in and actually worked blooming hard ever since. I imagine people I work with would be rather shocked if the knew what I was like when I was at school.
Thank you everyone: those who think I am unreasonable and those who don't. It honestly does help to hear other people's experiences and views on this.
HearMyRoar: Your story backs up what many say - that one day he will find what interests him and then he'll be more prepared to work. My worry is things like study skills and revision require practice and getting used to the delayed gratification (DG) another poster talked about. Can that be acquired in adult life or, if you miss the boat as a child, do you then lack those skills forever? Obviously for some people they can pull it out of the bag later on so that's reassuring.
Tumbleweeds, whiteflame and noblegiraffe : this ties in with the happiness worry. Yes he is happy to mooch around. I limit screen time but hes just as happy reading or mooching. Hes done lots of clubs over the years and every single time it has ended with him wanting to leave, me making him give it a fair crack and him eventually leaving a lot later than he would have done if I had let him when he first moaned about going. I wish there was an activity he was totally fascinated by or engaged with anything at all but there really isnt. The crowing is unpleasant definitely - but I think he partly does it to counter my annoyance with him that he just doesnt try. As far as I know, he doesnt do it with his school friends. At home hes keen to prove to me hes as clever as a Year 9 child or whatever just to counteract my frustration at him not revising. If I didnt nag, I dont think hed crow so much about what he does well with no effort. If he does try it at school I am sure his friends will soon let him know that it is not an attractive trait!
Amaxapax: I feel a bit odd asking the school to put him on report. I think I am justified though in asking for help with the subjects he is actually going backwards in even though his levels are fine. Lack of progress is something more concrete I can raise with them perhaps.
Thank you everyone. I am glad I am not the only one who has experienced this and all the responses here have given me a lot to think about.
this might be un PC but do you think he thinks that working hard is a girl thing
or is not interested in some stuff and seeems to him too feminine this can be a real problem in things like english language literature
my DH has refused point blank to read novels since he was about 9 he will read factual books about his favourite subjects like georgian architecture and stair case building but he can not see the point in reading stuff that is not true, I do not think like that but I do see his point why does anyone what to discuss what an imaginary person is feeling about an imaginary event complete and utter time waste like watching paint dry he might just be turned off education as it is all so boring
i sympathise I learned nothing in science or maths in first 2 years at comp although in top set off 8 as we were re doing stuff i learnt when i was 10, previously pi had been 3.14 got to senior school and it was now 3 again seemed like baby stuff, i worked as i was that type but i can see how someone like your DS would disengage
he will discuss guardian/ times etc editorials politics justice for poor but thinks loads of stuff taught in school is a complete time waste maybe your son thinks the same so he can't be bothered hence the rushed homework, i also get that I did my homework well but straight away never wanted to do it at weekend so finished it all friday night, we never got holiday homework just revision in easter holidays before O & A levels
you can sometimes make people do things but you can't make people think things
sorry that was a bit random with spelling and grammar all rubbish, I blame sleep deprivation
My worry is things like study skills and revision require practice and getting used to the delayed gratification (DG) another poster talked about. Can that be acquired in adult life or, if you miss the boat as a child, do you then lack those skills forever?
He might not need this ever. It might not be how his brain works.
The not trying is a bit annoying. But he is still very young, he might be scared of failing, or of disappointing you, and he has developed a way of avoiding doing things he is not sure about to avoid conflict.
He can learn to work hard on more physical things (can he clean barns at the nearest horse place? help a vet? ... fill the gap with what is available near you or with what he is interested in)
Not having to revise and not being competitive, doesn't mean you are a failure or that you can't have a very good work ethic later on.
I feel for him, he sounds like me as a kid and one of the little boy I teach, and you are not listening to him. He is probably not doing it to annoy you, he may have a completely different way of doing thing than what you expect (or comprehend).
If I am right, he needs support, love and understanding and gentle pushes to come out of his "world" and being taught some "normal" behaviours which seem obvious to you and his sister.
Does he help at home, that can teach work ethic. Does he likes cooking?
Can you find something he struggle a bit (not too much otherwise it will be daunting) with, and make him stick at practicing? You have to clearly identify the bigger picture of why it will be beneficial for him. (not for you)
Being massively in advance compared to your peers is not an advantage (as you seem to think) and is also pretty boring, he is also becoming a teenager soon and he might be desperate to fit in.
