please hold my hand ... have decided to try 'backing off' with ds (15)

(69 Posts)
basildonbond Tue 16-Oct-12 16:28:30

ds1 is ridiculously bright, but also incredibly lazy when it comes to school work

He finds it almost impossible to sit down and concentrate and has got prevarication down to a fine art ...

Our relationship is really suffering as I've become the enforcer/nagger (and it's all been me as dh is away a lot for work)

We've come to the conclusion that unless ds wants to work, nothing I say or do is going to make him so I'm going to tell him once to do something but then let him get on with it and deal with the consequences himself.

All fine in theory .... but it's very hard in practice!! On Sunday he allegedly spent 5 hours making notes for his GCSE History controlled assessment this week and produced a grand total of 3 sentences .... he managed to go on Facebook and YouTube very successfully though hmm which meant that he had to spend all last night on it and not do his maths which was already late and was supposed to be in today - this morning we got a letter from his head of year saying that he had a detention for missing registration because he'd stayed in the library finishing off yet another piece of homework

arghhh how can someone so smart be so monumentally stupid??

Toomuchtea Tue 13-Nov-12 15:50:47

You are quite right, blinked, it makes no difference. I was that idle person once; no one could tell me anything, because I knew best. I did manage to scrape the grades to get where I wanted to go, and eventually at university, it started to dawn on me what hard work actually was. And I was determined, if I had a child, that they would learn from my mistakes.

Fast forward to my beloved DS. He sailed through GCSEs doing no work whatsover, convinced he was going to be a doctor. He crashed and burned pretty early on in A levels, and nothing anyone could do made him work. He didn't get to medical school; he didn't make the grades for the (very good) university that gave him a really good offer, obviously seeing the brains that lurked very far beneath the laid back exterior. Failing did finally make him get off his backside. He organised himself a place at clearing, and is on course for a first.

He alternates between saying that I should have made him work (fortunately for him I am so incandescent at this I am temporarily wordless) and acknowledging his general fecklessness.

It was a terrible, terrible few years. It is utterly heart rending seeing them screw up their dreams, and knowing there is sod all you can do about it.

blinkedandmissedit Tue 13-Nov-12 12:48:47

Basildon- mine is still being exactly the same. Apparently he didn't have any homework over half term - he has done absolutely nothing for the last 3 weeks. We have had another letter from the art department saying he isn't doing his work. Apparently this is my fault as I nagged him to take art - I bloody well didn't, I advised him against it. He is apparently spending his time on the academic subjects - only he isn't, he does nothing!

I have come to realise this is all a bit of sport for DS. He loves winding us up and if it isn't over homework, it's over something else. He is going to get one massive shock when he doesn't get the grades he needs for A levels next year and has to spend 2 years doing something he hates. However, I don't think that any amount of nagging or punishing from us will make the slightest bit of difference.

basildonbond Mon 12-Nov-12 12:55:43

I definitely, definitely spoke too soon ....

last night ds told me that he had 6 pieces of work outstanding, including 2 which should have been done over half term but 'he forgot'

this is after he spent the entire afternoon 'relaxing' because he had plenty of time to get everything done .....

FFS how can he be so monumentally stupid???

MaMattoo Mon 05-Nov-12 15:12:19

My grammar and spelling are better than what this post indicates...

MaMattoo Mon 05-Nov-12 15:09:59

Holding your hand. Your child sounds like I was at that age. It gave me such pleased to drive mum and all school teachers insane. Big headed that I am, I did not need as much time to do stuff as was expected and planned in. I could breeze past stuff, did not matter if I did not get my best potential grades. I was happy, confident and very annoying.
...don't think much has changed grin I am an post doctoral researcher/academic now (who would have thunk it)
Backing off and not nagging has a way to flummox a child that is beyond description!

StarsGhostTail Mon 05-Nov-12 15:05:32

I remind DD to practice for controlled assessments, I remind her to revise for tests, I remind her to do her Art because that is all marked.

I will nag from Easter of Y11.
That's it DH stresses about every tiny bit of HW. I point blank refuse to.

DC need a childhood and they need to pass their GCSEs, if that's done by learning the revision book cover to cover the night before the exam and never handing in a HW in 2 the years before I really don't care.

basildonbond Mon 05-Nov-12 14:43:53

I spoke too soon ....

ds has a major piece of English coursework due in this week .... and, yup, he's not even started ...

had the whole of half term (and he had two weeks) to get it done in

his relatively better grades (by no means stellar though) seem to have given him the impression that he can slack off again

aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaarrrrrrrrrrrrgggggggghhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!

