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to have run out of ideas and just back off now?

(38 Posts)
Oneaddoneisthree Sat 08-Mar-14 09:36:33

DH thinks I am but he is not the one dealing with the situation day to day.

Our ds is almost 11 - year 6 so off to secondary school soon. In the past his behaviour has been a huge problem, but we have worked really hard with him and he now mostly sticks to boundaries as regards how he talks to us, listening, doing as we ask etc.

However, school work is a massive issue. He simply doesn't care. I would estimate that he is of above average ability, but he is in the bottom groups for everything. The teachers don't know what to do with him either. He makes minimum effort, has no enthusiasm and often just doesn't finish his work. Keeping him in at playtime has shown no improvements and he will just not produce anything.

At home we create a quiet environment for homework and set the expectation that it is to be done to the best of his ability. He will sit there, often complaining, but produces very little. He could easily sit for 4 hours and produce 4 lines of writing. Then, just occasionally, because he wants to, he will write something really amazing. A whole book of poems or a long story with chapters. So he can do it when he wants to. The same sometimes happens in school.

He has to earn time on electronics at home by making an effort in school. Same for pocket money. Meaning that he usually doesn't get much of either. He doesn't seem to have any internal desire to do better, and providing an external reason doesn't seem to have an effect either.

I don't see what else I can do. DH thinks we have to keep on doing what we're doing until he gets the idea. But I'm worn out with all the fighting. AIBU?

Finola1step Sat 08-Mar-14 13:50:44

I had a boy like this in my Year 6 class. Incredibly bright, could write amazing stories when he wanted, great mathematician. Could moan for England. Could find every excuse in the book not to knuckle down to work. Master procrastinator. Could cause an argument with himself in an empty room. Could also be the lovliest kid. Cricket was his motivation.

He went to secondary school. Loved it. Settled very quickly. He's about to leave and is doing vv well. He plays cricket for the county got his age group.

Secondary school can work wonders. The change in itself can do the trick. Keep on encouraging his interests and use them as rewards. You never know where they might lead.

Logg1e Sat 08-Mar-14 13:56:52

How do you identify "bright" when you see it? My thoughts are inquisitiveness, perseverance, creativeness, communicable etc.

Oneaddoneisthree Sat 08-Mar-14 13:57:54

I hope the same happens Finola. I'm not convinced that ds is super bright but he certainly has talents in some areas and could do so much better than he currently is. He does talk about not wanting to be seen as a little kid so maybe that is something we could use.

Oneaddoneisthree Sat 08-Mar-14 13:59:55

He is very inquisitive with an enquiring mind, about whatever interests him. Also really inventive and loves free reign to make things with no instruction. He detests being directed.

Logg1e Sat 08-Mar-14 14:05:33

I wonder if it'd be worth pursuing some of those interests (which is why I asked my first question at the start of the thread) and not worry about the school work to the extent of causing friction between the two of you?

JasonOgg Sat 08-Mar-14 14:07:20

What are his friends like? Do they have a similar attitude? The reason I ask is the y8 DS of a friend got an amber warning across almost all his subjects in his Xmas report. Turns out that since all his mates got the same, he doesn't view it as an issue as he is now looking to his peer group for his views on the world, where he would before have turned to family.

Oneaddoneisthree Sat 08-Mar-14 14:09:50

Hmm, well obviously we encourage all his interests - he does lots of sport and also art and construction clubs - but we feel we need to keep up the expectation of getting homework done to a decent standard. At the moment the teachers are reasonably laid back about it but that's going to step up soon enough.

Oneaddoneisthree Sat 08-Mar-14 14:12:17

Jason he has a variety of friends - some very driven and academic, some more sporty, but the general atmosphere in the school is quite high-achieving. To be honest, though, ds has never cared one bit what anyone else thinks of him. Which can be a great thing of course.

Fairenuff Sat 08-Mar-14 14:27:10

We've had "I'm a human too, you know. You can't tell me what to do, like an animal. I have to sit here and do this and you get to do whatever you want." Then "Why was school invented, anyway? And money? They just make everyone's life difficult."

This makes him sound very immature.

As others have said, it's probably not worth engaging with him like this because it's all just a stalling tactic.

However, I would recommend you do this.

Ask him what he wants for himself in the future. When he leaves home (which he will have to because you are not going to support him) how does he want to live.

Does he want a flat to live in, a car to drive, a mobile phone, a television, a computer, an xbox or other electronic devices. Does he want to have holidays, a family, clothes, haircuts, etc.

If he says no he wants to live in a cardboard box with nothing, there is no point continuing.

But if he does want some of that, tell him that he will need a job. He can work hard for an hour and get paid £7 or he can work hard for an hour and get paid £70. It all depends on the type of job/career he wants and what he wants for himself.

Explain that how he chooses to approach his school life will have a big impact on his exam results and, eventually, his job choices. If he wants choices in future he will have to put the effort in now.

Btw has he really sat in once place for four hours? If so, I think you should do more that, he will soon get fed up with it.

Logg1e Sat 08-Mar-14 14:29:08

I think he sounds busy enough with all of those extra-curricular activities. I'd leave him to it, not everyone is going to be academically-inclined and perhaps secondary school will offer more vocational routes.

Oneaddoneisthree Sat 08-Mar-14 14:34:38

We have that the talk about the future, several times. He has a variety of answers, depending on his mood. I honestly don't think he understands the long-term implications of what he's doing now. Do you really think what he said sounds immature? I thought it was quite perceptive. In any case, he always speaks from the heart and has very few filters!

He has absolutely sat in one place for 4 hours. Many times.

Fairenuff Sat 08-Mar-14 14:40:25

No I do think that sounds immature. He is not at all perceptive if he is asking 'why do we have money'. It's a very basic concept.

And he is not able to make the link between his behaviour now and how it will impact his future.

whitesugar Sat 08-Mar-14 15:00:12

I would find it very odd if an 11 year old boy understood the longterm implications of what he is doing now. I have known 11 year old boys who still believe in Santa. If all else fails bribe him into doing his homework - carrot, stick, there is not much between the two.

Please don't back off because he will be doing GCSEs or whatever the equivalent is where you live and if he doesn't do well it will close off a lot of options for him at that time. Sure he could become a millionaire without them but I wouldn't take that chance.

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