He is in Year 7 . Stop worrying and jumping too far forward into the future. It could be counter-productive.
I aggree with LeMousquetaire
I also have a year 7 DS who does things differently to me. I am learning to have to respect that and work with it.
YANBU. But I'm not sure what, if anything you or anyone else can do to change things.
I was your son 30 years ago. I coasted through O levels and came out with good grades, albeit a B in one subject in which I'd been predicted an A. I attempted to coast through A levels and slightly under-achieved in half my subjects. Did enough to get into uni and promptly dropped out at the end of the first year as I didn't have the right mindset for motivated self-study. Anything I find "too hard" I tend to give up on rather than put in extra effort. Not an admirable trait, but I'm bring honest. I am the laziest person I know and I have to be 100% engaged/interested in something to want to spend time, effort and energy on it. I am a Grade A moocher.
I do have a decent job - senior manager/Head of Department on over £40k - but it has taken me a lot longer to get here than it would someone who'd knuckled down and got a good degree etc. Even now my job is very much a means to an end, and where I can get away with it I will still occasionally do the bare minimum. Work to live, not live to work. To most people on the outside I can talk the talk and give the impression of a committed career woman but I know that truthfully, I would give up work tomorrow if I had an alternative means to pay the bills and maintain the not-flashy-but-comfortable lifestyle we now have. I'm simply not a committed, driven person and never have been.
It must be so frustrating, OP, when you can see through the "well-behaved model student" facade that your son's school has fallen for. I wish I had some dazzling insights to offer that would help you change things but I don't. Some people are just made this way and falling grades or under-achievement doesn't spur them on to do better next time. Doesn't mean he's necessarily condemned to a life flipping burgers, though.
I think YABU.
If he is bright, he will obviously see that he doesn't need to try in order to do well. So why would he bother? I was like this too - top/nearly top of the class in exams, didn't put in massive effort in the term. My parents were relaxed about it but teachers got a bit sniffy; I couldn't understand why - and I still think they were going way OTT. It doesn't actually matter in the slightest how you do at school when you're 11. And he is doing very well - you seem to value hard work but not achievement.
I started doing a bit more when it became necessary: a little more at GCSE, where there was one subject I thought I might not get an A in, then more at A-level so I could get straight A's/into Oxbridge (which I did).
Just back off and chill out, please. He may do more when more is demanded by the actual work he's doing - but even if he doesn't, it's not going to be because his mother didn't nag him enough.
A LOT OF people I know in life that are laid back /lazy tend to be happier ones
So personally I wouldn't worry to much
It's probably in his nature to be lazy
Haven't read whole thread but YANBU. I have two brothers, both are super intelligent (genius level). One is a hard worker, one is lazy. Lazy brother always did the bare minimum, got excellent GCSE results by putting no effort in, was really smug about it, his A level results were very average (he didn't even do the coursework for some of them). He didn't learn though and at uni still did the bare minimum, he got 69.something percent which was rounded up to 70 so he just scraped a first (he's also smug about this). He's had a series of temp jobs and is struggling to get a permanent job, he's 30 now and earns about 25K.
My other brother is super intellingent but also a very hard worker (he would revise 8hrs a day during exam periods), he got similar GCSE results to brother one (all As and A*s) and all As at A level, he broke school records for exam results (pretty shit school) and got into the top ten in the country for one of his A levels (they sent him a letter about it) he also got 100 percent in some of his modules.
He's now doing his masters and will do a PHD after that. During his degree he always got the highest marks (100 percent in one module), got onto research programmes for the uni every summer which he was paid for (science degree), won cash awards for writing articles and getting best student awards and things (he won about 2K during his degree). Basically he is outstanding and even in a recession will have people desperate to employ him. He'll be very rich some day.
So if your DS is motivated by money this may be something to take into consideration.
Just want to add though that in year 7 I wouldn't worry about it, he's doing well. It matters more once he gets to year 9/10. Also my lazy brother is not motivated by money and doesn't care if he won't be rich, he's happy how he is though he is very jealous of other brother's achievments. The most important thing is that he is happy.
I once taught a boy in year 9 who was pleasant and did ok levels around mid 6's. Despite encouraging more work etc he just wasn't that bothered and I could struggled for him to be motivated enough to reach good level 7's which I always thought he could do. When I later taught him at a-level he was an amazing student and I struggled to believe it was the same pupil. In my experience boys can peak later than girls, often not until A-Level. You can lead a horse to water etc. Students who are pushed really hard from home but lack their own work ethic may well rebel at some point, or when given more freedom (such as university) fall flat on their faces.