Maryz - ds has 'aspects of ADHD' (he has a mixed-bag diagnosis, i.e. a bit of this and a bit of that ...) and concentrating on anything other than xbox appears to be problematic hmm - hope the assessment goes well and is helpful

flow4 Mon 05-Nov-12 12:03:29

Will getting a diagnosis mean there'll be some support for your DS2, Maryz? smile

flow4 Mon 05-Nov-12 12:01:53

I am coming to the conclusion that 'backing off' is for our benefit, rather than theirs! hmm grin If you have a DC who doesn't want to study, or isn't ready for it, then nothing seems to work - certainly not punishment and rarely reward either... We just have to hang on in there until they find their own motivation, and meanwhile, 'backing off' helps us keep our sanity smile

BTW, I was in the supermarket with my DSes on Saturday, and I overheard DS1 (17, major underachiever, long history of trouble) saying to DS2 (nearly 13, bright, achieving, motivated) "Nahh, take it from me, you don't want to leave your homework til the last minute, it's much better to do it early. And that's coming from me. I learnt the hard way"!! grin grin

Maryz Sun 04-Nov-12 20:50:57

I have backed off completely.

ds has exams next week. This week was half term, apparently meant for study. He didn't get up any day before 3, and has done very little.

His results will be interesting hmm.

Added to which the result of the parent/teacher meeting is him being assessed for ADHD, with the school convinced he will get a diagnosis. And watching him try to focus this week, I strongly suspect they are right.

Oh dear.

RosieGirl Sun 04-Nov-12 20:43:29

Hello everyone, may I jump in the boat if there is any room left.

I am going in tomorrow to have a meeting with my 15 yo DD's achievement director. They are going to try her on a special programme, because although she apparently should be achieving A & B's she is scraping D's & E's. apparently even a fly will distract her from what she should be doing.

I also had decided to back off, as every conversation was negative, but the teachers are pushing her.

To those that have "encouraged" the positive approach, I have praised, offered money, concert tickets, permission to go to parties I would have never normally allowed her to go to and many other positive approaches........ None have worked.

silver73 Sun 04-Nov-12 01:03:41

I've only read bits of this thread but would like to give a bit of light at the end of the tunnel news.

My DS is very bright and has always wanted to be a doctor. However, he was difficult to get to work for his GCSEs. DH said leave him to it but I continued to nag him/bribe him and monitor his work as far as I could. He got 12 GCSEs but they were not stellar for medical school application.

On awards day I saw his face and he looked gutted as his friends had done so much better than him. At the start of AS levels a new hard working DS emerged. He had a wobble with maths A level as he did not like the way it was taught. We got him a tutor for an hour a week and he agreed to do chores in return.

He has now just put in his medical school application with AAA prediction and has a grade A in his fourth subject he dropped after AS level so we are hoping he will get AAAa.

He is one of the youngest in the year and I just think that he could not control himself when it came to computer games so we had to step in. I also kept in email contact with his teachers (much to his annoyance) so I knew if he was not doing the GCSE coursework.

Due to the less than stellar GCSEs we have had to choose carefully and avoid medical schools that place a lot of emphasis on GCSEs but like a high UKCAT which thankfully he got. He also had an offer for his fifth choice university within 3 days of his application going in.

We now don't have to nag him as he works hard and plays hard. He just seems to have grown up so much from 16 - 17. I also think the continuous GCSE coursework was too much for him as he prefers exams.....

I backed off with ds- it did no good. I will not forget going into his room the day before an A level to find him flat on his back, humming having done NO work. 'you work better when you are scared,' said the monstrous child. 'I'm waiting for the adrenalin to kick in.'
He is now at an unposh uni and beginning to work for the first time in his life, and it is now dd's turn to say 'MAKE me work!' and then go straight into a tantrum when I suggest turning off ipod, facebook, crap US tv.
So I too am backing off, except router now on a timer- off at 10pm.
You can only push so far. It took my nephew 3 years of making fries at McDs before it dawned on him that there was another world out there (with a maths degree in it as it happened).
So good luck. It's awful. They have so many distractions but even so have to admit if we turned everything off they would still much prefer sleeping and annoying the cat.

daisydoodoo Thu 25-Oct-12 12:42:34

i could have written your op, unfortunatley not your follow up.

backing off has not resulted in any improvements and has meant he has slipped further so much so that already have the forms to complete for re sits, and hes only just started year 11!

unfortunatley ds1 15, is one of those that will just sit and stare at the walls rather than do anything. this is the boy who started senior school and up o end of year 8 with predicted a's nd a*.

blinkedandmissedit Thu 25-Oct-12 11:56:57

Doesn't seem to be doing much so far - since backing off, DS appears to have done the grand total of no schoolwork or revision, unless he is doing it in his bedroom.