Having said that it is important that he doesn't become switched off entirely which is a danger, as it is possible that he could drop too far behind and although not impossible, really struggle to do the catching up later if and when he ends up in a peer group such as GCSE's or A-Levels where he isn't then one of the brightest.
He should hopefully at some point soon, become really inspired by a subject and a teacher, or be motivated by a career, which will always be the best form of motivation!
If I were you in subjects where he is doing alright monitor but not make too big a deal of it. But on subjects where he is falling behind come alongside him and teachers in ensuring progress is made. School should be able to suggest individual strategies.
Teachers at secondary school don't always pay much attention to levels from primary schools. That's why the majority of schools do their own testing in the first few weeks. Some schools will over focus on and teach to the tests and levels become over inflated, it makes them look good for ofsted. So a pupil who comes out with a level 5 at primary, when secondary's test them come out a bit lower.
Finally, settling into year 7 takes time. Finding your feet, making friends, having many different teachers etc. can be hard for some, and if you have a happy child in year 7, then in my book you are setting yourself up in the right way for the rest of school.
Have you ever read the book Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn? It chimes with a lot of what pp's say about focusing on effort rather than praising results. So a bright kid who is naturally good at tests comes second from top in his class? Big deal. That's like being praised for having blue eyes. But a less naturally bright child working her ass off to come halfway up the class list? That really deserves pride and a pat on the back. The book gives some ideas for focusing on encouraging effort. It changed the way I value things like cleverness and persistence and as an adult survivor of too much praise for being clever and never feeling like I could achieve anything that didn't come naturally I'd really recommend it!
Have just skim read so this may have been covered. You are right to worry as at some point in the future, effort will be required and if he believes that he can either do something straight away or he can't, he will fail.
Many of my smarter friends at school did less well in the workplace than those who had learnt that effort was what mattered. There's some studies showing you should praise effort, not intelligence to get the best out of your children. These might strike a chord:
I think you need to set your son challenges where effort is required and don't praise good grades or being smart, but praise when he tries or the effort. As he is smart, perhaps you could discuss the articles with him and how if he wants to be more intelligent and do better, he needs to apply himself.
FWIW I was very much like your son and didn't get my nasty shock till starting university. I pulled myself up then but I think that my early training that I was clever and could just do things caused a real wobble in my self confidence the first time I couldn't just do something. I got through it though.
Just wanted to add my voice, but haven't had time to ready the whole thread. I would be wary of constantly pushing him - I was always told that, whilst I was doing well, I COULD do better and in the end I just felt as though there was no pleasing my parents or teachers and carried on coasting as at least that gave me time to do things that I enjoyed.
And you know what - I still don't work that hard, and because I am happy to coast along doing 'just enough' I can spend more time with my son, earn enough money to pay the bills and not have to worry, and I'm really happy. I also don't know a single person who tries their hardest all the time - as adults, most people skate through things and do what needs doing rather than trying to excel at everything, and rightly so. I would rather be a happy slacker than a workaholic who doesn't have time to enjoy the simpler things in life. I would also be more concerned about his attitude towards his sister than anything else - being bright is a matter of luck, but being pleasant is something else and should be addressed. Maybe if you encouraged him to help her, he would see the benefit in learning, discover a talent for teaching or just be a little more sympathetic to her and benefit in that way.
chasedbybees those links are really interesting (and sound very applicable to the OP's DS).
My 3 year old refuses to have a go at certain things (like drawing) saying 'I'm not very good at that'. I will certainly be making a big effort to reframe challenging things as fun etc.
God sounds like me.
I always coasted through school and never did homework or studied at all and I was still the top of my class (secondary not grammer school)
Tbh it did negatively effect me. I left with 1 A, 2 Bs and 6 Cs st GCSE but if I had studied I could of got all As.
I couldn't cope with deadlines and coursework come alevels and even though I am now doing my ba in night class I still procrastinate and cant work hard at it...I am passing due to natural ability but I could do better if I tried. I just cant argh.
Have you ever read the book Unconditional Parenting by Alfie Kohn?... a less naturally bright child working her ass off to come halfway up the class list? That really deserves pride and a pat on the back.
Not it doesn't, nor according to Kohn I mean. You never express pride or give praise if you follow UP. Not for effort, not for anything.