It's only been a week though [hopeful]

vicster44 Tue 23-Oct-12 20:15:12

Have to say since I backed off on Sunday it appears to be working (Yes I know its early days!) but yesterday and today dd (14) has been studying for tests and doing Coursework without me saying a word smile. However I do feel there may an ulterior motive hmm

youarewinning Tue 23-Oct-12 19:39:08

<creeps in>

<can I join?>

My DS is only 8yo atm! but showing signs of heading the same way - lazy but able. He does work hard at school though just seems he can only put effort into things when he wants to.

I have recently tried backing off - rushed homework etc and told/ asked his teacher not to praise work that's below his ability. (luckily she agreed). I find the whole fact they are meant to write 2 positive things and the child/adult gets a wish (on how to improve) means even crap work gets praised. hmm

You ladies/ Gents are so very knowledgable I think I will copy this thread and print it out for future reference - I get the feeling I'm gonna need it. grin

mummytime Tue 23-Oct-12 19:30:54

Just one word of warning, at some point you might just want to start letting him know that although you can (if bright enough) get good grades at GCSE with little work; when it comes to A'level its a whole other kettle of fish.
This is from a Mum who was phoned last night by two of her DS's lower sixth subject teachers.

brighterfuture Tue 23-Oct-12 18:53:15

Where we live school work is marked out of 20 . I told ds1 16 (very lazy , never does homework, extremely disorganised etc.) that I would pay him 1 quid for every point he got above 10.
Seeing as he was rarely getting anything above 6 I thought it a safe bet. He came home friday night with his very much improved results and It worked out I had to give him 40 quid ! Luckily he kindly reduced it to 20 when he saw my shock
Apart from this incentive I have totally backed off... it really has cut down my stress levels.

Lemonylemon Tue 23-Oct-12 15:33:21

May I join this thread? I'm well on my way to a bloody heart attack or stroke if this carries on for much longer..

DS, 15, taking GCSEs and EBacc this year. Grades from last year were very bad. Has the brains to do it. I've organised extra tuition but to be honest, I think I'm wasting money.

I argue with him every Tuesday about getting to his extra French class. The lady who tutors him is absolutely lovely and has made time in her schedule to tutor him. But EVERY week, there's an excuse for him not to go. He's also getting extra maths and English tuition too.

He wants to join the Army, specifically the REME. He's not going to get anywhere at this rate. He's lacking drive/motivation etc. That's something I find hard because I'm quite motivated and have to keep going, or we'll all suffer....

OneHandFlapping Sun 21-Oct-12 16:25:27

How about some carrot, as well as stick - in the form of monetary bribery. So many £ for achieving a certain grade in GCSE/coursework/end of term test. Match the grades for each subject to what he can realistically achieve if he works hard.

alistron1 Sun 21-Oct-12 16:17:52

It is hard isn't it? DD1 sat some of her GCSE's early and this summer was shocked not to get the marks she thought she would. This has focused her mind somewhat in Y11
I think most kids do get to the point where it clicks that this schoolwork shit does actually matter - but it can be a long and convoluted road.

WRT to teachers/schools - I have told them at parents evenings that whilst I totally support what they are saying and support any school sanctions (this was with DS1 when he was in Y8) that ultimately HE has to make the effort. Luckily a poor set of Y8 results have focused his mind in Y9. So far. He even bought himself a revision guide last week, with his own money <<faints>>

vicster44 Sun 21-Oct-12 10:47:47

I'm so glad I've joined this - My 14 yr old DD is stressing me out. Bright girl but as with the thread wants to do it her way! I remember feeling like her and am trying to remember what it felt like. Don't think I'd like to be a teenager these days.

Lovely to read that so many others are in the same boat - I'm joining in too smile

basildonbond Sun 21-Oct-12 10:13:45

Well .... Ds's half term grades arrived yesterday and apparently he's got 1s and 2s (very good and good) for effort all his subjects and mostly A*s and As for achievement so presumably it's all going in by osmosis ...

Will carry on sitting on my hands and hope he can bump the Bs up to As by the end of the year ....

chocoluvva Fri 19-Oct-12 00:54:46

That's encouraging Family.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now